31 Days, 1 Dress

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Accessories really do make the look.  Just ask Sheena Matheiken, whose Uniform Project, wearing one black dress every day for a year, was recently covered in The New York Times Magazine. Her website includes a call for donated accessories from readers. This idea, which began with Alex Martin’s art project Littlebrowndress.com in 2005 and soon met the live-it-and-blog-it trend that has reached its peak in Julie & Julia, has now become so popular that even socialites are jumping on the bandwagon.

This month style blogger and Glamour magazine “Glambassador” Valerie Elizabeth of SocietyStylist.com (aka Elizabeth Hearst) is wearing the same little black dress for 31 straight days, adding accessories to change her look.

The growing audience for this kind of sartorial stunt isn’t surprising: for recessionistas everywhere, the idea of “shopping your closet” is very appealing.  But the point of the projects (and the fun of visiting the websites each day) is to really change the daily look despite the constraint.

And the variety of Valerie’s outfits each day really does prove how much accessories matter.  It also demonstrates a) how many shoes, belts, and handbags the average stylish woman owns and b) how many stylish women have pretty pedestrian tastes in jewelry.  Although Valerie wears a new (borrowed) watch style from sponsor Michele watches every day, often with a new coordinating colored leather strap, her wardrobe of jewelry is painfully limited.  She wears the same pair of CZ stud earrings from Nordstrom almost every day. Target is her go-to source for necklaces. And, sadly, her favorite gift from her husband is a fake sapphire ring he bought on eBay for $100! Elizabeth, honey, your last name is Hearst. You have $2,000 handbags. You can do better.

Valerie Elizabeth: real style but fake jewelry

Valerie Elizabeth: real style but fake jewelry

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