Picking six pieces of clothing for four weeks requires looking at your wardrobe in a new way. And, depending on your signature style, this is harder than it seems. After spending days agonizing over my decisions and rethinking them, I'm ready to commit to six items and sharing some tips to help you pick your items if you're struggling.
First a bit of background on how I choose what I'm going to wear. I start with an outfit in mind when I add an event to my calendar. Because I attend a variety of events from casual to formal and from actively chasing a toddler to calmly sitting while listening to a speaker, I have a variety of wardrobe choices. Those choices differ in color, material, silhouette, and care instructions.
Limiting myself to six pieces of clothing required a few changes to how I get dressed or plan my outfits. Instead of looking a week ahead for upcoming events to determine what needs to be washed or dry cleaned, I found that I needed to look at the entire month and coordinate or repeat outfits. (The more rigid planning may change the way I respond to spur of the moment meetups.)
I also found that I could no longer pick and choose outfits by whether or not I'd be chasing a toddler. All separates had to work with a toddler; I didn't have the luxury of additional items to replace any that might get soiled by sticky hands. Adding a toddler into the equation for all types of events, required a temporary change to my style. Separates had to accommodate my roles as a business professional and as a mom.
Tips for Choosing Your Six Items
After many stops and starts with my final item selection, I came up with a process for considering items:
- Start with a blank calendar and add all events you'll be attending. Note whether the event is casual or formal. For sanity, exclude weddings or black tie affairs from the challenge. This challenge isn't about making you hate going out in public.
- Eliminate any items that can't be tossed into a washing machine and lightly tumbled dry if needed.
- Aim for three tops and three bottoms (pants or skirts). If all of your tops and bottoms work together you'll have nine outfits you'll be able to rotate through.
- Consider solid colors for your separates. Patterns might limit the number of combinations that are possible.
- Include one top and one bottom that are slightly dressy and might not be something you'd typically wear to work. Depending on how you style them with your accessories, you'll be able to dress down the individual piece and when worn together you'll have a nice outfit for an evening out.
- Think about layering options for tops. Shirts and dresses with similar necklines are easier to layer.
- Plan to layer skirts and dresses. To reduce bulk when a skirt is layered over a dress, look for a dress that's more fitted over your hips and a skirt that's fuller.
Tell us what you picked or show us!
When sharing photos on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, remember to tag them with #6fo4HavenotWant so that we can find them! I'm looking forward to seeing how creative everyone is going to get with their accessories. I know I'll be turning to scarves, wraps, and belts a lot over the next twenty eight days.
Participate in The 6 for 4 Mindful Consumption Challenge
The best thing about this challenge is that anyone can do it. It doesn't require you to buy anything. Because this challenge is about education and getting to know where our clothing comes from, you're going to use items you already have.
Each Monday during the challenge, beginning May 5th, you'll receive a newsletter with tips and worksheets for becoming a more mindful consumer. We'll be tackling the following topics:
- Week 1: Inventorying Your Wardrobe
- Week 2: Stretching Your Fashion Budget Dollars
- Week 3: Getting to Know Your Brands
- Week 4: Making Smart Shopping Choices
Sign Up for The 6 for 4 Challenge
Each week I'll be sharing worksheets via email to guide discussion. Subscribe below to ensure you don't miss these resources. The first newsletter goes out this coming Monday, May 5th.
IMPORTANT: Because this challenge is about educating ourselves about the fashion we consume, the six items you chose should come from your closet. If you don't have any items that are made in your country or produced under Fair Trade or Living Wage conditions, you can still participate. Certain items are excluded from the challenge, meaning their wear doesn't count against your six items: underwear, socks, shoes, pajamas, accessories, and coats. Yoga or gym clothes when worn to work out are also unlimited. Uniforms for work or school are also excluded as you don't have a choice there.
Grab a Badge
Tell people about what you're doing. Place one of these badges on your blog; they're 200 by 200 pixels and can be sized smaller simply by changing the height and the width values from 200.
Tips: If including the 6 for 4 Mindful Consumption Challenge Pledge or guidelines on your blog or website, link participants back to the main Challenge post. The URL for that post is: http://www.theroadtothegoodlife.com/2014/04/wearing-only-6-pieces-clothing.html.
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.