The Ultimate Closet Editing Challenge—From Too Much to Everything to Naked in 30 Days
Here’s the challenge: You must choose 15 pieces of clothing that will be on your only wardrobe for 30 days. You can have all the accessories you want. Outerwear doesn’t count. Jammies, skivvies and exercise clothes are free passes as well.
How’s that sound? A bit insane?
But it also provided the greatest sense of style and lifestyle clarity I’ve had in a long time.
For the month of September I participated in Felicia Sullivan’s Ultimate Closet Editing Challenge. The impetus for this insanity was simple. Was it possible to live simply? To apply some creativity to mixing and matching instead of mindlessly purchasing? To get back to basics and be thoughtful about clothing and style?
I had to publicly commit to my 15 chosen pieces. I will admit to cheating a small handful of times, but nothing outrageous. (If you count not choosing almost NUDITY at the office not outrageous —and I DO.) There was a big difference mentally for me between the first half of the month and the last half. Having almost all my clothes “taken away” from me immediately, put me into an almost desperate mindset.
OMG! What will I WEAR?! I have to PLAN and make sure things are CLEAN…
And, yes, that was the case. It was a true definition of the mindset of scarcity. I have LESS. It’s harder to work with LESS. I don’t like having LESS. LESS is worse than MORE.The first two weeks were a cocktail of hard and frustrating and boring and interesting. At the halfway point I moaned about my lack of options (partially due to the lack of FALL where I live). But I also started to realize a few things.
The most important thing I discovered was that I really liked nice things. Sounds ridiculously simple, but here’s where it became important to face that and own it. I love nice things. When I love something, I wear it more and take great care of it and generally feel great. This holds true for a Michael Kors ensemble or a $12 necklace from J.C. Penny. There is nothing wrong with any of that.
What is wrong is to buy things just to buy them. Quantity will never trump quality. Buying for quantity is a scarcity mentality. Buying for quality is full of abundance—regardless of price.
I now view my wardrobe not as my closet, but as my collection. Because a collection is thoughtful and interesting. It is beautiful and inspired and full of joy. And since my clothing and style are a reflection of who I am—why not choose beauty and thoughtfulness and inspiration and joy?
I did a huge closet clean out right before beginning this challenge. I thought I had done a good job—and at the time I had. But two days after the challenge ended, I went in and cut some more. Ruthlessly. I’ve never been so thrilled to donate or give away clothes that not only take up valuable space in my closet, but also no longer represent the style I choose or the person I am.
To commemorate this challenge and its importance, I had a portrait done. I was plainly certain about its elements— naked and an empty bag. I can’t think of two better images to describe the end of this challenge. A blank slate and an empty bag –
Pam is an old soul in high heels. She is a recovering IT consultant and sales executive and right now she’s just happy to be here. In a PowerPoint induced moment of clarity Pam decided to chuck her previously lucrative career to work in the world of philanthropy for 40% of her previous salary. She was clearly a moron. A moron with great jewelry. The stories of her life and the ridiculousness that goes with it can be found at www.outsidevoice.net and her love of all things accessories, fashion and style can be found at www.accessorywhore.com where she will tell you, yes, it is okay to lick the shoes.
Imagine if you were that blank slate and your bag was empty. How would you fill it?
What’s stopping you from attaining your authentic style and authentic collection?
Pam Speer Lewis
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