06 August 2010

Simplify Your Style: Extreme Challenge!

Have you heard of the Six Items or Less (sixitemsorless.com) challenge, a fashion or wardrobe diet?

Read excerpts from the NY Times Style section.

As the economy begins to improve, shoppers of every income appear to be wrestling with the same questions: Is it safe to go back to our old, pre-recession ways? Or should we? The authors of these diets — including some fashion marketing and advertising executives, interestingly enough — seem to think not.

Sally Bjornsen, the founder of the Great American Apparel Diet (thegreatamericanappareldiet.com), said she was prompted to stop buying clothes for a simple reason: “I was sick and tired of consumerism,” she said.

Last summer, Ms. Bjornsen, 47, said she was thinking about how years of easy credit had led to overspending on cars, homes and luxury goods. Then, looking in her own closet, she realized that she was part of the problem, she said. For her job, as a representative of commercial photographers in Seattle and before that as a marketing executive at fashion companies like Nike and Nordstrom, she’d spent $5,000 to $10,000 a year on clothes.

“I was buying in an egregious way,” Ms. Bjornsen said. “I was just kind of grossed out by the whole thing.”

IMAGINE that horrible though all-too-familiar feeling: You are standing before a fully stuffed closet and yet have nothing to wear.

Now, imagine something worse: Your closet contains only six items, and you are restricted to wearing only those six items for an entire month.

Now, if you can bear it, imagine something unspeakable:

No one notices.

Nearly a month into what amounted to just such a self-inflicted fast of fashion, Stella Brennan, 31, an insurance sales executive from Kenosha, Wis., realized last week that not even her husband, Kelly, a machinist, had yet figured out that she had been wearing the same six items, over and over, since June 21. The sad punch line is that Mr. Brennan is the one who actually does the laundry in the family.

During her experiment — something called a “shopping diet,” actually — which ended on Wednesday, Ms. Brennan made do with the following: a black blazer and pants from H & M; two button-down shirts, one black and one pink; a pair of Old Navy jeans; and one well-worn pink T-shirt.

Read the entire article NY Times.

Good Morning America added to the conversation.

Without a closet full of clothes to choose from, Kirsty Saddler, a 32-year-old advertising executive in New York City, focused on other ways to spice up her outfits, relying heavily on accessories, which were excluded from the challenge.

"Lots of broaches, and belts and things like that came in to play where I normally wouldn't make the effort," she said. "The funny thing was getting dressed in the morning actually felt much quicker."

Shoes, undergarments, uniforms and outerwear were exempt.

What six items would you choose for a month?

Reckon you could do it? Who would, or wouldn't, notice?

I could try a winter in NZ wardrobe:

Dark jeans, white cotton shirt, blue l/sleeved t-shirt, dusty red knit top, black fleece, black pants. With accessories, I think this would work. Scarf weather allows for variations! But will I?

Check Yahoo's take on the challenge.

How to dress with just six pieces plus tips on simplifying by Joanna Douglas,

  • Eliminate anything you haven’t worn in two years. You can make an exception for formal attire as long as it still fits.
  • Get rid of trendy items that you wouldn’t want to wear today. Don’t wait for it to come back into style.
  • Get rid of anything that is uncomfortable. You will always reach for the one that fits nicely instead.
  • Toss items that are damaged beyond repair. This seems obvious, but we tend to get sentimental about well-worn garments.
  • Don’t keep something just because it was expensive. Sell it on eBay or to a resale shop if you’re not wearing it.
  • Don’t keep something just because it’s pretty. Give it to a friend who may appreciate it more.

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