I once read about a woman who didn't buy new clothes for an entire year. I marveled at this, wondered how it was possible.
Then I stopped to think about how often I purchased new clothing for myself. I couldn't answer my own question. If ever I felt a need to replenish or update my wardrobe, I did. If I saw a bargain at a "buy anything and everything" retailer, I'd slip it in the cart alongside my laundry soap and cold medicine.
Later, a conversation with a friend focused on the latest trend in jeans—narrower legs, darker wash, etc. She was deciding which of the newest styles to try. I did a mental count of the jeans in my closet. Five. That may sound like a little or a lot, depending on your perspective. But it's one for every weekday. They are in perfect condition and still fit. They are not skinny jeans. Two of them have a funky faded (and somewhat outdated) wash.
But adding to my blue jeans collection seemed frivolous in a time when many were going without.
So I decided to try the no-new-apparel experiment. Since July 13, I haven't purchased any new clothing, jewelry, handbags or footwear for myself. The exception is a pair of loafers I snagged from DSW Shoe Warehouse. But I had a gift card so it doesn't count.
It's only been five months, and there may be a collective eye roll from those who routinely shop less. I'm not feeling preachy about shopping for sport either. I'm feeling glad that I've made a conscious effort to think more about what I really need and what really matters.
As a result, I'm looking forward to receiving a gift of stylish jeans or a cashmere sweater from the Gap this Christmas! In other years, only the kids were excited about gifts because I could never think of anything I "needed."
I've also stopped shoving clothes to the back of my closet to make room for new things. If there are clothes I still won't wear when I'm forced to wear what I have, it's time to weed out things I've been keeping "just in case."
I've donated piles of clothing to the Woodbury Goodwill without buying a single new blouse, cardigan or pair of straight-leg cargo pants.
I've become more creative, mixing and matching different scarves or jewelry to give a basic T-shirt or turtleneck a pop of pizzazz. The money I've saved frees up cash for buying grocery gift cards to donate to the Woodbury Christian Cupboard and load up my shopping cart with toys for Toys for Tots. Money otherwise spent on myself might buy a few bottles of wine and fancy snacks from Kowalski's Market for entertaining friends and family this holiday season.
Surprisingly, I haven't felt as deprived as I thought I would. My longer-term goal in this experiment is spring break, if I make it that far. Because this fashion-conscious girl can't fathom a trip to Southern California without a new swimsuit. Maybe I have more to learn.