The Shopping Diet: Six Pieces, 31 Days

Latest diet craze is not about what you eat, but about what you wear.

July 23, 2010— -- The latest "diet" craze is not about what you eat, but instead about what you wear.

It's called a "shopping diet" and it's an exercise in fashion frugality: take any six items from your closet and wear only those six items for 31 days.

"I liked the idea of a challenge, so I just took it. It didn't really take that much persuading," said participant Kirsty Saddler, a 32-year-old advertising executive in New York City. "Although I have to be honest, there was a lot of skepticism from people that know me about how well I'd actually stick to it."

Saddler, along with 100 or so other men and women across the globe who call themselves "Sixers," took on the "Six Items or Less" challenge in June.

"Some people wanted to see how creative they could be with their stuff," said Heidi Hackemer, who helped start the movement and co-founded the website "Anti-consumption was our biggest group and then what we call curiosity/masochism, which a lot of the guys fall into, where they're just like, 'I wonder if I could do it.'"

Hackemer first spoke to the New York Times about the experiment and an especially startling side effect for fashionistas.

"One of the things that was so surprising was how few people even noticed what they were doing," said New York Times reporter Eric Wilson.

"I've had people come to me on week three saying, 'Are you doing that?' And I work with them and I sit next to them every day! And I'm like, 'I've worn the same outfit four days in a row!'" said Hackemer, who opted for black, grey and denim staples.

Could you survive the shopping diet? If you're going to give it a try, CLICK HERE to tell "GMA."

Without a closet full of clothes to choose from, Saddler focused on other ways to spice up her outfits, relying heavily on accessories, which were excluded from the challenge.

"Lots of broaches, and belts and things like that came in to play where I normally wouldn't make the effort," she said. "The funny thing was getting dressed in the morning actually felt much quicker."

Shoes, undergarments, uniforms and outerwear were also exempt.

Less Frazzled About What to Wear

Only a few days into her experiment, Saddler found she was less frazzled in the morning and more eager to come up with different ways to mix and match her items.

"You're taking away one element of stress in your life: what am I going to wear? That makes your life more simple and therefore less stressful," said Marcus Buckingham, author of "Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently."

But there were a few challenges.

"During those 31 days I traveled, I worked, I went to parties, I went for a weekend away, I had important meetings," Saddler said. "The temperature soared, and I did not resort to Febreze, I would just like to say."

Not all those 100 people made it to the fashion finish line, but for Saddler it was another lesson learned.

"I learned I over think what I wear and why I wear it," she said. "I learned that I often mindlessly buy things."

The experiment also led some people to exercise more, others to eat better, meditate, and cut back on spending, Hackemer said.

"It's really funny, when you change one thing in your life and you become more conscious of the way that you consume one thing, how that seems to ricochet out," Hackemer said. "It was really interesting to see that side effect. I wasn't anticipating seeing that."

When Saddler's 31 days were over, she found herself actually missing wearing only her six essential pieces.

"The only thing I was excited about was that I chose to wear something that was yellow," she said. "Following 31 days of monochrome, which was quite hard for me, wearing yellow was nice."

Hackemer is planning another cycle of the "Six Items or Less" challenge for the fall.

Could you survive the shopping diet? If you're going to give it a try, CLICK HERE to tell "GMA."

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