Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Can you live on six items (or less) of clothing?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to clothes lately. This is kind of unusual for me, in part because I am not a recreational shopper, I generally try to reject consumerism, and I really don’t buy that many clothes or pay much attention to fashion anyway.

However, recently I heard about this ‘Six Items or Less’ challenge where participants commit to swearing off the rest of their wardrobe, only wearing the same six items (or less) for a month. It’s like a clothes diet. In conjunction with hearing about this I was in the midst of a rare shopping spree, where over the course of a few weeks I bought eight items clothing and a pair of boots, all new, all for me.

Yikes. Buying new clothes is a sure way to induce guilt in the eco-conscious me, even though I try to assuage the guilt a tiny bit by bringing my own bag. I justified it though, because sometimes I just can’t find what I’m looking for on the used clothing racks. And, I am constantly purging items out of my own closet and into the stream of secondhand shops.

But then there’s the whole ‘privileged’ angle. I’m acutely aware of that, too. Here, we are privileged in just about any way imaginable. We, who can access just about anything we want with the click of the mouse or a short drive, have so much more than billions of others on this planet. We are so spoiled. Yikes again.

So, back to the clothing challenge which, by the way, doesn’t include underwear, outerwear, shoes or workout wear. I read about it on the website (www.sixitemsorless.com) and really considered trying it.

Ultimately I decided not to do it, in part because I don’t really want to spend more time and energy doing even more laundry, which is probably the biggest hindrance to me trying it. But, I am done buying new clothes for quite awhile, which is part of the challenge too. It’s a worthy challenge it seems, and would be really interesting for a high school class experiment I think. If anyone decides to do it, I’d love to hear about it.

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