Dear soft lavender shirt from the Loft clearance rack,
I hate you.
We’re finishing two weeks of the 7 Experiment clothing fast. I wore the same seven(ish) items of clothing for two weeks.
- Soft lavender long sleeved shirt
- Navy blue long sleeved shirt
- Black waffle weave long sleeved shirt
- Brown RB Eye Foundation short sleeved shirt
- Dark denim jeans
- Khaki pants
- Light brown cardigan sweater
- Black flats
- Grey flip flops
- Silver flip flops (for inside my house)
- Running shoes
- Beaded necklace
- Diamond studs
- Silver hoop earrings
- Two belts
Socks, undergarments, pajamas, and work-out clothes didn’t count—though my exercise was infrequent enough to only necessitate two or three ensembles. Bonus points?
I only wore my short sleeved shirt once because Texas, which is supposed to be toasty warm and pleasant by the beginning of April, was a freakin’ ice chest. And I didn’t wear my flip-flops too many times for the same reason.
In the spirit of authenticity and full disclosure, I totally cheated last Saturday night and wore a long tube dress and cardigan sweater with gold wedge heels to see Mary Poppins with my hot date. I wore the same outfit for Easter morning. So there. My excuse: I didn’t look at my calendar closely enough when choosing my seven(ish) items. IT’S NOT MY FAULT! I DIDN’T EVEN MEAN TO! I FORGOT!
(Any other parent besides me want to stick a fork in your eyeball when you hear those words for the fifty-seventh time in a day?)
With Jen Hatmaker’s prodding, I counted the number of clothing items in my closet. Her number was 327, which greatly disturbed her. I hypothesized my number slightly higher than hers since I hadn’t cleaned out my closet in a while. I counted all my clothes, pajamas, bathing suits, coats, jackets, shoes, and workout gear. I didn’t count accessories, socks, or undergarments. Four hundred items, I guessed.
Um. It was a little more than that. Somewhere in the neighborhood of a number that rhymes with Knicks plundered heaven.
Which, as much as I wish to the contrary, has nothing to do with New York basketball.
I think I’m gonna throw up.
In the meantime, the sweater that used to be my favorite before wearing it every day for two weeks was also giving me stomach convulsions. I was so stinkin’ tired of wearing the same clothes every day. I was bored. Seriously, seriously bored.
(Cheating on Easter helped. I’ll not lie.)
(Is cheating on Easter Sunday something like an unforgivable sin?)
(Don’t answer that.)
Unlike Hatmaker, I wasn’t at all fearful of other people’s opinions when they saw me in the same clothes again. That didn’t even occur to me. I can pat myself on the back for being secure enough to not be bothered by what others think. Yay me. No, instead I am self-indulgent and spoiled because I want what I want when I want it. That’s all.
If I wore two different items each day for a year (because, let’s face it, some days I stay in my pajamas all day…or go from pajamas to bathing suit & cover-up back to pajamas), I wouldn’t wear the same thing twice.
And if I calculated the value of what hangs in my closet? Let’s assume I spent an average of $15 on each item. That’s more than nine thousand dollars. Which is half of my annual salary my first year out of college. In my closet. Wrapped up in clothes I hardly ever wear, haven’t worn in years, or may not ever wear again.
The $15 estimate is probably spot-on. I think that’s why I own Knicks plundered heaven items—I can totally justify buying one more shirt or sundress or bathing suit because “it’s such a great deal!” I can count on one hand the number of times in the last ten years I’ve bought something full-price. I know how to find a bargain, and bygolly, I’m proud of that.
But how much of a bargain am I really getting if I never wear it? Or wear it once? Or even twice? And—here’s the kicker—what are the global consequences? Is my $5 T-shirt worth the life of a child in a sweatshop or an exploited woman coerced into modern-day slavery?
And does my buying more and more and more clothes help or hurt the global economic divide? The world’s poor cannot afford to be consumers, so
Big Marketing turned to the wallet of the privileged, invented a bunch of fake needs (prepackaged sugar water, collagen moisturizer, bleach pens), and disregarded the people who were actually dying every day for lack of basics, exposed to the seductions of the consumer marketplace but without the means to participate in it…The needy are without income and the wealthy are without needs.
Instead of getting ourselves wrapped up in self-loathing and condemnation because of our miserable, pathetic, indulgent selves, let’s remember this:
We are hugely, greatly, passionately loved by the God and creator of the universe. He is nuts about us. He wants for us so much more than we want for ourselves. He wants us to be detangled from all The Stuff that prevents us from living out our purpose as the beloved, unique, holy kids that we are. He wants to release us for a greater things.
We are never going to have all the answers. We’re never going to figure it out. We only inch along, discovering truth and wisdom along the way, doing the best we can. And that is enough. We are enough. He is enough.
The next two weeks involve a Possessions fast, which sounds like an excellent time to clean out my closets and cabinets and forgotten places hiding forgotten treasures. It sounds like a perfect time to declare myself free.
What about you? What is your relationship with clothing? What did you/could you learn from a clothing fast?
PS: I met THE St. Anne Lamott this week. In my lavender shirt. And she loved my beaded necklace. That’s all.
PPS: Thing Two has some great thoughts on the clothing fast. Read about it here.