Back home, I am known as THE shopaholic amongst my friends. When I leave the house, my mother warns my accompanying friend, “Make sure she doesn’t buy anything.” They simply smile and nod, familiar with the routine drill of dragging me out of a store by the shirt collar. For those who don’t hoard clothes, I admire them, but have been incapable of keeping a minimal wardrobe.
With Beijing’s cheap threads, I have amassed a large wardrobe that I often consider downsizing. After reading about the valiant efforts of Stella Brennan in The New York Times, I just might have to follow through. Brennan is one of many who are participating in an online challenge, called Six Items or Less, where participants carefully select six items in their wardrobe (not including shoes, underwear and accessories) to wear for one month. There’s also The Great American Diet, which stretches that month to a whole year and boasts over 150 pledges.
“Nearly 100 people around the country, and in faraway places like Dubai and, [have taken]part in the [one-month] regimen, with motives including a way to trim back on spending, an outright rejection of fashion, and a concern that the mass production and global transportation of increasingly cheap clothing was damaging the environment.”
To the surprise of "Sixers," many people did not notice the lack of selection in their daily wardrobe. Brennan’s own husband did not notice that she wore the same six items; he even does the laundry.
As with any social experiment, this challenge has been met with success as well as failure. One “Sixer” broke down, indulging in an online purchase at a sample sale while another went through mood swings. However, a frequent Target shopper found that she’d only gone twice recently, instead of her usual 3 times a week.
“As with any diet, abstinence is not for everyone.”
For those brave souls (whom I encourage and admire) contemplating the challenge, consider donating your clothes and items to Roundabout Charity Store or International Center for Veterinary Services, which has ties to local charities and accepts non-pet items as well.
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Photo from New York Times.