Can You Wear Six Items Or Less?


Yes, I know it should be “or fewer” but listen, that’s what the challenge is called, and it’s actually really worthwhile. Basically, can you live for a month with just six items of clothing?

The idea started with a few friends and has picked up momentum. Here’s the official description:

Six Items or Less began as a small experiment between friends and quickly grew to become a global movement questioning the power of what we don’t wear.
The experiment is simple: each participant gets to choose six (and only six) items of clothing and pledge to wear only these six items of clothing for a month.
Logistically, there are exceptions that don’t count towards the six: Undergarments, swim wear, work-out clothes, work uniforms, outer wear (rain slicker, outdoor jacket), shoes and accessories. You can get multiples of the same item for laundry purposes, but different colors count as separate items.
Most people have asked about the reasoning behind the experiment and most also assume it’s a grand statement about consumerism. In reality, there is no dictated driving thought – it’s for you to decide its meaning and relativity in your world. It’s about putting a challenge out there and seeing what people bring to it, do with it and talk about.

For me, this would be about mindfulness, about seeing how little one really needs, and about getting creative. After all, we all tend to own so much more than we need that an exercise like this — a sort of cleanse for the closet — can be a good wake-up call. That said, I like that it’s not didactic, and people are coming up with some really interesting reasons for their participation — plus learning a lot on the way. Virginia over at Beauty Schooled has been chronicling her own challenge, and if any of you does it I’d love to hear about your progress.

I’ll be honest: I haven’t started mine yet. But I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and here’s what I think I’d do. Or, you know, something along these lines.

It quickly becomes clear that you need things that’ll do double-duty. I chose a sweater-dress because you can wear it with the jeans, the leggings or as a dress with tights (which don’t count as an item, right?) Plus, all of the pieces can be mixed and matched and worn with either boots or ankle boots, depending. Sure, this selection may not set your world on fire: but that’s the point! Plus, never underestimate the power of a scarf, a belt, some “statement” jewelry (even though I kind of hate that expression.)

Now, obviously, the project isn’t practical for everyone: I have a friend with an office job who’s doing it only on weekends, which seems like a more than fair compromise. And frankly, I’m holding off until it gets a leetle warmer; I’d need to layer everything at once to venture out in this weather, and let’s just say the garments would be less than fresh afterwards (as my grandmother would say.) Then too, I’ll need to cheat and wear something when I go to the laundromat — or maybe that’s where the multiples come in. But my point is, I don’t think you need to be strict, as much as think about how much you really need.

I remember talking to an older French lady who told me that when she married and moved to America, her new mother-in-law was shocked at her wardrobe, which consisted of two skirts, a sweater, a blouse and a dress. All well-made — and she was in the habit of washing her blouse out nightly — but sparse to American eyes, even in the pre fast-fashion 1950s. To her, this seemed normal, as it still would to many people around the world. You make due with what you have, and sometimes are all the chic-er for it.

Even if it’s hypothetical, what would you guys choose? What would you give up? And why?

For all of our handy Dress Code guides, go here.

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