Minimalist Mommy Fail

Live simpler.  Shop smarter.  Look better.

It sounded logical enough.  Inspired by Project 333, the idea is to “shop your own closet” to create a capsule wardrobe for one month, and share the results with the group.  February seemed a good choice, being a short month.  My friend chronicles the genesis of the idea on her personal blog, here.  All the participants have wound up structuring their challenges a little differently, depending on climate (polar vortex in the East, drought in the West) and priorities (even with a broken foot I have 7 pairs of shoes on my list…addicted).  I opted for 45 items: 33 clothes, outwear & shoes; seven pieces of jewelry & three bags in various sizes; two “alternates”.

At the outset this seemed to come at an opportune moment.  I was struggling every morning with styling myself around a broken foot, newly committed to winnowing down my wardrobe, and generally trying to Keep It Simple.

Interestingly, though, what I came to find over the 28 days was that it all wound up stressing me out.  First off, how does one decide what to include?  I started with favorite basics and worked out from there, but made a concerted attempt to throw in a few well-loved but under-utilized things just to see if they could find a home in the regular rotation if I gave them a chance to shine.  In other words, two commandments ruled:

  1. absolutely no crappy tees allowed no matter how tempted I am to throw one on, and
  2. figure out how to get my money’s worth out of that Anthropologie dress/geometric skirt/graphic coat I splurged on two years ago.
But from Day One I was missing key items, surreptitiously making swaps along the way to accommodate unforeseen plans and events.  The one headband I’d selected hurt my brain after an hour on February 3, and then took up valuable real estate for 25 more days.  I realized I included three chambray shirts (three!) but no white ones.  And then there was a week when I received some upsetting personal news and just wanted fashion to function as armor, so I cheated for several days and felt guilty about it…but guilty of what, and why?
It is possible that my closet is the least of my troubles.
My husband was mystified and my friends amused in a “I bet she can’t pull this off” kind of a way, and I guess in the end they were right.  Restraint isn’t really my thing when it comes to dressing (layers!  jewelry!  shoes shoes shoes!).  We all have our pleasures and this, this female ritual of costume and consumption, is mine.
On March 1 we went to the mountains, where jeans and sweaters and boots are really the only practical option.  On March 3, I wore heels to work for the first time in six weeks, and a shocking pink wool skirt that goes with practically nothing — besides a white shirt.  It’s a new month, and I’m free.
Read what I’ve been fantasizing about on The Eagle’s Nest, here (flats!) and here (leather!).

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