I have been captivated by the chronicles of Laura Jane’s Ultimate Fashion Challenge over at No Good For Me for the past thirteen weeks. Laura Jane embarked upon this sartorial misadventure at such a weird, opportune time: smack in the middle of August before our dear, dear recession fully hit. Her plan? Wear everything in her wardrobe, without repeating or buying anything new. During Week One, she laid out her strategy and made her promises: “The Ultimate Fashion Challenge will be in effect for as long as it
takes me to wear every single item of clothing I own, even
(especially!) the ugliest, worst and most embarrassing crap of all. The
Ultimate Fashion Challenge is highly strategic and highly stressful,
but after one week of participation, I’m also finding it oddly freeing.”
Needless to say, not everyone has the willpower to get through three months of this and win. (If you read back, even LJ had her moments of weakness.) While I don’t doubt quite a few people will be trying their hands at something like this before long, I’m curious as to how quickly they might falter. Because what’s fascinating, torturous, and completely brave about the UFC isn’t merely the fact that you can’t buy anything — it’s that you must wear EVERYTHING you have, without exception. In combination. The shit with the tags still on, because you weren’t sure about it when you bought it, and now you hate it and can’t return it because you lost the receipt. The crap you picked up at a thrift-store for a rainy day, even though it never fit. The old stuff you held onto for sentimental value but never want to be seen wearing again. All of it, in combination. Can you imagine forcing yourself to strut around in the outfits that literally make your self-esteem plummet? And not allowing yourself to run into an H&M and save face for the day?
It puts a whole new spin on the idea of buying only what you need and
saving for the things you love. I happen to think Laura Jane did an
incredible job and wound up looking chic or cool (and sometimes nuts,
but, wow-nuts in an amazing, holyshitshereallydidthat kind of way) the
vast majority of the time. She has triumphed. She is the Ultimate
The UFC is over. Who will I be without it?
Tomorrow morning I will wake up, and I will not have to take a
photograph of myself, and I will not have to tell you about the outfit
I wore. You will never know what I wore on November 1st, 2008. That’s perfect.
Really, you have no idea. Everything all this means to me. I wish I
could commission every single one of you to handwrite me your own
Magnum Opus about what the UFC might’ve meant to you. You can do that, if you want.
Let us know if you plan on stepping up.