There have been a crop of blogs that have sprouted up for people searching for simplicity and authenticity in their everyday lives- and one very popular tactic to achieve that has been through fashion. I have started my own No-Shopping Challenge which ends this month, but people are doing what I would consider the unimaginable: A REALLY LONG HIATUS FROM FASHION CONSUMPTION! AHHH!
One famous blogger, Alex Martin, wrote about her year long quest to wear the same brown dress for 365 days. Another group of bloggers have participated in Project 333, where each person must pick 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes and wear ONLY those items for 3 months. In both cases, and many similar projects- it takes a lot of creativity to not get tired of the same outfit, but starting projects like these have been said to change the participant’s relationship with consumption, personal body image, and spending. Brilliant, right? But could you do it?
The No-Shopping Challenge has been more of a stretch than I thought it would be. Just eliminating my penchant for instant gratification for 30 days has already been a transformative process- but I’m not sure if I could handle wearing the same dress for a year, and I’m not sure if I’d really enjoy the challenge of limiting myself to the same basic items for 3 months.
Then again, taking on challenges like this give fashion new meaning, an expression of self that is deliberate and purposeful. Instead of just consuming things on a whim, people use fashion centered challenges like this to make statements and serious changes in the way they live their lives. It changes how we view fashion- from passive consumption as personal expression, to the active planning and creation of what we want to convey through fashion. Instead of relying on the hot new trend to say you’re really “with it,” crafting a message that is conveyed through a brown dress for 365 days or only wearing re-crafted thrift store finds says you’re not only “with it,” but you’re beyond the trends. It’s not about consuming a look to convey a message, it’s about crafting a look to convey a message- the fashion is the message.
In comparison to these active fashionistas, my No-Shopping challenge seems timid at best- but I’m going to use some of the money I saved this month to donate to ShelterBox, and am going to brainstorm a new challenge that will send a message about something that matters to me- whether it’s purposeful simplicity, fighting poverty or crafting a more positive self-image.
The best way to make a fashion statement, in my opinion- is to always wear your heart on your sleeve.
That being said- what would you be willing to try to make your life more meaningful? Fashion and shopping are just reflections of our values- what we buy and what we wear are expressions of what we think are important. I’m curious to see what you think of your own purchases- what does it say about you?