Wednesday, July 1, 2015

10 things I learned from not buying clothes for a YEAR!

I got married on June 28th last year.  When my husband moved in to our house (which I'd been living in for the past year), he brought with him a very small amount of clothing.  His clothes took up, no joke, only a space of two feet on a closet shelf, about 5 hangers, and enough clothes to fit in a backpack.

My clothing? It takes up a 6 drawer dresser, the rest of our 8 foot shelf in the closet (piled at least two feet high), all of the rest of the hanging space of that 8 foot long closet unit, and a rubbermaid tub in the guest room.  Each of those above mentioned spaces were bursting at the seems!

I know I'm not the only girl who has this many items of clothing...But it was an eye opener!!  Some of the clothes I had had since high school.  Some of them traveled with me when I lived in Japan for two years.  Some of them still have their tags on them from when I bought them.  Some of them I never wear!

SO... In talking to my husband while staring at our closet, I jokingly said "I should give up buying clothes for a year.." And his response? "Sure, why don't you try it?"

And so I did!

From July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015, I did not but any clothing! For a year, I gave up buying clothing.  And I survived!

When I told people I wasn't buying clothing for a year, their first question was always "Oh, like to save money?"
Actually, I didn't choose to not buy clothes for a year to save money.  That was just a perk of my year long experiment!
I decided to not buy clothes because I had SO many already.  I have so many I don't wear.  I have SO many I put on in the morning, thinking I'll wear it and instead I decide its too short, too patterny, too faded, too uncomfortable, too..... and the list goes on.  Instead of doing something about any of those things, I end up folding up or hanging back up that piece of clothing and moving on.  Only for the same thing to happen the next time I pull out that piece of clothing.

Here are a few things I learned or took away from my year of not buying clothes:

1.  I have ENOUGH clothes.
I know I said that earlier up in my post, but it's true.  I had enough clothes to wear for a whole year.  Yes, I wore things more than once here and there, but I whenever I got "bored" with my clothing, I just had to dig a little deeper into my closet to find something to wear.  Sometimes, I mixed things up or tried different combos I hadn't tried before.  Sometimes I used accessories to change up my outfits or styled my hair different to revamp some of my outfits and clothes.

2. I had to go through the clothes I have..
This is always very HARD for me.  I like to keep things.  I hate getting rid of things that I spent money on.  I went through my clothes a couple of times to pull out clothes I knew for sure I wasn't going to wear.  I took out clothes that didn't fit comfortably or the way I used to like them fitting.  I took out clothes that were colors I didn't care to wear anymore.  I took out clothing that I had to "babysit" all day - the clothes I constantly have to yank up, or pull down, the clothes that scratch me all day..

3.  I had to start a bin where I could put the clothes I put on in the morning and then immediately rip off because they are too short, too uncomfortable, too _______.
I typically take these clothes back off and put them right back where I pulled them out that morning.  This only sets me up for the same type of thing happening on another morning!  So I made a bin where I could throw those clothes after I peeled them off.  This was one of the best things I did!

4.  I learned what kind of clothes I LOVE.
The fabric, the cut, the feel, the patterns, the quality.  I can not say enough about this!  I didn't keep track or anything, but I found that there were certain pieces of clothing that I went back to over and over again. 
-I found I LOVE my "blousy" kind of "sheer" tops that were a little flowy. 
-I loved anything long.
-Long white camis with shelf-bras are my wardrobe staple.
-Maxi skirts are like the best invention ever.  Like yoga pants but for work!
-I love the pieces of clothing I can wear to work with slacks and also wear everyday with jeans.

5.  All my "cheap" clothes.. were just that.. CHEAP.
 Those clothes I got at the cheap stores in the mall, (sometimes even the trendy stores in the mall) tend to last the least amount of time.  The quality isn't always so great.  The clothing falls apart after just a few wears and washes.  The hems start to come apart, the fabric becomes see through, it shrinks quickly, the fabric snags easily, the list goes on.  I figure I spend more money buying cheaper clothes because I can afford to buy more of them than if I spent that money buying a few quality pieces.. which brings me to my next point...

6. Quality clothes are worth the quality price tags.
I have one top I bought from Nordstrom on clearance.  It is one of my absolute FAVORITE shirts to wear.  I love it.  It's gray and has some sheer type sleeves.  It's loose and flowy and I can dress it up, dress it down, add accessories, and switch up what colors I pair with it.  The quality is amazing.  It's comfortable.  I get so many compliments on it.  I believe it cost me $26 and some tax, which is probably comparable to one and a half items of cheaper clothing, but I know it will last!

7.  I can still be cute with what I already have.
About two months ago (so 10 months into this whole year long thing), a coworker told me that I always looked so cute.  I always admire the clothes she wears, so coming from her, this compliment meant that much more!!  I actually got a lot of compliments similar to that throughout the past year.  That was really great.  It shows that you don't always have to have what's being advertised as "in" to be stylish.

8.  I have some REALLY great friends.
This one I knew even before going into this of course!! My friends were SUPER supportive!! Sometimes their comments of "wow, I don't know how you are doing it!" or "I don't think I could do it!" gave me continued motivation to keep going.

9. Mending your favorite clothes is totally worth it..
I have this pair of jeans that I found at my favorite store (ROSS!).  You know that pair of jeans you own that makes your whole lower body look AMAZING? The pair of jeans that forgives that extra few pounds you KNOW you're carting around.  The pair of jeans that looks good with every pair of shoes.  The pair of jeans your husband compliments each time you put on.  The pair of jeans that you throw on when you're having an otherwise not so good day.  The pair of jeans that you'd be heartbroken over if anything *gasp* BAD happened to them.
Yeah those jeans.
I was wearing them the day before Christmas break. I  had gone to the bathroom before school started and for whatever foolish reason, unbuttoned the button but did not unzip the zipper.  I started to shimmy them down when the zipper BUSTED.  I was horrified.  Unzipping my jeans was a split second decision that seriously ruined my jeans.  I had to call my husband (who thankfully was home!!) and ask him to bring one of my *other* (not so amazing jeans) for me to change into. 
I was not going to give up that easily though.  If you own a pair of jeans like these, you know how valuable they are!! Over Christmas break, I decided to try my hand at replacing the zipper.  I found an awesome tutorial on pinterest that was actually REALLY old school but had pictures of EVERY SINGLE STEP and awesome descriptions.  I started to work!  I took pictures of the zipper before ripping it out.  I got about half way before needing to take a break.  I think I took a (short) two or three week break.  I came back to them, picked them right up where I left off, used the pictures I took from the beginning along with the tutorial, and WA-LAH! My jeans were like new again!

10.  I have a healthier take on clothes buying.
This is kind of a modge-podge of all the things I just listed.  This experience has taught me a lot about my clothing choices.  What I like to wear, what I feel good wearing, what lasts and what doesn't, how I don't need to hang on to old clothes, etc.  It would have been fun to go out and buy a celebratory piece of clothing today just because I CAN, but that actually defeats all of the things I learned.  I feel like I'm going to be pickier when it comes to clothes shopping - about what clothes I buy, where I buy them from, what types of clothes I NEED in my wardrobe (regular denim colored skinny jeans with no holes..), and what clothes I still have in my closet.

I think now I might try that whole "turn all of your hangers around, when you wear something, turn the hanger the right way, and get rid of anything you didn't end up wearing all year" thing..

How long have you gone without buying clothes?

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