Friday, October 8, 2010

The Great American Apparel Diet

If you’re a true lover of reuse, I encourage you to go on a diet that you cannot fail. Promised glory!

You’re laughing right?

It’s The Great American Apparel Diet and it started on September 2, 2010. It’s a year-long pledge to forgo buying new apparel from the conventional retail market. (You have wiggle room with foundations and socks/tights).

To be honest, I’m embarrassed I just learned about it. I will swear that my pledge is retroactive to September 2nd and far beyond.

Here’s how they explain it:

“The Great American Apparel Diet, what is it? We are a group of women and two men who have decided to go on a diet of sorts. A fast really. We are completely eliminating “new apparel” from our diets for one year. Yes, the next time you see us sporting new tags it will be Sept. 2, 2011. Sound easy? Well think again. This is going to be a stretch for most of us. You see, like most women we are attached to our wardrobes in some form or another. In fact buying a new something-or-other is as natural as a dark chocolate pick-me-up. We all have our reasons for embarking on this project but it all gets down to this…who are we without something hip and new in our closets? We shall see.”

Visit the site, The Great American Apparel Diet. If you are not a full convert of thrift, I understand some reluctance. At least review the site, there is a very funny support group in constant discussion. If you just try, I promise it will change the way you think.

To be clear. This is not anti-retail. This is smart and resourceful retail. Think of all the items that go unneeded and unused in homes across America. If they were tossed into the market, our shopping would be stronger and a bit more economically sustainable. The retail market at large could easily be a salt and peppered mix of new and reuse. If we were to significantly up the percentage of reused product in the market, we'd be lowering the carbon foot print of our shopping. On this, please refer to an opinion I wrote some time ago for The Christian Science Monitor, "We count calories. Why not carbon?"

Join already! Either dive in or get those toes wet. Just try.

10 comments:

Shopping Golightly said...

HELL-OOOO! Anyone home? I dare you to take the pledge!

Kari said...

I'll take the pledge but I work at Buffalo Exchange so this is a serious no brainer for me!:)

AvaTrimble said...

I don't buy much in the way of new clothing, but being an unusual size, I can't buy bras secondhand (though in addition to buying a new bra, I also bought a pattern and fabric, to experiment with making my own), and I do buy things like tights, and shoes, because I'm particular about material and how things fit. Mostly, though, I buy my clothes secondhand or make them, and I make my clothes last as long as possible, even though people laugh at me for my careful laundering habits!

I've heard of this "diet" before and I think it's interesting, but I think my reaction to it is much the same as my reaction to food diets - I don't much go in for extremes and absolutes. I'm a big believer in moderation and in long-lasting, sensible choices. I don't specifically do food diets, really, but I almost universally avoid soda, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, MSG, and fast food. My housemates and I get an organic farm share (Community Supported Agriculture at our college), I shop at Trader Joe's or local markets, and I try to cook balanced meals, but I don't consider it "cheating" when I eat an ice cream bar or (gasp) a Taco Bell burrito, once in a blue moon.

Basically, I feel the same way about a clothing diet. I make healthy choices overall, and I don't sweat the small stuff. When buying a couple pairs of tights in particular colors, in the right size, in the right style, will expand my wardrobe and make what I have more useful, I buy them, when can afford them. But like I said, generally I make my own clothes, re-make clothes in my closet/drawers that aren't as interesting or well-fitting as I would like, or buy secondhand. When I do buy new, it's often at an off-price store like T.J. Maxx.

Since I'm already writing a nine-mile-long comment, I'll go on a bit longer and say that I absolutely adore your blog, and it's very inspirational, but that thrifting stylish clothes can be a real challenge for people who don't fall into standard ready-to-wear industry sizes and shapes. For those individuals (of whom there are MANY), it's hard enough shopping at a mall or store with lots of options easily found, and can be even more difficult in a disorganized and unpredictable thrift store. Personally, I'm tall, on the edge of plus size, and very full-busted. This makes buying clothes that fit and flatter a perennial challenge, particularly when options are limited. I've seen some comments bemoaning similar situations on your blog - do you have any advice for your readers who can't just slip into a standard size whatever and have it be likely to fit? Could be a popular post. :)

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

With the exception of underwear + socks/ tights I've been on this diet 100% for years. I browse in what I term "regular" stores + browse Anthro for ideas, but generally find much more interesting items in thrift + vintage shops.

When I read the title of your post I thought it was a boycott of the clothing store American Apparel.

Shopping Golightly said...

I believe the diet allows new under garments, and hosiery. I do know that some thrift stores only sell packaged panties and socks.

Van said...

I buy nearly all second-hand, but sometimes retail is cheaper than goodwills with the way prices are going up!

I love your cute modeling posts featuring your family :)

Anonymous said...

Van's right: there are still buys to be had in the stores. If you are thrifting most of your wardrobe, a specially priced signature item is well worth paying for if you're going to get a lot of use out of it. Thrifting isn't really about dieting and discipline; it's just a very smart way to outfit your families and homes. Thrifts are a viable part of our economy--and my home economy! But I can't get excited about a movement that even in some vague way is aimed at undermining the retail industry.

Pixie Gas said...

Plus that brand is ethical, as their clothing isn't made in sweatshops.

Gale said...

As my daughter is 6 months pregnant, she has sent me on garage sale and thrift store expeditions all summer. I have managed to buy everything for her nursery for under $200. The only thing she wants to buy new is a car seat and a "running" stroller. We checked recalls on cribs and other baby equipment before buying. This will be the best dressed thrifted baby on the block

T.O.B said...

I read the GAAD website and it looks like you can't actually BUY any clothes at all, new or used. They seem to be defining "new" clothes as "the ones you pay money for" and clothes that are fair game are the ones you already own or that are given to you.