All the way back in January 2018 I set myself the challenge of taking a mirror selfie every day. Initially, I wanted to hold myself accountable to my new year’s style resolutions — making better use of the clothes I already owned, styling them more flamboyantly and actually doing something with my hair. However, as January drew to an end, thirty days of mirror selfies later, I knew I hadn’t finished playing sartorial anthropologist.
For an entire year taking a photograph of myself after getting dressed became as integral a part of my morning routine as brushing my teeth or selecting my shoes. Some days I did forget, others I wasn’t in the right mood, but for the most part I enjoyed the mundane routine of daily documentation.
Beyond posting each photo to the Leiden instastories, I never really reviewed my outfits during the year. I thought the longer I went without looking at them, the more I would feel when I eventually made the time to do so; and I was right. As I scrolled through a whole year of photos on my phone, sorting the selfies from the screenshots, I relived the highs and the lows of my 2018.
When viewing each outfit in isolation I could remember exactly what had happened that day, as if the traces of my experience were woven into the clothing I had chosen to shroud myself in. Depending on the mirror I could tell where I was: at home, in an apartment in Paris, a hotel room in Sydney, a conference in Melbourne. I could remember exactly how I had felt, whether it was optimistic, happy or depressed.
I also found it interesting to chart the rise and fall of certain items in my tastes, to note which were the most versatile and therefore most worn. Looking back I realised I had fulfilled my goal of making better use of my clothes and I had certainly pushed the boundaries of my styling and put a lot of things in my hair.
I am looking forward to continuing this anthropological project. I can already picture myself curling up with a cup of tea in five years time, looking back at how my tastes, body and presentation have changed, my clothes being the golden thread holding all my memories together.