Worn it 30 times is a series we’ve put together, highlighting the joy of wearing our clothes 30 times and more. With help from our favorite bloggers, we will show the outfits turning us all into proud outfit repeaters. Passionate about showcasing the slow fashion movement? The famous 30 wears challenge is a great place to start. We hope to show how we can all become happier and more sustainable through our clothing choices. This week it is the turn of Elly, from Take It Up Wear It Out.
Conventional fashion wisdom suggests that impulse purchases are unlikely to remain in your wardrobe for more than a few months, let alone a few years. The same style advisors would probably also try to discourage you from buying anything when you are abroad and have been day drinking. But, I like to defy conventional fashion rules. That’s why a sparkly cheesecloth dress has been a much-loved part of my summer wardrobe for thirteen years.
My job as a costume maker has given me an eye for the theatrical, which is probably why this dress jumped out at me. In the summer of 2005, I was working on a cruise ship, altering costumes for the onboard theatre company. After days at sea, sewing furiously in a windowless room, we had a chance for a break when the ship anchored off a small Greek island. I’m not sure I even knew exactly where we were at the time (and I really can’t remember now), but the port was tiny and idyllic and we had just enough time to take a boat to shore and enjoy a glass of wine in the sun before we had to get back to work.
On our way back, I saw a rail of dresses outside a souvenir shop, and I couldn’t resist. The combination of deep blue and gold made me think of the setting sun glinting on the warm Mediterranean sea: this was a dress that gave off serious summer holiday vibes.
After wearing it for some riotous onboard parties, I rather expected the dress to end up relegated to the “impractical but fun” section of my wardrobe. The shape of the dress was so flattering, though, and for a frivolous purchase it actually turned out to be surprisingly practical and versatile.
Worn as a cover-up over a bikini for lazy days sunning myself in a park or on holiday by the sea. The fabric was thin enough that I wouldn’t get too warm, and would dry off quickly if it got wet. Not only did the dress have enough sparkle to make it perfect for wearing to festivals. The fact that it had an elasticated waist and no fastenings were ideal for getting changed speedily in a small tent, or throwing on extra layers underneath if it got chilly at night.
Despite not being perfectly stitched to an exacting standard, this dress has stood up to numerous washes, and the crinkled texture of the fabric means it never needs ironing!
This dress has never been the cutting edge of cool, but it always makes me smile as I have had so many good times while wearing it. By putting on this dress I am giving myself permission to let my hair down; to lie down in the grass, to kick off my shoes and go paddling, to feel comfortable and fabulously overdressed at the same time.
I am a firm believer in buying clothes you love, rather than the clothes you feel you ought to buy to fit in or follow a trend. Loved clothes last; they don’t get discarded as fashions come and go, and they help to create a personal style that is unique to you.
Fun and frivolous clothes can be just as integral to your style as capsule wardrobe staples if that’s what you love wearing. I’ve realised there isn’t anything stopping me from throwing on something floaty and sparkly every weekend if I feel like it! Since I started my sustainable fashion blog ‘Take It Up Wear It Out’ eighteen months ago, I’ve bought very few new clothes. Instead, I’ve been making an effort to wear all the clothes I already own. Far from being restrictive or repetitive, I’ve embraced new ways to style my favourite clothes, and fallen back in love with clothes I haven’t worn for years.
I have quite an eclectic wardrobe, full of vintage and secondhand finds that really stand out in a crowd, but outfit-repeating never bothers me. Wearing favourite clothes over and over again strengthens my sense of identity and gives me confidence. Even the dresses I wore as a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding weren’t brand new! Feeling comfortable in what you wear, both mentally and physically, is the most important aspect of personal style for me, so the clothes you wear the most should be the ones that make you happiest, no matter what they are.
Thank you very much to Elly for taking part and being a fun advocate for slowing down our style. Can’t wait to publish the next one, until then don’t forget to use the hashtag #wornit30times.
Love, Lottie xx
Into The Eco
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