This article is the first in a series in which readers and writers document their outfits for a week. In addition to taking photographs, the participant must answer questions about how they felt in their clothes each day. First up is Pema Monaghan.

Day 1

Saturday 25 March

How long did it take you to choose this outfit?

Ten minutes. 15 including makeup. I had put it together in my mind the evening before because I knew I would be running late the next day. The only issue I had was whether to wear a straight denim skirt or the A-line one that I ended up going with. I am glad I chose the one I did, it is much more comfortable.

What did you do this day?

I caught the 998 to a postgraduate “Writer’s Retreat” held by the UWA Graduate Research School, hence the name tag I am wearing in the photograph. There I worked on an essay I am presenting at a conference and met other people in their first year of PhD. After this I went to visit my friend in a ginormous house that she is sitting, and I felt hot so took of my shirt, which is actually a jumper. I wore my skirt and my peach-coloured sports bra, which is sort of like a crop top I guess, around the house. My friend took a photo of me in the kitchen under the amazingly orange sunset. I vainly posted it to Instagram. I decided to get changed then, and put on some of her clothes. I forgot to photograph them for the post. Sorry.

Was this outfit ultimately suitable for your needs?

During the day, writing, it was perfect because it was comfortable and cool-enough in the workspace. It is an easy outfit to wear. However, I felt too warm in it in the evening, and got changed. I just like to get changed sometimes.

Did you feel that you looked good?

Yes. I like blue. I like wearing all blues. My hair was nice today, too.

Day 2

Sunday 26 March

How long did it take you to choose this outfit?

I put it into my bag the night before because I knew I’d be staying at my friend’s house. It’s one of my usual things to wear.

 What did you do this day?

Same as yesterday, except then I went home to see my family who are visiting from where they live. I felt sick, I’m getting a cold.

Was this outfit ultimately suitable for your needs?

Yes, except I got rained on.

Did you feel you looked good?

Yes on the outfit, but my face and hair were sad today. They were coldy and a bit hungover. Reading back, I don’t think I had a great day today. I come off as moany. I was pleased that I got a lot of work done, though. And anyway, my left nipple was clearly having a great time.

Day 3

Monday 27 March

How long did it take you to choose this outfit?

Almost no time, I wear this a lot.

What did you do this day?

Same as usual, uni. I studied, moving around campus because my desk space hadn’t arrived yet. I went into the Pelican office and wrote yesterday’s outfit post. I felt very down and I think that’s why I was so obviously grumpy. I went home early.

Was this outfit ultimately suitable for your needs?

Yes, today I did not get cold.

Did you feel you looked good?

Yeah, except my hair was kind of limp and weird. I’ve always been super anxious about my hair, when I feel that it looks bad I lose a lot of my already wobbly bravado. It’s at an awkward length right now, but also I always worry that I have lint in my hair and that it is obvious because of its dark colour.

Day 4

Tuesday 28 March

How long did it take you to choose this outfit?

I sort of planned it the night before, but it still took me a while to like… settling in. Also, I ironed the pants. It was kind of difficult, because I am bad at ironing, and because there was a huge pile of laundry on top of the ironing spot. I didn’t want to move the pile, so I just ironed little bits of the trousers at a time.

What did you do this day?

Today I had to get in the articles for our next print edition. Deadlines! I made those deadlines. I also tried to write some of the presentation I need to get together, but I didn’t manage to do that. I checked my email fifty times to see if I had my desk yet. I did not.

Was this outfit ultimately suitable for your needs?

Yes. I rescued a magazine that Ruth and Bryce had accidentally set out to float in the koi pond. I clambered over rocks and leant into the water to get at it. I was brave, and glad to be wearing trousers. This shirt is made of wool! It is warm and cool at the same time. As you know, this was a week of in-between weather. This day was kind of cold, so I took off and put on my jumper many times. Phew.

Did you feel you looked good?

Yeahhhh. Being able to wear trousers is relatively new for me. I used to feel like they made me look bad… we probably don’t need to get too into my personal body issues. But anyway, I got a lot of compliments on them today.

Day 5

Wednesday 29 March

How long did it take you to choose this outfit?

It took me a little while to put this together. I’d thought about turning the dress around to create a different neckline the night before – I often think about what I will wear the next day while trying to fall asleep. My hair today… this was the hardest part. It just wouldn’t help me; it tried to make me stay at home. It looks all right in this photo, just messy, but actually it was weird and puffy and kept falling out and hanging stiff. It did this the whole dayyyy ugh.

What did you do this day?

Researched my paper. Had a weird eggplant parmigiana for lunch. Ate it sitting with my sister. Went to the Pelican office to help Jesse with photos for upcoming print edition. Was shot myself. Had weird skin in photos. Wondered if skin is weird in real life, because Jesse was using a pretty good quality camera.

Was this outfit ultimately suitable for your needs?

Yes, except the neckline wasn’t good in the Pelican photos. Could have just been my bad posture, though.

Did you feel you looked good?

It was kind of a high maintenance outfit, my hair was shit, my skin seemed weird. This photo turned out good enough, though, so maybe it wasn’t so bad. I think my issue was more with my head and shoulders than with my clothes.

Day 6: Thursday 30 March

I forgot! Was mostly in my pyjamas anyway.

Day 7

Friday 31 March

How long did it take you to choose this outfit?

So long. I was super late to uni today because I was wringing my hands and running through my house in my underwear for about an hour. Every time I put something on my body I’d just to have to rip it off again. I should have had a cry. It would have been cathartic, and perhaps would have helped me pull myself together. Just thinking about the morning of this day is giving me anxiety. Next question.

What did you do this day?

Ran late. Got my desk space, which made me happy. Got a job interview. Had lunch with a friend. Went with my boyfriend to the opening of an exhibition about the Fremantle Sanyasis. Also went to a party with my boyfriend. This is a rare occasion! Was nice to see him put his Bart Simpson t-shirt on and dance.

Was this outfit ultimately suitable for your needs?

Good enough from day to night. I had to borrow a jacket from my boyfriend when we went to the party, because I was a little chilly.

Did you feel you looked good?

Yes. Was casual yet cool??? I think. It’s one of my emergency outfits; two silk scarves tied together to make a skirt. Another emergency outfit I do is a men’s button down shirt around my waist as a skirt, the arms used to make a belt. These outfits usually signify that I’ve had some sort of anxiety attack before/while getting dressed. Sometimes they are successful, and sometimes they are not. I liked this one.

Thank you to that particular bathroom in the Business School (unisex), and to the bathroom in Winthrop Hall (women). The Winthrop Hall bathroom is my favourite on campus. Second favourite is staff bathroom on the second floor of the Arts building (women), because I get a thrill of danger when I bypass the staff only sign.

Words and images by Pema Monaghan.

If you’d like to contribute to COVER UP email pelican@guild.uwa.edu.au.