When I started this one year “No New Clothing” challenge I had several worries. Can I really do this? Will my clothes last for a year? Will I stay the same size for an entire year? So yeah, lots of stuff to worry about but I actually had only one real fear. When will boredom set in?
Boredom is simply the act of losing interest in something…and even when I bought new clothes all time, I would still get “bored” with my closet. So how was I going to go a full year with the SAME clothes?
And it’s happened - six months into this challenge and I’m losing interest in my clothes. Honestly, I thought it would happen earlier than this. But since I’ve been mixing up my outfits and pulling out VERY old things from my closet, I’ve been able to be creative with what I have and it’s held my attention.
Recently the “thrill” of rearranging an outfit has been fading. Let’s face it – there’s only so many ways you can wear the same top before you just lose interest in it. And now I find myself just taking something from a hanger and thinking, “It’ll do.” Omg – YAWN!
In fact, I’ve been so bored with my wardrobe that I was beginning to wonder if I could really last the rest of the year!
And then a miracle happened!
Last week my parents came for a visit. One day we decided to take them to lunch and walk around a local art fair. We had a great time walking from booth to booth, appreciating the talent of all the artists. Then we walked up to a booth of clothing and my mom and I FREAKED the heck out!
The booth was called “Wicked Stitch of the West” and the owner creates one of kind creations by recycling and repurposing vintage clothing. Her work is simply amazing (she let me snap a few pics for my blog & they are at the bottom), and it sparked my own creativeness! I looked through her racks and smiled because I had found a solution to my boredom dilemma.
At that moment, I decided that I would “sacrifice” two of my tops and repurpose them to create something NEW. Omg – NEW! I haven’t had anything new in months and the thought of a new top is probably more exciting than it should be.
To get even more ideas on repurposing my clothes, I created a new Pinterest board - https://www.pinterest.com/misty1day/i-will-re-purpose-clothes/ And yes, I have LOTS of boards that I don’t follow through on (we ALL do), I really am going to do this. I already know which two tops I’m going to use. One has a stain on the front (did that the first time I wore it – Grrrrrrr) and the other is a sleeveless top that I can’t wear to work. So, I’m going to combine them and (HOPEFULLY) create something cute.
I promise – as soon as I finish my creation (good or bad) I’ll post the pictures here. I’m hoping I can complete this project before I leave on vacation next week. I’d love to take my “new” top with me!
Who knew recycling could be the cure for boredom?
I have six brothers and sisters and, when I was younger, I hated hand me downs. Didn’t matter if they fit and were still in good condition, I just didn’t want them. I’m not sure why I didn’t, it’s not like I was a fashionista at 5 years old. But something was already ingrained in me that wearing someone else’s unwanted clothes wasn’t “agreeable” – and doesn’t everyone want to be agreeable?
I certainly don’t have the reputation of being a disagreeable person (who wants to be that?!), but I’ve recently read an article that says being a “disagreeable” can be a positive personality trait. It doesn’t mean a person who argues every point or someone who is a jerk to be around. It means that they are people “willing to take social risks – to do things others might disapprove of.”
The article went on to talk about Ingvar Kamprad, founder of the furniture chain Ikea (who happens to be one of the richest people in the world). He is such a frugal man that he ONLY wears hand me down clothes that he has purchased at flea markets.
I think I like this guy already.
When Kamprad is asked why he is so frugal he says it’s just the nature of where he comes from, but Malcolm Gladwell, in his 2013 book "David and Goliath," argues that Kamprad's unusual spending habits are closely linked to his personality trait of being a “disagreeable”. He goes on to explain:
"Society frowns on disagreeableness. As human beings, we are hardwired to seek the approval of those around us. Yet a radical and transformative thought goes nowhere without the willingness to challenge convention."
And that’s why, at 5 years old, I didn’t want used clothing. I was already seeking the approval of the kids around me. The more I think about, the more I realize that this “approval” and “agreeableness” stayed with me all through high school and into adulthood.
Sadly though, agreeable people rarely make an impression on society.
So, let’s be…disagreeable. Let’s challenge convention and make people wonder WHY we do the things we do.
Heck, my first thought when I was reading that article on Ingvar Kamprad was “Why would a billionaire need to wear used clothing?” So, I kept reading. The WHY of him doing something different made me interested in learning more about him, and now I’m telling all of you about it.
That’s how this works! We do something different from everyone else (we become the disagreeable’s) and then people look at us and think “Why?” They ask, we tell them, they start to agree with our disagreeableness, they change, people notice and ask them why, and on and on and on it goes.
Are you willing to take a social risk? Are you able to live a life that doesn’t seek the approval of others? Are you prepared to do something others might disapprove of? Are you brave enough to be a disagreeable?
I have not purchased a new item of clothing in six months and it didn’t kill me. I know, hard to believe, but here I am – breathing and walking around.
I’m officially halfway through my self-imposed One Year No New Clothes Challenge, and I’ve learned some very important lessons. It’s funny because this is the most I’ve learned from NOT doing something. Some things I kind of expected, but there are few things that were pretty eye opening.
Since people love “Top 5” lists (I do too), I’m going to list the "Top 5 Things I’ve Learned So Far." Here we go:
#1 My closet is like a 16-year-old girl’s Facebook feed – a diary of emotional highs and lows. I have really been digging into my closet over the last six months. I have pulled out items that were bought as recently as December 2016 and some that were 20 years old. And the one thing I’ve started to notice is that over half of my wardrobe was purchased during “pick me up shopping trips." Those are the shopping trips you go on because you're down or blue and just need SOMETHING to make you feel better. I’ve come to the realization that my closet (as of today) doesn’t really represent my own personal style, as much as it’s a testament to my lack of will power and shopping impulse control.
#2 Not looking into a dressing room mirror has improved my body image. How many times have we taken an armful of items into the dressing room with a smile and high expectations, only to walk out with messy hair and a resolution to start our diet on Monday? Nothing will ruin your shopping high as much as trying to squeeze into (what you think is) your size and looking like an exploded can of biscuits. That experience adds unneeded anxiety to our lives, and I don’t miss that feeling ONE BIT. It’s been great not trying clothes on! I pick an outfit out of my closet and I don’t worry about it fitting or if it looks good. For the first time in a LONG time I feel good about my body. Which is sad because I’m a size 2 to 4 and you’d think I’d never have to deal with a poor body image, but I do. We ALL do. Maybe we should stop trying to feel better in a new outfit and just start feeling comfortable in our own skin.
#3 Stitching up a ripped seam makes me feel like Martha Stewart. It’s silly but true. Since I can’t buy clothes, I’ve started repairing mine. I had a seam rip on one of my favorite sweaters. I stitched it up and felt SO accomplished! For one second the thought of making my own clothes popped into my head, but then I remembered I’m not actually Martha Stewart and there’s no need to start wasting perfectly good material.
#4 Four pieces of clothing can be worn 72 different ways. Ok, so maybe not exactly 72 different ways but pretty close. I think the problem most women suffer from is not a lack of clothing but a lack of imagination. I’ve had to get really creative with my outfits and it’s been fun to pair things together I would have never thought possible before. I follow some other women on Instagram who are also not buying clothes this year and I love seeing how creative they are with their outfits. Check out https://www.instagram.com/ melcurves - you’ll love her! Not only is she not buying clothes for one year, she’s posting all her outfits.
#5 No one cares what I’m wearing. Again, hard to believe but true. Doesn’t matter that I wore the same top twice during the work week – no one noticed and the world didn’t end. For so long I’ve been worried with how other people “see me” and if I was dressed “right." I think all of us have felt that way at some point in our lives. Wasn’t high school a never-ending question of “am I dressed cool enough”? Here I am, 20 years later, still trying to wear the same clothes the popular kids are wearing. But over the last six months, I’ve come to the most mind-blowing realization - the ONLY person who cares what I’m wearing is ME. No one else is spending their time pondering what Misty is going to wear to work today. Not shopping and not worrying about new clothes has allowed me to start working on the other areas of my life that need the attention.
As soon as you read the title of this blog you instantly disagreed or reluctantly agreed with it. I can hear my grandpa’s voice in my head right now saying, “Pluto has always been a planet and it will always BE a planet.” No matter what scientific evidence is presented to him (or maybe you), Pluto is STILL a planet.
So why does he (and possibly you) believe that? Because of essentialism. (Don’t feel bad, I had to Google it too.)
Essentialism is the belief things have a set of characteristics that make them what they are and that these characteristics place those things in certain categories. And the “kicker” here is that most of us rely on the opinions of experts to help us form these categories.
(Stick with me – I’m going somewhere with this.)
So…years and years ago some NASA scientist told us Pluto was a planet so we placed Pluto in the “planet category”. Sure, why not! It’s…round and floating in space and revolving around the sun and that’s what planets do…right?
Now fast forward a few decades and a different set of NASA scientists are telling us, “Nope, our bad. It’s really NOT a planet.” Well, too late NASA! We already listened to you once and we are horrible at changing how we categorize things! And until the day I die it will be a PLANET!
Ok, so we are all on the same page now. Pluto’s a planet and someone needs to enlighten NASA on the concept of “no takesy backsies”.
Now, pick up a fashion magazine. Flip through the pages. Read the opinions of those “experts” and let those opinions place YOU into a category. It should be easy to do since YOU have a defined set of characteristics.
You’re too short. You’re not tanned enough. You’re hair isn’t straight. You’re hair isn’t curly. You’re teeth aren’t perfectly white. You’re skinny. You’re fat. (I know that last one hurt.)
Keep flipping those pages though because those “experts” are now going to tell you HOW to FIX all of that.
This is the color for you. This purse makes you look just like her. Those pants are slimming. These earrings make you stand out. WEAR THAT. BUY THIS.
And no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you buy, you’re still Pluto the Planet because you CAN’T RE-CATEGORIZE YOURSELF.
Are you close to tears right now? I know I am. Ugh, why is self-image so hard?
Here’s the thing – no outfit can define the essence of who you really are. Who you REALLY are remains the same wither you’re wearing a new $300 outfit or the faded jeans from your closet. And if we believe the idea of essentialism (categorizing based off characteristics) then no matter what you do, you will still fall into the same categories.
So, stop categorizing yourself based on the opinions of “experts”. Even if you buy that new dress, you’re still a mom. Carrying a new purse doesn’t mean you’re no longer a daughter. You’re still a friend no matter how many pair of shoes you own. Not shopping and wearing the clothes I already own has allowed (and forced) me to focus of what my true essence is and what categories I want to be in.
What is your true essence? What categories do you want to be in? Generous? Kind? Compassionate? Wise?
And if we can start to see ourselves differently maybe we can start to see everyone else differently too, and maybe, just maybe, we can open our minds up to the idea that Pluto maybe isn’t really a planet after all.
It’s strange but over the last two weeks I’ve heard the phrase “What are you willing to walk away from?” several different times. Once from a podcast, once from an online article and once from a movie. So, it got me thinking “What am I willing to walk away from?”
I know we’ve all run this scenario through our minds – our house is on fire and we only have seconds to save what matters most to us. Of course, we save the kids first, pets seconds, maybe we grab a family heirloom, photos…but what else?
What else would make you run back into your burning house? Seriously, take a minute and think about it.
I’m really hoping no one even considered anything in their closet. I mean, I LOVE my Kate Spade purses but they are ALL replaceable. In fact, everything I own is replaceable. So, while it’s easy to say “I would never run back into a burning house for my material possessions” it’s harder to admit how much value we are currently placing on them.
I hope you all can see how I’m going to tie this back into my one year challenge and how I’m trying to change my own personal views of my clothing and my possessions. It’s one thing to say “I’m not buying clothes” but it’s an entirely different thing to say “I’m not attached to anything I own”.
I know I’ve quoted Joshua Fields Millburn before (he’s from The Minimalists), but I think he does a better job of explaining what I’m trying to say here:
“If I purchase new possessions, I need to make certain I don’t assign them too much meaning. Being able to walk away means I won’t ever get too attached to my belongings, and being unattached to stuff makes our lives tremendously flexible—filled with opportunity.” http://www.theminimalists.com/walk-away/
Joshua goes on to explain that walking away doesn’t just apply to stuff, it also applies to habits, thoughts, and ideas. And being willing to walk away from bad habits, negative thoughts, and old ideas show our willingness grow and improve ourselves.
When I was a teenager I remember my sister Windy wearing a new ring she had picked up at a flea market. She didn’t spend a lot of money on it, but she was pretty proud of it and it looked nice on her. A couple of weeks later we were at a cookout and a family friend walks over and says how much she LOVES that ring and that she’s been looking for one just like it. And without even flinching, Windy takes the ring off and says, “Well, here you go.”
Just like that she handed the ring over like it was a piece of gum someone had asked for. Needless to say, the girl was floored and I was blown away myself. Later I asked my sister why she would just give the ring away when she had just bought it? I have never forgotten her answer.
She said, “I just don’t want to be a person who values stuff more then I value people.”
I was so impressed with what she said and I told myself I wanted to be that kind of person too, but sadly I let that valuable lesson fade. And here I am (25 years later) trying to become the kind of person my twin sister was at the age of 16.
But it’s never too late to relearn an important lesson. It’s never too late for personal growth and self-improvement! There’s comes a point in everyone’s life when the light bulb comes on and we finally “get it”. (Some of you will be 16 when that happens and some of us will be 41 – LOL!)
Sometime this week walk through your closet (or house) and ask yourself what could you walk away from. Ask yourself what are you assigning meaning to and how attached are you to your possessions. Would you be willing to just give it away if someone needed it? I know it’s cliché to say, but do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you?
I just got back from a short vacation in Florida and let me just say that I LOVE GOING ON VACATION! Doesn’t matter if it’s 2 weeks in Italy or 3 days in Florida – I LOVE IT! Who doesn’t?! You get to relax, eat good food, sleep in, and buy new clothes.
Oh, that’s right…I can’t buy new clothes. Dang it.
I know y’all know what I’m talking about though cause we ALL buy new clothes for vacation. Doesn’t matter how many swimsuit cover ups you already own, you still need a NEW one for that trip to the beach.
Hey, I’m not judging! That’s what I’ve done my entire adult life. Until now.
I read an article recently about a lady who was buying a new summer dress and her friend says, “That’s going to look so great on your vacation.” The lady replies, “Oh, I’m not taking this on vacation.” Her friend says, “Why not?” And she says, “Cause I don’t know anyone there.”
How come I had never thought of it like that before? If I don’t know any of those people and none of them have laid eyes on me before, then that means ALL my clothes are new clothes on vacation.
With this new revelation in hand, I was excited to pack for my trip! I couldn’t wait to pick outfits I knew I already liked and looked good in but would be completely new AGAIN. Seriously, I might never buy new clothes for vacation.
I also found another perk of not buying vacation clothes – I had more money to spend while I was on vacation! I was able to treat my friends to dinner and to not stress about what I was spending on food and drinks. It was a vacation from “vacation spending guilt” too! When I got home I looked at my bank account and thought, “Wow, that’s all I spent?”
I hope you all take my advice and attempt to not buy new clothes for your next vacation. Instead use that money and splurge on a nice dinner, on experiences, and on making memories.
I know that seems like a pointless question, but I found myself in the Target shoe department pondering if flips flops are in fact shoes. And if they aren’t shoes, then can I buy them?
Ugh…see the dilemma?
Ok, before you get upset I’ll skip to the end of this story and let you know that I did NOT buy the flip flops. But I really wanted to! Here’s what happened:
I practically live in flip flops when the weather is nice and I usually have 2 to 4 pairs in my closet. I always have one “nice” pair too. They are leather and I spend too much money on them, but they are nicer than your typical plastic ones and they look good when you’re going out.
The problem is my “nice” pair are ruined. I spent about $35 on them a couple of years ago and they have held up nicely, and I thought I’d get at least another year out of them. But my Chihuahua, Pearl, had other plans for them.
So, the weather is nicer now and my mind goes into “flip flop mode”. I put on the ONE pair I still own and head to Target with my daughter (because she actually needs shoes). We pick out a nice pair of shoes for her and I spot some REALLY cute black leather flip flops ON SALE!
Omg, I love a sale!
I try them on and justify them in my head – “These don’t count because flip flops aren’t really shoes and the dog chewed mine up”. And then the voice of reason pipes in (my daughter), “You’re wearing a pair of flip flops right now. What’s wrong with them? And don’t you own two pair of sandals too?”
Sigh…”Yes, I do own sandals. Yes, I am wearing a pair of flips flops. Yes, I’ll put these back.”
When did my kid become logical? I really didn’t want to put the flip flops back, but I couldn’t argue the points that she made. I did have multiple pairs of sandals at home and buying another pair of flip flops is completely against what I’m trying to do this year.
When I got home I went to my closet and looked at my shoes. I own too many. I hated admitting that.
I even went online to see what’s the average an American woman owns. It’s 27. Holy crap – 27 pairs seems like SO many! There’s no way I own that many! I mean, I just purged a TON of shoes!
I own 27…exactly 27. Just when a girl thinks she’s conquering this “shopping” thing and she’s making all kinds of progress the universe smacks her in the face and says, “See, you’re just like everyone else.”
There are two ways I could look at this: 1) I could start thinking I’m not taking any steps forward, that this is just too hard and what’s the point anyways. OR 2) I could tell myself, “Put your big girl pants on, roll up your sleeves, and get to work.”
And that’s what I’m going to do…work. I’m going to work at this and remind myself that “work” isn’t always fun, it’s…work. If it were fun, then we would go to “fun” every day and not “work”.
This weekend HALF of those shoes will be gone, and I’m saying it here so I’m held accountable. I don’t need 27 pairs of shoes and you probably don’t either.
So, how many pair of shoes do you own? How many do you NEED?
I have an identical twin, but there is no one like me. There’s no one like you either. You and I are unique and we love to be described that way.
My name is Misty Day (yeah, that really is my name) and I'm a normal every day person. I'm a twin, I work as an analyst, I take my daughter to Girl Scouts and swim team, I play bass guitar in a band, I love food and wine, I like new clothes, and I'm trying to be a better person.