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Do the Clothes make the Person?

9 Feb

The last day's outfit and other 3 items, ready to hit the back of the closet!

Well, here it is – the last day of my 6 Items or Less project; the first in my year of 30-Day Experiments. Overall I found it pretty easy to get by with only six pieces of clothing for the entire month, even with a work trip to a tropical climate taking almost a week of it and lots of cold weather days here in Austin. The main drawback was I got a little tired, sometimes, of those same clothes over and over; but nothing about the project was hard. Having a set few items to choose from when dressing each morning certainly made things simple!

I wrote about my experience, about midway through it, on Austin City’s Best. And if you’re interested in signing up for the next 6 Items or Less experiment, they plan to do 4 or 5 more rounds this year, so just go to the website and sign up for email notifications about the next registration. Continue reading


When did Shopping become a Hobby?

7 Feb

There have been a lot of interesting discoveries and discussions over at the Six Items or Less website during the course of this experiment. Some people love it, some tolerate or are even beginning to hate it. Some are liberated by the freedom and gleefully discarding a majority of their wardrobes – others are counting the hours until they can retrieve their long-lost “others” and go shopping again.

Grace - "Little Fish"

One Sixer, Little Fish from Sherwood, OR, says that consumerism should not be a person’s favorite hobby:

When did shopping become a hobby? I see now that in looking forward to consuming, I am simply plunging myself into a long, disappointing relationship with an unsatisfying lover who disguises his taking as giving. What a dirty dog. I should’ve dumped your ass years ago.” Continue reading

The Six go on the Road

2 Feb

Henry David Thoreau famously remarked, “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” Here I am in St. Kitts, in the Caribbean, on a press trip in the middle of my 6 Items or Less experiment. And how is it going, you might ask?

Wearing one of my 6 items, with fellow journalist Jan on a catamaran in St. Kitts

Not as difficult as I might have thought. Fortunately, I knew this trip was a distinct possibility before the project began, and so I considered it as I chose my six. The cotton dress, by itself rather than over jeans or the white shirt in colder weather, worked beautifully on the tropical island. The short-sleeved green top and linen pants were also just fine. Considering the trip was only 3 days, I really had no problems – and in fact, the packing and unpacking process was made much easier with my small, pre-planned wardrobe. Continue reading

Halfway Mark Passed – New Ideas?

27 Jan

I am now a little more than halfway through my 6 Items or Less experiment – about 13 days to go. It’s going pretty well for the most part, many more pluses than minuses. I find it much easier not to have to think about what I’m going to wear, and it’s way faster to pack. I don’t do much laundry – just throw whatever couple of items need washing in with towels, sheets or undies.

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Joe Shlabotnik

The biggest negative or challenge I’ve had is in getting a little bored with wearing the same clothes over and over – I do feel that stifles the fun & creative aspect of fashion. I posted earlier in the week about how the boredom was actually creating an unusual urge in me to buy new items; that’s not exactly right, I don’t want to buy new things, I just want to be able to wear different things!

But it definitely makes me very conscious of how much money, time, and energy I put into buying, wearing, organizing, then getting rid of my clothing.  It reminds me of what I could do without, and what I could do for others with the resources I am lucky enough to have, and others may be in need of. Continue reading

Using Less & Wanting More

24 Jan

Halfway into my 6 Items or Less experiment, and several thoughts and feelings have been crowding into me, as I’ve worked with a wardrobe of only six pieces of clothing.

First, I have found many benefits and extremely worthwhile realizations/outcomes to doing this:

  • It’s really nice not having to even think about what I’m going to wear every day.
  • It’s kind of fun and creative to make my outfits different by dressing them up with jewelry, belts, shoes, scarves and other accessories.
  • Even though most of us (myself included) have a lot of things in our closet, we still tend to wear the same things over and over. Maybe not just 6, but I bet most of us don’t regularly wear half of our wardrobe. So what do we have all this stuff for?
  • Quality is more important than quantity: it’s better to have fewer things of higher quality, than a bunch of cheap crap.
  • Simplicity, for the most part, is an incredibly freeing concept and practice. Continue reading

Quality vs. Quantity

21 Jan

One of the big realizations from my 6 Items or Less experiment is the real importance of the whole “Quality vs. Quantity” thing. It’s much better to have fewer things of high quality, that you’ve invested more in, than a bunch of cheap mass-produced crap in your closet. Obviously, a major aspect of this type of experiment to begin with is the realization of how much we have that we don’t need – an overabundance when simplifying might be much better and happier. The over-consumption of stuff is something that we can all fall victim to, in one way or another.

Night out at the Broken Spoke in 2 of my 6 items; our "friend" with the hat could definitely use a style makeover though!

While six pieces of clothing might be pretty extreme (stay tuned for my next post about the backlash caused by such a wardrobe diet), certainly one thing that most Sixers seem to decide rather quickly is to prune their closets drastically. After all, most of us have lots of clothes – but still we find ourselves regularly wearing many of the same pieces over and over. When you’re wearing the same things so frequently, the aspect of quality and how it holds up becomes obvious and important. One shirt, my white one made of thin material, has a small hole in it where my ring snagged it; the rest of my items are holding up well. Continue reading

A previous Sixer from Austin

19 Jan

Dean Kakridas

The New York Times article about last year’s 6 Items experiment mentions an Austinite who participated: Dean Kakridas – yes, a guy (I discovered that a lot of men participate in the experiment – some of whom seem the most anxious about their fashion limitations).

I contacted Dean, and he was happy to share with me (see below). But first, here’s what the Times said about Dean’s experiment:

Another Sixer, Dean Kakridas, 42, the director of business development at Frog Design, an innovation firm in Austin, Tex., said that he was obsessed with efficiency. “I kind of question everything,” he said, including why he was spending 20 minutes every morning figuring out what to wear. Continue reading