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For the next 30 days, I will be wearing just six items of clothing. Six items. For 30 days. Undies and accessories not included.

My experiment in doing more with less began when two friends took stock of their own wardrobes and challenged each other to pare down and live on just six pieces for the month.

Nina Garcia, author of The Style Strategy, says that if you strategize, both your style and your bank account will come out winners. I've strategized all weekend and I'm still not certain I've picked the right pieces. Creating looks for work, weekends and social events - including an upcoming wedding - takes some planning. I had most of the items I'll need, but I did invest in a couple of staple pieces to carry me through. I scoured magazines for inspiration and then took the cutouts shopping.

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To keep it simple, I've cleared out my closet, leaving just these pieces: black pants, pale pink button-up shirt, camel-coloured T-shirt, black cardigan, a grey T-shirt dress and a semi-formal navy and black dress. I feel partly relieved that I won't need to worry about what to wear and partly frantic about surviving in my month-long uniform. Accessories, shoes and outwear don't count as the six pieces, so I'll be relying on these items to create different looks when possible.

I sorted through items I haven't worn in months, even years. Studies have shown that we wear only about 20 to 30 per cent of our wardrobes, so I shouldn't have been surprised. What you're wearing right now is probably one of your go-to outfits. So why do we hang on to all of the items we never wear? Maybe because we get trapped in the "I might wear it some day" syndrome, or we spend without thinking about what we actually have or need.

It's a great time to take stock of what you have right now with a tell-it-like-it-is friend and a mirror nearby. You probably have a lot more clothes than you thought and a lot of them are just taking up space. Test the theory with the hanger test. Flip all of your hangers backward, then whenever you wear something, place the hanger in the right direction. You'll quickly see what you wear and what you can eliminate. After two months, decide to keep, alter, donate or sell the items left hanging backward.

To ensure that you don't have wardrobe remorse, stick the giveaway pile in the closet and revisit in a month. If you haven't missed it by then, you can let go.

Vivienne Westwood said: Buy less, choose well, and mix it all. Once I'm done this challenge, this is going to be my new shopping mantra. Of course, I might be singing a different tune in 30 days after wearing the same things over and over again. I'll keep you posted.

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About the Author
Angela Self

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies, a group of five women who specialize in personal finance. They are hosts of a self-titled show on the W Network and the authors of The Smart Cookies' Guide to Making More Dough. More

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