Over the course of this project I can’t say I haven’t thought about clothes—I’m writing a book about them, you know—but I can say that I hardly ever thought about the clothes I was wearing. And that—days on end with no outfit regrets, no second guesses, no constant tugging—that was a revelation.
Before all this, I thought about my clothes a lot. Too much. I’d take thirty minutes to pick out an outfit in the morning and then, two hours into the day, I’d start rethinking it. I’d decide it was too frumpy or too tight or that it didn’t work with my shoes the way I’d thought it did. By the end of the day, I’d be eager to get out of my obviously terrible clothes and into something else.
I did this almost every day.
If I didn’t, it was because my outfit was perfect. On those days I’d wile away the hours thinking about how chic or sassy or pulled together I looked.
I know. Sounds narcissistic. Superficial at least.
It was. And I knew it was, but I wasn’t so sure how to fix it.
The fix, turns out, is to wear the same thing all the time. I had absolutely no need to think about my clothes. I’d worn them day after day. I knew how they looked. I knew how they fit. I knew which piece went with which. And slowly I settled into a mindless contentment. My wardrobe had moved into the realm of uniform.
Fashionistas everywhere are gasping right now.
Stay with me, ladies and well-appointed dudes. The point is not wearing boring clothes. The point is contentment, and contentment almost always decreases as our options increase. If I have chosen this outfit from a hundred ensembles crowding my closet, I’m always wondering if this was the right one, and that wondering takes up too much space in my brain.
Later this week we’ll talk about the “I have nothing to wear” dilemma and explore this rule of multiplying discontent, but for now just let me say that not thinking about clothes made space for other kinds of thinking.
In Colossians 3 Paul writes, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Later in that same chapter he describes the virtues we should “put on.” He says, “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness…”
The clothes meriting meditation are spiritual.
This year I’ve devoted more of my thoughts to things above, carving out space by cleaning out my closet (and my brain) of all the inessentials. I really did think about God more, talk to God more, grow in God more. This year has been one of the richest of my life.
And don’t forget how much less time I spent shopping. Less time shopping meant more time serving others or praying or talking walks in the sunshine.
Bottom line: I highly recommend you give away half the clothes in your closet. It may be the most rewarding thing you do this year.