Wearing the Same Clothes Over and Over?

A few weeks ago when I was sharing the latest updates on our New New Clothes Challenge (where our family stopped buying clothes back in May), I received a simple question:

“Don’t you ever get tired of wearing the same things all the time?”

It’s a question we all ask ourselves about clothes – and what eventually can lead us back to the stores to buy more.  When my family stopped buying clothes, I was certain we’d feel trapped without something new.  (That’s why our challenge was originally planned for just three months.)  You can probably guess that since we started this challenge, our attitude about what we had versus what we lusted for drastically changed.

Today, my answer is no.  I do not feel like I’m wearing the same things all the time.

Here’s why:

1.  Don’t wear the same clothes at home as I do outside. When I come home, I take off my nicer sweaters and pants and put on different clothes.  Feeling like I am not wearing the same thing so long makes me more willing to put on that same sweater sooner than if I’d been wearing it all day.  (Plus wearing different outfits at home keeps the city grime off our furniture.)

2.  Wear layers. Just as some women keep the same sweater hanging over their office chairs to wear whenever they get chilly, I have found that a zip or button up sweater serves as a great tool for keeping warm.  Then I can wear thinner clothes in this cold weather, which hugely varies my winter wardrobe.

3.  Wear thick tights or long undewear. On several occasions, my classmates have thought I was out of my mind.  There we were in our cold classroom, and I was sitting there in shorter sleeves.  Wearing thick tights keeps my legs warm, which keeps me warmer.  I can get away with thinner layers on top (which is a good thing, as I only have four warm sweaters).

4.  I notice that my classmates wear pretty much the same things, too. It’s pretty typical to see Europeans wearing the same things a lot more frequently than Americans.  My friend, Toma, told me that when she lived in Paris, the women at her husband’s office had the most beautiful, expensive suits.  They’d wear the same suit on Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday, then…  The next week, they’d wear their other nice suit.  They went for quality, certainly not quantity!

5.  See what men wear – especially single men! Many men always seem so much more comfortable in their clothes.  They can, quite often, wear the exact same thing two days in a row and have no idea… until their wives point it out.  While I’m not advocating the idea of wearing the same thing each day, I do think there is something to be said about how little concern the average man often has for his clothing when compared to the average woman.  They really inspire me.

6.  Don’t use your dryer. This time of year, our laundry takes at least 24 hours to dry.  The only place we can put it is in our living room on a drying rack since we don’t have a dryer.  It takes a lot more time to hang clothes than just tossing them in the dryer.  While this doesn’t directly influence how I feel about wearing the same things, it does curb the reflex to throw everything in the washer when it doesn’t need to be there.  I feel more thankful for my smaller wardrobe and use it longer.

7.  Wear what you love. The best part is that I am wearing clothes that I really, truly love, and I’m wearing them a lot more than I would have before.  I’m not buying things that I’m not incredibly attached to, and if there’s something I truly love, I could get it if I wanted now.

If you can recognize that you are already happy in life, I think a funny thing happens.  You start feeling content with what you have.  Advertising, society, our desire to be liked – all of these things contribute to a desire for new clothes.  And it’s tough!  You can’t get away from it – from Hollywood to the newspaper, to even political events where the discussion of the First Lady and her children is sure to include heavy detail about their clothes.

I didn’t know how much happier I would be, shifting my focus away from new clothes.

What about you?  What are your thoughts on the clothes you have?  Love ‘em?  Hate ‘em?  How do you resist buying more?  Or is it something you think about?

(Image from Flickr)