Saturday, April 16, 2011

No new clothes for a year? It's not that hard!

I joined The Great American Apparel Diet over six months ago.

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, 2010.”

New bra’s and panties are excluded from the diet. No need to get anything in a wad.

I don’t remember the last new item of clothing purchased for myself. Really. About three years ago, possibly four, I snagged a copper-colored, faux Persian lamb, swing jacket from the Anthropologie sales rack for $78 – a steal. It could have been that jacket. Not really certain. It was a tough call but if I didn’t purchase it, I would regret it like the jacket on sale in the window of a shop in Martha’s Vineyard in 1992. Hey, I may be cheap, but it does mean I don’t have feelings or sense of style. Had I bought that jacket, it’d still be in my wardrobe. It was timeless. And, it was an honest, good deal.

A friend and I were having coffee and talking priorities. She mentioned the cost of airfare for routine family visits and how it’s important in her life. I laughed and noted that her airfare is the cost of some people’s blue jeans. It’s hard to believe, that statement holds truth, even in a recession. But it does.

It’s been interesting reading the posts on this site. The agony some people are truly fighting. Along with the revelations of the newly-found economic freedom and the “was I a fool most my life syndrome” I’ll call retail remorse.

The Thrifty Chicks support this effort and I will meet the goal without challenge. But I will save the celebration for those who truly changed their lives. And maybe someday I’ll figure out how to post on the site. I’ve access. For now, sitting back and reading is enough.

Aside from foundations, what was the last new item of clothing you purchased? How much? Was it truly worth the cost?

If you thrift, what was the last thrift item of clothing you purchased? How much? Was is truly worth the cost?


Anonymous said...

I visited a local farmer's market this week, and once monthly they have a clothing can swap up to 5 items (shoes included) and get 5 in return. I found a pair of new Italian dress shoes (I'm in the midst of blogging about it). The shoes... I Googled them and they are worth approx. $80 retail. I also got 4 pieces of very nice clothes. If no one chooses the clothes I brought to the swap, they benefit the local women's shelter. Talk about a thrifty score, recycling, and helping the community at the same time!

Alan said...

It seems like most bloggers are shills for manufacturers and stores these days. A shopping fast is a wonderful thing regardless of one's income. One needs to reflect and not constantly buy.

LeDandy supports the Thrifty Chicks in their endeavors!

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

I too can no longer remember the last time I bought clothing in a store! Latest buy was 2 Land's End twin sets, all four pieces for two bucks, and a multi-gored skirt that makes me want to dance the tango. I love having clothing I don't have to worry about...or dry clean!

Anonymous said...

It's not hard at all to avoid retail. I enjoy doing a daily check of what I'm wearing to see how many items are from thrifts or consignment stores. Counting accessories (e.g., scarf, purse, jewelry)my outfits are made up of four to five used items. I even come by my jewelry second hand.

KDbeads said...

Last new clothing item...
Dollar General had a clearance sale on these great heavy duty denim long sleeved men's shirts, $2 each, about a month or so ago. I bought 3 in every style/color (1 in my size and 2 in his). Worth EVERY penny of the $40 something I spent because I won't have to buy light farm/yard jackets for myself for YEARS. 100% cotton!! Even at Walmart they are at least $15 each.

Last thrift clothing item.... A bunch of cotton t-shirts for a quarter a piece. Worth it to me because I can usually be found wearing a t-shirt. For a quarter I don't have to worry too much if they get nasty from working on the car or yard.

Frugal by Choice said...

I used to follow fashion, etc., etc., but real life intervened, so to speak, and I honestly cannot remember the last time I purchased something new. No, I take that back. I think I bought a new pair of jeans at Burke's Outlet for $10.00 about 2 years ago. I have not purchased anything to wear, even from a thrift store, in over two years. And I don't expect to go shopping for at least another two years, since I acquired a bunch of "new" clothes from my neighbor who gave me first "free" dibs at stuff she was putting up in her yard sale. Yes, it dows help that I don't work eight now, but I'm not dressing like a slob either. . . I guess your priorities change as one gets older. . . I'd rather save money or spend it on something that will save us money over time, than spend on some fashionable item of clothing that no one is going to notice anways. . .

Birdie said...

We recently left Japan, taking only four suitcases (including two tiny, child-sized ones) for one adult and two kids, so I've been shopping quite recently! In three trips total to the local Goodwill(2) and a great children's consignment store(1), I found Lucky jeans for me (still available on their website), Chip and Pepper shorts for me, and J Brand jeans for me (also still on their site. Total cost: $8 (2 for $3 each, 1 for $2, as it was in the kids' section - the shorts). For the kids, I snagged several dresses from the Gap that still had tags on them ($3 each) for my daughter, and like-new Levis ($2) and a few Cubavera ($2 each) shirts for my son.
I'm still in my twenties, and enjoy...not so much trendy, but stylish clothing, and my thrifting scores reflect that. I've bought a lot as we're rebuilding our wardrobe a bit, but I've spent less total on three people for tons of clothing than someone might spend for a couple of new items at Target, and my buys have been expensive, well-made brands.
Funnily enough, I have several friends who "hate thrifting" who have offered to pay me to go shopping there for them/their kids after seeing what I manage to find for myself and my kids. I also shop the Goodwill for my sister, and have pulled many expensive jeans for her (Ann Taylor, Lucky, Paper Denim and Cloth, etc).

Anonymous said...

I would say at least 80% of my wardrobe is thrifted, and I refuse to pay full price for the remaining 20% either. Shoes and accessories included.

My latest purchase was a 3/4coat in a gorgeous shade of purple. It cost me more to dry clean ($8.75)than it did to purchase($5.75)!

I do have a more than adequate wardrobe, so am looking at taking on the challenge of no new clothes for a year - including thrifted - now that could be hard!


Anonymous said...

If we are not counting undies and swimwear, The 2 things that I've bought new for me last year were a wrap top in beautiful pink and a wool jacket from Sears Outlet. The wrap top didn't survive a wash, the jacket's a dream. Regret that wrap top (what a waste!) but loooooooove the jacket! It's so stylish, fits like a dream (I'm tough to fit) and is a classic that I can wear for years. Original price of that jacket = $99 + 13% GST. I paid $22 including tax. :)

Catherine said...

I support you fully!

I want to echo Alan's sentiments. It's really disturbing how unchecked the blogosphere is with disclosures about recommendations. I understand there are FTC guidelines where you have to disclose getting things for free, but how policed is this?

Too often I've seen people raving about pricey products only to find out it's their friend's companies. Even many alleged eco-sites promote constant consumerism. Good for you for promoting thrift!

Shopping Golightly said...

Alan IS right about a solid block of blogs. Hey, retailers realize the blogosphere is a great place to market, even incognito. Many have offered even ME all kinds of deals. Have not taken one to date. It can be tempting considering blogging is a volunteer endeavor.

This makes me feel compelled to qualify that I didn't get push from Nordstrom to mention their BP section for teens a few posts down.

Any mother of an American teen girl knows the pressure of fashion. In the retail market, Nordstrom BP, is the only retail provider I've seen that is attempting to help young girls learn about fashion and look stylish without offering their bodies up for a public viewing. The sales staff is well trained on context and ask the girls, "So what occasion are you planning to wear this dress?"

I had mixed feelings mentioning BP, but us moms? We need help with our daughters.

Plus, I take Petite Poe to BP. They teach her context and offer better quality and style - things she doesn't want to from me. Then I teach her to look at he styles SHE likes and go to the thrift to mimic.

Daisy said...

I bought a sweatshirt while on vacation. I'd only brought one sweater along, and it was dirty. I decided the hoodie would be a practical souvenir.
My son wore thrift clothes to his last two Forensics meets, and he looked great. Khaki pants and a good quality polo shirt each time; all thrifted. I was proud of him for his hard work; proud of myself for the thrift bargains!

Beth said...

I just discovered your blog- LOVE it!
Not sure if I'm ready to commit to a year but its definately got me thinking.
On a completely other note I really want to know about the red shoes at the bottom of your page. What brand are they? where did you get them?

Shopping Golightly said...


Thanks for your kind words.

The red shoes are me and my daughter in Kenneth Cole Reaction. They were $5 a pair. Hard to wear them without compliments.

Alex M said...

I am downsizing and that means really getting rid of stuff. But I spent $2.50 on a pair of slippers because mine are falling apart. I don't like to wear shoes in the house!

I wish now that I had stopped buying as much clothing and stuff in the past few years. Now I am working diligently to divest.

I now turning around and re-donating a bunch of stuff to thrifts. I don't feel too badly about that since I was glad support their cause to begin with. So maybe these thrifts will actually double their money on the original donation?

Raquelita said...

I am also doing GAAD - have been since the first of the year. It can be challenging since I have shifted in the past year from being a grad student to being a professor, and as a young female faculty member, I sometimes feel like I have to dress a little more carefully and thoughtfully than some of my older or male colleagues. I also admit that I enjoy clothing and being stylish and find the thrift market in my small town to be really limited. That said, I think it's easier for me than for some.

I have purchased a new pair of running shoes since starting GAAD, as marathon training has taken its toll on my older pre-GAAD pair.

Shopping Golightly said...


Bonus points for you running marathons in thrifted shoes. Don't think that running shoes for marathon training count against you in the diet.

I did read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall about the Tarahumara in Mexico that run tremendous distances in sandals or bare feet in the heat. Once again proving how we've managed to over-complicate life's simplicities to make a buck. However, given that we're not raised from childhood, going about our lives in bare feet... I guess shoes in a marathon on asphalt make sense.

Kim said...

My reading of GAAD was that you were not to buy any clothing at all, new or used. If you have to pay for it, it's verboten. Have I been mistaken? The last item I bought was dance shoes for my daughter. The last item I bought new for myself was a pair of boots 2 years ago.

Shopping Golightly said...

Lifted from the About section of GAAD:

"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"

If you're a marathon runner, eh, shoes are tools, not fashion.

Kim said...

I've been thinking this whole time that I wasn't supposed to buy any clothes at all, new or used! I even forgot that the GAAD allowed us to purchase underwear and accessories. It hasn't been hard to not purchase anything at all for myself. The last thing I bought thrift was a bunch of 99 cent men's shirts for my husband's work wardrobe. Running shoes are definitely allowed on GAAD since they specifically allow footwear. I think the creators realized that if they forbade shoes, many women just could not possibly even consider the GAAD. Shoe shopping seems to be a sacred cow for many women.

Shopping Golightly said...

Queen Kim!

You need to be the spokesperson for GAAD!

Funny, I'd not count running shoes for distance runners because you can take a serious injury wearing ill-fitted shoes. And running shoes dramatically change over time.

But regular shoes? I thought no new shoes was part of the commitment. Well, if Americans have hang ups with shoes then why do they toss away beautiful new pairs to thrift? Must be the aftermath of retail therapy.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and check it every week! I wanted to share my weekend Goodwill finds...a pair of barely worn (if worn at all!) Doc Martens mary janes, an Ann Taylor blazer (later found $2.25 in the pocket..score!) and the Goodwill I shop at gets Target castoffs and I found a pair of Miss Trish of Capri Sandals and Temple St. Clair earrings and ring. All this for $20.09. My husband was so impressed! :]

Reneesance said...

I can't actually remember the last new item of clothing I bought for myself. I actually think it was two new bras but they were on sale ;)

Thrifting is how I get 99% of my clothes and it has been for years. My latest score was a brand new suit with the tags still on that fits like a dream. 10 bucks at the Salvation Army on half price day. What's not to like about that?

I only wish I could find shoes more often in my size although my best thrifting score to date is still the pair of brand new Salvatore Ferragamo pumps for two bucks!

Fashion Suits said...

That could be pretty expensive!