My Fashion Challenge for 2019

WOOOOOOO! Time for New Year’s goals! My favorite!

This year, one of my big goals is that I want to purchase ONLY used/pre-owned/pre-loved clothing for the whole year. Yes, the whole year!! I have never done a goal like this before and I am equal parts inspired and terrified!

I have been considering doing this since last summer and felt ready to take the leap. One reason is that my closet is fully stocked with basics like jeans, dresses for certain occasions, tops, jackets, etc. And to be totally honest, it’s began to look a little bit like a Madewell store in there—haha. Not that that is a bad thing (I obviously LOVE Madewell), but I really want to feel like I have my OWN style as well. So I felt like taking this next year to shop vintage and pre-owned things might help me to add a little more personality to my closet. For better or for worse, I am one of those people who values uniqueness, so it would make me super happy to add some personality pieces to my closet.

Here are my hopes and intentions behind this goal. 
-Like I said above, I’d like to add some more unique pieces to my wardrobe. I think I’m pretty covered on basics now, so I’d like to focus more on the personality element of my clothing.
-Being less wasteful. I love shopping and capsule has helped me become much less wasteful. But, I still feel tempted by fast fashion, too much online shopping (even though I return a lot of it, it wastes a lot of time), shopping sales, and I still occasionally buy items I never wear even once.
-Good for the environment. This is an obvious one, but shopping used clothing is a sustainable practice that benefits the environment in multiple ways!
-Enjoy the clothing I already have. I have plenty of clothing. I’d like to just focus my energy on styling new outfits this year rather than shopping or thinking about what I want to buy next.
-I miss vintage. So much! I grew up thrifting and it’s definitely a happy place for me. Many of you know we used to own a big vintage store in Missouri, which ultimately led me to complete burnout where I didn’t want to wear anything vintage for several years. I got rid of literally ALL my vintage clothing at one point. Well, now I miss it because LIFE IS A BIG CIRCLE. I want to bring it back into my wardrobe in a more minimal way (I used to buy just WAY too much of it and never got anything tailored, so it was kind of a mess).

Here are my “rules” (and loopholes, LOL)
-I will not spend ANY money on new clothing in 2019. The only things that don’t count are underwear, tights or socks (I would say swimsuits too, but I don’t really need any new swimsuits currently) because, well, I have to draw the line somewhere.
-Gift card loophole. If I get a gift card as a gift I can use it. Ironically, I received zero gift cards for Christmas—lol.
Also, if I get any clothing gifted from brands, that is OK too (this almost never happens so it’s not a big deal to me).
-Any used item is OK to buy. Any “used or pre-owned” marketplace is OK to buy from, so I can shop online or locally in Nashville (Nashville isn’t really known for its vintage shops, but it has a few good ones).
ETA: It’s ok to replace basics if they get ruined for some reason. (thanks for the suggestion! I hadn’t even thought of that!)

Should I make any other rules? Let me know if I’m missing something obvious!

These are two things I purchased secondhand last year that I love so much: this skirt, which I found from Goodwill, and this Chloe purse I purchased from The Real Real. I hadn’t bought a designer bag in a long time and it felt so cool to purchase it with the money I saved from closet sales last summer.

As a part of this challenge, I am planning to share a report here on the blog of the ups and downs, things I learn, anything good I find secondhand and things like that! I don’t know if I’ll do it monthly or once a season—probably just each time I have something new to share … we’ll see!

Wish me luck. One of the reasons I am sharing this here is to hold myself accountable to do this challenge 100%. NO CHEATING. I’m sure it will not be easy. I love shopping and I will for sure resume shopping at my favorite stores after this year is over—I just want to see if I can do it!

What do you think? Do you think this challenge sounds ridiculously difficult or easy or somewhere in between? For the past few months I’ve been telling all my friends I was thinking about doing this and most people tried to talk me out of it or (like my husband) zone out and just totally do NOT care, haha. I guess it is pretty specific, but it’s making me feel really inspired, so I am excited to go for it!

Wish me luck? xx – Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Hey!!! I love this goal and I am going to do the same thing, such a good idea. I have been doing a capsule wardrobe for each season (thank you for the idea/motivation) and it has been such a nice change for me but I will say I always feel a little guilty at the start of each season for feeling like I need to buy new things. I stay home with our boys so it’s just my husbands income so I feel like if I buy thrifted/used I will give myself a little more grace and be able to get a little more too!!

  • love this idea! I did a similar challenge in 2017 — no new clothes purchases (except socks & underwear), only new clothes I made — I think I sewed like 35 garments that year! I might try your same challenge this year — I miss all the vintage shopping I used to do in my 20s. 😀 happy 2019!!

  • YES! This is basically how I live my life now and it’s SO fun (plus it’s double-satisfying to see the faces of shock when I tell people where I got something). I definitely recommend the Facebook group “Mom’s $20 and Under Closet” – just purchased my first pair of corduroy overalls from it! 🙂

  • Yes! This is the best goal, in my opinion. I used to woke at a consignment shop for several years and it was just the best to literally purchase all my clothing second hand. I definitely think you can do this, especially since you have it planned out so well! You got this!

  • This sounds awesome! My husband and I have committed to not buying any clothing we don’t truly need this year unless it’s used (this doesn’t include kids’ clothing, as I’ll often buy clothing for our daughters that they don’t need yet if it’s on sale because they grow so fast!). I would also exempt shoes from the used category, however – unless you have more than enough shoes and can avoid purchasing them altogether, shoe fit is SO important that it can be hard (for me at least) to find used shoes comfortable and supportive enough for my needs.

    • I do agree with Sophia! I buy literally all my clothes second-hand and have for years, but shoes are a different story. Finding durable, comfortable shoes is a nightmare and the thrift stores around me have nothing!! I would make this another loophole.

    • That makes sense! I was on the fence about shoes because I have plenty for the cold month but could probably use some summer shoes. Maybe something for the “gift card loophole” if desperate times call for desperate measures LOL. Honestly- I’ll probably end up realizing I already have plenty. 🙂

  • Ever since having a baby, I find it way easier to not shop for myself — little girls clothes are just so much cuter/more fun to shop! Shopping for your little one will totally fill the gap 🙂

    • True! I actually can’t shop for Nova right now though because she hasn’t grown out of hardly ANY clothes since we got her. It’s insane. But if we get matched with little sis soon it will be like GAME ON. haha

  • Hey Elsie –

    What a cool idea! Think this is great. Am a 32 year old woman in LA, who kind of follows this. Mainly because, LA is expensive enough in other ways that being mindful where possible allows the budget to stretch further other things. Mostly only buy underwear, tights, socks and shoes new (with the occasional staple here and there). The funny thing is a bunch of friends have ended up doing clothing swaps, or we give things to each other, so things have a way of staying fresh even when they’re not brand new. Hope you have fun with this!

  • Such a great challenge! The only other rule I’ve also heard of with challenges like this is if something wears out/gets ruined that is a “staple” that might be hard to replicate at a thrift store – for example, jeans that fit or comfortable shoes for work.

    Rachel | http://www.rachelstriving.com

  • I am VERY into this. I myself have been trying to be intentional about purchasing used and Pre-owned clothing more. So many past trends resurface years later in a continuous cycle. This challenge could either be really miserable or really fun. I know you’ll make it fun!

    • Yes- I’m kind of expecting it will have SOME annoying moments, but overall I’m always proud when I stick to a challenging goal. I’m excited to see if it will help me feel more unique/creative or think outside the box. 🙂

  • I LOVE this goal and I’m going to try to join you. I had weight loss surgery last year and I’m down 113 pounds (woot woot!). I’m in the process of buying new clothes but it feels SO WASTEFUL — you don’t want to know how many bags of clothes I donated. I want to be more thoughtful about how I spend money on clothes and how it affects the environment. Keep us updated throughout the year! Good luck!

    • Wow Kim- hope you enjoy reworking your closet. You deserve it!!!

      I definitely think shopping used is a good way to reduce waste. :)))

      • It makes my heart SO happy that you are mindful of trying to reduce waste. Ever since I watched “The True Cost” (an eye-opening doc about workers earning unlivable wages who often pay with limbs and lives for our collective fast fashion habits) I cannot even look at many of the stores I used to frequent. Thanks for talking about this challenge so publicly as it will inspire many of us to rethink what we need and what we don’t. I am not super at this yet myself so this is very encouraging!!

  • Love this! I would love to see you share your finds. I love using Instagram and blogs to find cute pieces and get inspiration, but it would be refreshing to see this take since I can get exhausted by seeing the same $90 cardigan everywhere.

    One loophole I would allow myself if I were you is to purchase new replacements if one of your basics gets worn out or damaged – something that seems possible when you’re doing life with a toddler!

  • Wow! I have been planning to do almost the exact same goal – not buying any clothing at all this year! My motivations mainly revolve around saving money and being content with what I have – which is enough! I love how you said you want to enjoy the clothing you already have. I want to do the same! I’m excited to follow along with your journey. 😊

  • Hi Elsie,

    I think this is a GREAT idea! I think it will really help you appreciate clothing more (yours and just in general), and most of all, have fun with your personal style. I’m definitely trying to shop less as well this year–online shopping makes it too easy.

    I can’t wait to see what vintage treasures you find –please keep us posted! 🙂 Good luck!

  • Hi Elsie! I love this idea! One of my resolutions is to stop supporting fast fashion and to be sustainable with my clothing choices as well! Except I started a few months ago. My rules are no sweatshops, small sustainable businesses for some things (like Dazey LA and Big Bud), and secondhand ONLY! Hopefully forever. Using Everlane as well on a lesser scale. Their high waisted undies are the best sustainable ones I’ve found!!!

    Good luck!
    Lizzy

  • I love second hand shopping, been doing it the past few years. Favorite stores swap.com and thredup.com. I’m saving big and enjoying my savings.

  • Bravo to you. Check out the podcast “Articles of Interest,” especially the episode about blue jeans. Those artificial fibers will sit in the ground for generations after we’re long gone.
    I want to buy nothing, and if I have to buy anything (that includes in the house), I want it to be secondhand. I don’t mean consumables like food or soap or makeup but stuff, like dishes, furniture, clothes, etc. First, I have what I need, truth be told. And second, I want to stop the vicious cycle of consumption. Third, I really, really don’t need to buy anything. I would only be upgrading, and even then, only slightly. Ridiculous! What I have is perfectly fine.
    I applaud you for doing it with clothes!

    • Second the recommendation of the Articles of Interest podcast episode. I also was inspired/alarmed by the 8/28/18 Dressed: a history of fashion podcast episode called Fashion and Sustainability, an interview with Tara St. James
      Finally, you might check out the book Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh

  • I think this sounds hard but doable. I am trying to do something similar – although I am trying not to buy anything, period. I bought a sports bra and some underwear on sale after the holidays (but before Jan 1) so I should be set. I watched two episodes of Marie Kondo’s new Netflix show yesterday and got my clothes folded in the Kondo style and my closet hangers turned around (to see what I am actually wearing). I feel like I have enough to wear something different for months, now I just need to be disciplined! I work from home, so I have even less of an excuse to buy new things. I printed out blank calendar pages to draw x’s on for each day I am successful. We’ll see! I like your gift card rule (that will be my cheat too). Good luck!

  • I committed to the same, but just for the month of January & spent the last two days unsubscribing from EVERYTHING. I am such a sucker for sale emails & Insta ads. I know you can do it & I can do it too. If all goes well this month I see no reason not to keep going!

  • Good luck with your shopping goal! I do most of my clothing shopping second hand and I love it! If I feel like shopping I just head to a thrift store instead of the mall or the web. It can be time consuming since there’s so much stuff to pick through (as opposed to going in your favorite store where you love everything and they have each item in every size.) But I think it’s fun to express my personality with things I found second hand!

  • Nice goal! Budget wise I tend to buy mainly only second hand. A great side benefit is the clothes I buy second hand tend to always remain in my closet the longest and hold up better than fast fashion purchases. I guess it has to be good enough to donate to some of the places I shop (Buffalo Exchange and ThredUp) so quality is better than some fast fashion stores.

    Thredup will be your online shopping friend. I love the site and you get to hunt for great deals and variety from the comfort of your home!

  • Welcome to the party, Elsie. I’ve done this for years for environmental and cost-savings reasons, as have a lot of folks. I think this resolution is going to be ridiculously easy to keep and no challenge at all. (Of course, sometimes you need something easy!) Overall we are a wasteful society, not to mention all the millions of Baby Boomers who are downsizing households as they age. My own personal trap is that it’s so easy to find inexpensive used items that look nice that I tend to overbuy for my clothing needs. New or used, shopping is still shopping.

  • This is a goal you won’t regret. More people need to focus on consuming less and being environmentally conscious. Our insatiable appetite to consume is destroying the only home we have. I’m excited to see how you make out doing this.

    I gave up shopping retail apart from shoes, underwear and socks and I haven’t regretted it at all.

    I am a vintage reseller and the amazing finds to be had in thrift stores surprise me every time.

    You’ll do awesome!

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

  • I love this!! I basically do this without fail. The only thing I purchase is shoes bc they are hard to find in my size. This year I also bought a winter coat new. Otherwise I am a thrift queen! I can’t bring myself to pay high prices when I can shop sustainably!

  • We would love for you to come see our vintage at Relik Vintage off Woodland in East Nashville! Our brand is WingDingPop specializing in women’s vintage. Been following your blog for almost 10 years! Love your New Years Resolution! 🙂

  • I’m committed to second-hand clothing and also to sharing my resources with my community. If there aren’t many shopping options where you live, would you consider hosting a clothing swap with your friends and neighbors? Or setting up a community free box for sharing unwanted items?

    • That definitely sounds more difficult. I feel like the reason I can do it is because I already have all my basics- but kids need new things pretty often…..

  • I love this! I started a similar goal a few months ago but I succumbed to the January sales!
    Where do you stand on workout clothing? I definitely could go a year without but equally don’t think I could go second hand?
    Maybe I’m being squeamish there though!

    • I already have plenty of fitness clothing, but I would probably count it in with underwear otherwise. Although I saw Girlfriend Collective leggings on Poshmark so there are options…. 🙂

  • While I don’t think I could go strictly vintage used clothes, I love the idea of making more meaningful clothes purchases. I tend to not do trends, but rather what is flattering , comfortable and easy care. It’s easy to get caught up in the “good deal” but like my mom used to say, “If you don’t wear it…it wasn’t such a great buy after all!” It was fun to read your goals in this area. Mary Wilding

  • Have you gone to Anacoda Vintage yet? My fave Nashville thrift store. Great curators, and very size inclusive.

  • I grew up with a single mom and a bunch of siblings. Money was tight and we really only bought secondhand. I’ll always remember the first time I bought something brand new with my first babysitting money- it was crazy to me that there were sizes! I found something I liked and I could pick the size it came in! Haha what a thrill. As an adult in a different financial bracket I still love love buying secondhand and I’m always surprised how many bad feelings people have about it. I love seeing bloggers move more towards real thrifting (not just really pricey vintage). Can’t wait to see how this year goes!

  • I own a brick and mortar shop in my hometown that sells consigned and vintage clothing. I changed careers 11 months ago to follow my passion. I NEVER buy anything brand new any more. I want to be unique and original, and it’s so much easier when you buy vintage or pre-owned. I think you’ll find the challenge surprisingly easy, especially when you realize how much cheaper it is to buy pre-owned!!!!! You will not want to buy mass market clothing and pay the higher prices.

  • I am trying a shopping ban as well. I don’t buy much vintage or secondhand, so I’ll have to think about that. I mostly just want to reduce the amount of stuff I have generally, to consume less and appreciate what I already have more. Clothes, makeup/ hair products, and books are my biggest downfalls. I need to slow down so that I can truly recognize a want from a need. (And model that for my kids) Good luck to you!

  • Love it! Did this last year and it was great, I was able to find everything I needed on ThredUp or Poshmark, and this year I’m taking the plunge and doing a no clothing shopping year. Enjoy it!!

  • Awesome!! I love reading about your capsule wardrobe and I love reading this. Sustainability is the top reason why I move things out of my shopping basket!

  • I love this!!! I’m so inspired to pause and rethink my purchasing habits and my STUFF in general. I have a friend that just started a business selling VERY cute vintage clothes that she’s collected over the years. Her shop is called TRXi and website is trxivintage.com. Her shop is in Chattanooga!!

  • Love this idea! The only loophole I’d add is gear needed for specific physical activities. For instance as a runner I would most likely need good shoes and potentially new top or pants depending on how current items hold up through the year.

  • This is the only way I shop! The only thing I buy new (besides underwear, etc.) are jeans and that’ s mostly because I have a hard time finding the right pair and I need them now, not later. Haha. We do clothing swaps ALL the time here too. Sometimes people take things, have fun with them for a month or two, and then they end up in the next clothing swap. Talk about fast fashion!

  • I do very limited shopping, but your goal to purchase ONLY used/pre-owned/pre-loved clothing for the whole year seems very challenging. I personally wish that I can follow this goal, but have found out that it is very difficult for me to find the size and designs, which I love.
    But great idea, I will try to start with some areas like furnitue.. Thank Elsie for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

  • Looooove this! I started this three years ago and have never looked back! Not only do I have higher standards for what I will buy, I also buy waaaaay less and find making clothing choices so much easier. I’ve started using the same practice for clothes for my kiddo, which is a bit more challenging at times (he needs new clothes more often) but totally do-able, even if I am fairly picky about what he wears. Turns out, kids don’t really need that much either!

  • Elsie! Don’t forget you’re fighting against sweat shops and human slavery by fulfilling this challenge as well!! So excited! You have such a huge platform and I’ve been hoping for years that you would try something like this 🙂 <3

  • Crazy – I made the same goal and just shared it with my mum today! (Clearly I wasn’t as brave as you – plus it was a very recent idea). My main motivation was after seeing a Facebook video about slavery and the clothing industry. I make tons of unethical choices all the time but it’s always worth trying to change one hey? Plus all the same reasons as you – I used to have a much more interesting wardrobe but havings kids makes it so much harder to browse the charity shops and vintage shops like I used to. Wish me luck!!

  • I love this idea! My 13 year old daughter & I both found high street label dresses to wear on Christmas Day at our local charity shop. It’s a great mother-daughter activity and we find the most incredible things. Favourite movie? Pretty in Pink of course! Molly Ringwald is her style inspiration!

  • I went 2 years without buying anything new—everything came from Poshmark, Goodwill, and various other local thrift stores (I live in SF so there are tons of them!). I didn’t set out to do this on purpose, it just kind if happened, but once I realized I wasn’t shopping new anymore a couple of months in I just kind of ran with it! I broke my streak last fall going to Zara for a new suit (which felt SO WEIRD, lol!).

    Once I committed I followed the same rules you are—I bought all undergarments and intimates new, and did receive some new clothes as gifts. I also made craft-project clothes exempt—for example I bought some hats and t-shirts to embroider and dye. You might want to do that too 🙂

  • Brilliant! I just decided to go a month without clothes shopping, so this will be inspiration to perhaps keep going longer.

  • Good for you! I try to do the same and really enjoy the hunt of finding something unique in my size!
    When shopping online I always ask for minimal packaging to be sent. There is so much excess packaging from ‘new’ shops and sometimes from ‘used’ shops, it makes me sick. Maybe you could consider doing that too for environmental reasons if you don’t already 🙂

  • Hey Elsie!
    I set this goal for myself last year! I actually tried to but no new clothes at all, like not even second hand. I really enjoyed it, the biggest thing I learnt was what I actually do wear and what I think I would like to wear (but never actually do!). Comfort played a much bigger role than I expected!
    I slipped up a couple of times, mainly basics and a cute jumpsuit I couldn’t leave alone! But overall I really enjoyed it and I’m actually going to keep trying this year. I feel like I have enough statement pieces, so mainly on,y budgeting for basics that need replacing.
    Can’t wait to see posts about updates on this resolution!

  • Ps: because I was spending less on clothes I found that I could justify the price when buying higher quality, ethically made basics and underwear when they needed replacing. There’s so many great brands around!

  • I have a friend who took it a step further. 2015 she didn’t buy anything (not only clothing, but anything) made in China- and tried to buy only US made and as locally and environmentally friendly as possible. 2016 she only bought 1 item for herself a month. 2017 she had her first baby. He has never worn anything but second hand, except for shoes (she even returned any gifts she got).
    I could never do what she does or what you plan to do (my local thrift stores only sell “old lady” clothes and online second hand is often more expensive than new from H&M I Denmark).
    But I always feel inspired about such challenges and it makes me think twice before I buy something new. So thank you!

  • Me and some friends made a bet – no shopping (at all) for six months. It was the best thing! I enjoyed it so much that I went on for 12 months.
    The most satisfying thing ever and a real eye opener for me! It totally proved that you can change your old habits. It actually made me want to change other stuff in my life as well – when you don’t spend much money on clothes, what can you do with the money (if you downsize in other areas as well)? Work less! Work less is my goal for 2019! 🙂

  • i love this idea. nothing thrills me more than looking at pre-loved designer digs, and i really love your chloé bag!! if you want to try used items with the girls, i recommend kidizen app. you can do this!!! 🙌

  • This is a great goal Elsie, and I’m so happy to see people embracing a more sustainable approach to clothing and fashion. I wish you the best of luck for this year and wanted to add that in the future, when you do find items wearing out and needing replacement (and for underwear, tights etc) look for sustainable and ethical brands (organic, fair trade), so your choices are supporting a better fashion industry. Also look for more environmentally friendly fibers such as bamboo, hemp, linen and newer fabrics such as modal and tencel, instead of cotton and polyester types. Good luck!

  • I love this idea…it’s genius! I definitely want to reduce the amount of clothes I buy as too often things just sit in my wardrobe unworn. Fashion is so fast these days it makes you want things you don’t actually need. I hadn’t thought about buying used clothes instead but it’s such a great idea! Xx

  • Great idea! I started doing this 5 years ago and have never gone back. I make an exception for the items you listed as well as exercise clothing.

  • This is so brave! Every few months I say “I’m going to buy less clothes” and then I never do. I was inspired by your recent fashion series and have decided that for 2019 I’m still going to shop (because I’m being realistic) but I’m going to carefully plan what I buy. I’m limiting myself to 10 items for Autumn/Winter and 10 for Spring/Summer, which will include basics like jeans, but doesn’t include socks and underwear.

    I can’t really shop vintage due to my unusual stature, but I’m hoping that cutting the number of things I buy will enable to spend a bit more on things that last (and probably still end up spending less than before).

  • Came here specifically to say that I LOVE this idea. Mostly because it’s so much better for the environment/ethical reasons but also because it sounds hella fun! For several years now I have been able to *mostly* avoid fast fashion but as my knowledge about sustainable living grows I feel like this is a natural next step. I think I’m going to give this a shot! Thanks for inspiring me and using this platform of yours to promote good choices for yourself and for everyone 🙂 happy new year!

  • This sounds great! Looking forward to seeing how you get on 🙂 I often think about doing this (for environmental / sustainability reasons), but haven’t taken the plunge yet. Good luck!

  • Yes! I did this last year and it was brilliant. Remember- it also gives you a chance to do fashion and fabric crafting and sewing- make a new dress out of a tshirt and skirt you thrift. Embroider a shirt or jumper. Sew your own clothing from an old tablecloth, etc etc. SO MUCH FUN! Also I held a “swapshop” with my pals and we all brought along and swapped clothing- it’s also called “Swishing” here and people do it and raise money for charity at the same time. Also Ebay is your friend… there is cool fabric/ vintage clothing/ second hand finds on there. Can’t wait to see what you put together- you are so crafty and stylish! And a role model for being less waste too- that is great! 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻

  • I have a very similar goal this year, except I don’t want to buy any clothes at all (obviously apart from underwear)! It’s a tall order and I’m sure I’ll probably end up sneaking in a couple of pre-loved pieces. But I really want to get out my shopping habit – for the sake of my wallet, my mental health and the planet.

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  • it’s a very interesting challenge and I believe it will have much fun to do it, and I also make a new year resolution, one point is that I do never buy any new clothes this year, LOL, but I do this for transforming my concentration to my study, LOL

  • I tried a makeup no buy last year as my addiction to buying pallettes became crazy. I have to say I only lasted 6 months as I needed some essentials. I have to say I do not consider it a fail as I completely changed my makeup buying habits after it + have not gone back to my pallette addiction so it was a win win!

  • I love this so much, good luck! I’ve been consistently inspired by you since I found your blog when I was in high school (2011?). Now that I’m married and have my own space, all of your decorating posts have been a huge source of creative inspiration, and your posts about a more green life, parenting, and now recycling others’ loved clothing are such a great motivation! Thank you for sharing your life with us ❤

  • Go for it. I’ve been shopping second hand for years and while I still shop brand new too, second hand gave me my personality back. There is so much less judgement in a second hand shop so you can just be you

  • This is an awesome idea – I plan to do something similar but buying no clothes and continuing my Rent the Runway Unlimited Subscription. I started doing RTR Unlimited last spring when I was post partum and nothing fit and I have LOVED it. It’s a little pricey per month ($159) but I justify it by not buying an new clothes or accessories. I was gifted a few things for Christmas but really haven’t spent much at all on clothes since I began. And I plan to try to cut back even more this year! It’s such a fun way to try new things that I would never buy!

  • I love love love (!!!!) this idea, elsie ❤️❤️ Now I’ve already bought most of my clothes second hand for almost a decade – and believe me; it’s a bliss. So, I’ll gladly join in on your challenge and I’m so so glad you are encouraging and inspiring people all over the world to do the same ❤️❤️❤️

  • I love this! I’ve been doing the same thing for the last FIVE YEARS! (I also sew my own clothes and allow myself purchases of fabric but try to keep it project specific). I hope you have found ThredUP as they are great and I would argue you could easily get basics there (they have lots of Madewell. 🙂 ) . I honestly find it such a joy and such a frugal way to live. The fast fashion industry does incredible environmental damage and disregards humans, it’s really ridiculous. Not to mention the damage the fashion industry does to women’s body image and body shaming. You are going to LOVE escaping that. You might never go back. That’s what happened to me. 🙂

  • Hi Elsie, i absolutely loooove (!!!) this idea. I am thinking about it too for a while because i don’t want to be a part of the ‘garbage’-industry. I mean that i want products to maintain a longer time. Also i am really struggling with my style and needs. I rarely find anything i really love in the mainstream shops. So, big thumbs up for you! you really inspired me to stop struggling in my mind with this and give me an actual solution. I think i gonna follow your example as much as possible. Good luck!! I cross my fingers big time! xx Tine

  • Hi Elsie,

    I think this is a great idea!
    I have been doing the same thing for the last year and I love it!
    My other rule is that I can also make my own clothes by sewing or knitting.
    🙂

  • I have the same resolution. I decided after listening to the podcast series Articles of Interest on 99% invisible focusing on the fashion industry. Its insanely wasteful an there are so many ways to buy gently used clothes. for anyone else interested its such a good series: https://radiopublic.com/99pi/ep/s1!cc60c

    Do you include children’s clothing in your challenge?

  • I have bought a lot of my clothing from thred- up its new and use clothing.. Its cool cause its clothing people own that they have either worn or purchased and just left in their closets. Try it out once, just browsing gets you hooked…

  • I LOVE this idea! I once did a more extreme version of this the year I had to start repaying my student loans. I decided to not buy ANY clothes or shoes (secondhand, brand new, or otherwise) for the WHOLE YEAR. I did not include accessories in the challenge, because it was just TOO extreme of a change otherwise, but, surprisingly, I still bought very little (a necklace or two and maybe a secondhand purse). I gave myself the same loopholes as you for replacing basics, BUT I did make one big exception. That was also the year I turned 30, and I allowed myself to buy a brand new outfit for the occasion. I stayed strong most of the year but ended up spending about $10 on two new items (too good a deal to pass up!). Not bad for a whole year! And the dress I bought for my 30th birthday (made entirely of gold sequins, obv) is one I still treasure. I even used it as my getaway dress to leave my wedding last summer, so it was a great purchase! Good luck with your challenge! I’m excited to follow along. 🙂

  • I love this! I’m in grad school, so the budget is a bit tight and I’ve been doing this now already for a bit. Maybe I’ll make it an official goal for this year too! I’m not sure if there’s a big university in Nashville, but I definitely recommend finding a Goodwill or other second hand shop near a college campus. Lots of undergrad students and young professionals donate a TON of clothes rather than packing stuff up and moving it every year, and you can see a lot of designer brands and really quality stuff that’s barely worn. Everywhere I’ve gone to school, the thrift shops have really quick turn-arounds and there’s something new and cute every time I go!

  • Thanks for encouraging other people to take up this challenge too, Elsie! I’ve been reading your blog for what feels like forever and I’ve always loved you and Emma’s different styles and clothing finds. It’ll be even more fun to see what vintage finds that you share with all of us and encourage me to keep up with my no-buy rule that I started last fall. Hooray for sustainability!

  • I love this idea and will most likely join in too!! I did a capsule wardrobe for the first time this past fall/winter and have been amazed by how few things I needed and how seldom I even need to mix things up (I work from home). I bought a few basics that my closet was missing and feel…done. It’s crazy to think about because I have always LOVED to shop, haha. It’s a great feeling though!!

    I think it will definitely allow me more time to focus on other and more important priorities, which is always the goal, right?? 😃

    I find a lot of new and pre-owned clothing on instagram (and I sell a lot on there too! Mostly Anthro and Modcloth – my closet account is @the_mustard_closet). I love the idea of sustainability and these types of shopping habits being better for the environment since fast fashion is SO terrible for the planet. It’s one of the reasons why I love and sell vintage!

    Have fun, Elsie – can’t wait to participate and follow along with your journey. 😃

  • Awesome goal! I has so much trouble shopping second-hand. I feel like it’s a lot of digging for no reward. You should write a post sharing all your tips!

  • My daughter shared about your challenge and I love the idea. I do a lot of thrifting and garage sales. It’s amazing what you can find. It has become a challenge to go out on the weekend with only $20 and see what you can get. I have scored many incredible pieces. Clothes with tags on them. Go for it. I’m definitely going to try. Good luck. Look forward to reading your blog.

  • Hey Elsie, I live in Nash too. Have you done a post of your favorite Nashville shops? I’d love to hear where you like to shop here in Nash!

    • Hi Sarah,
      I haven’t and honestly I haven’t visited enough yet- but I will for sure add them to a future post. Excited to go to ALL the shops this year. 🙂

  • Such a great idea – I am definitely going to take it on board! We don’t have that many great second hand clothing stores but it will give me an incentive to check out the local pre loved clothing markets when they come to town.

  • elsie, i’m so happy to hear this!! i did this last year and it was awesome. thrifting has so many options, is better for our planet and is affordable – i don’t think i’ll ever go back to buying new clothes again (besides underwear, etc)! i’ve found so many incredible, unique pieces and it’s just totally changed how i approach shopping – i don’t always have to walk away with something because just searching and trying things on is fun and I get to play with my style more than trying on generic new pieces. i wrote about it more here: https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2018/11/0010-tps-thrift-shop.html
    again, thank you elsie! it’s exciting when i see big blogs like ABM supporting less wasteful approaches to life – our planet needs all that we can offer 🙂

  • Love this! I basically do this and I’ve also been able to replace staples using online sources like Poshmark and EBay. I have multiple pairs of Madewell jeans that someone else wore once or twice that I was able to score for 75% less than in store! Sometimes just have to stalk the sites for a couple weeks until someone posts what I’m looking for.

  • I love the idea of this challenge (though I’m not quite bold enough to do it myself.) I’ve been slowly working on switching to more pre-owned clothes and reducing the amount I shop and I’m looking forward to your updates on how it goes. If you haven’t already I’d suggest unsubscribing from any store newsletters you get – those always roped me in to getting something. Good Luck!

  • Oh my gosh, I have totally been toying with doing the same fashion challenge this year!!! I may just go for it now that I know you’re doing it, too. I read your loopholes and those are totally the same ones I would use. Ah! I’m scared but since I haven’t purchased any new clothes so far this year (lol, in the first five days) I feel like I should at least try.

  • I think this is a wonderful idea! It’s great that you’re so conscious of being environmentally friendly, yet still get to be creative with your wardrobe. I shop at thrift stores and second-hand stores 99% of the time for myself. I don’t find it difficult at all because it’s in line with my values and I write about frugal living and my side hustle selling those clothes online. The only thing I tend to buy new (besides underwear and things like that) is shoes. I’ll often catch myself during the day realizing my whole outfit was thrifted.

    You really won’t be missing out. If you find something your like, even if it’s still in season, you can always search for it online and will likely find someone selling it. You can even find new clothes sold on second-hand sites because people didn’t wear them or it didn’t fit. I can’t wait to read your updates as the year goes along!

  • Does basics include shoes? I know I couldn’t make it with used memory foam Sketches!
    This is a fantastic idea and I plan to follow your rules also!
    I have a sewing machine which makes used clothes shopping easier kmowing I can turn a Size 10 dress to an 8- I dont have a blog.
    Thx for great idea

    • Hi! For me it does include shoes. I am pretty well stocked up, for all seasons, that’s why. We’ll see if I regret that choice as the seasons change. haha

  • Good luck with your challenge. I look forward to watching.
    I have been doing a version of this for the last year, but with household items not clothing so much. I don’t like to shop, so buying clothes isn’t one of my weaknesses anyway. I do have a rule though, for every clothing item I bring in, I put a clothing item in the donation box.
    I live in Houston and our house flooded in Aug 2017 from hurricane Harvey. First off, it FORCED us to get rid of tons of junk that had accumulated for the 12 years we have lived in this house. That has made such a difference, I can’t believe how all that STUFF was mentally weighing me down! As we have put the house back together, I am very mindful now that I don’t want a bunch of knick-knacks and clutter. I really think about it before I bring anything back in.

  • Will you also post about where you buy items you like? Online places would be more applicable for me, but I am sure locals would love to know the brick & mortars.

  • This is an awesome 2019 challenge! I hadn’t really thought of a unique “resolution” this year, as mine is a combination of staying healthy and happy, but I might adopt this, too! I just moved from a master bedroom with a walk-in closet to a room in my friend’s condo due to landlord wanting to sell house. Downsizing has been a challenge, so I think this mindset will really help me in my limited space – and not to mention slowing my roll in shopping fast fashion.

  • This is such an incredible challenge to take on for 2019. I had a similar goal last year where I started taking my own closet items to consignment shops or selling on preloved online marketplaces and that money became my “funds” for new (to me) items in my wardrobe. It was really interesting to see how little I felt like I “needed” vs wanted. Excited to hear more about how your journey goes!

    katrina / http://steadycatalog.com

  • Fantastic goal but Nashville has *tons* of vintage clothes shops. I stumble across a new one almost every time I go out of my apt! Just found a new one in East Nasty across from the Book Shop

  • This is very inspiring. I have been thinking of doinh something like this, or only handmade, or just nothing new at all. So far I have made it 10 days without buying any new clothes. Seeing all the positive comments and that other people have done similar is making me feel like committing to not buying new stuff. I do love to knit and sew and have a bunch of patterns that need making so would be cool to focus on those! Keep posting about this to keep me going! Thanks!

  • I LOVE this idea. I just made an Instagram dedicated to thrifty finds/outfit inspiration, etc. It’s @thrift__b 🙂 <3, B

  • Oh gosh i love this! i know the fashion industry is so problematic with so many people around the world working in sweatshops. this is a great way not to contribute to that. i love fashion, but don’t like contributing to poor working conditions around the globe and cheap things being made and trashed. this is such a good way to be mindful about your spending. we vote with each dollar we spend. i love your style and can’t wait to see what you come up with. when i buy at local thrift shops i try to go to ones that i like who they contribute to. (aids network charity/local schools/etc). happy new year! xx

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.