I’m a proud member of the Outfit Repeater’s Club.
Over the last two months, I spoke in 13 different cities to more than 2000 people. With the exception of one city, I wore the same outfit to every single event. I wore black leggings, a light weight gray sweater, and black boots. I even wore this outfit during other outings on my trip. I wore the same outfit over and over again.
Because I am a proud member of the outfit repeater’s club, I can think about things that matter more to me than what I’m wearing or what other people may think about what I’m wearing.
In 2010, my first round of minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 changed the way I thought about my clothes, my stuff, and my spending habits. The challenge invited me to embrace the joy and ease of dressing with less.
Wearing only 33 items of clothing including accessories, jewelry, and shoes make me realize …
I need way less than I think to be happy.
The more I had, the more I wanted. It seemed like my clothes needed more clothes. “That sweater would go great with those jeans I have,” I would think. Or, “A new scarf or belt will really pull this look together.” My constant quest for more resulted in frustration, overspending, and discontent. Choosing from a small selection of thirty-three made me feel light, and I almost immediately felt gratitude for what I had instead of thinking about the next thing I needed.
No one cares what I’m wearing.
When I started the challenge, I was working full-time. Between in office sales meetings, client lunches, and community events, I was out and about most of the time, with many of the same people. No one noticed I was wearing the same few things for three months. My colleagues didn’t notice, my clients didn’t notice. I actually received more compliments. I even wore the same dress to every holiday function and event that year.
Deciding what to wear requires mental energy better spent on other things.
Have you ever experienced decision fatigue? I used to spend so much brain power buying things, chasing sales and figuring out what to wear. I remember trying on several outfits getting ready in the morning in hopes of finding the perfect thing. Now, in curating a small capsule wardrobe, there are no daily decisions required. I get to wear my favorite things every day.
Spending less energy being creative in my wardrobe has freed up more creative energy for things I am more interested in.
Instead of planning outfits, shopping for colorful scarves to complete a look, or figuring out what to wear every morning, I use my creative energy for actually creating. Spending less of that energy on my wardrobe means I have more of it for writing, photography, brainstorming and other things that I care about.
A simple closet is the gateway to a simple life.
Once you begin to enjoy the benefits of dressing with less, you’ll get very curious about living with less. Simplicity in the closet seeps into every other area of your home and life. Once I realized how little I needed in the closet not only to get by but to thrive, I wondered what else was holding me back from even more joy and ease. Did I really need all of those spatulas and wire whisks? Was anything in the junk drawer worth holding to? Did I even need a junk drawer?
The challenge was never about clothes or fashion.
Dressing with fewer items didn’t make me more interested in clothes or fashion. Instead I realized that all those times I thought, “I love shopping,” I didn’t really know what I loved. Removing all the more, more, more from my closet helped me figure out what mattered to me, what I was curious about, and how I wanted to live my life.
I’m so glad I decided to trade the excess in my closet and life for more joy and ease.
A new season of minimalist fashion challenge begins on April 1st. If you want to give it a try, you can find all of the rules here. For a deeper dive and more inspiration and instruction read chapter fifteen in Soulful Simplicity or take the Dress with Less Course.
Who knows, you may become a proud member of the Outfit Repeater’s Club too.