Things I’m Weird About: Clothing Addition

There is this thing I’m kind of weird about. It has to do with my clothes. The thing is that I can only wear clothes that match my body’s cleanliness. So if I’m just getting out of the shower I have to wear completely clean clothes. Nothing that I put on can have been worn before (with minor exceptions, but we’ll get to them in a second), even if I only wore it around the house.

The other thing is, I only shower 3-4 times a week. Basically I only shower when I’ve worked out. When I was training for the half marathon I ran four times a week and showered accordingly. Most of the time (like now) I only work out three times a week, and I shower accordingly. Sometimes I’ll grab a “sink shower,” and quickly wash anything that might stink with soap, water and a washcloth (I cannot stand my own BO), and on the three-day hair washing stretch I’ll usually wash my body somewhere around day one and a half. Long story short, there are days when I wake up and I have not showered. On those days I am equally as repulsed by the idea of putting clean clothes on my not-so clean body as I am of the inverse.

You might think, surely this doesn’t apply to jeans or bras or things most people wear more than once without washing. I wish I could say that it does, but mostly it doesn’t. I keep mental tabs of how many times I’ve worn something and usually only wear it again when it matches my body in how long it’s been washed. So I can wear my jeans again without washing them, but only if it’s on a day when I wake up and haven’t showered (I rarely workout in the mornings so most of my showers happen in the afternoons or evenings). Bras are the same way. I generally hang a bra that I can wear again on a “dirty” day over my laundry basket and wear it again on a dirty day. If I ever wear something on the dreaded “third day” (if I haven’t taken a quick body shower), that article of clothing absolutely needs to be washed before I can wear it again.*

Maybe this isn’t all that weird a thing to do, but I think it’s a bit eccentric because I am entirely inflexible in following these “rules.” My need to follow them borders on excessive. Even compulsive. There have been times when I’ve really needed to put something clean on when I hadn’t showered (because my clothes were in the washing machine) and I literally couldn’t bring myself to do it. In more than one instance, I’ve worn a random shirt of my husband’s that I found on the floor before putting on my own clean shirt. I literally could not talk myself into putting on something clean, and I didn’t have time to wash my body so I could do it. (Have I mentioned my husband is 6’4″ and wears a men’s L or XL t-shirt? I wear a women’s M) Since then I’ve started leaving one “dirty” shirt out when I do the laundry, lest I get caught without something exceptable to put on.

This summer a couple of my beloved yoga pants–which I wear around the house (and out of the house during the summer)–got pretty substantials holes in the posterior region (and they had worn so thin you could see through the parts that didn’t have holes). I knew I should get rid of them, but I was worried I wouldn’t have enough “around the house” clothes to wear if I threw them out. I kept them for a while, realizing it didn’t matter if I had a hole in the butt of my pants at home, but I became increasingly worried I’d forget and leave the house with my underwear showing. I started browsing the internet for new pairs, but I felt bad buying more when I still had a couple that were in find shape. I knew that if I wasn’t so weird about how I wear clean and “dirty” clothes I wouldn’t need new pairs. Like so many proposed purchases, I was plagued with guilt.

In the end I got rid of two pairs and bought two more. The pairs I bought are fun and unique, so I don’t have to feel as bad about getting them, and I can maintain my strange habit compulsion of only wearing clothes that perfectly match (in my mind) my body’s cleanliness.

*Work out clothes are exempt from this “rule” because I only wear clean workout clothes, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve showered. I think this is because workout clothes smell and feel gross after one wear (I sweat, a lot) and because they are going to get sweaty within minutes of me putting them on.

What are your clothes wearing rules? What is something you’re kind of weird about?

14 Comments

  1. That’s a weird one! Sounds complicated to manage but we all have these strange compulsions……. mine is I never put any clothes I have worn back in the wardrobes or drawers. If it has been worn once even for a very short time I fold it and leave it on a chair in the bedroom. Anything that has been
    worn but doesn’t need washed is folded and placed on this chair and I select from there when I am dressing or changing in the evening. Once an item has been worn “enough” it then goes in the washing basket. So there is always a pile of clothes on this chair in a kind of limbo ……too clean to wash and too “not clean” to go back into the wardrobe.My husband calls it my ” Paris collection!”

    1. It’s so interesting that I can put the clothes I’ve worn back with the other clothes but not on my clean body and you do the opposite. I do appreciate hearing that I’m not the only one who makes some kind of distinction between clothes that have been worn and clothes that haven’t. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Me too! Except, instead of a chair, it’s the top of my laundry hamper. Dirty clothes go inside, not dirty enough clothes, including pj’s and bras that get worn multiple times, go on the lid. I can relate to the level of cleanliness determing which clothes I wear as I will only wear the slightly dirty ones when I haven’t showered. If there are no semi-dirty things available (most days), I will put on clean clothes though. I read that changing your clothes is more effective than showering in terms of cleanliness, so it makes me feel better for showering infrequently.

  2. LOL. Oh man, I have literally never put this much thought into my clothes. To be fair, I shower (and wash my hair) nearly every day, and if I don’t, it’s probably a Sunday and I just literally never get out of the yoga pants & tank top I wore to bed the night before. I will wear the same yoga pants or shorts to bed for a week straight without thinking about it though (so I suppose my slightly dirty body is wearing slightly dirty clothes, so it works by your rules?). And yes, new workout clothes every day because I sweat and sweat. 😉

    1. Honestly, I don’t put as much thought into it as it probably seems from this post. I literally didn’t even notice I was doing this until the first instance of not having a “dirty” shirt to wear when I “needed” one and realized I couldn’t put on a clean shirt when I hadn’t showered. That was when I first recognized it was even a “thing” I did. I’m sure it seems like I think about this all day, but I promise I don’t. 😉

  3. This is so weird! And it makes no sense! But I love that you do it. I don’t think I have any patterns like this. I shower every day, wash hair every othe. I wear bras twice each, other clothes until they’re stained or smelly or misshapen (1-3x?).

    What I’m wondering, though, is don’t some clothes get dirtier than others? Like, my with clothes can be worn 2 or more times, but my weekend clothes have to be washed every time I wear them. How does that affect things?

  4. I’m kind of the same but more like I hardly ever wear things more than once, except pjs (I shower at nite before bed) and what lounge clothes I change into to wear for a few hours after work (holdover from when I had long haired cats, kept habit when I had kids).

    I also can’t put “dirty” clothes back in closet, etc. they gang on hook, chair, etc.

    Unless I’m sick I shower every day. Especially since I changed to nite (after first kid)–I hate to go to bed unclean.

  5. I don’t put worn-but-not-ready-for-the-hamper clothes back in my closet either. I usually hang them over the end of our bed. I’ll wear certain things many times but usually shirts only once. I don’t always get a shower every day, but then if it’s a hot, humid day I will sometimes take two! One in the morning, because I hate waking up sweaty, and one at night because I can’t go to bed stinky ;). And I have to shower immediately after exercising or working outside or just sweating a lot. Must be the southern girl in me, haha.

  6. Oh em gee you are speaking my language! So. I shower twice a day, I work out pretty much everyday and it’s around 100 degrees on the regular so the evening shower is so I don’t funk up the sheets. The morning shower is to shave because I cannot stand the feeling of my hair growing out of my skin. It’s touching me. So clothes. I wear 1 pair of shorts and sports bra for my after evening shower for the week. I sleep in the sports bra and undies only. After evening shower shirts are worn more then once but not the full week. Daily; I only have white and black undies and bras, to be worn matching of course, I work out in public tues thurs so of course those are black undies days because my work out pants are black and no one wants to see my undies glowing through them when I do squats. So that leaves mon wed fri for white, and the weekends are wild cards and mildly stressful as a result. Now here’s where it gets weird. 😂 Water bottles and coffee/tea cups. (I require plentiful fluids at all times.) I use the blue water bottles and coffee/tea cups on white days, and pink bottles coffee/tea cups on black days. I have corresponding socks to match. Blue on white days and pink on black. Shirts fall within those catagories as well. My pants are black stretchy pants, yes I bought enough for everyday, or, very rarely, jeans. I only wash my bras once a week, but I do not rewear clothing due to the fact I work with elementary school children and therefore automatically assume I am perpetually contaminated with strep throat, pink eye and lice. Fuck the clothes I wear to school, they’re biohazard now. These rules are strictly followed at all times. I love my clothes crazy. It’s so satisfying.

  7. Oh!! And I rewear at home work out clothes. I have a designated drawer for clothes that have been worn but will be worn again, because those clothes can’t touch other clothes and my MiL was like “why are your bras all strewn about?” this one time so I realized they needed a home.

  8. So, I’m wondering, is your laundry load less? Interesting but totally understandable. Right now I can only get to, “wrinkled vs non wrinkled”…then go from there. Part of my closet is divided into “dry clean vs non dry clean” so when I have to give a presentation or be more than business casual for that day, I grab from the dry cleaned section. Meh, I say, whatever works for you!
    P.S. never heard of “sink shower” until today. So funny.

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