A Year Without Clothes: Confessional Update

….in which I confess to buying pants; sum up what I’ve learned so far in 7ish months of not buying clothes; and blatantly ask you to send me your art.

Neato Things Rachelle Mentions in this video.

Today’s Artisan: Ten Things

  • Ten Things: Gorgeous hand-made jewlery with a delicate, artful touch.
  • Don’t forget — all my art is packed up. So send me gifty-samples of your hand-made artisan products and I’ll chant your praises in an upcoming video post at at Magpie Girl.

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
2311 N 45th St, #203
Seattle, WA 98103

And the questions we need YOU to answer (pretty please!)

  • Have you been going A Year Without Clothes? What have you discovered so far?
  • What are your thoughts in general about clothes and how you present yourself as a creative person thru dress?
  • What’s the best thing you’ve ever done to get a right-fit wardrobe for you? (Tips please!)
  • And a random question….Are you ordained on line? Who did you use?

See you on Monday with a video post on Car-Free Living. Thanks for being here!

Sam July 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I think you were a trooper about your commitment…and you’ve figured out what will work for you in the future! I admire your commitment to NOT BUY clothes. I tend to buy more for my child (and it’s ridiculous…it really is, but it’s less stressful than buying for myself).

These video blogs are fun. I like watching people I’ve READ, talk. It makes me smile! Sending peaceful moving vibes your way, and as you deal with the transition of being inbetween homes.

angela July 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm

You are a super trooper! congratulations on your clothes-free buying for over 7 months!!


Kimberley July 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Love your video blogs! I admire your resolve.

I’m in transition with my wardrobe because of 2 things. I’m slowly losing some pounds and trying to break out of the rut I got in with clothes over the last few years – dreary colors, a size too big = don’t want to be seen. I want to make the transition wisely. Right now I’m going for quality over quantity and trying to buy pieces that can easily be taken in a few inches here and there as my body changes.
I did buy a couple of scarfs etc. to add color and pop. I’m feeling awkward about the change in image at the same time that I feel great about letting my eccentric self show up in the world.

Wendy Watkins July 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I am new to the world of magpie girl and i am digging it-thank you!

I had a conversation with 1 of my clients this week about how over I was with consumerism–why is it that if i am not paying attention ,i can buy something almost every day–crazy! I have commited to paying more attention and saving my precious dollars for what I really covet vs. what i just “want’. It is a practice for sure.

As for clothes–i love them! I have always loved expressing myself through clothes and always will. I do not know if i could go without buying clothes for a year, however, 6 monthes could work–then i get to shop for a week (for the season) and then i take another 6 months.

I have noticed that in the last month, i am wearing the same things over and over–a uniform that i love! And they are the clothes that i spent a little more money on, not the ones that filled my need to be trendy wendy. They are the ones that fit well, from my fave boutique here in atlanta.

I can only imagine the space that this is going to open up for me…not thinking about shopping….i think i am starting to have withdrawls already….

Connecting to my Big Why of what this will do for me will allow me to move forward with ease and joy….off i go…crossing my fingers to ponder how enjoying what i have will bring more joy.

Who knew a blog post from a cool chick i just met would enhance my life….thank you!

Monica July 10, 2010 at 1:34 am

hello! i was inspired to do a version of your challenge and I’m answering your questions in my blog post for today:


i hope you have a chance to stop by and read how I’m doing in this challenge so far…

I hear you Sam – I find buying things for others is more fun and less stressful than trying to come home with something for just me ;)
Congratulations to Kimberly for the changes she is making her life to show her beauty to the world! and to Wendy for realizing she is happiest in a few clothes that make her feel great – i wasn’t sure if i could go a whole year without new clothes, but i am doing it and if I can, Wendy, you can =-)

thank you Magpie Girl for this wonderful space you have created – it’s awesome AND inspiring!!

Rachelle July 10, 2010 at 8:30 am

Kimberly — I too feel a bit awkward about my dressing these days. I’m feeling the drawn to be my bohemian self — like when I was in college but for a post-baby body and on a slightly more flexible budget. But I’m also hitting midlife, so finding a way to do that on my own terms is a little tricky. Can I still wear my hair in double buns? Are skirt-over-jeans okay at 40? I’m trying to let my inner Muse answer and not the outer magazines. Here’s to the exploration!

Sam — I used to do that for my kids too. As soon as they got old enough to pick their own clothes, and to dress themselves in their favorites day after day after day (the same thing!) the shopping for the kiddos tapered off. I think it’s okay to let that “dress the kids cute” thing be a season in your life. It has functionality for a time when your kids are outgrowing things in a nanosecond, and your body is trying to adjust to it’s post-baby self.

Wendy — I like the 6 month, shop a week thang. I think that will work well for me for the long haul. Thanks for the tip!

Off now to read Monica’s post…thanks y’all…and WELCOME!

Rachelle July 10, 2010 at 8:31 am

Paul say I have to look at the camera and not the screen while I record. But I feel like I’m more talking to YOU when I look at the screen. Is it distracting that I’m not looking at the camera? Be honest…

Tess July 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Oooh, the happy topic of clothes, style and hitting mid-life! I think there are only two rules folks should follow:

1) Reflect your self in the way you dress (but figure out exactly who your self is, and that different outfits might represent different aspects of self).

2) Don’t worry too much about whether you might be ‘too old’ for something. To me the key thing is not to set out deliberately to make yourself look younger: if you do, someone will figure out you’re effectively lying about yourself. If you treat your body well, delight in living and choose outfits according to rule 1), the question of age becomes irrelevant.

On the question of fit, like many women I tend to vary in size, so I have different sizes in my wardrobe. More importantly, I’m an hourglass, so things that fit the bust and hips rarely fit the waist. Whatever your size or shape, figure out what shape suits it as part of point 1) above, and either learn to sew a little bit or find someone who can make small alterations.

Finally, there are two sites I like on clothes and style. One is by Caryn Franklin, who incidentally has some good low-cost e-books for particular body shapes. It’s here: http://www.howtolookgood.com/. The other is by Australian image consultant Imogen Lampert, whose blog Inside Out Style is great: http://www.insideoutstyleblog.com/. She uses Polyvore style boards to great effect.

Hmmm, I’ve revealing my frivolous side, aren’t I??

Tess July 10, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Oh, PS: yes to be honest I agree with Paul, it would feel more connected if you looked at the camera.

Gerri Curless July 10, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Have you been going A Year Without Clothes? What have you discovered so far?
I’ve never done that hmm sounds interesting but right now I don’t really buy too much because I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of person (yes, even at 52) and I’m looking for a good pain free lift the girls up bra!

What are your thoughts in general about clothes and how you present yourself as a creative person thru dress?
I definitely LOVE earrings – dangly type earrings, “different” kinds of earrings

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done to get a right-fit wardrobe for you? (Tips please!)
I did go to a Norstroms bra fitter (but it might be a little different since I gained weight since then). I just want to be comfortable.

And a random question….Are you ordained on line? Who did you use?
I did it as kind of a joke about 10 years ago maybe? can’t remember
I found this link though (but really didn’t read it through) hope some others can help you!

I am working in polymer clay and friendly plastic and hope to show you something soon!

Tess July 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Erm, me again. I’m not trying to take over the comments column, but I just remembered a piece of advice about clothes I was given years ago by a woman I shared an apartment with. She worked in wardrobe and design on movie sets. She said for best creative dressing results, never hang things up in “outfits” because then you cease to see the possibilities for mixing a garment with other things. She said to make a deliberate habit of looking for and trying out surprising combinations, and if you work that way you don’t need as many clothes.

lisa (msla) July 12, 2010 at 4:07 pm

Hey beautiful! I was admiring your earrings and then all of a sudden you’re talking directly to me! You should have seen the big grin that cracked my face.

A longer comment soon, but the vlog is so timely. I started the buy nothing challenge in October and it’s been hard lately. Both pairs of my jeans are kaput and I have one pair of capris that are too small. I bought a new pair of capris. But it turns out that I, the person who will vehemently protest that I am not a shoe person, am totally a shoe person! I have bought 4 (!!!!) pairs during the challenge. I can justify one pair (my walking shoes were broken and I really did have to replace them), but the other three (a pair if chackos that I *had* to have, a pair of flip flops from Target Liberty of London and a pair of Clarks) seem extremely optional. The Clarks, though – I bought them in Edinburgh and they are like the Dorothy shoes I’ve always wanted.

Any way, I’d specifically like to have some community interaction about mending clothes – particularly how to repair pants when I rub holes in the inner thighs. Are they irrepairable? Anything that can be done to salvage them?


Allyson/HBMomof2 August 4, 2010 at 9:29 am

I know I am extremely late with this comment, but I wanted you to know how it was going. I have loved this year without clothes. It has been easier than I expected and has forced me to look at the image I project with what I wear. I too have found a “uniform” for me, but within that flexibility. I have figured out that I am more of a classic than anything else and have pared my closet accordingly. (Most of my closet was that anyway.) Things that didn’t fit in that perception have been sold or donated. You did allow one splurge, which I did take some liberty with, as one trip to one store and purchased at one time, but multiple items. (I cannot resist the spring collections.) I have had to replace 3 shirts and 2 pair of shorts too. I have been dropping pounds and needed something to help me get through summer. But that is it with the exception of gifts that have been given to me. I am pretty damn proud of myself. (Even with the above purchases, it has cut back my spending in this area by 90%. Hubby has been watching.)

I must thank you for this idea, because with this experiment, I have become more aware of what is being spent in our household. Now, thankfully so. My husband was laid off a week ago Monday from his lucrative job in commercial land development. Had I spent frivolously we would be in a dire situation. We are not feeling “safe” by any means, but now I know that it is possible to live without buying. It has just been extended to every facet of our spending/buying now. I have taken the time spent shopping and spent it playing at the park with my kids or purging my whole house. (Again thankfully so, if we may be moving.) It is actually a weight off of me. I plan on extended my year beyond that. I don’t need half of what I have and someone else might and I found out that people do not play as close attention to what I am wearing as I thought they had. I guess I am getting over some narcissism too, ha!

As for being “green” in other parts of my life, we use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper towels, run full loads only in the dishwasher and washer, but have taken on recycling our own bottles for redemption value and are buying more locally grown products.

All of these things have made me feel more connected to my community, my friends, and my family. It is a feeling that was largely unexpected when I started. I am excited to finish of the year strongly and with the intent that purchases are meaningful rather than by impulse. You rock, girl and I couldn’t be more grateful for your brilliant idea.

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