Bye Buy Clothes
The Challenge: Buy no clothes, shoes or accessories for one calendar year.
Upon announcing this challenge, the first question I am asked is: Why? The question is accompanied with looks of humor (yeah, right …), shock (are you crazy?), and horror (mostly by my daughter who is sure this will affect her in some way).
I love clothes. And shoes. And necklaces and bracelets and scarves … I love them all. I subscribe to fashion magazines and watch television shows like What Not to Wear. I truly believe that clothes help convey to the world who you are. Never taken lightly, the daily clothing choice is important and thrilling. So why give up the opportunity to acquire more? I don’t have a single definitive answer but I know this:
This is NOT:
1. A New Year’s Resolution. Although the timing is right, I’ll retreat to my customary resolutions of getting more organized and becoming healthier.
2. A statement about anyone else’s choices but my own. I am not trying to start a revolution or suggest anyone should refrain from buying whatever they choose (so long as they can afford it). Heaven knows, I am not trying to wipe out the global economy.
3. An effort to lessen my global impact, or footprint, or whatever. I do care but perhaps that will be next year’s challenge.
4. A campaign to blame Barbie, the fashion industry, marketing geniuses or Target. I adore Barbie and credit her with inspiring some of my best looks. I will not cancel any magazine subscription or retreat from the mall. They do not force me to purchase things I do not need.
5. An original idea. Others have done this successfully. I applaud them. Timing is everything, though, and my time is now.
6. A hoax. Even if you were to follow me day after day, I could sneak purchases but I will not. This is not a challenge to find loopholes; it is a challenge to become more thoughtful about the things I do every day.
My challenge, my rules. Should you decide to challenge yourself, your rules would be your own. Since I refer to this as a challenge, I feel certain rules are in order.
1. Absolutely NO purchases of clothing, footwear or accessories. This includes regular retail, resale, garage sale, or any other venue in which these items are exchanged for money.
2. No stealing of afore mentioned items. I include this rule since I am unsure how this will affect my emotional state in the long term.
3. I cannot request anyone else buy the items for me.
4. The exceptions will be unforeseen tragedies (I have already had a friend offer to secretly set a small fire in my closet) or medical emergencies. I include the medical part because in the event I finally get my achy feet looked at by a podiatrist, some alternate footwear may be prescribed but that probably will not include pumps (even leopard print pumps, unless I find a really awesome podiatrist).
Here’s what I hope:
1. I hope to become more thoughtful about what I purchase.
2. I will try to re-purpose or re-style my existing pieces.
3. I hope to spend some of the time previously spent shopping being more productive, better to my family and better to myself.
4. I hope to save money (we have a kid in college).
5. I hope that by challenging myself I will begin to take control of the roller coaster that is my life.
This is day one. On my roller coaster, this is one heck of a big hill and likely followed by a plummet. I feel a giddy anticipation yet I fear I really have no concept of how long a year is. I invite anyone to join me. Your challenge is your own. Perhaps your challenge is for a month instead of a year, or to save a certain amount of money or to give some of your things away. Perhaps in one month I will realize that I am, in fact, crazy and we should all rush back to the mall. As someone once said, “great challenges bring great rewards,” and I’m not sure what those rewards will be but I am really looking forward to finding out.
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