Andy Stehr hasn't worn the same outfit since November
During the pandemic, the Rochester Public Library employee found a creative outlet in his closet.
When Andy Stehr decided he wouldn’t rewear the same clothes for as long as possible last November, he thought he’d make it three or four months, even with his large closet.
Now, he's reached over 200 days of his "No Outfit Twice" project. The Rochester Public Library Circulation Services manager, who also helped at the City’s Day Center and Emergency Operations Center during the pandemic, has used the project and his outfits as a way to bring positivity, and even aid others, during a tumultuous time.
We caught up with him on day 218, outfit 220 (a Captain America T-shirt and red plaid shorts).
This conversation has been edited and condensed.
Tell me about No Outfit Twice.
I've always had a lot of clothes. My friends in college used to make fun of me, because I would take up tons of washers and dryers whenever I did my laundry. And my wife has kind of been teasing me because I'm always buying new clothes. She said, "Why don't you wear everything you own before you buy anything new?" So I decided to do that. COVID has been a creative drought for me. I just don't have much creative energy right now. This was a nice creative outlet that met me where I was at.
You’ve also incorporated a charitable cause into this, trying to get a van for Corey Jacob.
Corey Jacob is a gentleman experiencing homelessness. I set up a GoFundMe a while ago , and I'm just trying to get some more eyes on it so we can make that happen for Corey. If we get some money together, maybe he'd be interested in talking about other options, but for now, we're trying to get him a new van that he can customize so he can create a more livable situation for himself.
As of today, you’ve reached 220 outfits. That takes a lot of clothes. How did you amass this collection? Are you a thrifter? A retail therapy person?
I'm a retail therapy person, first and foremost. I'm also a pretty big thrifter. That jolt of endorphins when you get something new and you can't wait to try it on, that's what I'm all about. A family of four could live in our house pretty comfortably, but it's just me and my wife, and practically all the clothes are mine.
RELATED: Your Style: Andrew Stehr
How do you plan your outfit each day?
I've worn all my pants, so right now, I’m down to really just T-shirts. I only have 14 left as of today, so I just rummage around in the drawer, try not to look, and just randomly select a T-shirt. Then I try to create something that will work with it.
What’s next after outfit 234?
My next project after I finish this is to try to get down to 100 outfits that I really like. Then I'm going to see if I can get down even further to 50 or 60 outfits that I really, really enjoy wearing.
Once I’m done, I'll put more energy into selling and donating, but there's some things that I'll just have to toss out. I have one shirt I can see straight through, so nobody’s going to want that. That's the other thing — I don't throw anything away, really, and I don't give stuff away as much as I should, so my collection has been amassing over years and years.
At least half [the money from selling] will go to the GoFundMe for Corey. I also need a new dishwasher. But at least half will go to Corey, and if I get a new dishwasher before then, I might just donate all of it to Corey’s GoFundMe.
Do you have a favorite outfit?
I'm saving one of my favorites for the last day. I have this shirt with cats all over it, really brightly colored neon cats. So the last outfit on the last day will be that shirt, and I have a pair of velvet tuxedo pants. I'm hoping it's not like 90 degrees on the day I wear the velvet pants, because I think I’ll melt.
You have a unique way of dressing — lots of graphic tees and bright colors, even some bow ties. Do you feel like you contrast a lot of the downtown workers?
It's really nice when I'm walking to get coffee in the morning or something, and I'll see a very dressed-up person who probably works at Mayo, and they can't help but to smile at what I'm wearing; they're trying to present that professional attitude, but they just can't help it. That's my favorite.
You can see all of Andy’s outfits at https://nooutfittwice.tumblr.com .