One Wear Rule: Part Five

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

I’m a long way into my One Wear Rule challenge now, and I’m starting to feel like I’ve really broken through the barrier. At the start I mostly got by just wearing dresses – it was pretty hot and they presented a really easy option. You really don’t have to think about what you’re wearing much when you go for dresses – just choose one that suits your mood and a pair of shoes to match. Having said that there are a lot of dresses I own that I was just not wearing, so the challenge has been a good way to make the most of them. As the weeks have gone by and the weather starts to cool slightly as we reach the end of Australian summer, the choices aren’t quite so obvious. One major thing I’m realising is that I own a lot of tops that don’t go with very many of my bottoms. I’ve got loads of things I can wear with black skinny jeans, but beyond that I am surprisingly limited for someone with a big wardrobe and a wide range of colours. This challenge certainly continues to throw up some surprises!

Day 29: Simple A-line dress

Helen wearing a khaki green knee-length v-neck dress with short sleeves and buttons down the front, with black block-heeled sandals.

This green dress was a hand-me-down from my mother, who actually bought it on Amazon. If I’m honest you can kind of tell it isn’t the best quality – the waistband is just a strip of elastic – but it is still pretty comfortable, and in a colour that I often gravitate to. This was the day after my COVID-19 vaccination booster, and I felt pretty miserable, so going for something I could just throw on and that was nicely loose fitting was just the thing. I spent my day flitting between my home office and my sofa, and this ended up being a great choice for curling up in the down times.

Day 30: T-shirt and shirt with shorts

Helen wearing high-waisted beige shorts with visible button-fly and paperbag waist, with a white t-shirt and light blue shirt open over the top. She also wear black crossover flat sandals.

I was still feeling a bit rubbish after my booster, and wanted something on the casual/masculine side of things. I desperately wanted to keep wearing my Uniqlo shorts, but had to settle for these old TopShop ones. I can’t help but feel they look a little bit like a nappy – with the paperbag waist and the big fly buttons. In hindsight this outfit would have looked a lot better just with the Uniqlo shorts – the t-shirt just doesn’t tuck quite right into this looser waistband. Kind of hilariously I ended up essentially matching with a much older male colleague, which made me chuckle. This outfit definitely gives off some 90s dad vibes! I also think it would work better with a slightly more structured shirt – the collar is a bit small and soft on this one. I did however have to take the shirt off and just wear the t-shirt by the end of another hot afternoon. But overall it was a comfy outfit, which I still felt good in at the end of the day, so I’m chalking it up as a win.

Helen wearing a half-sleeve V-beck top with black tank-top underneath, and calf-length wide-leg khaki culottes, with black flat crossover sandals.

Anyone who follows The Feminist Gadabout will have figured out that I am now in my early 30s (well, very early – I’m 30!). This outfit made me feel it. I’m not totally sold on it, but it was an outfit that the younger me would never have put together. From the boxier fit to the austere black top, it’s just got a sense of maturity to it that I wouldn’t have gone for in the past. It’s another one that nicely illustrates the challenge forcing me to think outside the box – literally! The & Other Stories piece is actually a top that I had decided to part with, as it’s supposed to be a belted in a way that just doesn’t work for me, and is too big/open. It’s double-breasted and I just couldn’t see how to make it work as it was designed to. But I thought it would be fun to give it another try, ditching the belt and embracing the very loose/square silhouette. The half sleeves are also pretty snug fitting, so I have a feeling that this was uncomfortably tight in the past. I don’t think I’ve quite nailed this outfit, but it’s one I was pleased to have a go at, and I think I’ll refine in the future.

Day 32: Princess Highway floral top with Levi skinny jeans

Helen wearing a short puff-sleeved fitted blouse in a dark green colour with pink, yellow, and purple floral print, and black Levi's high-waisted skinny jeans, with black block-heeled sandals.

With slightly cooler temperatures predicted it was time to finally break out my black Levi’s. By this point I had realised that I was hardly getting through any of my tops in this challenge – the shirts side of my wardrobe had barely been touched. So I decided I ought to give one of my more statement tops an outing. This is another piece from Princess Highway (honestly I don’t think I’ve gone a single week without wearing a Princess Highway piece!), and I predictably I absolutely love it. Having said that, it is weirdly hard to style. It’s quite long, but not long enough to tuck into things, and the fabric is pretty thick. The lavender/purple colour kind of clashes with the blue of most of my jeans, although I can see the top working in a casual setting with wide-leg jeans. For the moment this is almost the only way I think I can convincingly style it. It’s an easy choice for when you want something a bit more colourful and cheerful (so the people you’re Zooming with don’t just see you in black all the time!). The cooler weather didn’t actually eventuate, so I did find myself slightly cheating and swapping the jeans for the black skirt I wore in Part Two at the end of the day, when it was just getting too warm. But that was probably only for an hour or so before I swapped into my gym kit, so perhaps I can get away with it!

Day 33: Uniqlo shorts with a black top

Helen wearing half-sleeved black boat-neck t-shirt and high-waisted khaki shorts, with a brown belt and black cross-over sandals.

This outfit was the first of my attempts to create a ‘Minimalist’ summer wardrobe. I realised that many of my own outfits, while not quite maximalist, were on the less-subdued end of the scale. But a lot of the looks I am drawn to on other people are more simple, more pared back. I was getting frustrated that I didn’t really have many ‘obvious’ pieces in my wardrobe to fit this look, or if I did they weren’t really summer appropriate. Then I decided to really have a proper think through what I already owned – essentially to apply the logic I’ve been working on throughout this challenge. This is the look that resulted – and I’m really happy with it! It was simple without being basic, pairing my favourite shorts with a black top. When not following a one wear rule, there is plenty of scope to repeat this with different colour shorts, t-shirts and sandals. I thought the vintage belt broke up the outfit a little – although I suppose my black belt would have looked that bit more minimalist – and the sandals added a bit of interest. I felt really comfortable and confident in this outfit, and felt that for once I had pretty much exactly hit the brief I set for myself. Definitely one I will be repeating.

Day 34: V-neck tank dress

Continuing my aim to create more minimalist summer looks, I thought I’d give this dress a try again. This is one I’ve actually been weighing up saying goodbye to for a very long time. All the way back when I was Shopping My Shipping I decided that it just earned a place in my wardrobe, but looking back I don’t think I’ve worn it a single time since then. Now, I think the time might finally have come to say goodbye to it. It definitely hits the minimalist look, especially just paired with the simple sandals, but the main point is that I don’t feel comfortable in it. It hugs my figure in not quite the right way, and I feel the proportions are a little off. My body has changed since I did the Shopping My Shipping challenge, and I’ve generally got a bit more comfortable with my arms, but I still feel a bit awkward in the top half of this dress. It was a lazy post-workout outfit, so fine for what it was, but I don’t think I can realistically say I’ll wear this enough for it to stay in my wardrobe. So, much as it almost did what I wanted it to, this will be the last wear for this vest dress!

Day 35: Cheat day: Uniqlo shorts and striped shirt

This is another kind of half cheat day – the top is new, but the shorts are (yet another) repeat of the beige Uniqlo shorts. What can I say, they’re just a great staple! The shirt is relatively new, but one I wear literally all the time on warmer days. It’s a bit cropped but not so cropped as to be awkward, and goes really well with high-waisted shorts or jeans. It’s a lovely cotton material so feels soft yet structured, and I think can be dressed up a bit, or down as in the case of this outfit. I didn’t even bother with shoes for this outfit, as it was another lazing around at home kind of day, and when it’s getting up to the mid-30s I appreciate even the smallest ways to keep cool! Arguably the shirt isn’t quite minimalist, as it has some pleating details around the shoulders, but I think it stays in the spirit of my attempts at minimalism. One of my favourite super easy outfits, and one which will doubtless be seen again on sunny days.

So that’s a close on my fifth week of the one wear rule challenge! Dresses continue to be pushed out of the lead this week, and thanks to some doubling up I managed to wear seven tops in fewer than seven days. This is my second week of not wearing any skirts, which again is slightly unexpected! Perhaps I should start making more of an effort to wear them, but I think if I’m not organically reaching for them then that is a sign in and of itself. If I’m challenging myself to expand my wardrobe reach and I’m still not finding them super helpful, then perhaps I don’t need them as much as I think I do, or as the number of them I own would suggest!

I hope this challenge has given you some pause for thought with your own wardrobe, and helped you think about the ways you wear your clothes. I’m finding it a really useful way to force me to evaluate what I own, and what I think I need to own. My wardrobe will definitely be a lot more useful at the end of this challenge, although strangely I think I won’t be saying goodbye to as many things as I expected. I’d love to hear what tips you have for organising your clothes and how you choose what to part with, so please do share in a comment. Thank you so much for reading!

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