When I told my younger sister I was doing a style resolution where I would only wear a very limited amount of items from my closet for 30 days, she replied “Why would you torture yourself!?” I was a few days in and I found myself justifying my foray into this fashion fast. I explained that I wanted to challenge myself to live simply, to do more with less, and to be a minimalist in the style sense. I wanted to own my clothes and not be owned by them.
I haven’t done anything like this since my LBD days, so I knew this would be a challenge. Prior to day one, I tried to build my capsule ahead of time. These select items would become my best friends for the next 30 days with a few exceptions: weekends were excluded from this challenge, and I still allowed myself full access to all my accessories. My compilation was based on the French woman’s suggested pieces of basic items in neutral colors (black pants, blue jeans, flats, white blouse, cardigan, etc.). But what I found after the first three days was that I continued to edit my assortment. I thought I needed the grey zip up jacket, but instead replaced it with my chunky knit cardigan sweater. I quickly decided which pieces I could live without, and which pieces were the most versatile and indispensable. After the first week, I did not allow any further editing, unless the polar vortex should suddenly pay a visit to sunny California.
My experience went something like this:
Day 1: Excited to do this! Feeling a little plain, but still confident and pulled together, like I did this effortlessly.
Day 6: Tee shirt and jeans, or tee shirt and jeans? Decisions, decisions.
Day 11: If I cut this challenge down to 21 days, then I’m halfway there….
Alas, the original 30 day challenge became a 21 day challenge. After all, doesn’t it only take 21 days to start a habit?
I made a lot of discoveries during this experience. Some were expected, and others surprising. I rediscovered the long tan coat I had neglected over the years. I used to avoid mixing black and brown, but now I completely accept it. I felt more at ease at work since there was no need for outfit upkeep. I drew less attention to myself because I fit in with everyone else’s casual style. On the other hand, I didn’t necessarily get ready faster each morning, which was a big surprise to me. The time I saved choosing my outfit was replaced by dilly dallying over my accessories and jewelry; I just didn’t know what to do with my extra time and I was desperate for any way to add variety to my outfit.
This fashion fast is by no means perfect. Should I have stuck to the original 30 days? Maybe I limited myself with too few pieces or maybe I chose the wrong ones. Perhaps I was searching for perfection that simply doesn’t exist. How many ways can one style a white tee? There’s a finite amount of outfit combinations but I was striving for infinity and innovation to the point that it left me drained, uninspired, and lackluster. Towards the end of the challenge, I couldn’t see anything past a white tee shirt and jeans. I lost day 5’s photo somewhere along the way, so you’ll just have to take my word that I really did do this for the full duration.
Clothes do not make the woman, and in short I cannot say this was a bad experience. But for me I felt creatively suppressed. Without my colorful clothes and whimsical prints I lost all essence of what Chic Vic set out to be. If it takes 21 days to start a habit, then it only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression. Fashion is both frivolous as it is meaningful. Your outward appearance is the reflection of the inner you, so choose wisely.
I am still striving to find ways to lead a minimalistic life – just not at the expense of my style and closet. Instead of going extreme for weeks at a time, perhaps I’ll incorporate what I’ve learned from this experience into Minimalist Mondays or Fashion Fast Fridays.
You can take girl out of fashion but you can’t take the fashion out of the girl.