I’m on the umpteenth edit of my novel (actually, I believe it’s #7) and in between cutting out ‘ing’ and ‘ly’ words and removing  over-descriptions (‘she coughed and sat down – who cares?) I peruse Feedly and Flipboard and newspaper websites. Two less-than-earth-shaking news articles recently caught my eye.

The first is about the ‘Makeunder Movement’. It’s described as a mechanism for de-sexualizing young women and, in this case, girl’s toys.

From: https://michelledharvey.wordpress.com/

From: https://michelledharvey.wordpress.com/

In other words, folks who follow this new trend take slutty-looking dolls, apply paint thinner or nail polish remover to wipe off the skanky makeup (gigantic lips, thin arched eyebrows, weirdly provocative eyes) then re-make the features with paint into something more approximating a normal human being. Some ladies knit or sew new garments to hide the mega-boobs and mutilated high-heel feet. There’s a woman in Australia who calls her re-purposed line Tree Change Dolls.

A worthy endeavour for sure, and I admire the determination, except that some of the makeovers remind me of the girls at school who bit their toenails, hung out by the fence and never made eye contact with anyone else.  I have to cut the re-doers some slack as they are not makeup artists, but honestly, the new doll face appears disturbing and other-worldly, reminiscent of a ‘children of the corn’ look.

The other initiative is called the Minimalist Fashion Project 333. The intent is for you to select 33 items of clothing that you will wear interchangeably for 3 months. The list includes clothing, accessories, jewellery, shoes and outerwear. Underwear and workout gear don’t count. Just for fun, I did a quick survey of how many items I wear on a normal day.

Morning – four clothing items (it’s summer), sandals, earrings, ring, watch, necklace. Nine.

After lunch – gardening. Remove shorts, ring and necklace, swap out ‘good’ watch for old Timex and add long-sleeve denim shirt, long jeans, thick socks (tickphobia gear), hiking boots, bandanna to absorb forehead sweat, baseball cap, work gloves, scratched yard sunglasses. Sixteen.

Mid-afternoon, writing on the deck – shower, put on clean underwear, short sleeve shirt, shorts, low socks, walking shoes, change reading glasses, add sunglasses. Twenty three.

Run errands – add jewellery, long sleeve shirt (it’s cool in the air-conditioned vehicle/stores), change into skirt with slip. Twenty seven.

That’s in ONE DAY.  Of course, some of the items I would use again during the week, but still. Limiting myself to 33 items for three months would be ludicrous.

While I’m getting more ruthless about purging my closets and tossing clothes that no longer fit or that don’t make me feel happy when I wear them, there is no way I’m going to start dressing in a ‘capsule wardrobe’ like a novitiate at as convent. Dowdy – never. All I have to do is remember those grey flannel school uniforms and I’ll run for something red to wear. I have no interest in ‘neutrals’ with lots of pockets, no shape and less style. No more baggy fit. No re-purposing old t-shirts into something else. Live large! I want wicked colours, embellishment and interesting designs.

I’ve checked out some of the ‘dress minimal’ websites and Pinterest boards – no comment. ‘Dress with Less’. Nope. This middle-aged body will be fashionably covered up in as many changes of nice clothing as I want. I didn’t get to this stage of my life to look like I have a B.A., huge student debt and live in my parent’s house in a Holly Hobbie bedroom.


he ‘purchase pause’ thing I can do easily. I love clothes and jewellery – that’s why I knit and sew and bead. Right now, I’m in the middle of sewing another pencil skirt, a pair of jeans, two tops and a princess seamed dress.’Simple is the New Black’. Really? No, simple is drafting a pattern for a stylish black dress or pair of tailored trousers.

But I refuse to look like I’m living out of a carry-on suitcase. I’m off to feed my inner goddess and craft something sparkly and turquoise.