The Uniform Project

I’m loving this blog/site:

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I’m am all for capitalism, especially the making money part and spending money part. Well, that pretty much sums capitalism up, but I am a big fan. I do think though there is a limit as to how much I personally can obtain and own before I start feeling a little selfish and indifferent to others, to the world, to my own desires to teach my children that happiness does not come from gathering and owning things. Capitalism is a fabulous means to an end. And that end shouldn’t really be trying to fill my house with every imaginable thing. I mean, do I need twenty sweaters and nineteen pairs of shoes? (I didn’t just go and count those by the way.) Do I need an everyday set of dinnerware and a special set that I forget to take out during special occasions anyway? Do I need another candle to set out and collect dust because that’s all it’s good for in my house, I forget to burn them. Do I need more stuff? Because where does all that stuff go when we’re done with it? If it doesn’t stay in our house it either gets donated to Good Will or goes straight into the dump.

In my life, we move every two or three years. This has turned me into a purger and I’ve become very good at saying no to a lot of the physical trappings of capitalism. I like to throw things out instead of bringing more into the house. In fact I’m very good at saying no to toys, especially the landfill crap that comes in kids’ meals at nameyourclosestgreasepit. Did I just type that? My weakness though would be clothing. I have a very hard time getting rid of things hanging in my closet. Because I can see myself wearing “it” in my mind. Even if I’ve never actually worn it in real life. I have a top that I bought in NYC that I have yet to wear. But I cannot part with it. Because I just might wear it once on a date night. Please help me.

This is what intrigues me about the Uniform Project. Sheena is taking one dress and wearing it for 365 days, making it different each day with accessories, etc. Before you say gross, because I know you’re already thinking it, I did, she actually has seven of the same dress. It’s a good thing she has a designer friend who designed the dress with her and helped her sew seven of them! She’s accessorizing with various vintage finds and things people donate to her. I love the idea of taking a really well-made item and wearing it over and over again (while maintaining its freshness obviously). I wish I had the guts to do it.

My hangup, in being able to do this myself, is personal. Growing up, all the popular girls never wore anything twice to school. I swear I never saw them wear the same thing twice. That was my insecure twisted brain telling myself that I needed to be able to do the same thing. There was even a point in junior high when I wrote down what I wore everyday so I wouldn’t rewear something too soon. So, I’m coming from the background of if I’m having to wear an item over and over again it’s because I don’t have enough money or enough sense to go out and get something else.

That is insane. Go ahead and judge. I am growing out of that though if only out of necessity. There are some days when I can’t even pull a complete thought together, much less a cute outfit. But, wait a minute. I sure did wear something cute yesterday! And I didn’t sweat. And my girls didn’t smear any food on it. And I’m going to be seen by different people today than I was seen by yesterday…

For some reason jeans are a different story. I’ll wear the same pair of jeans over and over and not care who sees. If you’re staring hard enough to notice these are the same jeans I’ve had on several days in a row then come a little closer so I can slap you. Jeans are kind of the background to an outfit so they’re allowed that.

I am sure the Europeans are already practicing this “sustainable fashion” idea as Sheena puts it, or at least they were when I lived over there. Those women can pull together some pretty crazy looking outfits, but they end up looking cool because they just act cool. This leads me to believe that they don’t have as many clothes hanging in their closets as I do and so they form (seemingly odd) combinations in order to get more mileage out of their items. I don’t know though, they have a pretty crazy design aesthetic when it comes to automobile upholstery and eyeglasses so maybe they do think they’re on the cutting edge of fashion. If it sounds like I’m being derogatory I’m really not. I like the fact that they have their own individual senses of style and just wear what they want to. If only I could be so bold.

I think I’d have to move to New York to be able to pull off some of the things Sheena has worn so far. D.C. is still pretty conservative. When it comes to dress that is. Lord knows there are only two conservatives in D.C. right now and they’re both under this roof. Add to that the stigma of being a SAHM and a somewhat suburban one at that. A suburban SAHM’s outfit is chosen for her whether she likes it or not. I try to buck the system every once in a while, but then I just feel like I’m trying to be younger than I really am. And then the other mommies don’t ask me to play.

So here’s what I need to do. Come up with a core wardrobe of well-made items, preferably sewn by me (but that would throw out the well-made part so hmm…) that I can “change” by layering different tops or bottoms or scarves or hats (boy, wouldn’t people look at me then!). Then maybe I’d feel confident enough to throw out the 80% of my wardrobe that gets worn maybe once a year.

Or I could just look at Sheena’s blog and dream about owning a dress that I could wear backwards and forwards. Two dresses in one. Or 14 if I could have seven of them like she does. If only her designer friend had made it reversible as well. Four dresses in one. Or 28.

Initially I had a criticism about the Uniform Project, and that was that Sheena accessorizes with different things everyday. So her wardrobe isn’t actually decreasing in size. The “sustainability” factor flies out the window. I don’t really like that word though. It’s a buzz word that everyone uses now to make us think that what they are doing or trying to sell us is somehow better for the environment. Well, wearing 365 actual different outfits is not sustainable for the environment (nor is it easy on the wallet). It IS sustainable for capitalism though, so I’m not really criticizing her right or ability to wear 365 different outfits, if that’s what she wants. After all, that was my goal as a youth! Her goal, however,is the idea that she’s getting across–that we can take ONE dress and wear it many different ways–that matters. She’s the lucky one that gets to model the 365 ways.

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7 thoughts on “The Uniform Project

  1. Here from BPOTW. Very interesting, I never heard of UP before.
    I agree with you about moderation and I agree with your criticism of her.
    And I also think she’s no role model as she looks ridiculous. Which makes me wonder whether she’s all about sustainability or if she’s really hoping for a book deal!

  2. Oh, I don’t think she looks ridiculous! I thought some of her looks were quite inspiriational!

    I think the project is very interesting. Thanks for posting it!

    I heard a wardrobe consultant say that we should spend something like 30% of our clothing budget on clothes and 70% on accessories. She said that accessories made all the difference and we could dress for much cheaper if we knew how to accessorize better.

    Since then I’ve tried to buy less clothes (not that I was ever a big shopper) and more jewelry, scarves, broaches, etc. Accessories really do make an outfit all new!

    Fun stuff! Thanks, Vickie!

  3. I admire it. Don’t think I could do it but it is thought provoking… just the way it made you examine your hesitation that’s linked all the way back to your middle school days. As I learn more about myself and people in general, I’m amazed at how I’m the only one that’s really that overly concerned with myself, everyone else is concerned only with themselves:) Great post. Sustainablity is something more Americans need to be more aware of – including me!

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