The 30-Day Shop-in-My-Closet Challenge

August 18th, 2011 — 2:52pm

I find myself at a point where buying more stuff no longer makes sense. I have enough stuff.

My weakness is clothes (and shoes, and purses). I love beautiful things. And since I lost 30 pounds, a journey which I wrote about in my book “Ravenous: A Food Lover’s Journey from Obsession to Freedom,” I am three sizes smaller and can wear styles previously off limits (a belt! Imagine that!).

In the last year, I’ve spent a lot on clothes. A lot is, of course subjective. But for me, it’s a lot. I had a lot of excuses: I needed smaller clothes. I went on a book tour. Etc. Etc. But I also spent a lot the year before, and the year before that.

Some fundamental shift happened to me while writing Ravenous. I not only got less hungry for food — I got less hungry for things. Just like eating a piece of crusty baguette slathered with triple cream cheese used to knock me to my knees, wearing (or dreaming of wearing) the sensual lines of a Brian Atwood shoe would make me similarly swoon.

But I really do have enough. I’m in a different place. So is the world. It can no longer be business as usual. I’m reading “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring on the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World,” by Paul Gilding, and the future has arrived. Our decades of ignoring the role we play in disrupting planetary systems has come home to roost, and I for one, believe we will see more and more turmoil and upheaval on a planetary scale. We’re already seeing it. We simply cannot continue to consume all the stuff we’ve gotten used to consuming. We have to learn to live in a different way.

But, I still love beautiful clothes.

So, I’ve decided, that for the next month, I am going to shop in my closet. I will indulge in my love for color, form, shape, texture, and proportion with what I already own. I will exercise my creativity by seeing my clothes with a fresh eye, and combining them in new ways. And I will document the outfit I wear every day with appropriately blithe commentary.

You will not see Chanels or Laboutins or Gucci.

You will see J. Crew, Banana Republic, and some quirky small labels. I’m a, um, working girl, after all. (Actually, I work for Yoga Journal Magazine, so I could wear yoga clothes to work every day and no one would even notice).

And speaking of yoga, the foundation of yogic philosophy are ten ethical precepts known as the Yamas and Niyamas, which are guidelines on how to live a skillful life. One of the Yamas is Brahmacharya, or non-excess. I practiced this regarding food when I wrote my book (I still work with it), and now, I’m practicing it with stuff.

The world we now live in demands we live skillfully. It asks us, begs us, to consume less and give back more. I decided to take this challenge one step at a time, starting with my closet. It’s a brand new day.

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