I wore the same grunge outfit for five days and nobody noticed
As a social experiment, I wore the same black leggings, black shirt and oversized jean jacket for a week and nobody noticed.
Before I dive into the story, here’s a brief history on my personal style:
Growing up I enjoyed wearing costumes, not to hide who I was but to experience feeling the persona of the consume. I’d wear my cousin’s Superman costume, run around the house and feel like a hero who could save my mother from the evil garage door. To me, clothing was a way to see parts of my personality being lived out.
As I got older, I grew out of costumes and moved into the conformity of middle school. I’d text friends and ask if they wanted to wear a skirt with me because I wasn’t courageous enough to wear a skirt on my own. Then, I began coming into my own style during my junior and senior year of high school.
By the beginning of this year, my sophomore year of college, my style evolved so much that I’d pair a t-shirt with a yellow skirt, neon socks and a white visor, just because I felt like it.
In the last couple weeks, I have been applying for many different jobs and positions. Therefore, I’ve added into my style a professional aspect, trying to stick to who I am while making everything LinkedIn profile approved.
The challenge of wearing the same dark outfit for a week didn’t seem very difficult to me at first. I thought it would help me focus on work and save time. Little did I know that changing my style would affect my entire mood.
The outfit itself is a black v-neck, black leggings and an oversized jean jacket. You have seen it before. It doesn’t stand out by any means, but it’s dark. I choose this outfit because I had two identical v-necks, and it wouldn’t stand out like my usual outfits. I didn’t want it to be obvious that I was wearing the same outfit.
Day One: A Serious Case of the Mondays
Mondays are bad enough as it is, but this Monday was the worst. I got ready for classes in record-breaking time because I knew what I was wearing for this experiment and walked out the door. I was covered from head to toe and not that confident. Wearing a daring outfit takes confidence, and when I do wear the outfit, I wear my best and most courageous personality with it.
In my staff meeting, nobody complimented my outfit or said anything at all except for good morning. This entire experiment was humbling because it made me realize that everybody is dealing with their own problems and don’t care enough about your daily outfit.
The moral of Monday: I was in a bad mood, and I blame my outfit. It’s not terribly comfortable, and it’s not anything really but average, angsty college student.
Day Two: Terrible Tuesday
Because of the way my academic calendar is set up, I see the same people every other day. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I see one set of people and friends, and on Tuesday and Thursday I see another. Wearing the same outfit meant nobody would say anything until Wednesday or Thursday at least.
I was trapped in my own thoughts. I had no idea why I cared about my outfit when nobody else did. I secretly felt bad for men…they wear the same outfit nearly every day and this must be how they feel. It’s boring, and the lack of risk makes me feel too content.
Again, I noticed that my mood was worse than normal. It was only day two, and I was tired of wearing the same thing. I don’t need to be noticed but I do need to express myself.
Day Three: Whack Mood Wednesday
Feeling like my emotions were everywhere was a constant of the week. Nothing in my schedule had changed, only my style. During this challenge, I washed my clothes all the time and that was a tiring process. All I wanted was to be able to let my legs breath in some shorts, but I was tied to leggings.
Wednesday was the day I reflected on my own moodiness. I discovered that I didn’t care if other people noticed (which they still hadn’t). I cared about what wearing colors meant.
Last spring I was traveling in Uganda when the headmaster of the school we were working with commented on my tan and black outfit, asking me where the color was. She explained that in Uganda, having an outfit that was plain and dark meant I was lifeless, and that the colors she was wearing signified life and celebration.
Ever since that conversation I have tried to wear more vivid colors. I’ve been attempting to show my zest for life through the clothes I wear. When I reflected it helped me make sense of my whack mood.
Day Four: The Lessoned Has Been Learned It’s Thursday
Wednesday’s soul search left me with a valuable lesson. By Thursday I felt like the moral of the story was learned and that I had one more day to find meaning. In the limited time I had left, I was determined to enjoy the sameness for a little longer.
By the end of Thursday however, I just wanted to be done. I felt like my lesson had been learned and I was ready for the next endeavor. It felt like senioritis. I was so close, yet still far away from the end of my experiment.
Day Five: TGIF
I arose from my bed and put on those freshly washed black leggings one last time. I was eager and miserable all at once. The second my last class finished I came into my room and changed into a skirt. It’s was freeing, I felt the wind again, the sun shined once more for me. And it was now the weekend. My experiment was over. Thank God.
I seriously underestimated what a huge mental toll this experiment would take on me. I’m stronger because of it, and I’m grateful for the experience. There were three big takeaways: nobody noticed, style affects my mood and my personal style is all about expression.
Nobody noticed that I wore the same thing. That didn’t bother me, but it did help me recognize that although none of my friends cared, I cared. For me, wearing dark colors and being fully covered made me feel distant and unapproachable. This showed through my mood, and if I was rude to anybody, I sincerely apologize.
Personal style is just that: personal. If you feel like wearing neons or all black, do it! We can never get lost in our style, but be in control of it and the outlook we have on the world. Take stylistic risks because if it helps you express yourself, then you are living art. Life is short; contribute to the color of the world rather than fall into the arms of contentment.