As an exercise in simple living, back in November of 2010 I wore one outfit for a month. Here is how it affected my life…
Simple living revisited
From the original article:
“The purpose of this short term mission is to reduce my clothing from what I want to what I need. At the end of the 30 days, I will pare my wardrobe down to the essentials and will either sell the rest to repay debt, will give the excess to those in need, or some combination of both.”
As presupposed, occupying just one outfit for a month radically changed the make up of my wardrobe; and, how I view clothing. It opened my eyes to what I actually need and taught me that I greatly prefer a simple wardrobe. In fact, over the last four months I have happily worn just a handful of outfits.
So what did I do with all my excess clothing? In a nutshell, I gave most of it away rather than trying to sell it to repay debt. Betsy and I took approximately 85% to Goodwill – which filled 3, 30 gallon garbage bags.
It felt really, really good to give it away and get it out of my house!
My new wardrobe
Nowadays I buy limited amounts of high quality, high functioning clothing and typically wear an outfit for nearly a week before making a change. I change into fresh unders daily while wearing the same shell outfit. Sound gross? It’s not at all. If you think it is then I encourage you to try it before commenting contrariwise.
When faced with buying a new article of clothing I stop to think about what purpose it serves. If the purpose is fashion, I keep my money in my wallet. If the purpose is function, I carefully consider whether I already own something that can fill the need.
What about colors? I remember going through my closet in college and saying to myself, “Everything I own is blue or gray!” Turns out that was a good thing. Darker, neutral colors like black, gray, and blue are easy to pair into multiples of outfits – which is precisely what I do now.
This isn’t for everyone
If you were forced into a situation where you only had a handful of outfits, I’m confident you would get along just fine. That doesn’t mean you have to, or even should, I simply pointing out that you could.
Some people need a lot of clothing for their careers. Others may find fashion enriches their lives and value their robust wardrobes. All these things are fine… always remember that what is good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another.
If you have been thinking of paring down your wardrobe then I’m happy to encourage you by sharing my experience.
Results of the mission?
I’m very happy with my new lease on clothing and view the Wardrobe Mission as a successful personal endeavor.
For more on this topic, check out DFA Missions.