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Total Wellness - Shoppers Diet

Posted Jul 22 2010 8:25pm

By, Vanessa
OurHealth Staff Writer

This morning while browsing my favorite style blogs and checking out the “just arrived” section at my favorite online store, I received an email from Kallima, The Brain. I read the email quickly on my Blackberry. I saw the words – shoppers, diet, six items of clothing, 31 days…Heart started racing. I wish I was making this up but my heart actually started racing!

Kallima said she read my tweets (ugh, that’s the problem with public sharing) confessing that I had “way, way, way” too many clothes. She threw down a challenge. She sent me the link to this NY Times article. Shoppers on a ‘Diet’ Tame the Urge to Buy .

The article covers familiar territory. A closet full of clothes. So many choices, but nothing to wear. Spend, spend, spend. Exhale………

I am a notorious clothes horse. Dresses, skirts, shoes, bracelets, scarves, the perfect suit, this seasons must have trench coat, last seasons got to jeans. Its just gluttony. I am always looking for ways to pare down, but only six items of clothes for a month? That’s just cruel.

The subject of the New York Times article, “Ms. Brennan” decided on her six items of clothing with thought and care. For one month she wore a combination of only - a black blazer and pants from H & M; two button-down shirts, one black and one pink; a pair of Old Navy jeans; and one well-worn pink T-shirt.

From the NYT

This self-imposed exercise in frugality was prompted by a Web challenge called Six Items or Less ( The premise was to go an entire month wearing only six items already found in your closet (not counting shoes, underwear or accessories). Nearly 100 people around the country, and in faraway places like Dubai and Bangalore, India, were also taking part in the regimen, with motives including a way to trim back on spending, an outright rejection of fashion, and a concern that the mass production and global transportation of increasingly cheap clothing was damaging the environment.

Meanwhile, an even stricter program, the Great American Apparel Diet, which began on Sept. 1, has attracted pledges by more than 150 women and two men to abstain from buying for an entire year. (Again, undies don’t count.) And next month, Gallery Books will publish a self-help guide, called “The Shopping Diet,” by the red-carpet stylist Phillip Bloch. (“Step 1: Admit You’re an Overshopper”... “Step 9: Practice Safe, Responsible Shopping”... “Step 10: Make the Diet a Way of Life.”)

Though their numbers may be small, and their diets extreme, these self-deniers of fashion are representative, in perhaps a notable way, of a broader reckoning of consumers’ spending habits. As the economy begins to improve, shoppers of every income appear to be wrestling with the same questions: Is it safe to go back to our old, pre-recession ways? Or should we? The authors of these diets — including some fashion marketing and advertising executives, interestingly enough — seem to think not.

Could I do this? Could I take this challenge and for one month only wear SIX items of clothes? I thought long and hard about it and decided, of course I could. In doing a quick inventory of the clothes in my current rotation and my daily routine, which at the moment does not include going into an office or interacting face to face with people on a professional level, I decided that for the most part I already wear only a tiny, tiny fraction of my clothes as it is. That’s half the problem.

Although I have at least six varieties of sequence blouses, I’m most likely to throw on a V-neck American Apparel t-shirt. Although I have two drawers full of jeans in every style from skinny to high waist, more than likely I will get up and put on the same black stretch pants or same green cargo pants everyday.

I have a lot of clothing options. I rarely wear half the clothes that I have and yet I continue to buy more. Why? Psychosis.

What if I’m invited to a fancy head of state dinner and I need the perfect cocktail dress? The state dinner will probably be in London so I’ll need a great city coat while I’m there. Oh yes, the flight is also really long; I definitely need a new comfortable pair of pants for the plane. Oh and a scarf to dress up my travel look. And some boots of course because it might rain. And a cocktail ring and the perfect pair of shoes, and well a cute carry on bag for all my new purchases…. Does this sound crazy? It is. And yet some version of this utterly ridiculous and very far fetched scenario has ran through my head many times and this is how I have justified, many a unnecessary purchase.

This is why I’ve decided to reject the challenge set forth by Kallima of only wearing six items of clothing for 30 days. I could easily do this and yet still end up at Nordstrom purchasing a fur shawl (because you know a fur shawl would be perfect for a wintery romp through the park on horse drawn sled…whenever this happens).

Nope, I’ve decided to go BIG with this challenge. Why not? How about I commit publicly to embark on NO SHOPPING for the rest of 2010. I’ve thought about this all day. I’ve considered not posting this because I did not want to make the commitment. I thought about the long list of things that I’d already planned to buy. I actually considered rushing out to the mall today and grabbing two tunics that I’ve been eying at H&M. I thought, well I don’t need them now but they’d be perfect for a brisk October day when I’m on my way to a football party or something. Or something! God, I am a mess!!!!

And so it is.

OurHealth is about total wellness and I am doing this for my health. My mental and spiritual health are calling for me to make some changes. Thanks Kallima for calling me out!

One small note– I’ve decided that “Health & Beauty” do not fall under no shopping. If I’m not getting my fur shawl the least I can have is my Moroccan hair oil and Bobby Brown pressed powder. I still have to have my purrty girl swag. ☺

I’ll be back next Friday with an update on how my week went. Irony = I have to go to Chicago tomorrow. No Michigan Avenue for me!
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