concluding the one dress project

It was twenty one days of cultivating contentment in a really practical way: I wore one dress (the same one!) every day, for twenty one days straight. Yes, I washed it. :) one dress project || sarah writes || sarahsandel.com

I wanted to tackle some of the most annoying thought habits I have. The ones where I compare myself to other women and wonder if my clothes are cute enough and wantwantwant and concern myself too much with my appearance. I wanted to take some time to crush my vanity and creatively work to use what I have to make do.

Initially, it was like a fast: the first few days were the hardest for me. On day three or four, I was like this dress is horrible and this was a terrible idea. I have made a mistake. But beyond that, it became fairly simple. When you eliminate options, you eliminate complicated self-focused decision-making, too! I did take one break from the project, the morning I got headshots done with Caroline. But really, who can blame me?!

The hardest part was realizing that I really did care more about my appearance when I knew I was going to see certain people or be in a certain location. I would agonize over the right combination of accessories or change my belt three times. And I only have three belts, so....there's that. But this made it clear to me that I was seeking the approval of others, rather than of God, even with a simple thing like how I'm dressed. Somedays, I just really didn't like the dress or the options. But I wore it anyway. The best part was, actually, how easy it typically was to get ready for the day. With the aforementioned exception, I really was at ease knowing that there just wasn't any other option - I was wearing that darn dress! It took away some of the selfishness of getting dressed. I didn't see how I "felt" about something before wearing it or if it wasn't working for me that day - I just got up, put on the dress, and got going.

For the most part, I just wore the dress plain, with the black fabric belt it came with. Occasionally I'd throw on the denim jacket depending on an errand I might run. Not much to shout about. When I had meetings or celebrations or church, I tried to create a little more varied look with the pieces I'd selected. I never wore the skinny jeans and I only once wore the striped shirt, so I may could have eliminated those or traded them for other layering pieces. But I think this little project served its intended purposes: I dealt with the lie that I need to have MORE and in fact began purging my closet (with the help of The Tiny Twig's No-Brainer Wardrobe) and I felt like I even tried some creative layering I might not have otherwise tried. Layering can seriously be fun!  I don't think it's meant a permanent or eternal change in the sense that I always love every piece in my closet, but my overall perspective has become substantially more content and grateful for what I have and the ways God's provided for me.

If you've been following, you saw most of these already...but here are a few of my attempts at creativity with the onedarndress! You can read reflections on specific days here:

day 2 day 4 day 6 day 8