I Only Wear Black Turtlenecks

Photo by PK Photography

New Year’s Resolutions are often created with the idea of bettering oneself by capitalizing on the possibility of the fresh start that accompanies a new year.

With no need to better myself at the cusp of New Year’s Eve 2014, I chose a way to alter myself instead. It was poised to be an exploration; an exploration of myself, my image, and an audience.

What originally began as a shockingly unpopular tweet became my reality for the entire year.

I began, of course, on January 1st, the reveal being a subtle one- involving me simply wearing a black turtleneck at a New Year’s Eve party. Yet I approached the turn of the year with excitement and thrill: how long would it take everyone to notice I was only wearing the same thing for the entire year?

I am about to give an overview of the highlights of the year; the realization of a successful New Year’s Resolution becoming not only a performance art piece, but the use of the performance as a way of altering of my life and those around me.

January

January was a month of routine.

I look back and realize I was unorginal and uninspired. In my mind, there was the possibility I would only wear these turtlenecks for the month, and on February 1st return to my normal self and act like it had never happened. It was not until later on that I began to question the idea of the normal self, and the discovery of the self within an unalterable routine. January brought the routine of donning the same outfit everyday, and finding comfort in the fact that it began to appear as though I never changed my clothes. An added routine was the regular answering of the questions:

What are you doing?
Your New Year’s Resolution is to only wear black turtlenecks? For the entire year!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?
Why.

Great questions everyone. Let’s explore the answers.

February

February was a month of routine.

February brought my first turtleneck’d traveling experience, and with it the realization of the ease of the turtleneck lifestyle. Not only did my life become pared down and minimalized compared to the excess of clothing options I was once used to having, but also the lack of thought it required to select an outfit, or pack for a trip. I packed my suitcase in four minutes. Only black turtlenecks. And as it turned out, they were perfect for the sunny days of Vancouver, the rainy days of Vancouver, and the clubbing nights of Vancouver.

March

March was a month of routine.

Absolutely nothing happened except I visited myself in a dream of white light and told myself to be a vegan. So I did it. As frozen head Walt Disney once said:

If you can dream it, you can do it.

If I can wear black turtlenecks every day, I can do anything.

I think of black turtlenecks as a classic actor uniform. I’ll explore this later, but I put it to the test.

I didn’t get the part.

April

April was a month of routine.

I realized the potential of this New Year’s Resolution as more than a New Year’s Resolution. I decided to use this as grounds for a piece to justify for my final paper for my Performance Analysis class. It is a viewable and readable melange.

May

May was a month of routine.

University is out for the summer, but marks still matter.

I have realized it’s about my image. As an actor, I need to consistently update my headshots. I cannot have myself represented in attire other than a turtleneck. At this point, that is not me. So I take a visit to photographer extraordinaire, Ryan Parker. He was more than willing to oblige for an update of my image. I am now streamlined and consistent. I am Sarah Ormandy.

June

June was a month of routine.

To enhance the normalcy of my life, I took a trip to Manitoulin Island, Ontario to a Clown Farm, where I:

  • studied clown
  • lived in a one person tent
  • wore black turtlenecks

Before my departure, the question-statements — which had seemed to subside by this point — began again.

You can’t possibly plan to only wear black turtlenecks while you’re camping.

I most possibly can. And I did. Turtlenecks are prime camping attire. Never knowing quite what the weather would bring, I began the layering approach of three turtlenecks over top of one another.

I took my consistent lifestyle into the unknown. I was a first time camper, and a month is ambitious. I survived. Even better, everyone knew which clothes were mine, so if I left them on the clothes line and it began to rain, my fellow clowns would know exactly who to return them to.

July

July was a month of routine.

July is the summer, and the summer brings the heat. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Lord knows I stay out of the kitchen.

August

August was a month of routine.

I moved into a new home and organized my closet.

Black turtlenecks in a closet.

I performed in a warehouse show of a lifetime and was blessed enough to climb out of a cake, watch a piano burn, and kick dirt in the faces of my fans — all while costumed in a black turtleneck.

Look at me.

September

September was a month of routine.

The first day of school is always an exciting one, especially to reconnect with everyone and see how they’ve changed.

I hadn’t.

You’re still wearing black turtlenecks?

Yes. Here, take my business card.

October

October was a month of routine.

I always enjoy October, because it is the month of my birth. There’s nothing better than the ability to celebrate yourself even more than you do on an average day. I threw myself a turtleneck themed 23rd birthday party.

With a mandatory dress code of black turtlenecks, I was lucky enough to house thirty people dressed in the height of fashion. There is no photographic evidence of this night, but the memories are vivid.

They can’t.

November

November was a month of routine.

I am at a point where the end is near, and I must admit I feel a combination of stress and excitement. The turtlenecks have consumed me as much as I have consumed them. I take a more drastic approach into wearing all black, and buying a lipstick that matches my regular lip colour to really streamline my entire existence. I attempt to repeat conversations with friends, in the hope that it appears my life exists only within one facet, one day, one moment.

The question-statements take a twist.

What will you do when it’s over?

Great question. We’ll find out.

December

December was a month of routine.

In fact, it still is, as I am living in December as I type this overview, and I’ve realized what I have accomplished and learned.

It is not only the alteration of self to fit into a certain image, but the power, creativity and productivity that comes from stability and routine.

To see what New Year’s Resolutions future years bring, follow me at lushnessrumpus on both twitter and instagram.

Hate mail, or suggestions for future resolutions? Send me a personal email at ormandysarah@gmail.com