Six Items or Less

Today’s guest post comes from my friend and former student Kayla.

As a fashion merchandising student, I’m supposed to constantly be on the lookout for new styles and designers. Also as a student in New York City, there is an expectation to look put together every single day. Beautiful fashion captivates me; well-made, timeless clothing is what I love about fashion. What I don’t love is the growing amount of “fast fashion” we are all being exposed to. Sure Forever 21 and H&M produce cute clothing at great prices but as a general rule of thumb, if the price is too good to be true then you are hurting someone. There are thousands of people quite literally slaving away to produce $5 t-shirts. Fast fashion has gotten the best of men, women, and children all over the world and has become the only affordable option.  

 In May 2009, a young woman named Sheena Matheiken began the Uniform Project. For a whole year, she wore the same little black dress—but accessorized with vintage and handmade items. In this exercise of sustainability, she was able to raise over $100,000 for the Akanksha Foundation, which provides education to children living in the slums of India. The project is now in its second year and features a new girl and dress every month! On this same note of sustainability, I recently came across the website Six Items or Less. For this project, people could sign up to wear 6 items of clothing (undergarments not included!) for a month and document their experience. I loved this idea and decided to try it for a week.

I looked in my clothes for pieces I knew I’d love to wear repeatedly and that would last. So I chose a purple Uniqlo tank top, a gray American Apparel v-neck, a seafoam Pacsun v-neck, a pair of black Zara shorts, a pair of Seven jeans, and a pair of black Uniqlo trousers. Three tops, three bottoms.


Overall, I really enjoyed this project. I loved not having to think too hard about what to wear everyday. And no one at my job even noticed I was wearing the same six items. I took it a step further and used only six makeup items for the week: two mineral eyeshadows, mascara, mineral powder, mineral blush, and lipstick.


While it is tempting to indulge in cheap retail therapy (we’ve all done it!), we should try to remember where our clothing comes from. Just think about how much fuel it takes to produce and ship one single t-shirt to a store near you! While investing in higher quality organic or sustainable clothing might cost more money up front, classic styles will last forever.

Kayla is currently in her third year of college in New York City. She enjoys the beautiful aspects of fashion, as well as delicious food from her farmer’s market and small restaurants. Cupcakes, traveling, and exploring the city make her happy.  Follow Kayla on twitter.


Filed under Sustainable Living

8 responses to “Six Items or Less

  1. You look so cute and put-together in these pics! Congrats on taking fashion into a conscious and eco-friendly (both economical and ecological!) world.

  2. I saw this on a TV show like Good Morning America. They had a writer do the 6 pieces for a month. She had TONS of different accessories, though and she remarked that she had to do laundry every other day or so.

  3. What an awesome idea. I may try this sometime.

  4. I confess, I have about 15 t-shirts that I wear for everyday, usually a different one each day. Of course, most are about 5 to 12 years old, in great shape (Sam’s Club cheap bin, heavyweight). My bib front overalls don’t last near that long, and I seldom have more than two or three in rotation.

    Best to you.

  5. Kayla,

    Just LOVE this idea and your photos are incredible! Don’t many of us just have clothes that we really love and wear over and over, with a closet of items we hardly ever wear?!? I have the same problem with shoes and now buy really good ones that I know will be fashionable, comfy (perhaps MOST important), and will last. I really like your comments about cheap retail therapy; it’s so true!

    I’ll never forget your Green/Sustainable Fashion Show that you engineered from start to finish and the wonderful auction of clothes afterwards! That was a wonderful accomplishment as a high school student and I’m happy to see that you’re following your passion, you fashionista you!!!


  6. I love second-hand shopping myself, because it’s a great way to get some cool stuff for cheap. Also, I know that I am not using new resources, and I’m basically bucking the disposable fashion trend. It’s a compromise that works for me.

    I think the 6 item idea is a great one. One of my friends did it for a week as well. I think I’ll have to wait a while to try it myself, though – sometimes I go through 3 shirts in a day, thanks to my (adorable but messy) 2-year-old.

  7. I think I already do this… since I wear the same things over and over! I’m not going to feel bad about it, it’s GREEN! Thanks for teaching me more about fashion Kayla!

  8. I like how cool and effortless you look.

    I just posted the second outfit for the I6L styling challenge.

    Two of 30!


    La Copine


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