Well, I did it. I wore the same outfit five days this week. I actually went into my dirty laundry yesterday morning, pulled out the blue popover with the coffee stain on the front, unsuccessfully attempted to shake out all of the wrinkles and wore it to brunch. I didn’t work yesterday, so there was no need to look or smell particularly good. I don’t know whether to feel proud of or disgusted with myself.
I went back and re-read what I said the other night about Six Items or Less, and I feel like I need to explain a couple of things. I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m really, really, really glad that I decided to do it. In fact, I’m already thinking and talking about doing it again. It’s just that, like any mildly challenging undertaking in life, it’s been both exactly what I expected and not at all what I expected at the same time.
I’ve had a strange relationship with clothing for as long as I can remember. When I go shopping or flip through a catalog, I tend to gravitate toward pretty, feminine styles, and if I had an unlimited amount of time, money and patience, I’d probably wear them. As for what I actually do wear, I’m a tried-and-true champion of comfort and practicality. For instance, I like the way skirts look on others, but I don’t like to wear them because I don’t like the idea of having to restrict my range of motion in order to make sure I don’t flash the people near me when I bend down to plug in my computer cord.
That mentality reaches further than just clothes in my life. About two years ago, I stopped wearing make-up to work because it took too much time to put on and usually irritated my skin. Around the same time, I stopped blow-drying and putting styling product in my hair because I was tired of, once again, wasting time on something that was damaging my very fine, straight hair and never achieved the desired results anyway.
All of these aforementioned decisions have not been easy at all. I don’t walk around patting myself on the back or thinking that I’m better than other people, because guess what? I’m a total mess. I’m just as much of a consumer-driven, money-obsessed superficial narcissist like everybody else my age in America, and the only reason that I’ve forced myself to cut these things out of my life is because I want them — I actually think I need them — so badly that I think if I don’t have them, I’m going to be an ugly failure. Seriously.
The honest truth is that I want to be cute, I want to be stylish, I want people to “ohh” and “ahh” over what I wear, I want to be one-of-a-kind, and I want to feel younger than my 25 years. But I’ve traveled down that road so many times in my life, and it’s just not worth it. I actually ended up feeling more inadequate than I did to begin with, because there’s always — ALWAYS — someone cuter, more stylish, etc.
Besides, if the coffee-stained popover isn’t enough of an example, I’m just inherently lazy.
At the risk of sounding slightly melodramatic, let me say that with only three days of Six Items or Less left to go, I’m at the end of myself. I’m bored. I’m uninspired. I’m pulling out dirty clothes and re-wearing them again and not even trying. Instead, I just look like myself, unadorned, and whatever that means — whether it’s cute or ugly or weird — doesn’t matter, because why should I have to explain who I am without frills? I’ve never known before what it’s like to not think about my appearance, but when you only have six items to choose from, it’s a little easier to forget.
Like I said before, I thought that, for me, the point of Six Items or Less was going to be to find out how creative and interesting I could be with next to nothing. But I think that it’s forced me to stop thinking about what I wear altogether. Maybe I’m getting to my point a little too late, but I’m thinking more about who I am and how I define myself when I’m not worrying about how I look.
(Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Vintage)