On 1 July, I announced a yellow jacket challenge. I made it up myself. I sourced a vintage yellow jacket and pledged to post daily on the Green Heart Collective Instagram Story a picture of me wearing the jacket with a different outfit each day.
30 Days, 30 Ways: 15 Lessons I Learnt From The Yellow Jacket Challenge
Here’s What I Learnt:
1. Buying a vintage/preloved item can be a lottery
We're really careful here to point out any flaws in the preloved items that we sell. We only ever sell items in excellent condition. I was not so fortunate with the jacket: there was a stain on the front by the bottom button that I still haven't managed to remove, a pen mark on the sleeve and two buttons fell off the first time I tried it on. I was offered a full refund but was committed to the challenge by then!
Read More: Explaining Vintage: What Is It and What’s To Love About It?
2. Some days it's simply too hot to wear a jacket
Well, we couldn't have predicted how hot it would actually get this July, could we? It was unprecedented, to use that overused word of late. I did some late night shots with the jacket on because putting it on earlier in the day was unbearable. On the flip side, I wore the jacket on days where I would have usually played safe and gone for something warmer or more waterproof. I got away with it and maybe will play safe less often in future.
3. Yellow goes with pretty much everything
I wouldn't have believed it, but it really does. I've worn some pretty bold combinations and loved the effect. It's made me realise how I often play safe with colours and need to experiment a bit more. The buttons helped because they had bold colours in them. Red and yellow is now a firm favourite.
4. People get concerned about how you're going to wash it if you wear it everyday
In a conversation with someone at a dance show, he revealed how it had been making him anxious, worrying about how I would clean the jacket if I was wearing it every day. He'd reached the conclusion it was not his problem and had found some peace about it! To reassure the rest of you, I did not wear it every minute of every day. You don't wear a jacket next to your skin so there is a layer of protection there. I have aired it on the line a couple of times and dabbed at the odd mark or two. I personally think we wash clothes far too often and love the care labels that read 'If it's not dirty, don't wash it!'
5. Wearing bright yellow gets you noticed!
The jacket has received a lot of compliments. It's a beautiful shade of yellow, like the yolk of a creme egg(!). It's a sunny colour that lifts my mood when I'm wearing it. Someone remarked 'As I get older, I'm drawn to brighter colours. Maybe it's my failing eyesight!' Maybe there's some truth in that! Whatever it is, there's no going back!
6. Some people find the challenge entertaining
I have. I love a challenge. Some people have enjoyed seeing all the different outfit combinations and have expressed preferences about them. If I've made a few people think about clothes in a new way, then I'm happy. If people are dusting off clothes in their wardrobe they haven't worn for a while or are switching up the way they accessorise and pair certain items to create a new combination so that they don't feel the need to buy new, then that's great.
7. Other people don't
My son's first question was to ask if I was switching careers to become an air hostess (cabin crew we call them now, don't we?). Then a few weeks into the challenge, he challenged me to wear the jacket on my head or back to front or something - surely, 30 ways means 30 different ways of wearing the jacket itself. That's fine. If you don't like it, no one is forcing you to engage with it! That's the beauty of an Instagram story. It's ephemeral.
8. It's hard to wear a short jacket with a long top
Maybe I should have just gone for it. After all, the jacket worked with dresses just fine. It just didn't feel right, so I have a collection of other tops just waiting to be worn now that July is over. A sense of style is a weird thing, isn't it? It's an intuition, a very personal thing. Wearing the yellow jacket has pushed me to expand my experimentation, but I still want to go further....
9. I don't go to that many interesting places
A photo every day shows how small my world is. A lot of the time, I'm just going between home and work! I've slipped recently into wearing very practical outfits for work and comfortable outfits at home. The yellow jacket has made me up my game and why not? Wearing more interesting clothes makes life more interesting!
10. Remembering to take a photo every day is harder than you think
Hats off to all you Instagrammers out there - it's bloody hard! I missed a couple of days, I don't know if anyone noticed. I left the jacket at work one day, completely forgot on another occasion. I didn't beat myself up about it. It's just a fun challenge, after all, not a matter of life and death.
11. Wearing a different outfit every day for a month takes some thought
So now I'm back to lying in bed in the morning planning what to wear that day. That's a good place to be. It makes me excited to get out of bed and get dressed. I've loved having the opportunity to wear the contents of my wardrobe - and seeing that I can wear what I want whenever I want just for the fun of it.
12. It's been fun!
I've fallen in love with this vintage yellow jacket and have loved experimenting. I don't have to create a challenge to take pleasure in what I wear. This challenge has kickstarted my sense of adventure when it comes to my wardrobe and I'm excited to see where it leads me.
13. If my other jackets had feelings, they would be jealous right now
I do have two other summer jackets that I now can't wait to wear. Jackets feel harder to wear than a hoodie, but I want to make more effort to wear them more often, because they're cool! So after this challenge, I'll be ringing the changes. The yellow jacket will be off to the dry cleaners but will be back, I'm sure.
14. Convention is a strait jacket
This is the biggest lesson. I thought I was pretty unconventional but it turns out I had a pretty stringent set of style rules that I lived by. Now I want to throw out the rule book. Life's too short to stick to the rules when it comes to clothes. The people on the street I admire the most are those who don't follow the crowd.
Read More: Wrestling with the Temptations of Fast Fashion
15. Yellow attracts tiny black bugs
These are probably pollen beetles apparently which are particularly attracted to oilseed rape and daffodils. It's incredible to see how quickly they appear when you're out in sunny weather. I feel bad for confusing them! I shake them off and move on, hoping they'll find what they're looking for.
Would you like to take on your very own yellow jacket challenge? Or maybe it's a faithful pair of jeans, a pair of shoes or something else? Let us know in the comments below and use #YellowJacketChallenge on social media.