In fifteen days I will officially have completed my year-long experiment in radical modesty (and simplicity). After wearing the same four outfits all year long, I am, dare I say it, in the home stretch! I’m not about to mess up now (although I’m a little handicapped having left one of my outfits in Florida over Christmas).
This week and next I want to share the top fifteen things I’ve learned over the past year—about clothes, about myself, and about God. We’ll count it down, starting today.
Clothes don’t need to be new to be great.
Today, I pulled on my jeans, threw a sweater over my tried and true navy dress and grabbed a quick look at myself in the mirror. Looking back I saw the same girl in the same outfit I’d seen close to a hundred times this year.
And you know what? I liked her style.
Just recently I had to trade out my red tunic because I’d worn seven or eight holes into it, and while my friends all expected me to be excited (You get to wear something else!) I was actually bummed. Because I liked that shirt. I felt cute, comfortable, and pulled together when I wore it, and so I wanted to wear it more—despite my having worn it to bits.
Funny thing is, I didn’t feel this way two months into the project. I actually hated my clothes then. I was tired of them, ready for something more exciting.
Culture encourages us to become quickly dissatisfied with our clothes. In the past, designers premiered new clothing twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Now, purveyors of “fast fashion” like Forever 21, Target, and Old Navy pump out new styles monthly, constantly changing their inventory in hopes of convincing you to constantly change your wardrobe.
And we are convinced. Instead of shopping twice a year for a cohesive, seasonal wardrobe, we graze. A little here. A little there. A new shirt for date night. New shoes for a party. Soon we’re in the habit of adding something to our closet every two weeks or so.
A year ago, I felt like the clothes in my closet weren’t good if they were old. Four or five wears and a shirt lost its novelty. I felt that way this year, too, at the beginning. Now, though, I’ve realized that good clothes don’t lose their value with wear—that’s a lie the world wants me to believe, that I need to consume, to feed a manufactured, bottomless hunger. Good clothes, the trusty ones in my drawers, are good enough—partly because they’re from God. Our clothes are gifts from our Father (Matthew 6), gifts to be enjoyed as they satisfy our needs.