So, when I started this exploration back in June, I really wasn’t very sure where it would go after my 7 food fast. But I knew it would go somewhere.
It’s been nearly 2 months since I finished that fast – which is actually a little scary! – and it’s felt like some things have lost momentum. But it’s part of the rhythm of my life (and job) that summer is a quieter time, and I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying in the meantime – as well as all the usual day-to-day stuff that keeps me busy. I knew that I would do another ‘fast’; I wasn’t sure if it would be similar to the one Jen Hatmaker described in her book , but it turns out that it is: this month, I’m going on a clothes fast.
Before anyone gets the idea that I might be planning to wear nothing (and that is a truly horrifying prospect!) let me reassure you that I am, in fact, sticking with the theme of 7 – and therefore the basic principle is that I will be selecting from a much reduced wardrobe of 7 items.
To clarify a little further, there are certain rules I’m going to follow.
Firstly, underwear doesn’t count. You can call that cheating if you like, but since it is pretty much essential in order for me to go out in public, I don’t care. It does make me pause for thought, though, and consider what it would be like not to have the luxury of making that choice.
Secondly, shoes only count as one item – but I am going to limit myself to three pairs to choose from. This is considerably fewer pairs than I actually own. I’m not exactly Imelda Marcos, but at a rough estimate I would say I probably own about thirty pairs of shoes – many of which I haven’t worn for years. So, restricting myself to a single pair of heels, a pair of flats and a pair of trainers should enable me to cope with most activities. The practical part of me says that should be enough. But the part that is used to having a much bigger choice is already slightly worried!
That’s what this all comes down to, really. I haven’t yet counted how many items of clothing I have in my wardrobe, but I know it’s a lot more than I need for practical purposes. The fast is about deliberately choosing to limit my choices for a period of time. Just as the 7 food fast had nothing to do with going hungry, this is just about simplifying an aspect of my life and discovering what that teaches me.
So far, the rules I have set are fairly close to the ones Jen worked with in her original ‘mutiny against excess’ but my third rule is a little different. Jen stuck to the same 7 clothes for the whole month – but she lives in Texas and works predominantly from home. Now, I’ve just been to Texas and, while it’s obvious that the weather is not completely predictable, it’s generally speaking much warmer than here. And – to state the obvious – I’m not Jen. The point of this exercise is not to copy what she did. I live a completely different life. We have different things to learn.
So again, you can call it cheating if you like. I know I am making it a bit easier on myself, but I am giving myself the option of changing up to 3 items from my wardrobe of 7 once a week – to allow for the weather and my diary commitments!
It’s still going to be a massive challenge – much harder, I think, than the food month. I’m not particularly fashion conscious, but I am (like most of us) conscious of the need to ‘fit in’ and what we wear is a big part of that – but I’ll explore that thought further in a later post. For now, after much deliberation, consultation of the diary and the BBC weather predictions for the next 7 days, this is the extent of my wardrobe:
- a long sleeved dress
- a short sleeved dress
- a long cardigan
- a long sleeved navy t-shirt
- a short sleeved rust t-shirt
- a pair of jeans
- black heeled sandals, navy fit-flops and trainers
No coat – at least for this week (so I’m praying the decent weather holds, apart from anything else!); no scarves; minimal jewellery – a single necklace, earrings and a ring to see me through the month. Those of you that know me will appreciate the sacrifice there!
So, it’s day 1 – and all is fine so far. We’ll see how it goes from here.