Okay, okay… so the title isn’t entirely accurate. I’m not advocating becoming a nudist or anything. The title really ought to say “A Year of No NEW Clothes” but that wasn’t as entertaining. 😉
The challenge: no new clothes for a year.
Last summer, a friend of mine announced that she had decided not to buy herself clothes for one year. My first thought was how hard that would be, but as I thought more about it, I decided that shouldn’t be difficult at all, and I should do it, too. Honestly, ten years ago, this would have been impossible for me — and I have since shredded the credit card bills that proved it. (I’ve come a long way in the frugality department, friends!) I’m no longer a big spender, but I do enjoy finding a cute new outfit and a really good bargain every now and then.
Finally my year is up.
It’s been easier than I thought — and harder than I thought!
(In the interest of full disclosure: I said before I started that new undergarments were allowed because I’m just not going to wear ratty undies if I can possibly help it!)
I did cheat make a few exceptions along the way:
- I didn’t decide beforehand if shoes counted, and did buy a few new pairs this year: one comfy pair for wearing when we shoot weddings (which I consider a necessity!), and two new pairs that were not truly necessary.
- I had zero workout clothes, so I allowed myself two pairs of workout shorts and two workout shirts. But both workout outfits together totaled less than $30 and made me just a little more motivated to get walking!
- I bought a $12 dress at Walmart to serve as a cover-up for my swimsuit so I don’t have to traipse around in my swimsuit when I’m not actually in the water.
- AND I bought two shirts from Union 28 Marriage Apparel when a discount code appeared two weeks before my anniversary. These weren’t needed, but my husband got a kick out of them, and that’s definitely worth something!
But finally, I caved in the final month of this year of no new clothes. I bought three dresses at TJ Maxx (all under $14 each), plus a skirt and a shirt at the thrift store. Arguably, those thrift-store items aren’t “new” but they are new to me, so it’s still cheating.
So — what have I learned from this experiment?
In short, I don’t need nearly as much as I think I do. Most of my so-called needs are really wants. Much of my shopping is simply habit; I found myself in so many clothes-buying situations throughout the year that I finally had to change some of my habits just so I wasn’t taunting myself. How silly is that? But it opened my eyes to how my habits affect my choices. I think many of us do that with a lot of different things.
Buying clothes is not a sinful activity that I need to give up. But as with all things in the life of someone who calls themselves a follower of Christ, I have to continually re-evaluate to make sure I’m doing things for the right reasons.
Have you ever done anything like this? What did you learn from it?
Wife, mom, grandma. Introvert who finds joy in good books, sunshine, and authentic conversation. Fitness enthusiast and personal trainer. Often seen with a steaming mug of tea in hand.