Why I wore the same pair of green shorts for 8 years

My green shorts have become A Thing. I didn’t intend it this way. It kind of evolved.

My green shorts and I climbed Icelandic volcanoes together in 2012...
My green shorts and I climbed Icelandic volcanoes together in 2012…

I bought my first pair of green shorts eight years ago from American Apparel during a trip to the US. They were on sale. I wore them for four years, every day, until the holes in the groin (from inner-thigh rub) became obscene. They become a grease rag for my bike. I then bought a replacement pair. Actually, my assistant Jo remembers buying them when she started working for me. Ergo, this pair is at least four years old. Same size, same colour, no need to try them on.  I’ve worn these ones virtually every day since – hiking, at yoga, at the gym, to the pool.

The other day, on a bush walk with friends, my mate and business partner Zoe (walking behind me as we climbed up the rocky face of a gorge) commented that there was probably only three hours of wear left in the shorts before they hurt her eyes.

Behind the camera for a change! Shooting my I Quit Sugar For Life book, 2013

For the past six months I’ve been saying to myself, “OK, another couple of wears and a one more wash and I’ll go get another pair”. But I wash them once more, they appear perfectly fine, the idea of going to The Shops insults me to the core, and so…I keep wearing the same damn green shorts. This time however, Zoe is insisting. And is framing the disintegrated remainders as a keep sake for the office.

My green shorts and I on Bondi beach

I’m aware that my green shorts have become A Thing. I’m slightly self-conscious about this, worried it’s all a little contrived. Someone even started a #greenshorts hashtag. Which I kind of cringe about.

My family pulled out my green shorts at my 40th birthday party in January and made me wear them on my head… (along with the eye patch I wore as a kid)

But I’ve realised these green shorts have become something of a metaphor for what matters to me. And I write this post – and, indeed, wore the shorts so publicly and in such a humblebrag-y way for so long – as a way to communicate these values onwards and outwards.

Green shorts on the run: A team exercise when I was the editor of Cosmo…seven years ago!
UM. Some of you might recognise these shorts from somewhere? Found them on a stylish Dane…
Um. Some of you might recognise these shorts from somewhere? Found them on a stylish Dane dude in Copenhagen (2012)

I like to work with what I’ve got. I like to fend. I like to work from leftovers, scraps, rejects. I like to avoid shopping, partly because it takes up valuable time. And Things make me unhappy. It’s the bother of having to store them and account for them and think about them. It all interrupts the flow of a morning. And of a life well-lived.

Green shorts at Tamarama beach. Note the old phone on the grass beside me! I wore that red hat for six years.

Check out the video below. It seems green shorts are A Thing all over the world, with people of all ages… (This one’s courtesy of Jo. She sends me ridiculous things almost daily.)


Stuff is also wasteful. Giving a shit about consumption and the planet broadly isn’t about decluttering. It’s about not buying stuff in the first place.

My mantra: Use up what you have fully before buying anything new.

I also believe the secret to sustainable wellness is to eat densely and exercise moderately every day. It’s the “every day” bit that counts. To support this, I advise minimising all palaver….like sporting equipment and fancy outfits. Have one outfit. Keep it in the one spot (I keep mine in a bucket in the laundry). I go to it. I put it on. I get out the door moving. So that I don’t have an excuse not to Just Move.

Rock-jumping in my green shorts at Hanging Rock, 2011

I want to continue living this way for the rest of my life. It matters to me. My green shorts, then, are my totem.

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