A few weeks ago I read this New York Times story about the Six Items or Less project, in which people pick six items from their closet and wear only those six items in rotation for an entire month. Another project listed in the article was the Great American Apparel Diet, where people pledge to not buy a new piece of clothing for an entire YEAR. I feel my blood pressure rising already…
Now in theory, both of these projects sound interesting and something I would consider participating in. I believe I would make a serious, good-faith effort to abide by the six items for a month, but I don’t know how I would fare. Even thinking about the six pieces of clothing I would pick seems like a daunting task. The six items do not include shoes, accessories or undergarments, so you can jazz up your six items endlessly. But then I think, I moved from Chicago back to my hometown almost three months ago with two suitcases of clothing and one of shoes, down from two large dressers and a large closet. So I was literally rotating through the same 10 or 12 shirts, four pairs of jeans and one pair of khaki shorts for work for seven weeks until I was able to get to my storage unit in Chicago to pick up a few more to add. Now I can’t say I was happy about said rotation, but I didn’t have a choice. And eating all this delicious home cooking has limited my wardrobe even more due to a slight increase in pudge around the mid section. Ugh I can’t believe I just admitted that! Eeek!
So if I had to choose and start today, my best attempt at my six items would be a pair of American Eagle skinny jeans in a dark wash; an Express black boyfriend blazer; a red satin flowy tank from Express; a long-sleeve denim shirt from American Eagle; my khaki shorts; and a white Old Navy t-shirt. And looking at those items again, I have no idea how I could rotate them through enough times in four weeks that I wouldn’t want to poke my eyes out from looking at the same thing over and over again. And isn’t this a lot more laundry since you have to wash the same six things all month? And that blazers is dry clean only…better break out the Dryel, which does work very well by the way.
As for the Great American Apparel Diet, I would fail. Miserably…and then some. I’m one of those people that gets the biggest high from snipping the tags of something new and does a little dance when the online shopping package shows up at the door. I thought about this apparel diet while looking through the September issues of InStyle, Elle and Lucky. With the fall fashion season beginning to turn over, how could I not indulge in what they were showing me? Of course not to the extent I would like because the new leather Louis Vuitton skirts are simply out of my price range. But I could probably find a cheaper, non-leather version of a knee-length, pleated skirt to get my hands on. Come to think of it, I already have two in my closet/boxes in storage from Old Navy from two years ago…damn! For me, I simply get bored with my older clothes and get new after donating what the thrift stores will actually take. I don’t follow every single trend and don’t turn over my wardrobe completely every season because I don’t have the cash flow to do so.
My best friend told me last year that I’m more of a classic dresser, which I immediately balked at because sometimes for people in their mid to late twenties, “classic” means “you dress like an old lady.” I’ve been a person who likes to dress up for many years now. Blame in on a lifetime of Catholic education and uniforms/dress codes. Dress pants, a button-up shirt, vest and heels…perfection to me. Every month, InStyle takes a trend or piece of clothing and breaks it down into age ranges and shows options appropriate for each. I always pick the one that’s 40s-50s over the 20s-30s! I noticed it three months in a row! So now I question if I’m not taking enough chances in my wardrobe, or have I learned what works and am sticking to it? Maybe I do need a diet of six items of less…in more ways that one!
Do you think you could do six items or less for a month? Or do you think you could not buy anything but new underwear for a year?