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Fiona McIntosh gave her opinion on the Wool & Rowena Swing Dress (photo), £ 103, after the American company challenged 50 women to wear the style for 100 days
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When I walked into the kitchen, my teenage daughter looked up from her phone just long enough to say: & # 39; Ew, you wore that dress yesterday. & # 39;

& # 39; Yes, and the day before, & # 39; my other daughter said. & # 39; Gross. & # 39;

But they had not seen anything yet. I started wearing the maroon gown every day for the next seven days and would very much have liked to have continued longer if the pressure of the teenager had not let me down.

The dress itself was remarkably undamaged – it looked and smelled as fresh as a daisy.

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My daughters' perception that I wore it repeatedly was the problem; how could a garment not freshly washed be clean if they wanted to know?

And I expect that, do you want?

Fiona McIntosh gave her opinion on the Wool & Rowena Swing Dress (photo), £ 103, after the American company challenged 50 women to wear the style for 100 days

Fiona McIntosh gave her opinion on the Wool & Rowena Swing Dress (photo), £ 103, after the American company challenged 50 women to wear the style for 100 days

Well, the dress is made of fine merino wool, no thicker than a cotton T-shirt, and comes from an American company called wool & – one of a new breed of small, environmentally-friendly fashion labels that make natural clothing that requires very little.

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It is a simple A-line design that can be worn with bare legs with sandals in the summer and tights & boots in the winter. In the week that I tested it, the weather changed from an unpleasant humidity in the rising rain and then it burst into a glorious sunshine – in other words, a typical British summer.

Strangely enough, the dress did exactly what the designers said it would do and I controlled my body temperature. Wool is naturally designed to keep sheep cool in the summer by pulling moisture and heat away from the body. On a cool day, the process reverses by absorbing moisture and releasing stored heat energy to keep you warm.

It is an advanced, portable technology – except that it is completely natural, which explains why we have been breeding sheep for the past 10,000 years.

More importantly, for anyone who has worn a polyester dress on a hot day and needs to keep topping up the deodorant, my woolen dress has never gone senseless.

Because wool absorbs sweat efficiently and evaporates in the air before it can break down the bacteria on your skin that cause odors, it is naturally odor resistant. Wool is also six times more durable than cotton and naturally wrinkle resistant – so no wonder it's the & # 39; original high-performance fiber & # 39; was named.

Thirteen women claim they were able to wear the Rowena Swing Dress 100 days in a row with only a handful of washes, shown in combination with: crisp white shirt, £ 45, jaeger.co.uk, high-heeled pumps, £ 195, lkbennett .com
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Thirteen women claim they were able to wear the Rowena Swing Dress 100 days in a row with only a handful of washes, shown in combination with: crisp white shirt, £ 45, jaeger.co.uk, high-heeled pumps, £ 195, lkbennett .com

Thirteen women claim they were able to wear the Rowena Swing Dress 100 days in a row with only a handful of washes, shown in combination with: crisp white shirt, £ 45, jaeger.co.uk, high-heeled pumps, £ 195, lkbennett .com

The designers at wool & are so confident in the washless references of their Rowena Swing Dress (£ 103) that they have put a challenge on their website to see who could wear it for 100 consecutive days.

Fifty women signed up and 13 managed to complete the challenge with just a handful of washes. They even managed to wash the entire 100 days – dabble on any stains with a cloth or sponge.

The experiment was extreme – but showed that natural, breathable fibers can be worn for weeks without washing. That repeats the recent advice from designer Stella McCartney on the subject: & # 39; If you don't absolutely need to tidy up, don't clean it. & # 39;

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This is of course great news for those of us who have a laundry basket the size of a municipal tip.

A number of small fashion labels have emerged to design light woolen clothing, including the American company Unbound Merino, the French label Seagale and the British companies Isobaa and EDZ.

The swing dress is made of fine merino wool, pictured in combination with: Denim jacket, £ 99, hobbs.co.uk, white sneakers, £ 75, Adidas at schuh.co.uk

The swing dress is made of fine merino wool, pictured in combination with: Denim jacket, £ 99, hobbs.co.uk, white sneakers, £ 75, Adidas at schuh.co.uk

The swing dress is made of fine merino wool, pictured in combination with: Denim jacket, £ 99, hobbs.co.uk, white sneakers, £ 75, Adidas at schuh.co.uk

Mac Bishop, the CEO of Wool & says people are conditioned to over-wash their clothes, presented the swing dress with heels, £ 19.99, zara.com, pants, £ 59, hobbs.co.uk, scarf, £ 36.99, lilysilk.com, bag, £ 10, Primark

Mac Bishop, the CEO of Wool & says people are conditioned to over-wash their clothes, presented the swing dress with heels, £ 19.99, zara.com, pants, £ 59, hobbs.co.uk, scarf, £ 36.99, lilysilk.com, bag, £ 10, Primark

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Mac Bishop, the CEO of Wool & says people are conditioned to over-wash their clothes, presented the swing dress with heels, £ 19.99, zara.com, pants, £ 59, hobbs.co.uk, scarf, £ 36.99, lilysilk.com, bag, £ 10, Primark

There is also a deeper reason to wash less – and to wear wool: the environment. Not only is wool durable, biodegradable and plastic microfibre will not be released into our water systems, it will last for years and requires very little water or detergent to keep it clean.

The truth is that most of us are guilty of flooding our clothes. Washing machines account for 17 percent of the water consumption in our homes, and manufacturer AEG claims that we are so clean that 90 percent of clothes never reach the point where they need to be washed before we throw them in the laundry basket. We also use a lot more detergents than necessary – half the recommended detergent dosage is usually sufficient.

Mac Bishop, CEO of wool &, says that we are conditioned to overload our clothing through advertisements from detergent companies. He should know because he worked for one.

& # 39; I saw how that world worked & # 39 ;, he says. & # 39; Most markets around the world are steeped in detergent marketing. Their products were everywhere and everyone used them. So the only way to grow was to convince people to wash more often and use more detergent.

The women who participated in the experiment to wear the rocking dress for 100 days say that very few people noticed that they regularly wore the same item, pictured with bag, £ 14.99, hm.com, shoes, £ 28, havaianasstore. com, hat, £ 8.99, hm.com, sunglasses, £ 14, riverisland.com
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The women who participated in the experiment to wear the rocking dress for 100 days say that very few people noticed that they regularly wore the same item, pictured with bag, £ 14.99, hm.com, shoes, £ 28, havaianasstore. com, hat, £ 8.99, hm.com, sunglasses, £ 14, riverisland.com

The women who participated in the experiment to wear the rocking dress for 100 days say that very few people noticed that they regularly wore the same item, pictured with bag, £ 14.99, hm.com, shoes, £ 28, havaianasstore. com, hat, £ 8.99, hm.com, sunglasses, £ 14, riverisland.com

& # 39; But instead of washing your clothes once, think about it. Give clothing the snuff test, and find out for yourself whether they should be washed or not. It saves you time, money, water consumption and detergent. & # 39;

However, it is a big challenge to convince us that it is hygienic to wash clothes made of natural fibers every day (of course with the exception of trousers and socks). The other challenge is to convince us to turn our back on fast, disposable fashion and to maintain clothes of lesser quality that last longer and require less care.

A new fashion company, Pangaia, believes it has the answer-making T-shirts made from seaweed fiber and recycled materials treated with peppermint oil to keep them fresh for longer without washing.

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It already has a following of young American stars such as Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith, who might just be able to convince our own teenagers that it is just not cool to throw a T-shirt in the laundry basket after just one wear.

Mac Bishop admits that it will take time to change the cultural norm that we have to wear a freshly washed outfit every day. & # 39; What the women in our 100-day experiment realized is that very few people notice that you wear the same dress day after day & # 39 ;, he adds.

They probably didn't have teenage daughters, is all I can say.

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