I Swapped My Clothes for Year-Round Wool

Photo of author's closet filled with clothing

Note: This is not an affiliate post for any specific wool clothing brand. This is the first-hand experience of the author.

I have wanted to be a minimalist for most of my adult life. It was a dream I fostered while gathering and storing more and more. Once I became a prepper, it seemed that there was no end to the things that I should have because I might need it sometime.

Looking to Downsize

A few years ago, my husband and I had a crazy idea that we would move into the smaller home on our property, where his parents had lived until they passed, and ask my daughter and her family to move into the larger house on the lot, where we currently were living. The property has many features that would make it a good place to try to survive a SHTF event, but even during the quieter days, it’s a great place to live. The house that we were moving into was pretty small. I had the larger house pretty packed and the closets bulging. The thought of moving into a home about half the size seemed pretty overwhelming. But I was determined to do it. That meant maximizing every single storage space.

Capsule Wardrobe

So, while I love clothes and accessories and shoes and purses, I was conflicted about whether they were worthy of taking up space in my closet. That’s when that seed of minimalism grew a bit, and I started considering how to have the best of both worlds. I wanted to have storage for other things in my closet, along with having my clothes. So I began to really look at my wardrobe. I had a lot of clothes, and yet I found myself standing in front of my closet, wondering what to wear.

I loved the idea of having fewer clothes and mixing and matching them—a capsule wardrobe where most things would work with several other things. I started researching capsule wardrobes, and true to that creepy trend, ads for stuff started popping up! Don’t you hate that? But it worked in my favor this time.

There was an ad for a 100-Day Dress Challenge. I scrolled past it several times before actually reading it, and once I did, I became intrigued. The company wool& sponsors a dress challenge where you wear a Merino wool dress for 100 days and document it. You take a picture of yourself in the dress for 100 days and share the pictures with them at the end, and they give you a $100 gift card for their store. They believe that when you wear the dress for 100 days, you will see the benefits of Merino wool. And they are correct. Over 4,000 people have completed the challenge so far.

Photo of women participating in the 100 Day dress challenge

The 100-Day Challenge

I hadn’t worn a dress in many years except for a wedding. I had even worn dress pants to a funeral. I mostly lived in jeans. Jeans with a casual shirt to work. Jeans with a T-shirt to garden. Jeans with a nicer blouse to church. So, the thought of wearing a dress for 100 days was pretty out there. It was November 2021, and it was cold, and I was going to wear a dress? But the idea of simplifying for even 100 days was so appealing that I ordered a dress and decided to try it. I wasn’t even sure that I’d be able to tolerate it. I thought that I might be allergic to wool. It had always made me itchy. Even when I would find a sweater I thought seemed soft and cuddly, I’d put it on and be scratching and itchy within an hour. But this wool is a blend with some nylon, which I think is part of the reason the texture doesn’t seem like traditional wool at all.

There’s a Men’s Challenge, Too

So, the dress arrived, and I started my challenge. I loved the simplicity of wearing the same thing every day. I switched things up with jewelry, cardigans, or leggings, but it was so easy to get up and not have to spend time figuring out what I would wear.

I didn’t tell my husband. How long would it take ’til he noticed I was wearing the same dress every day? On day 21, I cracked and told him because I discovered that there was also a men’s challenge with a shirt from Wool & Prince. He was willing to try it, and we ordered his shirt. (On day 22, he said, “Hey, that looks familiar!.”) His shirt arrived, and he started his 100 Day challenge on my Day 28.

What I Love About My Wool

The absolutely wonderful things about wool are the things that I think make it the perfect prepper attire. It’s comfortable, breathable (cool when it’s hot), cozy (warm when it’s cold), and odor-resistantIt is wonderfully anti-microbial. I found that I spent time maintaining the dress. Usually, if I slopped something on a T-shirt, I would change it and throw the shirt in the wash. Now, I do a lot of spot-cleaning. I washed the dress every 10-14 days. It depended on how sloppy I’d gotten when cooking. When I washed it, I never thought that it was smelly. I found that amazing. Even after cooking bacon, I would take the dress off and hang it up, and in the morning, it was good to go. I gave it the sniff test regularly. I just couldn’t believe that it didn’t smell. My husband found the same thing to be true with his shirt.

Going All In

I finished my challenge, earned my reward, and found that I didn’t want to wear my old clothes anymore. I continued wearing my dress. It was now Spring, and the dress had long sleeves, so I bought another one. I bought some wool leggings and wool bike shorts and was as comfortable doing everything in a dress as I’d been in my jeans. I bought wool pajamas and found that I was more comfortable and didn’t have as many temperature swings during the night. Soon after finishing my challenge, I went through my closet and got rid of stuff I’d been keeping because “if SHTF I might need it.”

Beyond Day 100

One hundred days wasn’t difficult, and my dress looked almost new, so I decided to see if I could go a whole year and only wear wool. I bought a dress in a different style and then another. I wore a wool dress every day for more than a year except for a day or so. I got sick right after I had done a load of wool laundry, and my PJs were wet, so I wore an old pair of PJs until I decided to use a dress as PJs because it was more comfortable.

Now, almost two years later, I can probably count the number of times I have worn something other than my wool on one hand. A few times, it just didn’t feel appropriate, but it’s mostly my own insecurities that made me think that way. Most people don’t care or notice what you wear.

Image of the dress worn for the 100 Day Challenge

Current Situation

I now have a whole wardrobe of wool—a few dresses for each season. I wear either wool leggings or bike shorts with them every day. That way, I feel comfortable doing whatever needs to be done without worrying about flashing someone. I’ve also made the switch to wool underwear. Having odor-resistant underwear during the apocalypse is appealing to me. It wasn’t a cheap change to make, but I felt like it was an investment in my current and future wardrobe, and I don’t regret spending the money. As a prepper, I prioritize building up my stock of numerous items and sacrifice in other areas to do it.

My closet now holds all that I want it to hold. Ammo cans share floor space with a shoe rack. Five-gallon buckets are stacked in a corner. There are probably less than half the clothes in there than before, but I feel like I have plenty to wear. I always feel put together and can spruce up my dress with a necklace and nicer shoes or throw on my garden shoes and an apron and get-er-done.

We’re Both on Board!

My husband isn’t always excited about my prep purchases, but he’s been on board as I’ve created a smaller wardrobe for him as well. His 100-day shirt wore extremely well, too, and is still in excellent shape. He has a few shirts with both long and short sleeves, a T-shirt, and several pairs of underwear. His challenge shirt was a button-down shirt of 100% merino in a wool twill. The reward for completing the challenge was a free shirt, and I chose a shirt for him in a jersey blend. I thought it would be softer, but he doesn’t reach for that one as often. They both have pockets on his chest, which is where he likes to keep his phone, so the short and long-sleeved button-down shirts get more wear than the T-shirt. He is quicker to fall back into old habits and throws his shirt into the laundry sooner than needed.

Prepping Perks

Having less laundry is a big benefit. It saves both time and money. I don’t want to risk snagging the jersey wool in the washing machine or dryer, so I wash all the wool laundry in lingerie bags. They are also easy to recognize in the bags and grab before throwing the rest of the laundry into the dryer. I hang up the wool to dry. I rarely have anything else in the laundry other than wool, although if I am doing something super dirty or messing with a painting project, I will change my clothes into an old outfit.

My husband still wears most of his old clothes and tends to keep his wool for “good.” That defeats the purpose of having it, but I am happy knowing that he has some items there and that as his older shirts wear out, we will need fewer items to replace them.


Travel is also much easier. I went overseas with a group for 11 days and took less than half the clothes of anyone else. I was able to be prepared for all of the different weather possibilities and still fit in a medium-sized compression cube. A scarf, cardigan, or statement necklace created different looks. I took almost all of the prepper items that I wanted (I have to get creative with personal defense items) and still travel with only a carry-on and a tote bag. My travel companions all had to lug big suitcases in and out of hotels, and mine wheeled so much easier. I’m not sure if I will ever need to check a suitcase again.


If you haven’t experienced the benefits of wool, I would recommend that you check it out. Jump into the challenge and let 100 days in the same dress (or shirt if you’re a guy) show you all of the benefits of wearing wool. I know that if I had bought a dress and not done the challenge, I wouldn’t have discovered how great Merino wool is. Disclaimer: My experience is limited to products produced by wool& or Wool & Prince. There are a lot of places to buy Merino wool apparel, but I have no experience with other manufacturers. A friend shared a review that another of her friends did comparing two wool dresses. She shared that her other dress didn’t have as high a wool count as her wool& dress and didn’t wear as well.

I gain nothing from encouraging you to try the wool& brand specifically, but I wanted to be clear about exactly which brand I formed my opinions using.

Easy Care of Wool

If you decide to venture into the world of wool, here are a few tips for keeping clean and odor-free. They recommend that you do not use a deodorant with aluminum in it. As studies show, aluminum is not good for your body anyway, but that’s another article. I made the switch away from aluminum-based anti-perspirant years ago. I use Silver Shield by Silver Botanicals, which is colloidal silver. Silver kills the germs that make the stink. But there are lots of natural deodorants out there. My husband used his regular anti-perspirant throughout his challenge with no ill effects to his shirt.

Spot Cleaning

I spot clean with regular blue Dawn. Most of my spots are some kind of greasy splatter, so I use dish soap made to cut grease (but with no bleach.) I use a clean washcloth and make it wet with cool water. Then, add a dot of dish soap on a corner and use the washcloth to scrub at the spot carefully. For a big, greasy area, I’ve held the dress under the faucet to rinse, but usually, I use the washcloth to remove most of the soap. Let dry and see if the greasy spot is gone. Repeat if necessary. I pretreat any spot before I launder. When I do laundry, I usually just wash in my regular detergent.

The Itch Factor

If you find them itchy, there are detergents that add lanolin to the wool, which can make the clothes softer. Surprisingly, they didn’t make me want to scratch, but my husband’s shirt has a higher Merino count, and he found it slightly itchy on his sensitive skin his first wear. I washed it almost immediately in the wool detergent I had purchased, which relieved his itch. It was winter, and he wore a T-shirt under his shirt often, which might have helped as well.

Tips & Tricks

There is a group for the 100-Day Challenge on Facebook, where I learned tips for caring for the wool. If you are interested, you don’t have to commit to the challenge to join and lurk in the group. Lots of interesting stuff is shared there.

Occasionally, someone will share the sad story of their dress being bleached. You do not want to use a Tide stick or any spot removal product with bleach on your wool. They strip the wool of color and also can weaken the wool strands. People also use a mixture of half water and half vodka in a spray bottle to spritz their clothes to remove any pit stink or food odors. When you take it off at night, give it a spray and wake up to the odor gone. I haven’t struggled with that, but I add a couple of drops of essential oil to my vodka mixture and occasionally spray my dresses to refresh.

We heat our home mainly with a wood-burning stove, so it’s cold in our bedroom. During our challenge, when I would wash my dress and his shirt, I would hang them in the vicinity of the stove, and they would be dry and ready to wear by morning. Just allowing air to circulate around them will have them dry quickly. I often wash a spot while I’m wearing the dress as it dries quickly.

Final Thoughts

I’m a wool convert, and I don’t think I will ever spend much money on other types of clothes again. It combines having less with creating space to store more. I look put together while feeling comfortable and being able to do whatever I need to. I got rid of most of my clothes, and I don’t miss them at all!

Additional Resources:

I Swapped My Clothes for Year-Round Wool

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Lynne Gardner

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  1. Wayne on August 29, 2023 at 6:55 pm

    Hi Lynne, great to hear your interview on Radio New Zealand yesterday.
    Has created a lot of interest here in the land of 6 million sheep and 4 million sheeple…

    • Lynne Gardner on August 30, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      Hi Wayne! I’m sorry, but that interview wasn’t me. But there are a bunch of us wool converts out there! Glad the word is getting out. I’m convinced!

  2. OhCanada on September 7, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    If any readers still think of wool as a winter item, remember that the majority of well dressed business men you’ll see year round are wearing fine wool suits. The great attraction of wool for suits is that it comes in many different thicknesses and it needs very little cleaning, like dry clean ones or twice a year tops!

    I have a mix of modern Merino (Icebreaker/Smartwool brands) but also old school Korean War wool pants, Filson wool shirts and jackets in Plaid. I hand wash my wools using a lanolin wash you can get at yarn stores, or use Woolite for wool. Best to dry flat, especially sweaters that can develop shoulder “dimples” as they stretch on the hanger from the weight of water. Use warm to cool water, never hot.

    All my wool comes from thrift stores, check out yours as we head towards fall and winter.

  3. Laura Ann on September 9, 2023 at 11:06 am

    Most of our clothes are 100% polyester moisture wicking T shirts, golf shirts, sun block shirts (button down long sleeve) We live near the gulf and is hot and humid, we wash clothes every few days. Wool is irritating to some, I can’t have it inside the apt. We live in a retirement community and seems everyone dresses similar. Cotton joggers in cooler weather. We have capsule wardrobes in neutrals and tops go with all of the pants. We don’t dress up now, and church online. We have downsized , sold the house several years ago, and now have limited space for preps. No one knows we prep, but friends aren’t doing much because much was tossed after Y2K hype.

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