No New Clothes Project

I remember when I was a kid, my friends and I would go shopping. All day. And if we didn’t buy something fabulous at the mall, we’d come home disappointed.

I started shopping as a hobby around age 10 and didn’t stop until about age 39. I blame some of it on the ingrained primal need many of us have for hunting and gathering. I blame the rest of it on stupidity.

I really thought that if I bought the right thing, the right outfit, that my life would be better.

Now, I know it was all a lie. It was a lie perpetuated by corporations everywhere to keep all of us on the consumer carousel.

Many of us don’t like our jobs. We buy stuff in order to feel better. We do feel better, but only for a minute. Then we’re back to feeling unhappy. So we work, work, work to buy more stuff. It’s a vicious cycle.

This past year, I’ve been so into being Super Frug that almost every time I felt the urge to buy something, I’d ask myself, do you really need that? Are you going to be worse off if you don’t buy that? Can you get along without it?

Thus, in one year, I only spent $15 on new clothes. You heard that right. $15.

My pajama pants had worn out so much that I had to turn them into rags. They were even too worn to donate to the Goodwill. I had to spend $15 on a pair of flannel pajama bottoms printed with moons and stars.

I’m glad I did it, but I still can’t believe it.

I mean, I had nearly 30 years of expert shopping skills in my blood. It felt weird to break such a long-standing habit. But now that it’s been a whole year, I actually feel weird about buying new clothes.

Not that I don’t covet new clothes. Oh hell no. I see stuff all the time on the internet or in the Sunday ads that I want. Things that I know would look good on me. Things that I know would make me look fabulous. And yet, I can’t seem to do it.

Then I watched this TED talk by Jessi Arrington on “wearing nothing new.”

And it gave me an IDEA.

What if I didn’t buy any new clothes for the next year? Well, except for underwear, bras and socks. I draw the line there. What if I only bought used clothes, and cheap ones at that? Could I do it?

I don’t know. I like buying THINGS used (like our spice/coffee grinder we found for $2 at the Goodwill or our beloved $12 like-new bread machine from the Value Village), but I have to admit, I’ve never liked shopping for used clothes.

But the gloriously colorful Ms. Arrington has inspired me. I love her site, Lucky So and So, and all her bright, cheerful outfits!

I’m going to try it. One year of not buying any new clothes. And all the used clothes I buy have to be $20 or less, preferably much less. I have to say, the hunter-gatherer side of me is excited…and ready to go shopping.

ps. I would like to attribute this colorful clothing photo to the rightful photographer but cannot find him or her on Wikimedia Commons. If you know who the photographer is, please contact me.

5 thoughts on “No New Clothes Project

  1. UPDATE: My first used clothing shopping trip to the Goodwill was a success. I found a pair of stretch denim jean shorts by PRANA for $5. They fit like a dream. I also found a pretty flare skirt printed with feathery leaves by THE GAP for $6. Awesome.

  2. UPDATE #2: My second shopping trip to the Goodwill has resulted in a great pair of like-new David Kahn jeans ( for only $7 and a pair of beautiful, suit-like pants from The Limited for $1.13. Yes, you read that right. $1.13. This whole buying only used clothes thing is blowing my mind.

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