*8Things: A Year Without Clothes

8things from Magpie Girl

I lit a bit of a wildfire yesterday when I ‘fessed up to my pledge to go one year without buying any clothes. 

Quite a few people are chewing on it and might take the pledge with me. (Whee!) The goals are to spend less, be more creative, and become truer to ourselves. (Take that,  evil hamster wheel of fashion marketing!)

The nice thing about A Year Without Clothes is that it’s a play-a-long, which means you get to make the rules.  To help you decide your house rules, here are *8Things to think about before going a year without clothes:

1. Write Yourself a Pass: Maybe you’re getting married this year, or having a baby, or working on losing weight. Why not take the pledge, but write your self a pass? “Good for one wedding dress and accessories.” “Good for the minimum number of work pants/jeans needed in size 6, when I get there.”  The goal is to limit yourself enough that you think creatively about your wardrobe and the effect of consumerism on your self image. But doset you own rules and limits now, or the pledge will dissolve at the first clearance sale!

2. Create an Plan for Warm Weather.Sure, it’s easy figure out if you have the basics for  Winter wear, but Summer is a looooong way away. Write down what you bare minimum is for summer (4 tanks, 2 shorts, a sleeveless dress…) Then if you don’t have the minimum when the time comes give yourself permission to try number three…

3. Consider the Hierarchy: Hit the summer and have nothing short sleeved? Follow the hierarchy. Re-purpose. Trade. Buy Used.First option: Re-purpose. Turn a shirt into a tank top with your sewing machine. Second option: Trade. See if a girlfriend will swap a couple of her extra tanks for that sundress you never wore last season. Third Option: Buy Used. It’s cheaper and friendlier to the environment.

4. Stock up on Socks and Undies.These are the things that will wear out during the year. Sure, you could write yourself a pass to buy them as needed…but once you are in Target buying your Hanes, it will be MUCH harder to resist the sales racks.

5. Get Curious. How will this help me be more aware of who I am internally and how I express that in my outward appearance? Am I a slave to fashion marketing or am I being my truest self? How deep is my resourcefulness and problem solving skills? How willing am I to learn a new skill? If I set limit, will my creativity expand?

6. Get Excited!This could lead to some really fun stuff! A mail-based accessories exchange? A Tweet up with virtual friends for an In Real Life clothing swap? A Flickr photo pool of images of the real you? Who knows? You could start ANYTHING. Adventure is out there!

7. Learn from Experience. The first year I lived in Copenhagen the prices were so insane that all I bought was a winter coat and boots, two sweaters, and a blouse. My expat girlfriend told me last week that she and her husband went two years here before the closet full of clothes they already had wore out.  We were suprised by how little we really needed.You will be too.

8. Remember Others. This pledge will save you money, and  it will free up some funds to help others who are less fortunate than we, the middle-class blogging ladies. You don’t need to give all the money you’ll saved to charity. But please do make a symbolic donation to indicate that your pledge is for a purpose. I’m suggesting the Apparent Project, my friend’s organization in Haiti that helps feed and clothe orphans, and supports poor parents through cottage industries and microfinancing so they don’t have to give up their children.  If you want to join me, the Chip In is below. Or pick a charity of your choice and send some abundance thier way.

What are *8Things you could do to make A Year Without Clothes work for you? Or alternatively, what are *8Things you could do to make the clothes you have go farther for you? Or *8Things that will help me spend less on clothing? Or *8Things To Do To Dress Like Your True Self. Grab a button and play along, add your post-specific URL to the list, or tell us in the comments below. Thanks for being here!

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Tess October 8, 2009 at 11:27 am

Hmmm, writing a pass might get me a bit closer to joining. Mine would be falling in love. No, not with a person, silly! With a garment. That moment of walking past the shop window and hearing the siren call of the purple wrap top or whatever and knowing it would be utterly perfect on you.

But I think your point 5 is the most important, and no of course we shouldn’t be slaves to fashion marketing, whether or not we are buying new stuff. We should always consider how what we wear reflects who we are, that’s the creativity and fun of clothes. I may feel a blog post coming on…

Rachelle October 8, 2009 at 11:56 am


If you post, let me know so I can link love it around the blogosphere.



Bethany October 8, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I love the idea of this, and I am going to be joining you… in my own spirit-of-the-law way. While I DO need some new clothes (most of my wardrobe is from my college days, almost a decade ago, or from the two pregnancies that have made up the last 5 years… not exactly flattering), I think I can make do without that pair of boots I had been planning on for this winter. And without another belt. And without another sweater… at least until two weeks into January when every piece of wearable clothing is frozen stiff on the laundry line. :) I hope you’ll be posting some pictures of the creative heights this challenge takes you to!

Stacey October 8, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I just posted somethings that make up my style – what makes me happy as far as clothes go. I buy when I need – I wear my clothes forever – I still have shoes from highschool ( 16 – 17 years old and I love them!) I guess that is why I don’t mind spending a little more – but I still don’t spend a ton – I almost NEVER buy at full price – I wait for the big bargains – I try to wait for the 50% off plus….I like good jeans a little higher price but again I wear them forever – my good jeans are over 3 years old and a couple other are 5+ years old. So I guess my theory is buy the good stuff that is classic in style when it’s on sale so you can wear it a while. :)

elyse October 9, 2009 at 1:12 am

I love the idea! I, too, was a huge fan of the Little Brown Dress project but didn’t feel an undertaking that big would be possible for me (an inner-city teacher and commuter biker)–but this definitely is! Before November 27, I’ll need to do some research on good gloves, an ear-warmer headband, and a coat for my first year of biking in Chicago’s winter. Thanks for the idea and best of luck to everyone participating!

carol October 20, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Huh, what a coincidence that I find this today. I was out clothes shopping on Sunday and trying on some jeans and cords. I was in the automatic mindset of “new school year,new season, need new clothes”. I had the thought of “why am i about to spend money on things that I already have? I have jeans(2 pairs), I have cords(1 pair), I have grey chinos, I have navy chinos. Not to mention several skirts too. The only thing wrong with them is that I have lost some weight and they are a bit big now. All I really NEED to do is buy a belt. And some socks, I needed socks.

Going to have to ponder this idea a bit more but I love the idea and will participate in some way.

Lauren October 27, 2009 at 4:51 am

I love this idea! I don’t think I’d be able to do it but it definitely makes me think about cutting back and wearing what I have instead of looking at my overstuffed closet with a feeling of I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR. Good luck!

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