Going on a Shopping Diet

How many times have you gone into your closet to choose something to wear, and even though your closet is stuffed with things (some still with the tags on them), you’ve stood there frustrated and yelled:  “But I don’t have anything to wear!!”

Imagine this:  you go to your closet to choose what to wear for the day, and you find only six items.  Does that make it easier?

That’s the premise behind a recent Web challenge at sixitemsorless.com – participants were to go an entire month wearing only six items already found in their closet (not counting underwear or accessories).  Nearly 100 people around the country and in Dubai and Bangalore, India took part in this experiment, with a variety of motives, including it being a way to cut back on unnecessary spending, a way to reject fashion trends, and an opportunity to show concern that the mass production and global transportation of increasingly cheap clothing was damaging the environment.

This experiment was billed as a kind of “shopping diet.”

Women, in particular, spend inordinate amounts of money each month on trendy (not classic), poorly made, cheap clothes, which are mostly made in Asia.  They’re disposable wardrobes paid for with precious income.

Check out your closet.  I’ll bet you have things you haven’t worn in years, or you have 10 pairs of jeans, when you only wear four of them regularly.

I used to be one of those women.  I gave away about a third of my clothes, saving jeweled jeans and leather jackets, because I wear those at public events.  I spend most of my time in T-shirts and stretch yoga pants, and when I go out, it’s usually in cowboy boots and a denim skirt.  “Dressing up” means I choose a blinged-out shirt over a plain one.  I will admit, however, to owning way too many Harley T-shirts and jackets, but that’s my one permitted weakness.

I don’t own trendy stuff at all.  For several years, those blousy tops that are made to look like maternity tops have been popular, but I’ve avoided them.  I don’t like being manipulated by an industry which is there to make billions off a pathetic desire to be “in fashion.”  Give me a Chanel suit any day – now that’s eternal class – although I don’t own one of those, either.

I suggest you rearrange your closet with ten pieces – shirts, pants, skirt, top, shorts – and check yourself out for a month.  Does anyone even notice?  Do you spend less time struggling with what to wear?  Do you find yourself more comfortable than you imagined?  Or has way too much of your being and identity been dependent upon how you think you look?  It’s an interesting self-examination.

I find myself more comfortable when I’m not wasting time and money on frequent trips to clothing stores.

Lately, since I’ve been scouring thrift stores for items to use for the purses I make (check out www.topdogcoffeebar.com), I found two denim skirts that, after figuring out how to transform them into purses) I decided to keep to wear myself.  One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, and by buying at most thrift shops, you support charities as well.