Nov 182014

When I get to heaven, I am going to get to hang out with Lori Neff. In the meantime, I’ve been following her adventures with a voluntary 30 day clothing “fast”, The 8 Challenge (inspired by the 6 items challenge recently going around, and this book).

Hearing Lori discuss this on the radio this morning, I was struck more by the comments of her colleagues. They, in the two weeks she’s been wearing only eight items, thought she looked fabulous! And she, although she admitted to missing color, had felt her use of accessories had kept her from feeling she was repeating the same outfit over and over.

So what can we learn from practicing the limited wardrobe?

  1. People don’t care if you wear the same thing over and over
  2. People do notice if what you wear looks good, much more than they notice if it’s different from what you wore last week
  3. Getting dressed is easier with fewer choices
  4. If you don’t have much, you better not get behind on laundry 😉

Last week was my first with my laundry strictly limited to my clothes and those belonging to the hero. Now the challenge becomes having enough dirty clothes to run a full load!

  9 Responses to “The unexpected potential of a limited wardrobe”

  1. It’s actually the laundry that keeps me from doing this – laundry is a kid’s chore around here, and I’m lucky to get anything back in a week’s time. (Even though they technically do some wash every day). I tried an experiment with less than a week’s clothes this summer, and had serious bottlenecks. I could make it with a week’s clothes, I think. but that’s a lot more than 8 items 🙂

    • I completely agree. And I am surprised now at finding, since my laundry has decreased so drastically, the pressure is on even more to find those next-to-the-skin top pieces. Because even if I had plenty of bottoms and layers, I often wash the tops every time I wear them. And it just doesn’t seem practical to wash small loads more often, not to mention the fact that then my clothes would wear out and need to be replaced, probably within the season.
      I still think I need to plan based on a ten-day laundry cycle. I am falling back into the routine of doing two loads in Tuesday and two on Friday or Saturday; therefore, it could conceivably be that long, or even longer depending on how the colors fell together!
      Hmmm. 8 items really isn’t enough. I suppose it depends alot on the percentages of dresses vs separates, but now I am really thinking …

  2. As long as I had free access to my scarves, colored tights, and favorite boots, I could totally do this. It would mean giving up my jeans because they aren’t as versatile as my skirts.
    1. knee length black knit skirt
    2. knee length grey knit skirt
    3. blue/purple pencil skirt
    4. white short sleeved t-shirt
    5. white long sleeved knit shirt
    6. heather brown long sleeved knit shirt
    7. grey lightweight wool sweater
    8. red scoop neck cable knit sweater

    • And it would be a beautiful “capsule wardrobe”. Doesn’t it make you feel rich, and content, just to think about doing it? 🙂

      I am curious about including 3 skirts and no jeans; perhaps you don’t actually need jeans at all in your lifestyle. I do understand skirts being more versatile than jeans, for sure, but I don’t know that I would consider three that much more versatile than two, unless one or more of them is more of a character piece than basic (in which case, it is easy to get tired of repeating it frequently).

      What about laundry, though? I suppose with more people come more loads; if I were doing a load everyday, three t-shirts might be enough. But I would have to replace them frequently (which wouldn’t probably be a problem with what you are using being basic enough). I have been trying to wash my white shirts every time I wear them, to avoid yellowing underarms (sorry, it is a fact of life).

      I am sure you know I am just thinking out loud, curious, and processing, not doubting. I bet you could easily get some coworkers and friends to do it with you. Let me know if you do!

      • Yes, the pencil skirt is more of a character piece, and I wouldn’t want to wear it more than once a week to work. I wear my sweaters more than once between washing, but my shirts do get washed every time. The knit skirts can be worn several times and the pencil skirt has probably only been dry cleaned a few times, so laundry would not be an issue. I would just wash everything one day a week when I was in my jammies or work out clothes and call it good. There are always towels you can throw in with the whites!

        Jeans are not my favorite but in this weather they are sometimes warmer than tights and skirts, for sure. In fact, I would be tempted to replace the white tshirt with something warmer right now.

  3. Ok. I will have to do a separate post on this, I think, but for anyone following this thread, or who finds it later, I want this information here. I spent alot of today looking for this information and finally found this (as well as other sources which agreed):

    The expected life span of a shirt should be somewhere between 35 and 50 washings.

    This, I am pretty certain, is referencing a man’s dress shirt, not a t-shirt from Target. So much for the 8 item wardrobe! Well, it would work for 30 days, but Lori Neff is right to be concerned that hers will be worn out at the end (most of her clothing is bought used, as is much of mine).

    Melvin had an idea: have multiples of the same piece, but count them as only one 🙂

  4. The limited wardrobe is an excellent thing, and I’m happy other people (who are not male or fourteen years of age) also see it as a valid option. Only having three work uniforms, I do laundry every three to five days, though, which is probably not in the spirit of the challenge.

    In regards to your conclusion two, I would like to point out, just as anecdotal evidence, that I HAVE had a couple friends ask how many shirts I owned, just to see whether their count was correct. So it does happen that people notice if you’re living out of a capsule wardrobe for an extended period.

    • Your friends prob’ly wish they had the guts to do it too! 🙂

      Idk that there is anything in the challenge precluding washing as often as necessary, but investigating this topic really has me chewing on the idea of how long our clothes last. I am curious: are your tops primarily t-shirts, dress shirts, or something else? Do you buy up in quality because of the heavy wear? Are you satisfied with how long they last?

      I can definitely see benefits to doing it! Thanks so much for your input! 🙂

      • My current shirt staples are all rayon T-shirts from Zenana Outfitters or similar. They tend to look presentable (fabric retains shape, low levels of pilling) for about six months of being worn once or twice a week. This is a definite improvement on my previous collection of poly/cotton “boyfriend” shirts from Old Navy and Target. They tended to either stretch out or acquire sweat stains (this is south Texas) in three to four months. There’s not too much difference in price or workmanship between these brands, though, so I don’t know if I would characterize it as buying up, but I do pay a lot of attention to the choice of fabric.

        Since I wear out two pairs of jeans in a given six months period,* that seems like an acceptable life span for my shirts as well.

        *That’s heavyweight jeans from Levis or Target’s “premium denim.” I killed a pair from Forever 21 in something like two months last year.

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