#100Dresses Challenge

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Catch up using the #Erin100Dresses hashtag on Instagram!

Those of you who are connected to me on Instagram might know that I try and do yearly photo challenges. In 2014 I did #Project365, where I just had to upload something about my day, on that day, every day. It was more of a challenge than I’d anticipated and it felt pretty self-centered (even for me). So for 2015 I decided to take up the #100Dresses Challenge. The reason was simple – I knew I had too many dresses. Wardrobes literally bulging with them. Dresses I’ve had since I was 20. Dresses two sizes too small for me now. Dresses one size too big. Dresses no chubbing-up twenty-nine year old has any business wearing. But for some reason I was so attached: “Oh, this is the dress I wore to dinner when my [now husband] turned 22!” “This is the dress I wore during the 2012 Jubilee flotilla! That was a great day!” “I know I’ve never worn this dress before because it turns out it makes me have horrendous love handles, but ONE DAY IT MIGHT NOT!” etc etc.

And so I appropriated #100Dresses for my own purposes. I delved through the depths of those bulging wardrobes, bringing out everything and – immediately – everything I knew didn’t fit me well enough for me to potentially wear it at some point during 2015 was gone. A lot of the “too small”/”too young” items went immediately to my 17 year old sister (I love the fact that some of her university wardrobe will be my old university wardrobe!). Everything else to charity and so before I’d even started I’d filled up three large bin bags!

And off I went. So I really had to dig around for something I hadn’t worn yet, especially in the later months, and I had to factor in a quick check on the Instagram hashtag some mornings to double-check I hadn’t already worn what I was proposing to wear that day, but it soon became routine. And at the end of the day I honestly reflected on whether or not I wanted to keep that dress. More often than I thought, it was a no, and the charity bags filled up and up and up. By the end of the year I was putting dresses straight into the bags without even having to have that last day ‘test-driving’ it. Soon I had the obsession for decluttering – skirts, tops, jumpers, shoes, my husband’s clothes… – nothing was safe from my charity drive! In the summer we moved into our first house and discovered that charities would now put ready-made bags through our letterbox – perfect! It became almost a game for me, trying to fill up these bags before the next one arrived.

And despite the fact that I didn’t go on a summer holiday/the weather was a bit shite and therefore didn’t get to showcase any of my proper summer dresses, I comfortably made dress #100 on New Year’s Eve, having filled up – in total – 17 charity bags worth of clothes, accessories etc in 2015, and at least 12 of these were dresses purely off the back of having taken on this challenge.

It feels amazing to know that so many charity shops, etc, are now stocked to the brim with excellent, stylist dresses thanks to me and my longlived shopaholic tendencies. And it’s also pretty amazing to have so much space in my wardrobe to repopulate with new dresses for the new decade of my life…! Maybe I’ll do another #100Dresses Challenge in ten years time.

Right, now… what to do about my millions of pairs of shoes…?

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