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August 30, 2010

Could you do it?

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 10:00 pm

Neal and I are always thinking/talking/reading about voluntary simplicity and frugality.  So this recent NY Times article caught my eye.  It profiles a few people who went a month wearing only 6 items of clothing or less.  It is a pretty interesting read and there’s even a video to boot.  The article also mentions The Great American Apparel Diet, a more extreme challenge to go a full year without buying any new clothes.

I like challenges like this.  Fasts, if you will.  I think they can really help you sort out that wants-vs.-needs thing that so often gets blurred when we’re not looking.  Neal and I regularly dream up challenges for each other.  Of course, refraining from clothes shopping is not particularly difficult for someone like me who loathes (loathes, I tell you!) everything about that process.  If not for familial pressure, I probably would have gone my whole life without buying clothes since I’ve been blessed with fashion-conscious friends (I’m looking at you, Rach) and family who shake their heads at my wardrobe and willingly share a nice hand-me-down.  So a year without clothes-buying, no problem.  Wearing only six items . . . I’m not sure I’m creative enough to not look constantly ridiculous.  But Neal’s thinking of giving it a go.

So what about you?  Could you wear only 6 pieces of clothing for a month?  Or forgo clothes shopping for a year?



  1. I don’t think I wear more then 6 shirts and 5 bottoms so I’m halfway there, right? I have more but in reality don’t wear them so it’s probably time to donate more clothes to the DI. I think I’ve donated more clothes to DI in the past 5 years then bought though. Kids tend to make me avoid shopping for myself. Not because I’m selfless and would rather spend the money on them 🙂 rather it’s just a pain to shop with kids and to fit a changing mommy body. So forgo shopping for a year, quite possible. I think I could stick to less then 15 items of clothes too, 6 might be pushing it. 🙂

    Comment by Margie — August 30, 2010 @ 11:06 pm

  2. I don’t know why I would even dream of doing something like not go shopping! Shopping makes me happy–for me the thrill is in getting as much as possible for as little as possible–making the entire event a challenge. For example, I recently bought Tyler 2 nice polo shirts and 3 nice T-shirts for about $5 each. He will wear each polo probably 20 times each in a given year, which would make each wear cost approximately $.25. Totally doable in my book and not in the least bit excessive. The last shirts I bought for me were 2 for $2.50 each and I’ve worn them already 10 times (being pregnant and only having a few items that fit helps) so that would also be about $.25 per wear at this exact moment.
    So me give up shopping when I can justify it? nope.

    Comment by carissa — August 30, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

  3. I don’t think I could/would do either. I don’t think 6 items is enough to span the Church on Sunday to workout clothes spectrum that I need. Even if you took out PJs and work out clothes, 6 is not enough for me barring poverty. I have learned that for me it’s important to have a pretty good selection of clothing because growing up I didn’t always have a lot and it made me feel really poor, which I didn’t like. Now I always have a wide variety in my wardrobe options to avoid that feeling. I feel I can justify this behavior because I understand why I’m doing it, I can still fit all my clothes in a standard closet—not a walk-in—and dresser, and at least 3/4 of my closet is from thrift stores (95% of what I own cost $10 or less), so I feel justified in having options. I would also struggle going without shopping for a year if only because of what motherhood has done to me. I’ve shopped much more in the past two years than I usually do just because of changes in sizes. But if I knew I would stay the same size, I could do it—I really didn’t shop much (even at thrift stores) during college.

    Comment by Vickie Blanchard — August 31, 2010 @ 12:45 am

  4. Hey Lindsay! I’m still following your blog like crazy but don’t want to annoy others by constantly saying how adorable Addison is (But, oh! she’s sooooo stinking adorable).

    This post really caught my eye because I did something like this in a humanities class my senior year of high school. It was a philosophy challenge in which we challenged ourselves to do something that we’d learn from. Long story short, I wore the same shirt from November until I graduated in May. With me starting grad school and trying to not stick out too much in a class of 35 girls and 3 boys, I’m hesitant to try it again.

    My high school teacher recently sent me this article that I think you’ll enjoy.

    Hope you three are doing well! Keep up the amazing blogs.

    Comment by Brandon — August 31, 2010 @ 1:10 am

  5. Um… I don’t think I could do it. I really am a sucker for shopping… and clothes… But maybe I could have areally small clothes budget… cause I love bargains! But Skyler and I really need to clean out our clothes… but I am conflicted… it is like I need 4 sets of clothes: skinny clothes, in between clothes, maternity clothes, in between clothes, sort of skinny clothes, skinny clothes, in between clothes, maternity… see what I mean? I am still in my in between clothes… someday I would like to be in my skinny clothes again… but by the time I am comfortably there… something will probably happen and then I will be back in inbetween clothes… so… I don’t know.

    Comment by Rachel — August 31, 2010 @ 1:21 am

  6. I couldn’t. Just plain and simple. Derrick easily could. In fact, I think he does! I’m going to watch his dressing habits a little more closely just to see if I’m right about this.

    Comment by Jen Hull — August 31, 2010 @ 2:30 am

  7. It’d be hard. But I could do it.
    Before I started though, I’d want to go on a shopping spree!!!!! 🙂

    Comment by kjell — August 31, 2010 @ 3:47 am

  8. I hate to shop for me. I don’t mind doing it for the kids. There’s no way you can go a year without shopping for the kids – they’d have no clothes, but I could for me. I could probably narrow my clothes, but not sure I’d want to. I’m pretty close as it is, jeans and t-shirts for me 😉 But I need variety too, so I’d end up depressed, not worth it.

    Comment by Jolene — August 31, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

  9. Totally done this already. Try living in a developing country where you are size “we don’t carry clothes big enough for you.” It’s easier than you might think.

    Comment by Linsey — August 31, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  10. I’m a confident yes. I have worn the same skirt/shirt to church for the past 2 3/4 years while working in the fun class — oops — “nursery.” Gotta have comfort and one that I can spread out so the kids can iron it, fix it with tools etc. =)

    Comment by holly — September 1, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

  11. Done the no shopping thing for a year. Because we were really that poor…couldn’t even afford a $5 shirt. So it’s doable. I would prefer NOT to have to do it, but life happens that way when you’re in school :O) As far as the 6 items of clothing in a month…couldn’t do it, no way, impossible for me. At least, that’s what I thought at first. But then I realized I sorta did it for a while after having Camden because I didn’t fit into anything comfortably and the no shopping thing put a damper on it. Sundays excluded though on that one.

    Comment by Meg Romney — September 2, 2010 @ 4:01 am

  12. I bet I could do it on three. I have black excersize pants I practically wear everyday but Sunday and all I would need to do was find a shirt that would work for everyday and Sunday or a dress. As far as not shopping for clothes for a year, that is also quite doable. As far as the changing size thing, that’s when you just steal your husband’s T-shirts and gym shorts for a while.

    Comment by Cranney — September 3, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  13. Well I sort of did this when we were in Utah during this summer for a month and a half, we really tried to only take minimal clothing to cut down on suitcases. I think I had like 12 things to mix and match. 3 pairs of shoes: church, sandal, and tennis shoes. I did it, and at first it was not big deal, but by the end I was feeling like I needed some variety. And by the time we got home, I was over joyed to put on a different “new” shirt for a change. Not to mention that I had to look at my kids and Zack wearing the same things day after day and they had to look at me in the same stuff. I’m not saying people have to go crazy with a huge wardrobe because I think people really do get a little wild with all their must have clothing, but at the same time, as they say, “variety is the spice of life” and to some extent, after this summer, I would agree!

    Comment by Shannon — September 7, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

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