An Experiment in Minimalism

Spots and Stripes

I came across an article online last week week. Here, I’ll find it for you. Alright, here it is, a CNN article about a Canadian pilot who, for some reason or another, has decided to go for a year wearing only ten items of clothing.

And I immediately thought, “Oh yeah? Why can’t I do that?” Remember how I waxed poetic about my hatred of girly drinks? No? Okay, here’s the article, go read it. Basically, I think we American women need to push our palates to accept drinks that are more than just variations on the vodka-and-syrup theme.

I feel the same way about fashion.

Not that we need to push our fashion palates. I’m not really even sure what that means. No, what I mean is, well, we need to stop. We need to stop buying cheap polyester junk. We need to stop our mindset of quantity over quality. We need to stop buying, buying, buying as a hobby.

We need to start investing in a wardrobe that fits, and that will give us a base level of satisfaction.  Am I making any sense?

So anyway, I came across the article, and I thought, “Wow! What fun! How simple could life get, having just ten pieces to choose from? And what a way to get myself out of the mindset of always waiting for next month’s clothing money to come around.”

So what did I do? Er. I bought a whole new set of clothes for my experiment.

Alright, it wasn’t that simple. The first thing I did was create a pinboard of my Minimalist Dream Wardrobe, which took a day to create but steadily has evolved since then. Examples: I thought it might be nice to have a pink silk button-down, but something didn’t feel quite right about it, and when I shared my idea with the Husband (that was the second step of the process), he said I should consider using at least a few items I already own. Great idea, Husband. So I kicked out the pink button-down and swapped in a lovely striped Boy buttondown from J. Crew. I also swapped the black flats for animal-print flats I already own and love. Oh, and that Cambridge satchel? That was going to be mint. Which I’m a little sad about giving up, but Husband and I had a serious talk about the trendy mint color vs. a lasting brown, and I realized he was right. And also, that it won’t go with my bright red winter jacket I’ll be bending the rules to wear around Montpelier this winter.

The key to the process was to have everything match everything else. Easy to write, not so easy to execute. You’ll notice that the wardrobe is very neutral–white, black, brown, grey, navy. Maybe it’s boring, but the point isn’t to be trendy. The point is to be sustainable, and conscientious, and all those other froofy hippy words my parents love using. I stayed away from polyester, favoring natural fabrics–cotton, leather, cashmere–as much as I could. The tank is rayon, which I’m iffy on, but rayon is technically not a synthetic fiber, and I love Everlane anyway.

Everything but the tank and the sandals have been ordered. (Sandals are currently out of stock; I’m waiting to order the tank with them.) I anticipate going from July to July, and while it will be hard, it will be a learning experience for me. It will teach me discipline. And isn’t that what we all need a little more of?

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