Pointless Style Challenge – 31 Days of No Denim

It all started after I had read yet another blog on street style and lamented internally of how I seemed to be stuck in a style rut. I had hoped to rock shorts for the majority of Summer 2011 but this is the British summertime we are talking of here, so instead I found myself wearing jeans for most of the summer (does that mean we didn’t have a proper summer? Discuss).

I seem to live in my favourite jeans most of the time (which are a pair of Seven For All Mankind Slimmy Fit since you ask) which are comfortable, versatile, and look good and to be honest, in those moments when you need to pull together an outfit that will suit a number of occasions from work to er, after work drinks, the jeans are like a jewel in the rough.

But then the inevitable happened – the jeans are in the wash and I needed something to wear – so I fashioned together a look with some chinos which saved the day. And then, as I marvelled at my fashion nous, I wondered to myself, how would I cope not being able to wear my jeans for…[wait for it] a whole month? [Gasp!] And so, the pointless style challenge was born…

As if it needs explanation, Pointless Style Challenge (PSC) is all about shaking up wardrobe habits and mixing it up without the need to spend money and relying on what you already have and being creative with it (an approach which could spread beyond fashion for some…). So the rules were simple – no wearing jeans for the entire month of August. No exceptions, just some hard core creative styling and a break from the norm…

Week One

PSC is in effect. Am starting a new temping  job in a slightly trendy media environment (by slightly, I mean two or three people turn it out with some fierce looks whilst others phone it in) where everyone seems to live in jeans. Still, my chinos have got my back as I team them with shirts and Nehru collar tops which is enough to stop all but the bravest of people approaching me with unpleasant tasks so I can do important stuff like browse the internet – looks like PSC may have benefits that extend past sartorial boundaries…

The first challenge arrives in form of an informal interview on a rare stuffy hot day followed by a full shift at work – had I been wearing jeans, it would have been a simple task of teaming the jeans with  a classic white shirt and boots  but thanks to PSC, a mountain is made out of molehill. My worst fears are confirmed when the interviewer is wearing jeans. He looks at my chinos. I cross my legs defiantly.

I don’t get the job – possibly because I don’t want it but most likely, the lack of jeans.

Week Two

PSC throws a curve ball – am meeting up with some friends for a super relaxed lunch in the sunshine before doing the late shift at work. Too casual and slightly trendy media types could accuse me of slumming it (which starts with a visual appraisal followed by a “quiet word” in the hub about dress code) – but if  I dress too smart, then it contravenes the whole laidback vibe of the lunch. Hence, I decide to overdress and it pays off as both friends are  also dressed up (which irritates and vindicates me in equal measure) suggesting I need to stop depending on the emotional crutch my jeans have become.

Am noticing getting ready is taking longer than usual as I have to apply thought to making sure my look is coordinated and appropriate – certain items just don’t cut the mustard with non-denim. I also keep seeing people everywhere I go wearing jeans and looking really good in them too – like a recovering addict who then sees their drug of poison championed unwittingly, jeans are now haunting me wherever I go.


Week Three

I am fed up of wearing non-jeans. The novelty of PSC has worn off yet my ego won’t allow me to give up – PSC  isn’t just a shallow exercise to make me wear all the non-denim in my wardrobe but a battle of will, of completing something I have started, and learning to overcome a lack of motivation and a mental block. So it is back to the carrot fit green combats from Zara that make me look like I am about to always go on safari whilst my denim (all washed and ironed) lays smugly folded in wardrobe waiting to be worn once more …

Week Four

A strange thing happens – I automatically begin to choose anything but denim and can’t remember what wearing my jeans feels like – it feels like I have been reprogrammed to avoid denim at all costs. Situations with varying sartorial demands all fall on the same day but I am not fazed, using my overdressed technique with aplomb. PSC may have started without a point but has ended with an epiphany (albeit a pointless one) – there is life beyond denim.

Epilogue

So I manage to complete PSC and find a new problem emerge – getting back into my jeans. It seems wearing non-denim coupled with a drop in exercise and a bit too much to eat means trying to shoehorn self back into skinny jeans presents itself as a new challenge of its own. Still, a week of focus and determination work wonders as that button finally falls into place and the fierce returns.

A few weeks on and PSC has had more of an impact than I thought – I don’t always opt for jeans as a last resort and have yet to wear jeans for consecutive days. But even more importantly (yes, more important than the fashion element) I have discovered that I do have the self discipline and will power to finish what I start and see it through without falling at the first hurdle.  And what’s more, I feel confident in being able to apply this to other areas of my life too.

So if you are feeling in a style rut or want to mix it up without spending money, why not give the Pointless Style Challenge #1 a try? You may also find a world beyond denim…

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