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?