Wearing One Dress for 100 Days: A Review

Well, I did it! Tomorrow will be Day 100 of my 100 Day Dress Challenge— I actually wore one single dress for 100 consecutive days, for at least eight hours a day.

Porch time in the dress

Though this minimalism experiment sounds extreme, I found it to be life-changing. I started to see some benefits just halfway through the challenge. Now that I’m at the end, I can honestly say that I learned a lot. Here are some of my biggest takeaways:

Simplicity is Best

I cannot tell you how freeing it was during this experiment to not have to think about what to wear in the morning! It sounds like such a small thing, but it was just one less thing to worry about. Though the average amount of decisions we make in a day is debatable, it’s clear that decision fatigue exists and having one less decision to make can be a good thing.

I never got bored wearing the same thing every day– in fact, most days I just wore the dress with a pair of leggings and I was good to go. When I was feeling creative, I sometimes mixed it up with a scarf, or a shirt/sweater over the dress, but surprisingly I was almost always happy with the simplicity of the outfit.

Except for those who knew about the experiment, no one noticed. I even had multiple job interviews during the 100 days, and it was completely fine.

With that said, it’s important to pick an outfit for an experiment like this that will hold up and not smell (you don’t want it falling apart or really gross!) and will work in multiple settings. Picking a super casual outfit when you know you may need something a bit more dressy during the time of the experiment will only frustrate you. Because I was able to wear the dress both casually (sneakers!) and more dressy (job interview!), it worked well for me.

This takeaway can be a life-changer for anyone who’s looking to simplify when it comes to material possessions– having possessions that can be used in many different ways ultimately means that you need less things. That turns into less stuff, less clutter, and more time to be with God and loved ones. Simplicity really is best.

Taking the dress for a walk!

Less Clothes = Less Impact

Wearing the same dress every day meant doing A LOT less laundry. In fact, I only washed the dress five times during the course of the whole challenge. (it helped that the dress was mostly merino wool). In case you didn’t do the math, that averages out to only doing laundry every 20 days during the 100 day experiment.

Imagine if you only had to do laundry for yourself every 20 days! Imagine the impact that would have on your time, energy, resources (hello, using and buying less detergent, dryer sheets, etc.) and the environment.

Speaking of the environment, wearing and buying less clothes means much less negative impact on God’s creation. The “fast fashion” industry depletes our earth’s resources in incredibly shocking ways. We are called by God to use creation’s resources wisely– and using less clothes means less environmental impact.

Enjoying some lunch in the dress

Clothes Don’t “Make the Person”

There is a phrase that I’ve heard said: “Clothes make the man.”

Versions of this phrase may actually be thousands of years old and this phrase has been used by many writers through the ages. The surface implication is that if you dress a certain way, success of some sort will follow– people tend to judge others based on appearances. So we should “dress for success” (yet another clothes-based adage).

Though it’s true that people sometimes judge us on what we look like, it also equally true that we think people notice us much more than they actually do. Most of the time, people are wrapped up in their own stuff– way more than they are caring about what we look like. And quite frankly, most of these clothes-based adages are classist. We are expected to dress specifically to denote socioeconomic status.

Now obviously, there are certain social and work situations in which certain types of clothes may be necessary. But in general, we tend to put way more importance on clothes than we probably should.

There is also a more sinister implication to the adage “Clothes make the person.” There is a deeper assumption in that statement– that our clothes help define who we are.

Having worn the same thing for 100 days in a row, I can tell you that our clothes do not define us. Our clothes, our material possessions, our home, our salary, our accomplishments– none of that defines us. We are loved by God, unconditionally. That is who we are. Nothing we own or do can change that. Full stop.

Hanging out in the dress at home

Living with Less is Doable

Wearing the same thing every day for an extended period of time showed me just how little I actually need.

I’m not going to wear the same dress every day for the rest of my life, but I am definitely going to continue minimizing my possessions and life. Back when I started my Christian minimalism journey over three years ago, I pared my wardrobe down to 1/3 of its size. Now I’m realizing that I can function perfectly fine with even less than that.

When we experiment with less for short amounts of time, we are on our way to finding our “enough.” That enough amount will look different for everyone. But I discovered through this challenge that I have yet to find that “enough” for me at this point in my life, at least when it comes to wardrobe.

I will continue to pare down my wardrobe. Through this experiment, I’ve learned that less is actually more.

Some winter fun in the dress

God is Speaking and Helping Us Change

Perhaps my biggest takeaway from the 100 Day Dress Challenge is that God was moving and speaking all through this experiment. God is continuing to lead and guide my Christian minimalism journey, helping me to be more of who God is calling me to be rather than getting sucked into consumer culture.

In fact, God is helping me to be someone new:

You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24

Through these 100 days, God has helped me to put away my old self– my old desires and unhelpful habits, and to both literally and metaphorically clothe myself with my new self. I now put much less importance on clothes, and more importance on using my God-given resources and time wisely.

The Christian minimalism journey happens with God. We can’t do it alone– left to our own devices, we would never be able to change in such amazing ways. But with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

How is God calling you to simplify and live with less?

Simplicity is freeing!

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About 
Becca Ehrlich, AKA The Christian Minimalist, is striving to be a Christian minimalist in a consumer society. She currently lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband Will. You can read more about her story and how her blog came to exist by clicking the website link above.

39 Comments

  1. Megan

    April 12, 2021 - 7:45 am
    Reply

    You are amazing. I am tempted to do the same but am allergic to wool. I wonder if another fabric dress would hold up the same?

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 12, 2021 - 7:53 am
      Reply

      You could probably do it with different materials, as long as the outfit is made to last (though you may have to do laundry a bit more frequently). With that said, I’ve also heard from some folks with wool allergies that they don’t react to merino wool the same way they do with other wools. Obviously, you’d have to try it out short-term to see, but I know people who have done this challenge who usually react to wool that were able to do it.

    • Natalee Hill

      April 12, 2021 - 7:23 pm
      Reply

      I shadowed Becca doing the same challenge with three dresses instead of one. Mine were cotton knits. I washed them a bit more often (and certainly they’ve been hotter the last week or two) but it was doable. Worth trying it your own way!

    • Sandy

      April 17, 2021 - 12:55 pm
      Reply

      Thank you for the challenge. I find I wear the same clothes a the time anyway, but have yet to donate what’s left over. You are an inspiration

  2. Sally Blue

    April 13, 2021 - 12:00 am
    Reply

    I have followed your journey from the beginning. You are truly amazing and loved by many. Even though we never met I feel like I know you. I admire and love you. Hope all women realize your great out look on life. God bless you and your husband in all you do.

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 13, 2021 - 8:24 am
      Reply

      Oh wow, thank you! I’m thrilled that God has moved you through the blog and our Christian minimalism journey! Blessings as you simplify and live the life God is calling you to live.

      • Helen

        April 17, 2021 - 12:06 pm
        Reply

        I love the idea of simplifying and owning less to focus on what’s really important. I was upset however to read your dress was made with wool. I struggle with the idea a loving God would want us to exploit and treat animals the way we do 😔

        • Anna

          April 18, 2021 - 12:56 pm
          Reply

          What would you prefer from a sustainability perspective?

  3. Melanie Duffield

    April 15, 2021 - 12:36 am
    Reply

    I love your determination & commitment. Just proves women are as strong as they want to be. Loved your unshakable faith on Lost Resort & the Christian life you’ve chosen to live with your husband. All the blessings are there, we just have to know where to look. From one child of God to another never lose faith & always count your blessings😊

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 15, 2021 - 7:55 am
      Reply

      Wow, thank you, Melanie. And thank you for for watching the Lost Resort journey and exploring the Christian minimalism blog. I am grateful for you, sister in Christ! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Angie Sivori

    April 17, 2021 - 10:36 am
    Reply

    Really enjoyed reading about your journey. Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Veronica

    April 17, 2021 - 12:17 pm
    Reply

    When did you wash all the other clothing–like bras, underwear and leggins?

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 17, 2021 - 4:31 pm
      Reply

      Hi Veronica, Great question! I mostly washed those with the dress– I alternated leggings and wore them for about 3-4 days each before washing with the dress, and hand washed undergarments as needed.

  6. Andrew Ellis

    April 17, 2021 - 1:23 pm
    Reply

    Well done Becca – love this blog/story/essay? – I’m 71 year old male person – who loves the humour (Canadian spelling) and the thoughtfulness – I received your essay through Joshua Becker – I’ve stopped buying clothes & if I stray my dear wife shuts me down – (we agreed when we got married that we had to approve all purchases over $100 together) – keep up the excellent work. I’m minimalizing at a slow pace – but making progress.

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 19, 2021 - 9:04 am
      Reply

      Hi Andrew– this is great! I’m thrilled that you and your wife have figured out ways to simplify and keep each other accountable. Blessings as you continue minimizing!

  7. Jenn

    April 17, 2021 - 2:11 pm
    Reply

    I love this idea.
    Can you please tell us where you got the wool dress.
    I will do your challenge if I can wear a solid, versatile black dress.
    In recent years I have been slowly transitioning to a black wardrobe and it’s a great simplifying strategy as well.

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 17, 2021 - 4:19 pm
      Reply

      Hi Jenn: The dress I used for the challenge was from Wool&. Having a wardrobe that consists of mostly neutral colors does indeed make for a simpler wardrobe!

  8. Bee

    April 17, 2021 - 2:41 pm
    Reply

    Love the concept but I’d need to wash it everyday …it would gross me out….the smell must be awful. Not for Virgos who lovvve clean. That would never be freedom for me.
    I’m sorry after 100 days there’s no chance with body odors etc.

  9. Missy

    April 17, 2021 - 2:44 pm
    Reply

    Wonderful article. I love your creativity and enthusiasm. One dress for 100 days—your insights are also one part of the idea behind nuns and monks wearing religious habits. They have two, one for everyday and one for special (Sunday Mass, etc.). About every five years the everyday habit is threadbare, at which time they get a new habit, and the special habit becomes the everyday habit. They sew these themselves. They are the quintessential minimalists in every aspect of their life.

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 19, 2021 - 9:05 am
      Reply

      Thanks Missy! This is so true. Those who regularly wear religious dress are indeed great role models in wardrobe simplicity.

  10. Daisy

    April 17, 2021 - 9:37 pm
    Reply

    I loved reading this post ! So blessed and so inspired from all the learnings from the experiment. Thank you so much for sharing this with us Becca. God bless you.

    • Amber

      April 18, 2021 - 9:26 pm
      Reply

      Love your articles as always! Really loved this one and so cool to hear all that you learned! With this dress challenge. Simplicity has came around so much latley.. thats gotta be God talking lol.. thank you for sharing! 💜

      • Becca Ehrlich

        April 19, 2021 - 10:31 am
        Reply

        Thank you, Amber! God is definitely moving us towards simplicity!

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 19, 2021 - 9:06 am
      Reply

      Thanks for reading, Daisy! I’m so glad God spoke to you through this post!

  11. Dora Kruse Hayes

    April 18, 2021 - 11:57 am
    Reply

    It seems to me that three or four washable outfits with suitable underclothes, jackets, sweaters, etc., would be practical. I am retired and wear (hopefully) sturdy pants (sweat pants or washable slip-ons for dress-up, T-shirts (short and long sleeve), sweat shirts plus whatever coats, sweaters, sandals or snow boots are required for protection in a temperate climate. I haven’t purchased any clothing at all for about three years. I am due for some shoes and a pair of trousers and or sweats that have an elastic waistband that still works. The replacement(s) also need to be free of those tiny holes that your knit garments develop after hard wear.

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 19, 2021 - 10:32 am
      Reply

      Hi Dora, You can definitely modify this to a certain number of outfits, as you said. The goal is simplification– and we can all figure out how to best do that depending on our current context and wardrobe needs. Blessings as you continue to live simply!

  12. J

    April 19, 2021 - 6:18 am
    Reply

    Living in Florida, allergic to wool, I would find this very difficult. But I thought it was a really cool idea. Perhaps I could wear silk…….it dries fast…I’d have to wash a lot more frequently. I need to do some research about suitable fabrics that I could conduct this experiment for myself. It fascinates me. I have paired down my wardrobe, considerably. I work out almost 6 days a week and have work out clothes I have to keep up with….but wearing the same workout clothes I have worn for 10 years. They still look pretty good, even though they have been laundered several times. I’m all about saving the planet. Enjoyed your experiment.

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 19, 2021 - 10:37 am
      Reply

      Hi J, Fun fact: merino wool can be worn in many different types of climates because of its ability to temperature regulate (I talk more about this in the FAQs post about the 100 Day Challenge: https://christianminimalism.com/2021/01/25/faqs-100-days-one-dress/ )
      With that said, many people who have allergies to other wools find that they don’t react to merino wool. But obviously you would have to see for yourself if that’s the case for you. You could definitely do the challenge in other fabrics, you’d just have to probably do laundry more frequently than if you used merino wool. Blessings as you discern how to best do a similar minimalism experiment!

    • Rebecca West

      April 20, 2021 - 6:53 pm
      Reply

      I’m allergic to wool, but have no problem with the merino woo. You could wear a silk long sleeve top under it.

      • Rebecca West

        April 20, 2021 - 6:54 pm
        Reply

        “Wool” not woo!

  13. Ola

    April 20, 2021 - 4:55 pm
    Reply

    People DON’T notice at all. I have 8 dresses that I wear to work (I know, crazy, comparatively) and one of my coworkers once told me how she loves my style, and I always have all these new, cool, colorful clothes. Of course I thanked her, but I was laughing really hard inside.
    Kudos on the experiment. I also love it’s versatility, but I’m curious if you wore something else for working out/ chores, etc where you might get dirty or sweaty?

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 21, 2021 - 12:16 pm
      Reply

      Hi Ola: It’s so true that people don’t notice– thanks for sharing that hilarious story to showcase that fact! I mostly just wore an apron over when cooking/baking/cleaning, etc. I walk a lot for exercise, so I just wore leggings underneath and that was fine. If someone was doing a hardcore workout, they could change out of the dress into workout clothes and then change back into it for the rest of the 8 hours that day, though (maybe shower first…?).

  14. Kim

    April 20, 2021 - 7:49 pm
    Reply

    Wow! I’ve always assumed that wool would be scratchy & hot. Out of interest I bought a sleeveless top from Core Merino in South Africa last year and I have been pleasantly surprised at how often I can wear it before it needs washing! After reading your story I will definitely rather purchase more merino rather than other fabric when I need to replace some tired clothes.

    • Becca Ehrlich

      April 21, 2021 - 12:20 pm
      Reply

      Hey Kim– this is so true! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been incredibly impressed with merino wool and it’s amazing abilities. I also love merino wool for its sustainability as well!

  15. Danielle

    April 30, 2021 - 2:52 pm
    Reply

    Hello from the philly suburbs! This is really inspirational – thank you!

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