Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Shannan's Math: Turning 7 into 9 (+ key accessories)

I'll cut to the chase here. I chose 9 items to wear this month. Sue me. And I'm not counting my shoes. Or my coat. Or the cuff. It's March here, people. In Northern Indiana. There will be snow (yesterday), torrential rain (this weekend?), sunshine (in droves today), wind (My hair is currently sideways) and maybe even some sleety, drizzly mixtures over the next 30 days.

I'm sorry, Jen Hatmaker, but Texas this is not.

Does it sound like I'm already making excuses? Does it sound like I'm weak in the ways of simplifying? Just be glad we're not talking about food yet. Guarantee, I'll cry.

Exhibit A
Boneless pork chops
Montreal steak seasoning
garlic salt
olive oil
brussels sprouts
fresh rosemary
Rhode's yeast rolls
coarse salt
peanut butter pie

Tonight for dinner I plowed through 13 items, though the last one was a gift, so I can't believe that would count.

Speaking of gifts, today was an exceptional friend day. There was the peanut butter pie (that I've been craving for 2 weeks running), there was the friend who brought me sour cream after reading yesterday's post (along with two avocados, a red pepper and a bulb of garlic. Swoon!), there was the friend who graciously agreed to watch R & S later this week for my doctor's appointment. There was the impromptu lunch-date friend. So much luck in one sunny day! I feel very loved.

Also? I'm stalling.

Here are my 9 items.

But first, two prefaces.

Preface 1: I looked at  this as a relatively significant decision and as such, I gave it almost no forethought. I woke up on Day 1 with no plan, so I impulsively reached for something gray. When in doubt.

Preface 2: I dress for warmth. I do not wear flats without socks until it is 70 degrees outside because I will weep if the tops of my feet get chilled. I wear house slippers over my knee socks under my cowboy boots. It's real cozy down in there. And constrictive. On the rare summer day that Cory runs the window AC, I will probably wear my full-length fleece robe over my skirt and T.

So the thing with me about clothes is that 75% of the time I'm jeans and t-shirt. Maybe the odd sock hat (indoors, of course) or hoodie. But in that other 25%, I am a wannabe fashionista. I know some stuff, man. I worked hard through high school, diligently studying Vogue and Elle. I sometimes read those pages at the front of Us Weekly and cover the names of the designer then quiz myself. Is there a large flower? Marchesa. Is the fit streamlined? The straps thin? Calvin Klein. Chunky, earthy jewelry? Maybe Marni.

I bat 500.

Don't hate me because I sent the kids to their rooms when Oprah interviewed Ralph Lauren.

The point is, I don't care one lick about fashion in my regular life, or so you'd think. But put me in driving distance of a J Crew outlet and you'll be eating my dust.

Confession: Sometimes I buy a Jacki O cardigan for $19 at the J Crew outlet even though it doesn't really fit simply because I love the color.
Confession: Sometimes I conjure up new outfits when I can't sleep.
Confession: If I stroll into a TJ Maxx or Gap, I will probably find something I want to buy. Not something I need. Heck no. Something on clearance that I might not even completely love.

I'm sort of frugal. I can rationalize it to the moon. But at the end of the day, I care about pretty things and multiple layers and magical blazers made of sweat pants.

I'm not ready to weigh in on whether loving these things is "Good!" or "Bad." I'm just explaining why I knew it could be a tricky month for me. Not the hardest thing I've ever done, but I could see myself getting twitchy over it. I wanted to look my greed right in the face, because that's what it is when you continue to buy things not because you need them but because you just want to own them. It's greed. I have more than enough and I keep paying for more because I think I can. Greed. It's not okay.

Maybe at the end I will fully believe that it's time to stop. Maybe I'll slow down. Maybe I'll start searching for a gingham shirt with a ruffled placket. I have no idea and I'm doing my best to not script the journey. Trust that I'll keep you posted, because that's just the hand you've been dealt.

For now, on day 15, I'm loving my 9. I mean, I don't even really love my nine, and I still love them. I picked them because they are warm. I picked them because they're very soft and they are kind.

1. dark wash jeans that highlight my muffin top but don't give me baggy butt
2. red long sleeve henley
3. grey pill-ball sweater from the now-defunct Steve and Barry's
4. light wash jeans that pose a constant hiney-exposure risk but don't accentuate my muffin top
5. 3/4 sleeve oatmeal-colored cardigan sweatshirt thingy
6. 3/4 sleeve navy/green t-shirt
7. STATE t-shirt
8. white long sleeve t-shirt
9. Brown hoodie

They're not my favorites, but they're my favorites for now. Do I miss pinstripes? Not as much as gingham. Am I pining for a collar? Not yet, but ask me in a week.

I'm itching to know - where do you fall on clothes? Would it make you twitchy to wear the same thing over and over and over again, even to church and out to lunch with your very cute and stylish friends?

Does anyone want to give it a go with me?

{PS - There's still time to enter the giveaway for a copy of Jen Hatmaker's 7. Go here and leave a comment!}


  1. hmm... it's thought provoking. My list, if I were to treat this similarly to how you did and just start picking things:
    1. Light Jeans, no holes
    2. Grey cardi
    3. Brown cardi
    I'm not having fun anymore. Apparently this is more important to me than I thought. Which means I want to ignore it. Which means I should not ignore it. Challenge (to think on this and dare to look my greed in the face) accepted.

  2. You are so funny. I can't walk into a TJ Maxx without buying something either, but it's usually fir the house. That's my weakness. Love the pic of you in that cuff. I should give you some kind of cut for every person you send my way. Thank you friend!!

  3. I swear I do this already anyway. I am counting in my head. I haven't purchased anything new, aside from a church dress, in four years. True story.

    And... I have been tossing the worn outs and too smalls along the way.

    I'm at two long-sleeved shirts, 3 pair of jeans, a khaki pant, a fleece Columbia jacket, and a sweater hoodie. 8! I'm at 8.

    Let me totally say that I would totally take a shopping spree given the opportunity. I NEED me some new clothes. For realz.


  4. I am counting on the fact that none of my IRL friends hang out here. I have been known to wear the same thing 3 days in a row. Changing out anything that could possible be stinky of course. I secretly want to be Steve Jobs, only because I appreciated his fashion choices. Time to go through my closet and edit. Of this I am sure. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. I am so impressed by this! Accessories don't count I hope? I am so on board with the denim-gray-olive color scheme you chose - definitely the way to go for longevity! Could I do this I ask myself? What if you have the opportunity for a date night??? It doesn't come (often enough) around here and could definitely make me cave!

  6. uh... i would not have to do a whole lot different to make the 9 or even 7 clothing items. that is sort of naturally me. you, on the other hand... girl, you are the most fashionable person i know, easily. you have clothes. i have t's, sweatshirts, jeans, and a few sweaters. there are no fun clothes i would miss because there aren't any! and as i tell my sons, "I wear the same pair of jeans almost all week long, until they get dirty or they stink." that may be tmi, but that's just how i roll. :)

    oh, and the food thing. i think i would love only 7 things! i eat the exact same thing for breakfast everyday, so i'm already ahead of the game! the rest of the stuff though, i'm not sure how that works. it could be interesting to see what that book's all about!

  7. I'm not brave enough to take the challenge. I do appreciate the food for thought. I really tried this year to stop recklessly spending money and focus on being content with what I have. So far it's been okay. I'm not down to 9 (or 7 ) items but my baby steps toward simplifying feel good. Also, "dark wash jeans that highlight my muffin top but don't give me baggy butt" story of my life when it comes to jeans!!!

  8. I don't know what to think about this. I wear a black shirt, a black sweater and black pants to work almost every day. Some of my pants have holes. I keep wearing them. So, basically, all that to say I could definitely join your seven club. : ) I might.

    I love that your friends love you so. You are exceptional.

    I also watched the Oprah interview with Ralph Lauren intently. I wasn't that impressed with the western theme of his clothing line at the time...but really, what do I know?

    Absolutely nothing, except that you will rock out this challenge. Thank you for always, always, always being a blessing. Love, Becky in black

  9. I love this, but I'm not sure I could do it. I can't wait to see how this plays out.

  10. What a challenge! I have to admit that I have thrift store greed. I like to go once a week if I can and I always find something amazing--but usually I don't need it. It's kind of been nagging at me that I'm being greedy and then I popped onto this post. So thanks a lot. Now that I know what it is, I'm gonna have to act on this conviction. If only the weather here would stay normal enough for me to pick seven things!

  11. this would be hard. like REALLY hard. i could definitely do the no shopping for awhile--- but the layering. and the mixing it up. and the looks of confusion from family and friends when i layer and mix it up into what apparently is considered ridiculous. i get my kicks like this. my clothes help me tell my mood. i have been on self imposed situational depression bed rest for a few days and i broke this by wearing my seventies wool blanket as a wrap with jeans to papa murphys to pick up my pizza. the looks of confusion actually lifted my spirits. i have major problems. this challenge would be soooo hard... and the food one. oh man. darn you farm girl. at least i get a prego pass for now... ;)

  12. I seriously had to read this post twice. It's so packed full of tidbits.

    comfy, but cute jeans
    old as the hills can't live w/o 'em gray sweatpants
    brown hoodie
    long sleeved houndstooth tee
    white and gray stripped tee
    yellow 3/4 sleeve blousy shirt
    favorite gray cardigan

    There they be. I need to do this. I'm thinking about it.

    I have one of those magical sweatpants blazers. From TJMaxx. It feels like buttah. I add it to my list!

  13. I'm reading 7 right now too (with Marla) :-) but let me just tell you how terrible I feel about all my lack of self-control and discipline in every area of my life. Sigh.

  14. I would choose 7 pairs of yoga pants, one tee shirt (that doesn't make my armpits sweat) and a sweatshirt.

    Do socks count? Surely not.

    But then, I'm half asleep right now and wishing I could eat a piece of that peanut butter pie.

  15. I'm not sure about 7... or 9... that's a bit to bare bone for me. Truth is, I'd feel like I'd be shopping more, because even though you don't have as many pieces to replace, I think they'd wear through faster because you're wearing them more.

    I have been tempted by the 100-item wardrobe though... Kelly what's-her-face does them from time to time... each season (in our 3 season climate) with 30 items each, plus shoes and/or workout clothes or something like that.

    At first I thought there's no way I had more than 100 items, but sure enough... I think I easily doubled that... sad. I had no idea. I'm still in my greed-denial stage, arguing that most of it is thrift-store finds. ;)

  16. stink... yet another book to add to my reading list. Clearly, books cannot be one of the 7 media I would live without for a month. ;) Thanks!

  17. i would LOVE to win the book!
    i do have clothes..
    left from my EMPLOYED days..
    rarely if ever do i wear them..
    much less even open the closet door..
    am down to jeans, t's sweat shirts and sweat pants..
    I really need to get packing and start decluttering/decrapifying..
    it's still winter here in Denver..
    I too dress for warmth..not style!
    warmest hugs..

  18. Again, I think I was suppose to be born into an amish family. I would love to only wear 7 things. I pretty much do now. It's not weird to see me wearing the same outfit two days in a row. I get dressed quicker than my husband when going out. I simply do not like having too many options. Now the color would be hard for me. There are more than 7 colors that I like to wear in my closet. But accessories? I could do without. Jeans? Two pairs would be great. I think it would be easier to do this in the summer...in flip flop weather. I love the concept!

  19. I do wear the same thing over and over again! To lunch and to church and here at home.

    2 pairs of jeans - 1 I hate and 1 I love, but I hate shopping for jeans more.
    Ann Taylor LOFT lined black pants bought over 8 years ago for $70. I thought I would die when they rang them up, but it's the best clothing purchase I've ever made.
    White button up shirt
    a sweater or two (I usually don't wear these long. I'm hot natured and it's the South. Scarves are the same. I can't stand to sweat.)
    various inexpensive shirts to switch out with jeans and black pants.

    That's about it. I stay away from WIWW because I feel like such a fashion failure. Let's face it. I am a fashion failure.

  20. I'm doing it too!!!! Haven't gotten the book...yet. waiting to see if I win yours first. I never win. Saw the trailer on her blog. Read radical and crazy love. Can't wait to read this...or maybe I can :/ cheering you on!

  21. I am ashamed to admit it makes me quite twitchy and really uncomfortable. I really think I need to read this book. The book I am now reading keeps talking about attachments and making little mortifications in your day and I get all clammy. I think I am a message that I struggling with. His will, right?

  22. I honestly would not have a problem with the clothing thingy. I wear the same things over and over and over....

  23. I'm cheering you on...loving reading your posts and updates!
    How blessed you are with such caring friends, shows they appreciate and love you very much.
    Blessings! xx

  24. This is such a neat idea. Although, I swear I think I already wear only 9 things or less, mostly because I hate all my clothes for various reasons. I've taken to these one pair of jeans, and I have about 4-5 sweaters/shirts that I can stomach wearing! ps. is your Christmas tree still up??????? ;)

  25. i would so have a problem with this, but should probably do it. i stand in front of my closet filled with mostly clothes i don't love, but were given to me and try to remember what i wore the last time i was at the kids school, or at the church where i work, etc...because i surely don't want them to remember that i wore that last time. when true spring rolls around here in northern indiana i'm a flip flop, capri wearing, fitted t-shirt kind of gal and could care less, but the winter time leaves me frantic!!!!! maybe i'll sit down tonight and ponder it - or maybe i'll just close my eyes and pick 9! that would be fun:)

  26. I generally wear yoga pants and t-shirts with an old grandpa cardigan during the week. Out with friends is a different story. I just bought two shirts and a bag, so I'm out.

  27. i fall exactly there on clothes. even shop/don't shop the same as you. haven't bought anything in forever though. and i don't get out much anymore for that.
    and i only have a few things to wear. not on purpose, just haven't got much. and i have been gloomy and whiny about it. i am inspired and admonished though. to take a new attitude towards my slight wardrobe, that i mostly despise, save a grey cardi that holds my heart.

    so, yeah. i am in. and i think i have exactly seven things!

    love you. happy wednesday. pressing on!

  28. Please can we go shopping together or can you dress me. Everytime I see your picture (any picture of you) I always like what you're wearing and wonder why I can't look like that. I need big HELP!


  29. Soooooooo glad the State tee made the cut.
    I'm going to wear gingham today in your honor.
    Muffin top? I don't believe it for a minute.

  30. but what happens if you already wear the same three things all the days long?? does this mean i'm extra good or extra lazy???

  31. Ahhh..

    You are too funny.

    Fave excerpt:

    "Do I miss pinstripes? Not as much as gingham. Am I pining for a collar? Not yet, but ask me in a week."

    I think that as long as I incorporated a smashing scarf into my "nines" that I may be okay.

    Why is this?

    I'm a boring dresser and I work from home. I truly believe that I already just rotate the same nine (or GASP! Less! Maybe it's just five! No ebueno! This will require a bit of thought)items right now.

    1. Yoga pants (Target- blue, with a few paint splatters to sweeten the deal)

    2. Again, Target for Mossimo sky blue tank.

    3. Husband's wool socks (I have begun putting them in MY sock drawer after washing. Is that wrong?)

    4. Puffy white bathrobe (a staple, noon or midnight on some days)- I can be found in this "gem"! Is that "giving up"? I don't do it in the summer as I'm outside more often, but on a cold winter day/night I think "Why bother with actual clothing?" If I could find a coat to go OVER said bathrobe to take the dogs out, life would be nearly perfect.

    5.Patagonia black pullover with front zipper and back "storage area" for chapstick and such.

    6. Boots. I love boots.

    7. Scarf (sometimes I wear them inside on particularly cold days. Like you, I am cold a lot. I'm really never warm unless it's 72 degrees and holding)

    Finally..I do not believe for a millisecond that you have any kind of muffin top.

    I do declare that you may have body dysmorphic disorder, but no muffins atop anything.

    Top O' The Morn To Ya~


  32. I just think you rock for giving this a go. Not sure I could do it. I'm not really into fashion or clothes or anything I just like to try and not feel like a frumpy mom :) I don't think it's bad to be into clothes though. I think it's good. I think it's important to present ourselves well and to feel good about ourselves. I know that when I get up and get dressed and do my makeup I feel tons better about myself. Ideally I wouldn't need all of that to make me feel good, but hey for now it works. Can't wait to hear about how this plays out for you :) All I know is that I would definitely have jeans and I white T-shirt on my list.

  33. I wear the same 7-9 pieces all the time. Not because I don't have more than that. I need to purge!

  34. Ordered the book yesterday - would feel daft you posting it all the way here if I won it! I am intrigued. I am on a huge re-think about the accumulation of possessions v simplicity anyway, and a mutiny against excess? I'm in, scared to say how far in, but in even if only rather pathetically ankle deep at the moment, I want to go with it! I have bagloads to go to Oxfam already. My conscience is feeling increasingly raw so best do as much as I can before the complacency creeps further in! It is a tough old line isn't it between being open and honest about our greed, joyful about the blessings and provisions we have been given and feeling chewed up by guilt for our comfort? Bx

  35. I think if I till stayed home or worked from home I could pull this off. I Even going out on date night and church wouldn't phase me. I would have added in a skirt or dress but that's cause that is how I roll. I know I would get itchy and it would be challenging but I think I would make it. But the it's the work-outside-the-home thing throws me. If my work was the kind of place where I could where yoga pants and jeans and flips everyday maybe...But it would never fly at my office. Even mixing and matching 7-9 work items would be problematic. At home and at work. Wondering if anyone has tackled this particular hitch...???

  36. I could so do the clothes thing and very easily the food as well. Eggs, avocado, chicken, cheese, bananas, almond milk, almond butter. Yum! Would love to win this book.

    Also, where did you get the cute cuff?

  37. I've never commented before but I've gotta say I LOVE your blog and I am digging the whole 7 thing. Not sure I could pull it off though, but I want to. The food thing would be harder than the clothes but that would be hard too. For sure want to read this book!

  38. You seriously crack me up and reinforce the girl crush I have on you. Later I'll be embarrassed I admitted that. Muffin top HA I laugh at your muffin top. :)

  39. by STATE, do you mean Indiana State or Michigan State? Just curious which state. :)

    i wouldn't begin to know what i'd pick except: cowboy boots. jeans, and lots of cotton layers (by lots, i mean 3 maybe? but not all at once). and i would look like a crayon box, since i almost always do.

  40. Almost always a day late and a dollar short in commenting but here's my two cents.

    It does not make me twitchy to wear the same things over and over again. I do it all the time. My motto is "less is more." In other words, I buy a few new pieces each season and wear them 'till they're worn out. I don't buy an entire new closet every season...just a few kickers.

    I hope your challenge is still going well for you. :)