Earlier this month, I challenged you to experiment with minimalist clothing ideas, whether starting a shopping diet, limiting yourself to wearing a small number of clothes or finding new ways to wear things already in your closet. Today I will share with you the results of my own minimalist clothing experiment.
For my experiment, I decided to both limit the number of clothes I wore and find new ways to wear and appreciate them. I told my husband about the 6 items or less experiment where you wear only 6 items of clothing for an entire month.
“You’re not going to do that, are you?” he inquired unenthusiastically.
“No,” I said. Since we had recently been living out of suitcases for two weeks on our vacation, I wasn’t too thrilled about doing that again for an entire month. What was I willing to do? I thought I could last one week. What would be a good challenge for a week? What about wearing the same thing every single day for a week?
When you decide to wear the same outfit every day, you have to be very careful in your choice of clothing. I wanted to pick something that was comfortable, would wear well in the cyclical 100-degree heat and monsoons we have been having, could be both dressy and casual, could be spiced up easily with some accessories and that could be washed and drip-dried each night.
I picked a black skirt and tank combination I have owned for years. It is a great set that I have worn for both casual and dress occasions. Sometimes I wear it together and sometimes I wear the pieces separately with other things.
To avoid getting bored, I used the experiment as an exercise in styling. How many different looks could I get out of the same dress using just the shoes and accessories I already owned? It was a good motivator to go through my costume jewelry box and belt collection. I got rid of quite a few items that were in bad condition, outdated, or didn’t fit.
Also, when you take the attention away from your clothes, new attention is brought to your head. This required a little additional thought about hair. I tried to have my hair change to compliment each look. I wrote down all the styling instructions in a list so I would remember each look.
The experiment started on a week I had to take my daughter to preschool summer camp every day for five days in a row. Since I would be seeing a lot of the same faces every day, it would be a good test to see if anyone would notice that I was wearing the same thing and if anyone would say anything.
Day 1: The Bohemian
|For my first look, I used a printed scarf, long necklace and jeweled sandals to create a bohemian look. I draped the scarf around my waist and tucked it into the waistband of the skirt. The only problem with this look was that the scarf easily came untucked. If I were doing it again, I would definitely use some safety pins or baste it in place with needle and thread. I wore my hair back from my face in a low bun.|
Day 2: The Sophisticate
|The next day, I was surprisingly excited to wear the dress again and try out another look. This time, I took a long blue scarf, criss-crossed it around my waist and let the ends drape down. I paired it with a strappy, high-heeled black sandal and put my hair in a version of a French twist. It was a fun look to wear. Again, there were a few problems with the scarf. I wanted the scarf to show up in two criss-crossed lines, but it kept sliding down into one solid belt. If I wore this again, I would need to pin the scarf.|
Day 3: The Native
|Perhaps inspired by our recent journeys in the southwest, I put together a Native American inspired look with a turquoise necklace, brown leather belt and brown heeled sandal. I pulled my hair into a long braid, which became a critical accessory to the look to pull it all together.|
Day 4: The Retro
|One of the accessories I found during my hunt through the closet was a pink chiffon scarf. It was square in shape and not very big so I was a little limited with what I could do with it. I folded it in half diagonally and draped it over my shoulders, pinning it below the bustline with a vintage-looking black and gold brooch. I paired it with the black heeled sandals from day 2 and pulled my hair into a poof with the ends hanging down. This look might need a little tweaking. It was a little matronly.|
Day 5: The Fiesta
|This was a simple day. It was an excuse to wear two brightly colored glass necklaces I found in my costume jewelry. They really popped against the black. I wore the sandals from day 1 and pulled my hair back from my face in the front so that I could show off the matching earrings (which I then forgot to wear!).|
Day 6: The Fancy
|Since it was the weekend, I wanted to see how dressy I could get. I pinned the front of the tank into a V-neck shape with a rhinestone brooch and put on some really fun rhinestone dress shoes. It did look quite fancy. It inspired my husband to upgrade our typical weekend dinner out from the serve-yourself pizza place to our favorite Indian restaurant, so I would call this one a success!|
Day 7: The Bling
|I had quite a lot of silver-toned accessories so I decided to just go with it and create a metal-themed look. I put on a large beaded silver-toned necklace, some copper and silver bracelets, a silver-studded belt (worn backwards) and some black espadrilles with silver embroidery accents. I didn’t have much time for hair so I just did a simple ponytail.|
After seven days, I have to say I was getting very sick of wearing the same little black dress. It was kind of fun putting on the accessories and doing my hair but sometimes it took more time than just throwing on jeans and a T-shirt and getting out the door. The low amount of laundry to wash at the end of the week, however, was a nice bonus.
As for the social impact of the experiment, to the best of my knowledge, no one noticed that I was always wearing the same thing! If they did, no one said anything. At one point, I realized that I was so focused on myself that I wasn’t paying any attention to what the other preschool moms were wearing. My mind started to play tricks on me. “Wait….wasn’t that mom wearing jeans yesterday? Is she doing the same experiment too?” I will never know for sure.
We are all so busy in our own lives that we don’t really have the extra brain cells to monitor what everyone else is wearing on a day-to-day basis. Just like the woman in the New York Times video I posted earlier, I concluded that wearing the same thing twice (or more!) in a row is not going to raise anyone’s eyebrows. It truly doesn’t matter!
What is your reaction to this experiment? How is your own minimalist clothing experiment coming along? Please share in the comments.