One Wear Rule: Part Two

Following a ‘one wear’ rule for my clothes, one week at a time

I’m taking on a challenge to try to get to the back of my wardrobe and really make the most of every piece of clothing I own. Over-consumption is a huge problem with clothing, and one that I have definitely contributed to in the past. It’s easy to get into the habit of continuously adding clothes to your closet whenever you feel like something is ‘missing’, regardless of what the reason for that might be. So I’m following a ‘one wear rule’, whereby I can only wear an item once before it goes out of circulation. The idea is that I’m forced to try clothes I don’t wear very much, and break out of my small selection of favourite items that I return to again and again. If I discover that there’s a reason I haven’t been choosing a piece, then I can banish it from my wardrobe for good. On the other hand, if I turn out to love it, then it can be reintroduced to my regular circulation.

I’ve already completed one week of the challenge, and feel like I’m getting the hang of things. Today’s post chronicles my second week, with seven (ok, maybe six!) more outfits that have pushed me beyond my comfort zone. At the end of each week I’m tallying up the different types of clothes I wear, so I can get a good picture of what fits into my current style, and where there might be gaps. When I decide to ‘finish’ the challenge, I’ll put them all together – I can’t wait to see what the trends are!

Day 8: Green French Connection corduroy trousers, black top and brown accessories

Full-length photo of Helen wearing forest-green corduroy trousers with a long-sleeved, scoop neck t-shirt, a thin brown belt, and brown brogues.

This was the first day the temperature had dropped low enough to wear trousers, so I thought it would be a good time to don this gorgeous pair. I promise I didn’t buy them just because they make me feel like a hobbit, but I can’t deny that it’s a plus side! I’d been on the lookout for a nice pair of green cords for a long time, so when I spotted this pair from French Connection I knew I would be incapable of resisting. They sit nice and high and have a slightly cropped length, and a bit of a tapered shape. They can feel a little bit full-on, a little bit costumey, so I decided to soften them a bit by just pairing them with a very simple black, long-sleeved shirt, and then matching brown shoes and belt. These are my old favourite brown brogues which I wear all the time, and a new favourite vintage brown belt bought from Salvaged Outfitters. By the end of the day it had actually warmed up a lot, so I was kind of over-heating in these wintery fabrics, but it was for the most part a comfy outfit, and I appreciated the chance to wear them.

Day 9: Black and White printed dress

Full-length photo of Helen wearing a knee-length black and white spotted dress, with long, slightly-puffed sleeves, and black block-heeled sandals.

This isn’t quite another polka dot piece, but it’s pretty close. I haven’t worn this dress that much since I bought it back in the autumn, partly because it hasn’t fitted me super well. But it seems to sit a bit better these days, and it definitely works a lot better as a summer dress without tights. It was a comfortable, simple outfit – easy to throw on at the start of the day and not really have to think about. Definitely one that will be coming into circulation more as a summer option. The block sandals are one of my oldest pairs of shoes, and I will be pretty gutted when they finally become unwearable. They’re a little worse for wear at the moment, but thankfully they’re still going strong for now!

Day 10: Silky shirt with black circle skirt

Full-length photo of Helen wearing a green silky-shirt with half-length sleeves, and a black knee-length circle skirt, with black block-heeled sandals.

This shirt is a lot greener than it comes across in the photo, so for a while I didn’t really feel I could wear it without looking too Christmassy! It is almost exactly the colour of Christmas decorations. Thankfully that season is now well behind us, so it was time to break it out again. Normally I would pair it with black jeans, but I thought I’d try a more vintage look, and use this old black circle skirt. The shirt was an emergency purchase when I went on a holiday to Ghent and found I hadn’t bought enough (or what I thought was enough) clothes, and the skirt was bought I think as long ago as my first year of undergrad. One thing this challenge is making me realise is that although I have bought a lot of clothes in the last few years, some of the pieces I really like and wear a lot are from absolutely ages ago. A good reminder that if you buy a piece thoughtfully that has a real place in your wardrobe, it can earn that place for a long time. These are both from what you’d call fast fashion labels too, so I’m pleased to know that they haven’t quickly made their way out of my wardrobe.

Day 11: Black A-Line Dress

Full-length photo of Helen wearing a knee-length black A-line dress with buttons up the front and short sleeves, with a pair of black criss-cross sandals.

Another fast fashion buy of the past, but sadly not one that has had as much staying power. This dress is one I come back to time and time again thinking I might come round on it, but sadly I never do. The problem is that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with it. There’s nothing that I can really pinpoint as the definitive reason why I should get rid of it: it fits fine, it’s a good length, it’s comfortable. But when it comes to it I just don’t think it suits me: the sleeves are a bit of an awkward length, and even now I’m embracing a bit of a V-neck, this takes it a little too far on the cleavage front for me. So I think wearing it for this challenge was the final push I needed to face facts and say goodbye to it. Could this also be the sign that I’m starting to run out of good finds for the one wear rule? I’m also a bit on the fence about these sandals. Again, I can’t find anything specific to say about what’s wrong with them, but I often don’t feel that great when I’m wearing them. So they’re on probation.

Day 12: Blue maxi-dress

Full length photo of Helen wearing a royal blue, mid-shin length sleeveless dress.

Onto firmer ground again with this dress. I’ve had it for a long time, and it’s so incredibly comfortable and easy to wear. It has massive pockets which actually fit my phone, wallet, keys and a stash of masks in them for when I leave the house. After the relative failure of the black dress I wanted to wear something I didn’t have to think about, and this certainly fit the bill. It was a really hot week as well, so something floaty and breezy was just what I was after. Round the house I didn’t even put any shoes on, and for my brief foray into the heat I popped on my brown FatFace sandals.

Day 13: Green and cream Mango dress for a day at the tennis

Photo of Helen with the 'AO' Australian Open tennis-balls sign in the background, wearing a just over the knee-length v-neck, short sleeved dress, with black sandals and a straw belt. She is wearing rounded tortoiseshell sunglasses and a blue face-mask.

Something a little different for day 13, as we went to the tennis! Being in Melbourne has some advantages, and being so close to the Australian Open is certainly one of them. We had tickets booked for the Women’s semi-finals due to be held the following week, but decided on the spur of the moment to book ground passes for the day and make the most of the tournament while it lasted. I think I’ll write up a post on our Australian Open experience at some point, so for now I’ll stick to the clothes. I knew I wanted something kind of on the comfy smart-casual end of things – while there isn’t a dress code, and some people do go fully casual, there are a lot of women who turn up in absolutely gorgeous summer dresses, so I wanted to lean into that a little bit and wear something a little bit more dressy than my usual weekend uniform of shorts and shirt. This dress from Mango did the trick. I haven’t worn it that much historically (although you can see it in this vintage outfits post), because it gapes a little around the bottom of my ribcage. But styled with this new straw belt it both looked fine and felt really comfy. There aren’t any grass courts at the Australian Open, so I like to think this dress stood in for them with the summer-grass colour and thin cream lines! I kept things things on the casual end with my black sandals, and with my trusty mustard backpack slightly clashing but carrying a big water bottle (and with sunglasses and facemask to finish it off), I felt ready for the day. It was about 35 degrees Celsius, so I appreciated the dress’s natural fabric as I sat sweating in the heat! This is definitely an outfit I’ll be trying again, and I’m pleased to have found the right accessory to bring it into my everyday repertoire.

Day 14: Cheat day: pyjamas

Yes, I’ll admit it, I didn’t really get dressed on Sunday. I don’t feel too bad about this if I’m honest – after the heat and exertion of the day before, I was ready for a chill day indoors curled up with a book and/or playing Stardew Valley. My summer pyjamas are whatever old T-shirt I have lying around and a pair of cotton shorts, so not completely unsuitable to be seen in if I have to answer the door, but still enormously comfortable. No photos today, just a relaxing day of resetting ready for the week ahead.

That’s a wrap on a second week of the One Wear Rule. I didn’t expect to find it quite as easy as I did – there were more dresses to pull out than I thought I had, and I’ve not quite used up all my ’emergency’ outfits. So let’s check in on the tally of what type of clothes I’ve been wearing. From my Week 2 totals, it’s clear that I’m leaning heavily towards dresses at the moment, which isn’t that surprising given how warm it has been. I couldn’t face the idea of wearing jeans in this heat! It’s interesting though, because I own a lot of skirts, but it’s clear they’ve not been getting as many outings. Perhaps something that will change in the weeks ahead as I start to run out of my favourite dresses.

Pie chart with entries for 4 dresses, 2 tops/shirts, 1 skirt and 1 trousers/jeans/shorts, each slice in a different colour.

Once again I’m learning that on a day-to-day basis, I largely forget the contents of my wardrobe and plump instead for the same things time and time again. This exercise is really making me see my clothes in a new light, and while I’m realising there are some pieces I don’t wear for a good reason, there are others that I’ve simply neglected. I’m weirdly enjoying this challenge so far – let’s see if I can keep that up once I’m getting to the dregs in the back of my wardrobe?

Thank you so much for reading and joining me on this challenge. I’d absolutely love to hear if this is something you have tried or are trying yourself! I can really highly recommend it – I thought I knew my wardrobe quite well, especially after having done the Shopping My Shipping series, but I’m learning new things and appreciating how much my style has changed even in just a couple of years. Here’s hoping I continue to enjoy myself in the weeks ahead!


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