[Six Items or Less] One Dress That Makes You Feel Good.

Core Outfit

We’re halfway through SIOL now, and I admit to feeling some serious ruffled cardigan fatigue. I am really loving how quickly I can get dressed, and there’s no question that I’m starting to obsess less because there’s so much less to obsess over. I packed for two overnight trips last week at what felt like the speed of light.

But, as you’ll recall, I started this whole business to find some balance in my love/hate relationship with the closet. And now I’m missing the love. There’s a level of resignation to my non-obsessing. I get dressed in three seconds but it’s more “what’s the point?” than liberating. I feel like I’ve played around with just about every possible combination of the Six and my accessories collection… and I’m out of ideas. Which is surely not true (I have a lot of accessories) so it’s more that I’ve lost the energy for it. Most days, I’m either wearing the navy sweater with the yellow and turquoise scarf I discovered in Week #1, or the outfit you see above. Which are both super cute and comfy and all good things. And yet.

But then I was catching up on the blogs, and saw this quote from Kate Young, the stylist responsible for Natalie Portman’s pink pregnant Golden Globes confection, among other triumphs. The Cut asked her what one item every woman should have in her closet (because fashion blogs love to ask stylists questions like that).

One dress that makes you feel good. It would be easy to say something in particular, like a little black dress, but that’s not right for everybody. If you’re a potter and you live in Woodstock, a black dress is dumb. I think everyone should have one outfit that they feel their best in.

And this was highly helpful. First because Young made me re-appreciate what I’ve been wearing — clearly, these are outfits that make me feel my best. (Despite that being a phrase that makes me want to be wearing patent leather shoes and a Sunday hat.) Because I keep zeroing in on them, even after having pared my wardrobe down so drastically. And most days, I don’t need clothes to do anything more than provide weather-appropriate covering and make me feel good. So that’s pretty cool. It sort of makes me think this challenge would be useful to repeat for a week or so come spring/summer, to help hone in on whatever the warm weather equivalent of these outfits might be. Since it’s so cold right now, I can’t even remember what I wear in the summer. Shorts? Really? Do we ever get to walk around with that little clothing on? Seems so absurd.

And second, because Young reminded me that I DO have a dress in my closet that makes me feel good — and I hadn’t even worn it yet! Somehow we got all the way to Week #3 of the challenge with me not wearing my gray dress. Well! That’s being remedied today (with black leggings ’cause it’s wicked cold out) like so:

And it is something of a relief to have something “new” on. That also really, really works. Plus it’s sort of fancy to wear a dress (even a casual one) to work from home.

So I realize I’m not drawing any major light bulb moment type conclusions from this project just yet. Because on the one hand, I’m bored to tears and looking longingly at my toggle sweater/rest of closet. And on the other hand, I’d be just fine not wearing other clothes forever as long as the clothes I’ve got make me happy. But I’m thinking it might mean that while Six is too few, the 712 items usually crowded into my closet are far too many. And so, I’ve already got my eye on a new challenge, which starts next week (don’t worry, I’ll finish out this Six business first) and just might help me find a happy medium.

Thoughts? Anyone here have that One Dress (or One Whatever Item) that is your equivalent of the Little Black Dress? If so, how did you know it was The One? And if not, are you still searching for it, or are you more of a closet player?

If you’re curious to see what I’ve been wearing every single day of the challenge, check out my SIOL profile . There’s a little row of rainbow-colored squares under “Daily Check-In.” Click each square and you’ll see what I wore and how I felt about it.

[Photos: All outfits created in Polyvore. Boots from Frye, pink tank from American Eagle, all other photos taken by moi.]

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8 Comments

Filed under Six Items or Less

8 responses to “[Six Items or Less] One Dress That Makes You Feel Good.

  1. Marian Sole

    For those of us who wore school uniforms to al all girls school every weekday of our childhood, clothes ceased to have any meaning unless meeting a boy from the local boys school after school hours. Accessorizing then meant shortening skirt, wearing school hat at fashionable slouch, not wearing coat in winter etc. So while we never really thought about clothes during the week, the two or three outfits that we wore at weekends ( and there were only two or three) had great importance to us and were kept in terrific condition. We knew we were dynamite in them ( after all we could compare ourselves in these clothes to the uniform set – no competition). So we really appreciated what we wore on Saturdays but we could focus our minds on so many other things during the week. I think I got much more done.

  2. I think there’s something deeply troubling about this six items thing, something beyond the fact that it’s an unsustainable practice (for most people, anyway). I see on the Six Items or Less website that there is no “dictated driving thought” behind the challenge, that they want individuals to make of it what they will. But I think that in its construction, its rules, the challenge itself is smuggling in some ideas that I would like to question.

    Where is the guilt coming from? Feeling like “what’s the point” when you put on the same clothes every morning doesn’t mean that you’re some kind of horrible consumerista. It means you’re interested in fashion. I don’t think everyone is or should be interested in fashion, just as I don’t think everyone is or should be interested in movies, or music, or visual art, or books. But why is it that having an enthusiasm for clothes is something that people feel should be forced out of them — something vain, materialistic, even on some level sinful — something to be ignored so they can keep their minds on “more important things” — whereas these other interests are viewed as positive, even virtuous? Why is it that picking out a different awesome outfit every day of the week is seen as a waste of time, whereas visiting a different museum every week of the year is seen as an accomplishment? Why is it that a full closet seems “bad” to us, while a full bookshelf seems “good”?

    I think these attitudes are coming, indirectly, out of traditions that trivialize women’s hobbies — which have historically emphasized garments and fashion. I’m not suggesting that you should run up a huge credit card bill at Macy’s or buy dresses that were made in sweatshops, or that you should obsess over what you wear to the grocery store. If your fashion habit is driving you crazy, it’s time to take a break (which I guess is what you’re doing). But I do think that a rigorous, thoughtful, and sustained aesthetic interest in clothing is something to be proud of, not something to stifle.

  3. Jodi

    I looked at your new challenge…funny, I don’t think I have 30 items in my closet, even if you include shoes. Maybe if you count each shoe of a pair as one item…

    But then, I don’t like or feel good in most clothing. I do however, have that one wonderful piece…it’s a funky, ancient Carole Little long flowy jacket with ruffled sleeves and multiple ties in front, made of black rayon with big flowers and mauve/black accent fabric. It’s weird, and I’ve never seen anything else like it, but when I want to feel dressed up, that’s what I wear. I’m sure other people are tired of it, but I’ve been wearing it for 10 years now and still love it, and I’m going to hate it when it finally falls apart.

  4. Pretty much any dress from Huminska does the trick for me–they’re more expensive than I’d normally pay (about $300 a pop) but I feel fantastic in every single one, and they forgive 10 pounds in either direction, and they’re comfortable and don’t wrinkle, and the only problem is that I have to dry-clean them and I’m lazy. (I’m linking for ease but am acknowledging this seems spammy, but I’m not a spammer!)
    http://www.huminska.com/

    As far as the project overall, honestly I probably wear about the same six items all the time anyway, each season. Because of an injury I can’t wear heels for a while so that rules out all the cute little Huminska dresses, which was pretty much the only variation from jeans/long-sleeved tee or sweater/silk scarf that you’ll see me in until, oh, April.

  5. Anna

    This is slightly off-topic, but your experiment with your relationship with clothes and your wardrobe reminds me of this project: http://makeshiftproject.blogspot.com/

    And in answer to your question: yes! I do have a dress that I love and wear everywhere (weddings, hen parties, class, winter, summer). I designed it and made it myself out of a print that I love (black and white Japanese floral), so even though it’s not in my colors or in a particularly flattering style, it’s very much of a reflection of my personality.

  6. Pingback: More on That Bathroom Scale. | Beauty Schooled

  7. Pingback: [Beauty Schooled] In Which I Remember Why I Like Clothes | six items or less

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