the one-dress project

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one dress project || sarah writes || sarahsandel.com You know how they say it takes twenty-one days to make a habit? So, last week I began brainstorming about twenty-one day projects that would be creative and challenging...but I don't want to do anything just without purpose - thus the idea of building healthy habits. What kinds of things could I do for twenty-one days? I'd read of other women who participated in a "wear this one dress for a month" type of challenge and I'd also read part of Jen Hatmaker's book 7: A Mutiny Against Excess. So I've decided to combine some of these respective challenges into a twenty-one day experiment, to develop a habit of creativity and contentment. Here's the result:

For twenty-one days, I am going to be wearing one dress. Starting today, September 16, and going through October 6. This includes two baby showers and several church services, as well as normal meetings and activities.

After doing some research in my own closet, I came to the conclusion that a plain black tank dress I have will work. At first I thought I'd have to go buy one...but finally decided that might defeat the latter part of my purpose about being content. Thanks for helping me get to that conclusion, mom.

I'm going to be adding to that seven items of clothing that will make the dress versatile enough for everyday use and appropriate enough for church and public outings.  I realize that even though this is Florida, it IS almost fall and there is the off-chance that a tank dress will not be suitable for cooler weather or appropriate enough for some things of which I am a part. Here are the items I picked to go with the dress: one dress project || sarah writes || sarahsandel.com - skinny jeans - blue ankle jeans - black leggings - striped shirt - green cardi - denim jacket

A few notes on the project: - Anything that I am required by social decency to wear (ie: undergarments and shoes in public places) does not count "against" the seven. - Accessorizing is allowed. Part of this is about being creative, after all. - Purchasing anything new is not allowed. Because the other part of this is about being content with what I have. Sort of an anti-greed, pro-imagination exercise, if you will. - Except for going for exercise, the dress + seven will be my only wardrobe choices for the month. Oh, and if I go swimming, I probably will wear my swimsuit. But the dress will be my cover-up :) - Each week, I'll attempt to post a review of the week's outfits. Yes, I imagine they'll get repetitive. Yes, that's probably okay. - And yes, I'm going to wash the dress. Just. Eew. Can you imagine?

And as I said, my goal is two-fold:

I realize that I live in a wealthy country and am used to excess. While we strive in our household to be responsible stewards of what God gives us (fiscally and materially), I believe there is always room for growth. I struggle with want. I simply want more. I want cuter clothes, more options. I want to be pretty and fashionable. Or at least not a total fashion disaster. I have a Pinterest habit. You know. It's kind of a standard American woman syndrome...there are times when it feels like what I have is not enough. (Maybe you are not the standard American woman. If so, congratulations on being content with everything about your life!) So in that regard, this project is designed to limit my options and let me build a habit of contentment with what I have and the choices available to me. I'm hoping I'll engage with the issue of vanity as well. I am loathe to admit it, but I take far too much pride in perfecting my appearance at times. I want to move away from this.

The second "fold" of the goal is simply this: be creative. I believe part of contentment will be learning to use what I do have with resourcefulness and creativity. I'm hoping that there are enough ways to mix & match and add shoes/accessories each day that I have some outfits I feel good in and will enjoy sharing here. I'm hoping to set my imagination to work changing it up when I go on hot dates or go to a friend's house or go to church. But the point will be to use what I have well and wisely and begin to kill the "Oh, if I only had _________, this outfit would be perfect!"

And in a culture of collecting... of color-coordinated, new-trend-oriented, white-panted women - I want to be an exception to the rule in all the right ways. Not in the "lookatme" kind of way, but the "I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances" kind of way. If this project leads to pride on the other end of things, we'll have another problem altogether :/

So my prayer is that I'll simply take this month seriously enough to learn more about being content and lightly enough to enjoy being creative with my dress + seven! Here's to developing a habit of contentment and creativity!