Let’s talk about clothes.  When it first came out-  I read Jen Hatmaker’s book- “7.” A year ago some friends and I started a journey through the bible study that followed the book. Once I got past my deep annoyance at Jen Hatmaker for pushing my buttons and stopped making excuses… it changed my outlook and daily life. I think more about how I live and what I choose to invest my life, money and energy in.

photoI also gave my “years in the making” excessive wardrobe a pretty harsh cutback. I donated more boxes of clothes than I care to admit. I started thinking through new purchases on all levels.

The subtitle of Jen’s book is “A Mutiny Against Excess.”  Which- I was pretty sure I didn’t have.. I mean… We’re not rich, and I’m a mom…. I drive a used car, I buy Target clearance- everything….Almost.  I splurge once in a while.. but excess? I just didn’t see it. We are also pretty quick to help and give when and however we can… I thought the balance was pretty even.

“Thought” is the operative word, there.

Until, I started the 7 fasts. Honestly? Some of them I flat out rebelled against. (Even though I made my own rules.. yes. I rebelled against myself. That’s how strong willed I am.) Some of them I struggled through and whined about as if they would kill me. (They didn’t.  Funny how that works.)

The fasts showed my selfishness and yes- my excess. In fact, they showed my excesses like a police officers’ spotlight on a dark night. When you’re pulled over. For speeding. With your child in the car. And you want to crawl into the glove compartment. That bright. Not that I’ve every experienced that…. But I’ve seen it on TV. And I can imagine….. (Oh can I… because I lied. I totally have been. Of course. PS I don’t fit into the glove compartment.  Not even one foot.)

Fast forward a year. Honestly? If I graded myself I’d have to say a solid C+. Which means- a bit above (my)  average. I let life crowd out a lot of the changes that I was opened to. I got lazy. I got sick. I had surgery. Hubby’s cancer refuses to vacate the premises and I blamed it for some of my choices this past year…. more dinners out because of convenience.  Clothes, food, book and media splurges as (ineffective) coping methods. (That’s my list of immature coping skills.) My closet isn’t as overflowing as it was…. But. it’s grown.

So- here I am, a year later…. and I was reminded of something I heard about the last few years- and thought was totally nuts. “The October Dress Project.”  #ODP Only- it didn’t sound so nuts this year. It sounded like a good opportunity to remind myself about excess and to remind myself that creativity trumps collecting. (Wardrobe pieces etc.)

I signed up. The premise: one dress- for 31 days. Washed as much as you like.  Accessorized however you like. But worn for at least part of each day. For the month of October. Today is October 9- I’ve worn it 8 days.

Kind of. In typical Tracey fashion- I decided to commit to the dress project at the last minute. (A day late, actually.) Which means, I ended up in the fitting room at my local Target Trying on every black dress in my size and making a decision (or so I thought) in 45 minutes before I was due at my youngest’s school for pickup. Time pressured shopping is always bad. TIme pressured shopping for something you’ll wear everyday for a month? Very bad plan.

I ran to the front and bought the dress I thought had looked the best. I got home- ripped off the tags slipped it on like the LBD maven I was sure I would be….only to realize that 10 black dresses in the fitting room all look pretty much the same. I’d bought the wrong one.  I wore it for 3 days, before I decided there was no way I could wear it for a month without going crazy. I switched it out. It looked and felt like a maternity dress. Which would be fine if I were pregnant. Or even, fertile. Which, I’m not.

photo photo photo Diptic

As a Work at /from home Mom- I have a lot of flexibility, as far as wardrobe goes. I also face a lot of dichotomies in dressing. I may be speaking in the morning and cleaning toilets in the afternoon. Toss in church, funerals, kiddo football games, conferences, meetings, errands, weddings, MomCon and my 25th wedding anniversary all taking place this month?

Well.. let’s just say I’ll stick with it as much as possible.

So far- so good. Once I changed out the first dress to something I feel much better in- I just hit my closet hard to mix and match. I’m spending less time thinking about WHAT to wear- but a bit more trying to figure out how to make it look different- without spending any $. (Okay- very limited $. Once I decided I was (actually) doing this, I realized I have a pretty limited color palette in my wardrobe- called black and leopard print. I also tend to wear just a few pieces of jewelry- and don’t really accessorize. I bought a few staple items. Which I found on clearance at Target. Of course.  )  Fortunately- I have plenty of shoes, bags and scarves from my neck surgery.;)

What i’ve learned so far?

1) Seeing myself in pictures is uncomfortable.  However- I look different “in print” than I do in my head. In my head- I’m hugely fat all over. In real life? Average. When I’m forced to look at how things I’ve bought,  fit? I tend to buy:  too big. (Except for bras… hello- I got fitted in honor of my first mammogram… guess what? The girls look better in the right size bra.TMI, but true.) I’m learning it’s important to find things that fit. That means: trying them on. WHich is hard when you avoid pictures and mirrors. Which: I confess, I do.

2) It’s not as hard as I thought.  a) No one cares what you actually wear. b) it’s fun to try and think outside the box of how I usually dress.

3) It’s harder than I thought. one dress can be worn many ways- but its still the same dress. The dress I settled on has limited some of my options because of the high- round neckline. hard to layer without bulk. Layers= options.  For me- perfect would be a short sleeved or sleeveless wrap dress….maybe next year. One switch is all I’m allowing myself.

4) I could never do this in the summer. TOO SWEATY.

5) I still have too many clothes. Too many shoes. Too many bags. More paring down is ahead.

I’m not sure whether this will streamline or complicate my packing for MomCon. Honestly- I won’t be able to wear the same dress every day at an event I run around at for 12+ hours a day. Especially not without feasible laundry access. (could wash in the sink- but would be at risk of being soggy and or stinky EVERY DAY. I’m not risking that. I have MVS and Board responsibilities to fulfill. Well. and I’m nice and considerate, like that. )

So.. this is all kind of crazy, I know. (Mostly because of the weird looks I get when i try to explain what I’m doing. ) Just pretend it’s Lent and i’m fasting clothes- minus the nudity that kind of implies….#notthatkindofblog

I’m busy getting ready for MomCon next week- an amazing time of “seeing” the moms I love serving in MOPS. I love the training, connection and opportunities it offers. If you’ll be there- I hope you’ll let me know- I love to meet you!

Lots of other thoughts and things going on- more posts to come. :)