The Seven Experiment – Clothes

Hello dear readers.  I wanted to blog about a book I picked up a few weeks ago – The 7 Experiment.  Unfortunately I don’t know of any Bible studies (we are out of town practically every weekend so we rarely attend church) so I asked Oatmeal to read and complete this with me.

“Do you feel trapped in a machine of excess?  Are you finding that more isn’t always better?  Is abundance holding you back from something greater?  Fight back against overindulgence, materialism, and greed by joining Jen Hartmaker in The 7 Experiment.  This 9 session Bible study will teach you how to stage a mutiny against excess in seven critical areas of life.”

The gist of the book is that you complete 7 fasts – a different one each week for 7 weeks – in order to clear your heart and mind of the things in this world that are distracting you from your purpose.  The seven areas of excess include clothing, food, media, possessions, waste, spending, and stress.  The first week was a fast from food.  We were to choose 7 foods and eat only those foods for a week.  We chose pork, avocado, apples, cabbage, sweet potatoes, spinach, and eggs.  We didn’t find that to be all that difficult (as you know we are used to restrictive diets, ha) but we did fail on Day 6 when we went to visit some family and didn’t have our seven foods available.  We could have planned better, but we just didn’t.  Despite the fact that we did not stick to our fast 100%, we definitely enjoyed the simplification of mealtimes.  Each time I wanted something other than those 7 foods, or each time I prepared those 7 foods, it was a reminder to think of God, those who are less fortunate, etc.  Honestly that one was sort of a no brainer for both of us.

Last week was Week 2.  We completed a fast from clothing.  We chose 7 items of clothing to wear for 7 days.  (Underwear didn’t count, and we also didn’t count our socks and shoes.  We were allowed to wash our clothes as much as needed during this fast – the point wasn’t to be stinky.)  I chose (1-2) my scrub top and bottom for work, (3) a pair of jeans, (4) a gray shirt, (5) a pair of loose black pants, (6) a long sleeved red shirt, and (7) a black Nike jacket.

Lola's 7 articles of clothing for 1 week.

Lola’s 7 articles of clothing for 1 week.

Oatmeal chose (1) a pair of dress pants for work, (2-3) two button up shirts to wear to work, (4) a blue shirt with his company logo that he had to wear one day to a meeting, (5) a pair of jeans, (6) a gray tshirt, and (7) one more dress shirt that isn’t pictured because it was at the dry cleaning when I snapped this picture.

Oatmeal's 7 articles of clothes for 1 week.

Oatmeal’s 7 articles of clothes for 1 week.

Despite the fact that Oatmeal had to wear the same pair of pants to work for 4 days in a row, I don’t think that this fast was particularly difficult for him.  As for me, I can’t lie, I found it to be a little bit more of an eye opener than I liked.  The first step of the week was to go and count how many items of clothing I had in my closet including tops, bottoms, belts, shoes, and bags.   I did as told and went to counting.

365.

I was shocked.

Let’s say I spent $20 on each of those items – which you and I both know isn’t true because the number is probably much higher.  The amount of wasted money in my closet is ridiculous.  Especially since most of those clothes have not been worn in over a year.  And even more horrifying is that I don’t even keep all of my clothes in my closet – I have plastic bins of off-season items in a different closet and a huge dresser full of t-shirts and workout pants.  So in reality that number probably totals closer to the 500-600 range.

Wow.

I think that the reason this was an eye opener is because I realized just how many clothes I don’t wear.  As I counted shirts I remembered how many of them I bought for just one occasion.  I counted 9 suits, but I remember that I really only wore two of them often.  Of course most American women can probably relate to having a closet full of clothes that don’t all fit.  Many of my pants are either too big or too small.  Lots of my clothes were maternity clothes.  Some of my shirts are leftover from my single days where I went out to bars on the weekends, and obviously those types of things don’t get a lot of wear anymore.  But still.

And yet, I always feel like I don’t have any clothes.  I’m always self conscious because I feel like I’m just naturally sort of an idiot when it comes to style. I tend to wear solid colored shirts and jeans day after day.  It’s not unusual for me to look at other well dressed women and wish I had their “look.”  When I feel badly that I don’t, I will tell myself that they are probably just wasteful, that they shop too much, or – this one is really bad – I’ll think to myself that they are obviously shallow and materialistic. 

They’re shallow?  I’m the one with 500+ clothes in my house, 475 of which I don’t even wear.

Hey pot, meet kettle.

Oatmeal didn’t even realize this about me until this week.  We were reading the chapter together, and we had to discuss a few questions and answers.  I think the question just simply asked what we thought would be difficult.  I admitted that each morning when I got dressed I made an effort to dress in such a way that I’d feel equal to those around me.  I also admitted that it mattered to me what others thought of the way that I dressed.  Oatmeal thought I was kidding.  “You don’t care about that.  You don’t care what the girls at the gym think of your workout clothes.  You don’t care what people at the grocery store think.”  I tried to explain myself, but I didn’t do a very good job.  I think I said something like, “Well I mean I know that when I’m walking though HEB and I see a girl my age with dingy hair and rumply clothes I wonder why she couldn’t get it together enough to get dressed that morning.  I want to look presentable, you know?”  Oatmeal just looked at me and shook his head.

On one hand, I think there is something to be said for wanting to “look presentable.”  I think it’s totally okay to take pride in your appearance.

But when taking pride in your appearance becomes keeping up with all the other women in the gym, well, there isn’t enough Lululemon in the world to justify that.

So the counting of my clothes was the first eye opener.  The second eye opener of that particular fast was how often I felt the need to apologize to others for my appearance.  I felt like I needed to explain why I was basically wearing pajama pants to the gym.  And to Mommy and Me gymnastics the next day.  And to the grocery store the next day.  I constantly felt scrutinized by others.  I actually made myself keep my mouth closed, but it was difficult and made me feel very self conscious to run into a friend of mine three days in a row when I was wearing the same red shirt each time.  I so badly wanted to say, “Oh hey by the way, I know I’ve been wearing this shirt every day, but it’s just this Bible study I’m doing.  You know, The 7 Experiment, have you heard of it?”

I mean, come on.  I’m a grown woman.  I’m married to man who didn’t mind one bit that he had to wear the same pants all week.  I should be confident enough to just wear the same two shirts.  But it bugged me.  On Thursday, which was the fifth day of our clothing fast, it occurred to me that we were taking our Christmas card pictures on Saturday.  I immediately thought to myself, “Oh, well that doesn’t count.  I can choose a different outfit and some cute jewelry just for those pictures and then just change back to my 7 clothes after we get a few good photos.  No harm done, right? I mean, this is just a stupid fast.  Maybe I’ll even stop by Target and see if they have something cute and cheap.”

A bit later I thought to myself, “Stop by Target for a new shirt?  Have I learned anything?”

Needless to say, I washed that red shirt again, and Oatmeal wore dress shirt #3 with jeans for our pictures.  No jewelry.  And guess what?  Life went on.  The picture is FINE.  Cute even.  My girlfriends will not gasp with disapproval when our cards arrive in the mail next month.

No one is going to care that I’m not wearing a damn statement necklace.  And if they do, I’ll mail them my book when I’m finished.

DSC_0293

Learning these things about myself was actually very empowering in the long run.  I made a commitment to not buy a single article of clothing for myself until the end of the year.

And as for all of those pieces of clothing that don’t ever get worn, there will be more on that next week.

Other than the clothing fast, last week was a good one.  Poppyseed and I went to visit my mom in Alexandria on Tuesday and Wednesday.

photo-408

Poppyseed saying “Cheese” in front of my mom’s room.

On Saturday we went to Jamie’s new house in D’Hanis for little Maggie’s first birthday party.

Poppyseed with Cousin Joanie.

Poppyseed with Cousin Joanie.

Joanie (3.5 years), Poppyseed (18 months), and Maggie (12 months).  These girls will be thick as thieves one day.

Joanie (3.5 years), Poppyseed (18 months), and Maggie (12 months). These girls will be thick as thieves one day.

And I took those awesome cupcakes that I mentioned in my previous post.  Try not to drool.

Paleo chocolate cupcakes - recipe courtesy of Elana's Pantry but this picture is mine!

Paleo chocolate cupcakes – recipe courtesy of Elana’s Pantry but this picture is mine!

It was a great way to end the week, and on Sunday we came home and put on some different clothes.  🙂  And that is all for now.

Related posts:

About Lola

Leave a Reply