I Forced Myself to Wear the First Outfit I Put on Every Day for a Fortnight

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

At the beginning of this month, I told you how June was going to centre around just getting outside with a minimum of effort. It's all been in a bid to go forth and enjoy the summer as much as possible, so I set myself the personal challenge of wearing the first thing I put on each morning. For many of you this won't seem like an uphill battle, but for those of you who change into 12 different looks before rushing out of the house (late and harassed), you'll know exactly how tough this concept seemed.

I'm an indecisive dresser swayed easily by mood and very likely to not be happy in whatever I end up wearing—what difference could it make by not allowing myself to swap? I stuck to the rules for a fortnight, and the results (my outfits and my learnings) are all below. Suffice to say that a heat wave, weight gain and about a million social engagements made the two-week stretch feel like a very long time indeed… Keep scrolling to discover what I learnt during my first outfit challenge.

Day 1

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: March 11 dress; Roksanda bag; Bionda Castana sandals

Things are okay so far. This dress is deceptively warm—the fabric is quite thick—so it really wasn't the ideal choice for a heat wave. I knew as soon as I put it on at home that I'd have a sweaty few hours ahead of me. On the flip side, it is the kind of dress people compliment thanks to its intricate embroidery and statement sleeves, so at least others appreciated it.

Day 2

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Vintage dress and belt; Staud bag; Rejina Pyo sunglasses; Chie Mihara sandals

I put this vintage denim dress on because a) it's lightweight (I learned yesterday's lesson!) and b) it always makes me feel quite good, so I knew it was a safe bet. I like tan leather with denim so the accessories were easy to fling on: Failsafe formulas don't have to be the same for everyone, but this combination to lean on.

Day 3

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: M.i.h Jeans dress; Jerome Dreyfuss bag; Russell & Bromley sandals; Rejina Pyo sunglasses

Day 3

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: M.i.h Jeans dress; Jerome Dreyfuss bag; Russell & Bromley sandals; Rejina Pyo sunglasses

Just to make things extra difficult, I went to a music festival. I don't go to music festivals. So as you can imagine, I was all over the shop about the dress code. Fortunately I had just got this super-easy-to-wear denim dress from M.i.h. and knew it would strike the right balance between looking nice and feeling comfortable. Crossbody bags are essential at these kind of events, but I 100% should haven't worn mid-heeled sandals. I'm really not a flats or trainers person, but this was a particularly stupid decision.

Day 4

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: M&S T-shirt; Atea Oceanie skirt; Manu Atelier bag; Uterqüe sandals; Alessandra Rich hair bow

Day 4

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Atea Oceanie skirt; Manu Atelier bag; Uterqüe sandals

You'll find that when you limit yourself each morning, you tend to pull out the easiest option: dresses. I was missing being more experimental with separates, so I put together a simple skirt-and-tee combination that I knew I could inject some interest to with accessories. I felt much more like myself today.

Day 5

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: M&S T-shirt; Co culottes; Carvela sandals; Staud bag

Feeling pretty cocky about the whole thing—wearing more simple separates and my favourite accessories. SIMPLE! And I keep being early for meetings—this "no change" rule is great for opening up my mornings.

Day 6

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Topshop dress and bag; Bionda Castana sandals

Well, that was easy: An LBD never fails anyone, and I've managed to make it feel more individual with a beaded Topshop bag and jewelled sandals. Even Folly (my cat) is on board with this one.

Day 7

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Vintage dress

The next hurdle: hosting a barbecue for 15 people when it's 30 degrees outside (and probably even hotter inside where I'm prepping food, getting drinks and generally trying to be hostess with the mostess). I decided to ignore the voices in my head about bingo wings and just wear this party dress that my mum made in the 1970s. It's a great colour, and I'm discovering along this journey that I really do feel happiest when wearing some unique and retro. Get lots of compliments from friends about looking glamorous—lovely!

Day 8

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Mango dress; Arket belt; Topshop bag; Russell & Bromley sandals

Back to work (AS IF I was going to photograph my hungover Sunday look—ha) and going back to the tried-and-tested midi dress fallback. Again, more look-at-me accessories come to the rescue of a fairly plain outfit. At least I'm starting to know what works when my schedule is busy, and I'm feeling quite smug at the fact I've managed to do this for a week without crying.

Day 9

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: M&S T-shirt; Related skirt; C.Nicol bag; Russell & Bromley shoes

Things took a bad turn, guys. Anyone who suffers with PMT/bloating/period pains/general hatred towards oneself for about three days every month will understand the unbearable feeling of LOATHING what you wear—anything you wear. So what did I go and do? Pop on a concoction so boring, frumpy and actually too tight (the skirt is v snug) just to really emphasise how crap I felt that day. Ugh. You can see the anger in my face.

Day 10

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Cefinn dress; Alessandra Rich hair bow; Tabitha Simmons sandals

Day 10

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Cefinn dress; Alessandra Rich hair bow

My reaction to yesterday's meltdown? Wear something big and roomy and forgiving. You know what? It wasn't the right decision either. This dress is a delight to wear and incredibly comfy, but it was far too hot for yet another scorching day. I actually look better in fitted shapes even when I feel bloated, and my husband said I looked like a wife of Gillead (a Handmaid's Tale reference, for those not in the know). That said, I feel like I enjoyed wearing a pretty hair bow: saved by the accessories, yet again. I'm pretty sure I could wear this getup on another day and feel far more positive about it: See what I mean about hormones?

Day 11

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Vintage dress; Wandler bag; Charles & Keith shoes

YAY! Back to my normal self. Boobs look enormous in this dress/perhaps it's this angle, but screw it. This is one of my favourite vintage pieces, and I loved swishing around in it. Updated via some new shoes and a bag, I know I'll only wear this statement piece a couple of times a year, but feel myself in it.

Day 13

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Karen Millen dress; vintage bag; Uterqüe sandals

Day 13

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Karen Millen dress

Whoops—I forgot to take a picture of my Day 12 outfit. I'm clearly getting to used to the idea that it's becoming normal practice to just get dressed and go. So instead, here's Day 13: a look for a friend's Sunday party. I hadn't yet put this dress to work after having it hanging up in my closet for a couple of months, but because a lot of my other pieces are in the wash/need to be ironed, it felt like a good opportunity to wear something fancy and new. We've also been writing nonstop about polka-dot dresses at work, and the look has infiltrated my brain… I'm pleased I've got an armoury of accessories I rely on, but why didn't I wear red lipstick sooner? It solves every possible outfit drama!

Day 14

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Rixo dress; Manu Atelier bag; vintage glasses

Day 14

Photo:

Hannah Almassi

On Hannah: Rixo dress; Manu Atelier bag; vintage shoes

Oh. My. Goodness. I'm so happy this challenge is over. For the last day, I picked out the one dress that always makes me feel good. No matter how my body might fluctuate, my emotions shift or my schedule alter, this classic Rixo number just makes me happy. Red accessories have served me well over the past fortnight—often lifting some fairly plain ensembles—and they work again here, proving that "neutral" investment pieces don't have to be boring.

Overall, the challenge did stunt my creativity and I feel like many of the above outfits are quite boring compared to my usual; however, I do think it can save you a good 20 minutes each day (golden sleep? meditation? exercise?), and it will help you streamline your wardrobe into pieces you genuinely love wearing. But there's more—keep reading to discover the main lessons I'll be taking into the future.

1. IF IT'S NOT IRONED, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO WEAR IT. I'd recommend ironing before you hang anything up—and/or invest in a decent steamer like Fridja's F10 Steamer (£100).

2. ACCESSORIES ARE A GODSEND; CHOOSE THEM WISELY. Everyone needs a pair of gold hoops or fancy summer sandals, and right now a beaded or basket bag will give anything old a summer 2018 makeover. Shop all of the key handbag trends here.

3. BAD HORMONES LEAD TO BAD OUTFITS, SO JUST GO WITH IT BECAUSE TOMORROW'S A NEW DAY. I don't know what else I can advise here, apart from have some comfy-cool clothes you know you'll feel alright in during this time—my go-to is Mango for midi dresses.

4. A RANDOM DRESS CODE CAN CAUSE ALL SORTS OF CHAOS—SO DO THE PREP WORK. Like, what are you going to wear to that last-minute wedding?

5. YOU'LL REALISE WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD—NO MATTER WHAT. And I'm happiest in vintage, so I need to go back to thrifting ASAP.

6. PINPOINT WHAT YOU'RE ALWAYS MISSING, AND GO BUY IT. For me, it was plain trousers and skirts, so I'll be on the hunt for some simple A-line midis and palazzos. Will report back. ■

With that in mind, I'd suggest looking at our list of the chicest classic items that last a lifetime.