Baring it All - How to Not Make a Statement!

So, one of the main impact areas under deconstruction is consumerism or materialism: the acquisition of things and stuff, stuff and things. And while lot of these habits or behaviors barely conceal the value system at work underneath, I know I also have some more deeply rooted issues around this. These will hopefully be excavated and revealed as necessary for deeper reflection throughout this experiment, but in the meantime I think one of the most important questions is around clothes. 'What I do want/need from my clothing?' and how does that answer fit with the goal of no-impact living, saving money, treading lightly on the earth and making responsible choices with my resources and power.

What I do want/need from my clothing?

1. First of all, I want to empower myself by making the decision as to how my clothing choices work for me instead of having it dictated by events, social circumstances, or trends.

2. It must be functional, fun, and funky. I wore uniforms for middle and high school and am really not trying to relive that polyester experience, although I will admit to an uncanny fondness for plaid. I attribute that, however, to my Scottish lineage instead of Sister Mary Ellen of the Pennies on her Toes or Sister Cirene who's red bangs changed shades under her habit each week. (A clothes line and a few sew ins figured prominently in my humorous mind's eye theory to explain this.)

3. My functional, fun, and funky wardrobe must be of high quality, timeless styles, and of flattering fit, color, and cut. I have often said I would rather have 5 fabulous outfits than 50 mediocre "throw ons". My grandmother taught me to sew, but my mother taught me fabric. The "hand" of a fabric can be ascertained by trained fingertips at the lightest grazing. Round the rack of $5 pants, like a seasoned roulette player, I stop automatically at fully lined wool, linen, raw silk, etc. I want my clothing choices to reflect this knowledge. (Hmmmm, may have a ways to go on this goal...)

4. Must meet the minimum need for physical and psychological comfort. (See, I told you there's some deeply rooted issues here...what is my psychological relationship to clothes and will this challenge, strengthen or threaten?)

5. Buy only what you need by knowing what you've got. I know I've got a lot of stuff around here but

what it is

? That's another question. My guess is that its all unmatched socks...but I digress.

6. It must be organized! Meaning, corralled in its appropriate habitat, i.e. closet and/or dresser. NOT roaming freely throughout the house, setting up breeding zones in the laundry room, on backs of chairs and the wide end of the ironing board, or in plaid dollar-store bags!

Frida Kahlo Style Self Portrait as an Angel (or Tree Topper)

Over the years, because I never had the budget or patience to support regular trips to the mall, I attempted to deal with the need for protection from the elements by thrift shopping, resale, yard sales, second-hand, whatever you want to call it. With a few new on-line, mall, or boutique purchases seasonally. It works for me but I know that's not everyone's cup of tea. Right now, 'To thrift or not to thrift?' is NOT the question. I know "anti-thrifters" who think the idea of wearing something someone else has already worn qualifies as an act of germ warfare, I know and have been the "assimilation thrifter" who disguises herself in large sunglasses and a trench coat to comb racks for hidden designer gear but would never admit it, and there's the "excess thrifter", who justifies having 25 black tee shirts because they only cost $1.00 each. I am now an "excess thrifter".

See, I thrift shop for clothes the same way I do for used books...with the discount price logic model firmly blocking all reason. I shop for that red carpet, once in a lifetime, red letter, star colliding, interplanetary alignment known as "One Day!" On this day,"One Day", all the knowledge I have ever needed from all of my stockpiled books will assemble itself in my head and I will wear layer upon layer of perfect outfits that have patiently awaited this moment and then, I tell you, then something will happen! Or, will have happened! Or, be about to happen!

Really? Right.

Right now, I need to deal with what I have. (We can go over place of purchase pros, cons, and other fun issues later in the game) I know I have some great stuff and I know plenty can probably be donated. But, I have to eliminate the excess in order to enjoy the treasures! I will be trying the "Wear Everything You Have"challenge (below). This appeals to me because I have often used the excuse of "needing" to get the value out of a thing before being able to release it. Therefore I want to read every magazine and book before giving them away, try everything on before it goes to Goodwill, watch every VHS tape, etc. This type of mind trickery compliments pack-ratitis

very well!

I came across the following sights during one of many internet dot-to-dots which started with

Flickr's Wardrobe Remix,

one of my favorite sights. I like it because it features beautiful "everyday" folk in their "everyday" finest. And by finest I mean that which makes them feel just fine! Sure some are designer label head to toe, but most are a thrift-store, handed down, off the sale rack, home-made, mix and match lot who have an eye for putting themselves together and looking lovely, confident, and radiant in choices of their own making (or maybe


of that). Now, true, I don't know the stories behind the women who post to Wardrobe Remix or the other handful of fashion photo blogs I follow (until yesterday I did not even know "fashion-blogging" was a genre unto itself), but I have found it fun, free, and inspiring!

It appeals to my interest in photography and somewhat sporadic interest in fashion. Sporadic in that, although I want to "look nice", sometimes it seems to require too much time, effort, and money. At least more than I'm willing to designate toward the endeavor. Even still, I flip through glossy pages or click through stylized photo shoots and I tell you, certain items will make my mouth water! Seriously! And, although I'm impressed with the range and scope of unique creative flair represented, I'm leery of defining any of this with what my mother always referred to as "good taste". Something about some Who's in Whoville determining what is "proper, acceptable, beautiful, lady-like, nice", etc. leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

So, here is my first no-impact clothing research:

Wear Everything!!

or Nothing at all!!

(Well, 6 items or less

which might as well be NOTHING right?)

Or ONE Little Brown Dress

. There was one site that has a 30 f0r 30 challenge, but

30 for 30

doesn't seem like a challenge at all, it actually seems a bit extravagant.