"Express Checkout" Experiment: You're invited to play

I had no idea some of you would actually want to try this, but why not? You are a bold bunch, and thanks for the encouragement.

I've been asked for "rules", which I'm loathe to issue. This is a gentler version of Six Items or Less, an experiment in awareness and choice, rather than a competition or restriction.


When? No time like the present!
Start date: Sunday Oct. 17, right outta bed
Sun. Sun Nov. 14, end of day

How many items?
Your choice– if too many, it will not be very 'experimental'. I'm going for 12 items, please pick the number that intrigues you. 

Commenter Jane W. did 6 and now lives with 10; Deja Pseu's thinking of 10. I'm going for an even dozen. 

That's double the Six Items, and might only feel–as materfamilias suggested–like dressing on a trip, but I still expect to be challenged.


Does not include:
1. Accessories (shoes, belts, bags, scarves, stockings, hats, jewelry, gloves, dogs)
2. Lingerie, if worn inside
3. Specialized wear for specific activities (sleepwear, exercise/sport clothes, Halloween costume)
4. Items required by your workplace (safety vests, uniforms, pasties)

Free Pass: 
Weddings, funerals or other occasions requiring formal dress. You will know. Free Pass not applicable if only blue, bored, or forgot to do laundry. 

What's the point?
The experiment may affect our perception of need vs want, notions about desire and attachment, and each person's aesthetic sense. How do you feel? What surprised you? What items were indispensable, what was superfluous? If you stop, why? How do the unworn things look to you after a month 'away'?

Each Thursday during the month, I'll report my observations and ask for yours. Feel free to drop in/out of the experiment, pare it down further, or make any other adaptation.

My 12 items:

My "reduction" represents a lavish wardrobe in many parts of the world, and to the poorest, it's a joke. Still, it's a start toward reducing and refining.

2 pr pants: 1 techno (black) 1 flannel (grey)
3 skirts: 2 matte jersey (black), 1 pinstripe (navy/grey)
5 tops: 2 lightweight wool v-necks (black, ink), 1 light wool tunic (charcoal), 1 cashmere cardigan (dusty pink), 1 leather tee (black)
2 coats: 1 padded nylon jacket (black), 1 trench (stone)


25 comments

Anonymous said...

This sounds reasonable and I'm in the mood to give it a try. Thanks for making it flexible. It'll be interesting to hear the results :-) Love your blog, it's been so helpful.

Frugal Scholar said...

Being kind of disorganized and rebellious, I'll probably make up the rules as I go along.

Jane W. said...

I love that a leather tee is one of your basics. And good for you for squeezing in some pink. I'm still trying to work out the color "thing."

Deja Pseu said...

Pasties! (snort!)

Thank you for starting this on Sunday! We're in what I'm hoping is our last big heat wave of the season, and temperatures should regulate a bit more by the end of the week. The guidelines you've come up with are workable and flexible. I'll go through my closet tonight and choose my items, and will report on my blog tomorrow.

ChristineB said...

Since I am leaving on a trip for 10 days on the 17th, this will be a perfect time to try this. I'll try to snap some photos each day and post them when I get back

LPC said...

I'd do this, but it'd be like shooting fish in a barrel:). I don't work, I don't have go anywhere, I could make do with 3 items, most likely, as long as I were willing to do a lot of laundry....

Susan said...

I am so intrigued, but not inclined to play. My reason? We are still spiking at 90 degrees in Dallas---but hoping for cooler weather. I couldn't handle the coming change of the season (at least I HOPE it will change) with just a capsule wardrobe. I'm still in sleeveless right now.

BUT---I will be watching with interest and hope in the future to pare down considerable and make better wardrobe choices for me and my closet.

Susan said...

That should have been--pare down considerably.

Duchesse said...

Anonymous: Thank you and I'll be eager to hear what you do.
Fugal: Wouldn't have it any other way!
Jane W. Just bought leather tee, wanna wear it!
Pseu: Thanks, we're on!
Susan: Why not pick for the temps, then change if it cools down? Or just watch.
ChristineB: Thanks, will be fun to see your photos.
LPC: Same for me in terms of where I go- and if have to show up for a meeting biz casual will do.

sisty said...

Count me in! I admit I balked when I saw just two coats on the list, isn't that odd? I can handle two pairs of pants, but two coats gave me pause.

I'll go through my closet this weekend and make a list. I've been wearing dresses a lot lately so will have to make a careful choice about whether to put a dress on the list. Separates are more versatile.

The other thing that's going to be tough is the work/weekend transition. Though I don't have to dress very formally for work, there is a distinction.

And I'm exempting clothes for housecleaning!

Duchesse said...

sisty: Please remember, there are only the rules you set- so any number of items you wish, in any distribution. I'm hoping this will be an experiment in restraint, not a grueling, nasty experience. (I am not including clothes for housekeeping so then I don't have to do much of it.)

Susan said...

Duchesse, do you 12 items include all the clothing you would wear at home after your workday is done? Or, do you plan to change straight into pjs and robe?

Anonymous said...

I love this idea, and actually stumbled into a similarly restricted wardrobe this summer when I found a casual but pulled-together look that worked for me: comfortable, tailored cotton pants in cream, khaki, and indigo-&-white striped, worn with one of 5 sleeveless tops in pretty colors (most embellished in front with ruffles or other layers,allowing me to go blessedly bra-less) and always topped by a thin cotton cardigan in cream, gray, black or white. It was so easy and flattering that I decided to try to come up with a similar cold weather uniform--but I haven't quite managed that yet. Our weather is still unsettled, and winter layering that doesn't leave one looking upholstered can be a challenge. I know I'll include lined gray flannel trousers, a pair of wide-legged black pants, some corduroys, my trusty black cashmere shirt, a loose graphite cashmere pullover, some long-sleeved t-shirts and a soft black leather pea jacket. Who knows? With warm, pretty scarves, gloves and boots, maybe that's all I really need . . .

Duchesse said...

Susan: I'll keep in my 'day clothes' till bedtime as no longer work regularly in an office- but as this is not a restrictive thing, hope you would choose your own mix.

Anon@5:15:
You have the key! Last winter I lived in black on the bottom and cashmere V-necks, with Indian or Italian shawls- easy and cosy. Deja Pseu (Une femme d'un certain age) also likes those thin cardies.

lagatta à montréal said...

edThis obviously depends on the climate; up here, all of us who are not masochists or skiiers pray for more warm days, as there are months of death before spring. I'm too short for most trenchcoats, and it has to be very cold before I'll wear more than a jacket, short and light or padded and longer. Leather tees are most intriguing - are they comfy?

I hate pink (on self, not on others). I do love red though, although I know that not all reds are kind (adjective thanks to Duchesse).

The original challenge excluded athletic wear, and the kind of clothing I'd wear for "heavy" housework fits into that category - ghastly things like yoga or sweatpants, which I don't wear outside the house. And I did pick up a pair of red Crocs for a dollar in a charity shop, and they are wonderful for that kind of stuff.

Anonymous, I'm triple-d, or ee or f or whatever they call it, so braless doesn't exist. The closest is comfy sport bras, under layers (obviously not ruffles!)

I do love such experiments, though remember that if actually travelling, shoes are definitely not an unlimited, but the worst thing to pack.

Duchesse said...

lagatta: Winter here is a different shade of death, gray and slushy-icy. Leather tee supremely comfy, has knit back.

I'd exempt cleaning clothes- like gym clothes they are specialized. But i want to limit myself enough that I'm truly living pared-down.

Hmm, I can see you in certain greyed or lavender-pinks, with your newly-silver hair. But pink is a state of mind as much as a colour ;)

Rubiatonta said...

I'm in -- will go have a looksee in the closet and make my list. I think I might be able to live with a dozen items... I'm pretty close to that in my heavy rotation wardrobe anyway.

And, um, how did you know that pasties are required in my workplace? The "I teach at an Ivy League institution" ruse was not convincing enough?

Susan said...

We have endured days and days of 100+ degrees this summer in Texas. That is its own kind of death--believe me. We pray for cool weather and it is still in the 90s some days. What extremes of weather our continent has!

SewingLibrarian said...

I will watch and read this experiment with interest. I'm not going to participate because I've just managed to find a bit of sewing time for myself and am excited to make and wear some new things. But I applaud those of you who are going forward with the idea. If anyone can make a small wardrobe fashionable, it is the ladies who read and write at this blog. Also, Duchesse, I think you have picked an ideal time - after the Canadian Thanksgiving and before the American Thanksgiving and then the deluge of holidays after that.

materfamilias said...

Okay, now I'm getting seriously tempted . . . the terms of this experiment (I'm going to follow your lead and avoid calling them "rules") are so reasonable. . . and it already sounds as if you'll have so much fun. . . . I may leap in early next week.

Duchesse said...

materfamilias: Great,I might need some support even if you don't play.

BerylLeonard said...

I was confused by the cheap looking, heart shaped, sequin earring, so unlike the quality jewelry I am used to finding on your site. Before reading the article, I actually tried to picture what occassion would cause you to suggest we wear them. Now that I have had the time to read the entire post, my imagination has changed course accordingly. And it is not a pretty picture. Thanks for always being surprising!

Duchesse said...

BerylLeonard: There are probably better-quality versions of this item. I'm investing my research time elsewhere at the moment but might return to the search, should readers indicate a need.

sisty said...

I'm so disappointed, Duchesse! I was looking forward to your cracking the whip, at least on me. ;)

I keep telling myself, "Just because it's torture doesn't mean it's not fun!"

Duchesse said...

sisty: I'm cranky and opinionated enough without you giving me permission to go further :), But OK- try 12 items.