clothes fast

The Clothes Fast

Ugh, I am afraid this is the post where you will think less of me.  See, the post is approximately 71% clothes-related content and 17% fast-related content.  I’m not sure what the remaining % is related to.

really like food.  I mean, I was raised in New Orleans and my standards are high.  High, I tell you.  So the food fast was, you know, big.

But. I LOVE clothes.  It’s true.  Don’t get me wrong – I talk myself out of most things.  I’m a sucker for a bargain and I would {almost} never pay full-price.  But that’s where my clothes-loving virtue stops.

Retail therapy.  I get that.

A bad day?  Give me Starbucks.  A really bad day?  Give me a second Starbucks.

But a rough day?  Give me Starbucks + Target.  And the handful of days that I would define as horrendousI dress up after those.

I realize this is twisted.  But it works, y’all.  I remember one particularly awful week.  It was four years ago and it began with the sudden death of my youngest cousin.  In four days, we’d had a five-hour visitation, a funeral that should have been a wedding, and – in the two days back to work – three pieces of difficult news that affected my job for the remainder of the year.  I know you’ve had those…when you just don’t know if you can handle one more bad thing.  So on Thursday, I dressed up.

I remember what I wore.  I remember a person who stopped and said something about my ensemble.  And do you know what? In a really temporary way, I felt better.

Let me keep going, just in case you don’t already have the point.

I do my job better when I dress well.

Putting together outfits, seeing the potential in a piece of clothing…is creative enterprise to me.

I hardly wear the same thing the same way twice.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a total recycler.  But something will be different the second time around.

I have a whole slew of my own rules…three colors, mixing textures, playing with layers.  Go with unconventional, keep it interesting.  Will you be outside today, Katie?  Do you have extra time to take those shoes off?  Will you be driving far?  All of these are subconscious, habitual thoughts that run through my few minutes of wardrobe-planning nightly.  {Nightly, because I’m never awake enough to create a coherent thought in the morning.}

So do I need to deal with clothes?  Yes.  Do they define me more than they should?  Yes.

{Am I glad this is the shortest month of the year?  Yes.}the clothes fast

As you can imagine, this took considerable more thought and planning than the food fast.  And it didn’t start until the last day of January.  Oops.

First, I realized that Jen’s method for her clothes fast would probably not jive in my professional world.  7 articles for the month is almost not doable.  Now, I have a fantastic principal who would probably cheer me on if I said I’d be wearing the same thing daily.  But first, I’d have to stand far away from everyone’s noses.  And as I said, I teach better when I look like I know what I’m doing.  {So…if you are judging my modified clothes fast…remember – it’s for the kids.}

I thought of a few different methods.  I thought I’d just wait-and-see what I didn’t wear for the month.  And then deal with that part of my closet.  But that requires no sacrifice on a day-in/day-out basis, no amount of looking at this excess and regularly dealing with my heart.  I thought I’d totally simplify my colors – go with a boring version of myself.  But I’m not sure what that teaches me about excess.  After all, I have many, many neutral options.  Many.

So.  Adrian to the rescue.  She said, “Why don’t you pack for a week and then live out of that for the month?”  Adrian is a genius and she wins.

Here it is…

clothes fast

Seven outfits that I will likely wear once this way and then mix-and-match per usual.  Minimal accessories.  Shoes.  Lounge clothes.  And that’s it.  It was a little bit of a puzzle.  I had to think about things like sufficient red/pink ratio {hello, school teacher} and presenting at a teacher conference this month.  Church and school are pretty interchangeable.  But Fridays I wear jeans and a school polo.  And Saturdays I like to lounge it.

I started with shoes.  Naturally.

shoesI feel a little bad about five pairs.  Also, I have an excuse.  Friday was “mis-match day” at school and I went with two flats before I’d committed to my clothes for the month.  In retrospect, I would have hobbled around instead.  Now, I get an extra pair for the month.  No complaining here.

I gave myself some lounge/work out clothes.  Also – not having planned yet – found myself in my 1989 Mardi Gras tee yesterday.  At least it’s February.

lounge clothes

And then I began the task of putting my February closet together.  But I found a pair of shoes.  Found.  As in, I’d completely forgotten I had these. {wince}

extra shoes

So I started to doubt my choices.  {Still doubting.}  And then, I realized that I would love it if all the other clothes weren’t there.  So I moved them.  All of them.  {This is where you are invited to send a mean email for the fact that I have storage – somewhere – to put all of those clothes.}

February closet

It is lovely.  I look in my closet and breathe peace.  I love it so much that I already plan to put as little as possible back.  I’m even thinking of keeping a list of the things I actually think about over the next month.  If I don’t even think about it…I probably need to give it to someone else…who actually needs it.

Here is what I have already learned about clothes excess:  Excess is the part I don’t even love.  That little rectangle above includes almost all of my favorite {winter} pieces.  And they fit into one week’s worth of clothes.  Also, I can really live in less…without being inconvenienced in the least.  I semi-cheated.  I gave myself a sweater/cardigan for nearly every day.  I figured, “hey, it’s February.”  And yet…that right there is 25 articles of clothing.  25.  And it felt like I cheated.

So here’s where I’d like some help.  First, I’m instagramming the outfits.  That’s accountability/my diary for the month.  Care to follow along?

Second, I can’t decide on my heel for the month.  Help a sister out?  What do you think?  The ones I found or the ones I’d chosen?  {Majority in the comments wins…whenever I get around to a day with a heel.}

which shoes?

Let’s do this.

Linking up with Michelle at Shine this Light today!



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23 thoughts on “The Clothes Fast”

  1. Mary Janes, unless the wedges are more comfortable. I have the terrible habit of picking out cute shoes, but then I regret it 10 minutes into my day because I can’t even stand let alone walk. I am excited to see how this month of clothes fasting turns out for you – I definitely need a clothes fast myself, but am nervous about it, so it will help to see someone else accomplish it :)

    1. Thanks, Elise! Mary Janes, 1. :) I completely understand…I once had a coworker who could only work in heels. She said anything else hurt! I figured she was just so used to them that no other type would do. I love heels, but I definitely have to wear them on certain days! And also, those mary janes are sofft brand, so they are cushy – another thing going for them! Thanks for reading along with the fast. So far, it has been very freeing. So we’ll see!

  2. Thank you for this article! And NO, you will not be disliked for writing this – you are being vulnerable and real, and we are all the better for it, my friend! :) It sounds like the ‘clothes’ fast is as hard for you as the ‘food fast’ was for me. (Honestly, I struggled at it, and didn’t do well. I probably need to do it again). I think your solution for your month’s fast is great- one of the suggestions in the Bible study was to take a trash bag, and put as many clothes in it as you can, and then wear those for the time you fast–I think this is the same type of concept. Thanks again for your email friend – sorry I haven’t written back–have yet another pesky sinus infection this week, and it’s slowed me down. Have a wonderful day!

    1. Sorry you are not well, Sarah! I hope you feel better soon! The garbage bag idea is a good one, too… But this has gone well, all four days of it. :) Thank you for your encouraging words. I wish I could have said, “oh, pish. clothes? what clothes?” but it would not have been honest of me…

  3. Katie! I LOVE this although I must confess the concept makes me uncomfortable! You could be my daughter! I enjoy all this a little too much I know! Go with the colorful wedges and have fun with the “punch” of color! Love you!

    1. Aw, thank you Mrs. Marilyn!! I would be happy to be your daughter, too – and I take that as a HUGE complement! :) I’m right there with you and the discomfort of it all… We will see how it goes. Looks like it will be the wedges – I love color punches!

        1. I am! You can look in the sidebar and it shows {I think} the last nine from my instagram feed. Or if you’re on Instagram, you can find me. My name on it is cardiganway! And I put up a picture every morning…though I haven’t yet taken today’s picture, but I will! :)

  4. Coveting your 25 articles! (and your accessories!) Ha! My 10 pieces have 1 pair of shoes (black TOMS) so I picked everything else to go around those until I get reprimanded by my completely black and white ensemble and chose a pink tee at #10 (instead of, tear, some sparkly studs). It has been hard, but in 4 days I haven’t worn the same outfit twice…and I won’t be repeating tomorrow either – so I don’t think it’s that bad! I’m also glad it’s the shortest month :) And I really have to focus on what I’ve allowed to become the source of my self-worth…
    LOVE your writing style and humor :)

    1. Oh dear, Rachel. Mine must look like complete luxury with your much more admirable 10! I didn’t even count my shoes in my 25! Yikes. I’ve already noticed that I probably can stretch out my “seven outfits” in to much more than one week, so it sounds like you are experiencing that with your 10, too! And – I think pink with you black and white sounds perfect for February! Can’t wait to hear how your month goes!

    1. Thank you for following along, Michelle! I think I will make it…so far, the limits are making me MORE creative, not less. Who knew? Looking like the wedges may squeak out the mary janes, but if so, they will be on my March list for sure.

  5. Thank you for your thoughts on fasting…wish I had thought of doing this before now. I need to purge my closet(s). Wish I had the strength and energy now that I have the time. My vote is for the wedges in the beautiful color. I love wedges.

    1. Thank you, Carolyn…I love wedges, too. Comfy heels. :) No hurry on purging – take care of yourself. If after a while you still aren’t up for it, I will be happy to come and purge for you. I might even be better if it’s not my own closet! As you can see, I have lots of clothes opinions. See you soon, Carolyn.

  6. If you knew my lack of style, you’d never let me vote on your shoe choices so I won’t. I think they’re both lovely!

    I’m looking ahead at the clothes challenge that I’ll be doing next week, and thinking that I need to figure out how to make it more meaningful for me. Still not sure what I’ll do for it precisely, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts on how you decided how you were structuring it for yourself.

    1. Sheila – I’d love to know what you end up doing! It was a little bit of a challenge figuring out what would both work with my life and also…teach me the point. Nearly halfway in, it has been a stretching thing but also a very peaceful one. Amazing. (By the way – I love seeing your face! I like teacups, too, but I’m glad to see what you look like!) :)

  7. Though a tinch {did I make up that word?} different, I can totally relate to your dress up MO after bad days. When my gramma passed away while I was in England, I immediately painted my nails a bright shade of pink {along with finding the most chocolatey muffin I could find – food fast is probably in my future…} and continue to use shockingly cheery shades of nail color to raise my spirits when bad things crowd my life.

    I’m loving this series, Katie!

    1. I can totally understand what a tinch is. And I’d still completely resonate with painted nails, chocolate, and baked goods on such kinds of days. Hoping you will have good reasons to enjoy those things this weekend, however. :)

  8. I choose the grey shoes, mostly because I’d like to have them myself… and occasion to wear them. ;) I love that you moved the rest of your clothes out of the closet. I can imagine how much easier that made everything. Love you!

  9. Oh, p.s., obviously I know my vote doesn’t count because there are only two days left. But I’ve been media-fasting, kind of, so… yes.

    1. I think that’s fantastic. I look forward to a media fast… And even though you were late, the grey ones will always make me think of you, now! :) love y’all.

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