Only 6 Items

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

It may be more than 6...

 Greetings and welcome to #65, dear readers. I’m back in the land of sunshine, although sunshine is in scant supply on this overcast Friday. We’re in the home stretch of winter here so I should make the most of the shorter days and lower temperatures.

We’re also heading into voting weekend here in Australia. Who will it be? The redhead or the Speedo wearer? We are so spoiled for choice here in this country, tell ya.

Six or Less. Egad. So, there’s a NY Times article that I read recently about a challenge that a couple of women in America started called Six Items or Less. The challenge lasted for 31 days and the “sixers”, as they were called, had to wear those six, and only those six, items for the full 31 days.

Benefits being….?? Sixers found all kinds of ‘benefits’ to the challenge, including not being so stressed in the mornings about what they were going to wear. They stopped over-thinking their ensemble for the day (seeing as there was none)…. and the conclusion was that because they could take this off the mental agenda, they had more brain space for more important things.

Best part of the day…. Maybe that’s so. I find that so fascinating. Y’see, I love getting dressed in the morning. Sometimes it’s the best part of my day – things can sometimes go downhill from there. So, taking that away the choosing of what to wear in the mornings might actually be a negative for me.

I’ll take black. Oh, and another black. And could you throw in one more black…. Here’s what else is fascinating about the Six Items or Less thingo: the items people chose to include for their 31 days. The ones that were showcased as part of the media piece (and can be found on their site) were all basics. Plain, neutral colours (lotsa black) + plainly constructed items. No fru-fru skirts in fuchsia. No zebra print jeans. No thigh-length leather jackets in sunshine yellow. The items people chose seemed to be a lot like these:

  • black t-shirt or tank top
  • black jeans or pants
  • black dress or skirt
  • black jacket or blazer
  • blue jeans or shorts
  • white or semi-neutral t-shirt (and by semi-neutral I mean those perennially safe colours such as a blue or pale pink t-shirt)

There’s a theme to those six items, isn’t there? A definite consistency, I note, in those items. The presence of items in the colour range near or approximating “black” is possibly the most note-worthy thing (a bit like the collection of black items in the photo accompanying this piece, really). I wonder if that’s because the ladies who started this challenge are New Yorkers? They like a lot of black there, in the Big Apple, don’t they? A bit like Melbourne in that regard. Not a lot of duck-egg blue overcoats in Melbourne, I noted, when I was there over the last 10 days. Except for mine, of course.

Jazzed up. It should be added that “sixers” were allowed to bring in accessories to jazz up their outfits – belts, jewellery, tights, shoes, underwear — these were excluded from the “six”. And thank Manolo Blahnik for that, I say. You’d go rigid with boredom otherwise, wouldn’t you?

Uniform? I asked some fabulous women lately about their shopping and ‘working wardrobe’ challenges. It was fascinating to hear what they had to say. Clothes are not just clothes – whether we love ’em or hate ’em, love or loathe shopping – clothing evokes emotions. Not sure that’s true? I don’t mind a bit of healthy skepticism, so that’s ok. Get your mind around this one then:

One of the women who responded to my crafty questions said she found it tiring and frustrating to sort out her clothes for the day and was thinking of starting to wear a “uniform”. You know, the same outfit every day. Like Wilma Flinstone or Betty Rubble from The Flinstones (no matter how many times you watch that show, Wilma’s always wearing that white strapless number with the zigzag hem and those white beads in a choker necklace, isn’t she?). Kinda like the “sixers” but even more austere – there’d be no choice at all in her daily wear.

Now who’d say something like that except someone who has a strong emotional response to clothing? Of course, she is more down the “loathe” end of the spectrum, granted. But she’s far from neutral. She cares about clothes – it’s just in the form of abhorrence than adoring.

More deviance please! That kind of undeviating consistency in daily outfit choice isn’t for me. I don’t want to wear a daily uniform, or feel the need to evacuate that part of my morning routine by removing all choice in what I wear on a daily basis. I love clothes and enjoy the variety, choice and diversity that a large wardrobe provides.

But I say – go uniform (or “sixer”) if you want to. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, according to the sixers who participated in the 31-day challenge, some people close to them (like husbands, and workmates who sat next to them every day) didn’t even notice they were wearing the same gear, day after day.

Which says to me: dressing for the day should be about you — expressing and informing some essential element of you-ness. Not about dressing for others. Now, I realise that the entire Real Housewives reality TV franchise would fall into a pit of oblivion if more women lived their lives on that principle. But I don’t care about them. I care about you. So, wear six items for a month, wear 66 or 366. Just don’t wear 666. It’s bad luck. Right?

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