Posts Tagged ‘clothing’

Six Items or Less, Day 29: The end of the road.

October 5, 2010

Tomorrow is the last day of Six Items or Less for me. I’m slightly relieved since this weekend I’m going to three fancy events — a rehearsal dinner, a wedding and a family photo shoot with my future peeps-in-law — all of which require a somewhat polished appearance, and I don’t think anything in my six items much less the rest of my closet fits the description. Although, let’s be honest, I’ll probably end up wearing the blue J. Crew popover that’s defined my SIOL experience to one or all of these events anyway.

As a little gift to myself for getting through SIOL/getting my first paycheck at Ye Olde New Job, I bought the red beanie you see above from Yes Jess. It’s getting chilly in these parts, and since I lost my favorite purple beanie last year, I have nothing to wear on my head — I don’t want to be caught unprepared. Besides, I needed something bright and amazing to enliven my mostly navy wardrobe.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting… to Participate in Six Items Or Less

October 4, 2010

To the relief of  at least a few members of this blog’s readership, I finally did some much-needed laundry. This writer is wrinkle- and coffee stain-free once more (at least for now). Still going strong in my blue popover and jeans, y’all. *fist pump*

Looks like the folks over at Six Items or Less are getting ready to unveil their new site and start another leg of the experiment en masse! Hooray! In honor of the occasion — as well as the final three days of my own Six Items or Less stint — here’s a list of dos, don’ts, always-es, definitelys, maybes, etc. to help you prepare for the mission, if you choose to accept it.

1. Stock up on lots of good-quality underwear and socks. You’re going to need them. I suggest getting them in cotton and like colors to cut down on laundry costs (see below) and spruce up your palette — despite my somewhat stark, monastic ramblings earlier, I firmly believe that variety is the spice of life :)

If you’re a man, I kindly suggest you proceed to tip #3.

2. If you’re a woman, now’s the time to invest in one or two comfortable, high-quality bras. In case you didn’t know, a good bra…

  • might require a fitting at one of those lingerie specialty stores (you know exactly what I’m talking about; every town has one!). I strongly suggest that every woman endures five minutes of minor discomfort / embarrassment and get fitted. You’ll be glad you did.
  • will probably be more expensive than you’d like but is worth every penny
  • will make whatever you’re wearing (even if it’s the same six things, over and over) look good and feel comfortable

Remember, a bad bra will make you feel and look unpolished and uncomfortable no matter what you’ve got over it.

3. When you’re trying to decide on your six items, don’t choose anything that needs to be dry-cleaned, washed on delicate, rinsed in rosewater by the light of the full moon, etc. Everything you choose should be able to be washed in cold water and dried in a washing machine. No wasting time here.

4.  Do expect to do laundry more often than you have been. There’s no such thing as waiting an entire month to do laundry again in The Land of Six Items. I’ve had to do it about once a week (gasp!).

5. On that note, when you do do your laundry, expect to only have to do one big load (or maybe two medium sized-ones). I purposely didn’t choose anything white in my six items so that I could throw all of it in the wash without worrying about colors bleeding. It was a big money saver (and good for the environment, too).

6. If you’re not doing it already, brace yourself to wear clothes two, three, four or, in my case, as many as nine or ten times between washes. If you live in Brooklyn, you’re already at an advantage, because no one between the ages of 18 and 34 seems to bathe or wash themselves regularly anyway. If anything, you’ll just fit right in.

7. Raid your friend’s and family member’s closets (with their permission). I feel like the only thing that was really missing from my Six Items or Less experience was a greater sense of community (I’m sure this will be at least partially remedied with the new site!). As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t have much to work with outside of my six items anyway, so it would have been nice to rely on a few close friends for accessories, scarves, jewelry, etc. It gives you more opportunities to talk about the experiment in a meaningful, constructive way with people you care about, and it helps decrease any feelings you might have to spend money on those things that aren’t included in your six items.

8. Take this opportunity to relish the small things. If you happen to be a lazier, relatively unadorned sixer like myself, you will begin to take a new-found pride in personal hygiene — brushing your teeth, flossing, combing your hair.

9. Similarly, I recommend using your money to buy quality experiences instead of “things.” For instance, pay to get a really good haircut or manicure. Sure, it won’t last forever, and it might seem a little indulgent. But you’ll get to relax as well as meet and converse with the kind person offering you the service. I guarantee buying a bracelet at Target won’t give you that. Besides, I’m terrible at painting my nails; I’d rather hire a professional to do it.

Any fellow “sixers” have good advice that I didn’t mention here? Chime in!

Six Items or Less, Day 27: A 700-word treatise on clothing.

October 2, 2010

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)

Six Items or Less, Day 25: oMg whatever lolzzz :P

October 1, 2010

Wanna know the truth? At this point in the game, I’m just bored .

I wore the same things three days in a row this week. THREE DAYS IN A ROW. I didn’t even take the trouble to change my sweater, accessories or shoes. To tell you the truth, I probably would have worn the same things today, too, except that I noticed that I had a spot of coffee on the front of my popover last night and tossed it in the laundry. Because I really pride myself on my devotion to a professional appearance in the workplace. Or something.

When I started doing Six Items or Less, I imagined myself digging into the depths of my closet and unearthing a ton of untapped resources — jewelry, hats, belts, whatever — that would make the same six pieces look completely different every day of the month. I  would prove my creativity, individuality and adherence to a sustainable lifestyle with a series of cute outfits and quirky posts.

Then I actually started digging into my closet. You want to know what I found? Not much. I have three belts. Until recently, I owned only two necklaces, one bracelet and no earrings (even though my ears are pierced!).  My most relied-on “purses” are actually my North Face backpack from high school (still going strong) and a series of grimy canvas tote bags. I own less than half the amount of shoes that my gentleman caller has, but considering what he does, I guess it’s not too surprising.

I sold and gave away the majority of my clothing when I moved last year. A lot of superfluous crap was gotten rid of in the process, and since then, I’ve made a habit of going through my drawers and closet every month or two and weeding out things that I don’t need. Pretty soon after starting the challenge, I thought that I needed to reinforce my accessories arsenal and buy a bunch of cute things that were interchangeable with my six items. But wouldn’t acquiring more “stuff” be entirely AGAINST the spirit of Six Items or Less?!

Are we really defined by what we wear, whether it’s “bigger” pieces or accessories? Don’t answer that. Bottom line: Acquire less, act more. No one’s going to remember what you wore; they’re going to remember how much you cared.

That’s what I think, anyway :P

P.S. I inadvertently acquired another accessory last weekend… an engagement ring (see pic!).