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Six Items or Less: Could you do it?

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How often do you stand in front of your closet, and say "I have nothing to wear’!? There is a new breed of frugal fashionistas that likely have zero sympathy.

Meet Rachel Mercer, a student at Northeastern, who, along with a hundred or so men and women across the U.S., just wrapped up a 30 day, self-inflicted fashion fast.

It is an experience that women might call masochistic: Choose any six items in your closet and wear only those six items for an entire month.

"I actually have a lot of stuff so I thought limiting my wardrobe would be a good experience," Mercer said.
Changing your accessories and shoes is acceptable, work out clothes, and pajamas don't count. The rules are posted on the website sixitemsorless.com.

As a student, Rachel had it a bit easier than, let's say, a professional. Three t-shirts, a pair of pants, shorts, and one dress for special occasions. Still, there were big challenges.

"It was actually more stressful because I’m a clumsy person. I’m spilling on my garments all the time," Rachel says.

The reward, she says, was nothing. Just to say she did it. The danger? At least for the self-conscious, total embarrassment. Your friends might notice you're wearing the same thing over and over again.

I like a challenge, so with the help of South Boston Habit Boutique owners, Leila Moore, and Pam Santorelli, I pick my six (and only six) items. The strategy they pointed out was choosing good quality, basic items that you can mix and match, then spice up the outfits with the accessories.

"Well, you have a white suit, which is pretty plain, so the bolder you go with accessories will make a difference, especially being on camera everyday," Leila Moore says.

Not feeling exactly confident, I go for it anyway. For day one, I pick a basic black wrap dress. For day two, a simple white shirt and white skirt. Back in the studio for day three, it was a piece of cake with a black skirt and jacket. Day four I brought back the black dress, and by day five, I wore the white suit, and after that, I fell off the wagon. As a professional, a mom, and a dog owner, it just wasn't feasible.

So why do these so-called sixers do it, I ask? On the website, some participants site anti-consumerism as a reason, others, pure curiosity. As for Rachel, she says, it sounded like fun in the first place, and she actually learned a few things along the way. Mainly, that quality counts, and people are actually slow to catch on. But when asked if she'd ever do it again, her response was "never.’

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