Elsie’s Fashion Challenge 10-Month Update

Alrighty … so it’s time for my 10-month update on shopping only used clothing. It’s gotten both easier and more difficult for me to keep with my goal.

Overall, I have loved the exercise and feel it’s made me a more thoughtful shopper, and for sure more minimal. I really feel it’s impacted the way I will shop for the rest of my life. I also love my clothing as a whole more than I have in years, which is the greatest feeling. For years, I had a closet full of clothing but felt I had nothing to wear. Now every single item in my closet fits and is something I am excited to wear. It’s also gotten much easier to stay in the habit of cleaning stuff out and letting things go that I love, but am not wearing.

I would definitely say that the best part of this whole experience is creating better habits and feeling much less wasteful, both of my own time and money, and also with the waste associated with over-shopping. So many wins!

Another thing—it’s been FUN. I really enjoy the hunt. And though I’m not shopping nearly as much, I feel like I’m more excited about what I do buy.

Here’s how it’s gotten easier:  
I really don’t think about clothing shopping. I delete emails without opening them. I pass by my favorite store at the mall without going in (sometimes). And most of all, when I’m having my “zen time” at night, my go-to is no longer online shopping (I switched to pinning house stuff, which is still really fun).

I don’t feel super limited on clothing. I have a bunch of nice dresses I love, great jeans and way too many jumpsuits as always. I still shop on Poshmark a little, but overall my closet feels pretty complete.

I love not thinking about shopping and not feeling like I need to “check out” every single sale since those are constant. I love feeling content with what I own.

I found this Ace & Jig top on Poshmark for $30.

Here’s how it’s gotten more difficult: 
Though my challenge has been mostly positives, there will always be a few downsides. I hate that to keep it 100% on my goal I can’t  buy ANY new clothing, because at times that excludes things like cute local boutiques I want to support or small brands. So I definitely look forward to shopping my favorite local and small brands again after January 1!

Autumn sweaters. Oh man. This category almost did me in. For some reason, there are certain categories that are real easy to shop pre-owned (dresses, tops, accessories), but then others that are very tricky (jeans, sweaters, outerwear).

So yes, there are a few small downsides, but big picture it’s been mainly positives!

This dress is old J.Crew and I love it so much. I snagged it last summer and couldn’t wait for autumn to wear it!

I found a few long dresses on Poshmark, including this one from Faithfull The Brand that I have been wearing on repeat. They are so easy to wear and work for basically any occasion.

Bottom line, if you’re considering doing a used clothing challenge, I HIGHLY recommend it!!!! It’s been a great experience and very worthwhile.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to chat with you in the comments!

xoxo- Elsie

P.S. I’ve found some great stuff on Poshmark. This post is not sponsored, but you can use my code to get a $10 credit for your first order—install the free app here! Use the code ELSIELARSON

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
    • Hi! If you mean all my updates throughout the year are similar- I kind of agree with you! It’s been a fun project though!!

  • Hey! Another way to achieve this goal is with clothing rental services. I’ve been using Nuuly for two months and already love it! They have tons of colorful, unique pieces from Anthro and others that I think you would love. Oh, and of course, you can purchase any used pieces you want to keep for a discount off the new price!

  • Did you exclude things like underwear and simmers?

    I want to do this challenge next year but I also need to buy new underwear (have been doing a few too many squats at the gym it seems) and am not sure if it is cheating to just buy it all this year before I start?

    Side note: Eco intimates is great for ethical organic underwear sets but would love to hear more recommendations if anyone has any ????

  • I’ve often thrifted, and used to feel a bit guilty because now I have a larger salary vs our disposable income when I grew up. But now with the eco-clothes movement, I feel that it’s “ok” for me to still thrift now.

    I find jeans and sweaters THE EASIEST to find! The hardest for me are dresses and cute tshirts. I of course find blouses, and jackets here and there. Perhaps because I live in Canada, the sweater sections of my thrift shops are usually full and diverse. I recently lost some weight and went on a shopping spree for a few pairs of jeans- I basically brought everything of my size in the dressing room (~10 pairs) and walked away buying 3 pairs, which was awesome!

  • I am also doing this challenge, but have given in when it comes to jeans and basic tops. I do however buy these as sustainable as possible (recycled fabrics etc.).
    I only own 4 jeans (yes it is possible people, and no, I do not wear the same thing every day). So when one of these is worn to shreds I have a hole in my closet. That is why I made that choice.

    For all things that I have to give some pizzaz to my closet (I love jackets / blazers / blouses) I adore vintage shopping and even though I lean to the plus size, I can find stuff I like / fit quite easily!

  • I love this challenge. I think in general, shopping more thoughtfully is something we all should do. I have been buying more secondhand myself, just because Depop and TheRealReal are kind of addictive (and it means I can buy and wear clothes that would be out of my reach price-wise new.)

    xoKaelen | https://darlingmarcelle.com

    • Definitely!!

      Yeah- I will always shop more secondhand now regardless. It’s so easy to do and so fun! Anyone can do it!

  • I love the pieces you’ve gotten! I want to try this myself, but my question for you is: how do you deal with the limited returns / no returns on some used clothing site? I believe Poshmark is no returns at all, yes?

    Between dealing with a new postpartum body and just the hassle of not having time to deal with complicated return policies, I’ve been really reluctant to give this a go. I don’t want to buy stuff just to have it sit in my closet when it doesn’t fit right, or talk myself into keeping something I don’t love because I can’t return it. Not to mention the waste of money. Even before giving birth I was an odd size (very short but also curvy) and most regular brands don’t fit me without alterations. My go-to shopping was Nordstrom because they have petites plus an amazing return policy. Any suggestions or how you deal with this would be helpful!

    • I’m not going to lie- not being able to return is annoying. I like to get my clothing tailored anyway (I am short too) so I mainly just try not to buy anything that is too small and factor in that if it’s a little bit too big (or long etc) I may need to do another $10 to get it tailored.


  • This is so great. You’ve proven that there are so many more options when you open your mind to it. I made a rule to only buy things if I absolutely LOVE it. That way I get a closet only with things I love. It cut down on a lot of my frivolous spending. I also decided to re-purpose a few of my pieces to update them, like cutting sleeves, adding pockets, etc.

  • This challenge is one of the top reasons I enjoy this blog so much! Some of the crafts and what not can be intimidating and some of the design aspects can be out of my budget, but this is so inspiring and it is accessible!!

  • So I’ve actually sorta started that after you started that “project”. I started a poshmark account and already bought something. What I really want to do right now is get on this capsule wardrobe bandwagon because I also feel like I have nothing to wear……….while my closet is packed to the brim and so are my TWO five drawer dressers (yes, I have two of those completely filled up!!!). I literally wear about 20% of my clothing! It’s ridiculous. It needs to change. So while the spousal unit is out on course for the next 4 weeks, it’s the best time to de-clutter my closet. I’ve also made a new commitment to only buy clothes that are classic (no fast fashion) and that are good quality so I can use them for years. And I agree, sweaters are so hard to shop for. Right now it feels like the only sweaters on the market are oversized and ill fitting. I want sweaters that are tapered, close fitting but comfortable and the right length (bellow the hipbones). So hard to find! I have one that I love that is absolutely perfect which I’ve had for literally more than a decade. I’m seriously debating dying it to return it to its deep black glory. I dread the day a hole appears.

    • Try reading “The Curated Closet” it helped me SO much back when I only wore 20% of my closet too.

  • Hey Elsie this challenge is such a wonderful idea:) My two questions are: 1. What do you do with the clothes that you get that just don’t fit? And 2. How do you keep yourself from just scrolling Poshmark lol? I feel like if I installed the app, I would shop just as much, (if not more,) than ever? What’s your trick?

    Great finds, and great idea! I’m all for being less wasteful:)

    • Hi Annie,
      I just did a closet sale a few weeks back and I did sell a few things that I had bought used that didn’t fit. I was able to sell them for what I paid, which is nice compared to retail. But yes- it can be annoying to not be able to return something that doesn’t fit. It’s one of the downsides for sure.

      I definitely shop far FAR less. It’s nice to be able to shop Poshmark (and other places online) when I’m in the mood, but it’s nothing like it used to be and I honestly just don’t think of shopping for clothing as much…

  • I did a similar challenge but gave myself some grace because sometimes used clothing only can be a bit hard. Basically I hit 3 to 4 thrift stores to fill the holes in my wardrobe. When I can’t find what I need I then move to purchasing from ethical brands or sometimes Target because let’s face it, I’ve got a problem when I go in there. I discovered Everlane this year and thought about adding one piece I need every other month. Like jeans or t-shirts.

  • I love that you’ve adapted so well to your challenge! So inspirational. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • what i love about challenging myself to this (started about two years ago) is how it’s expanded my horizons and made me try new things. I get a lot of hand me downs (from family, etc) and if it’s in great shape i try it out – i’ve acquired so many wonderful pieces that i never would have bought myself! i finally completed my summer wardrobe with one very lucky yard sale find (similarly never felt like i had nothing to wear – https://tps-steph.blogspot.com/2019/08/0045-summer-surviving-thriving.html) and am patiently working on my other seasons. even though it takes longer to build a closet im happy with i definitely wont be going back to regular shopping and have expanded it to shopping in general. i also dont make it restrictive, i’ve bought underwear and socks but have made sure to shop from local and/or thoughtful brands because really that is what this is all about for me – creatively living sustainably, in a way that doesn’t hurt our planet and it’s many, magical inhabitants

    ps. i looove the green dress!
    pps. some of my best finds have been from family and friends – don’t be ashamed to ask around, most people have way more clothes than they need/use and would be happy to offload some

  • Have been buying only used clothing since January 1 (inspired by this blog post, actually) and I’ve been really happy with how it’s gone. The money saved from breaking my stress-shopping habit alone makes it worth it!

  • I started this challenge for myself just this month in order to stop needless spending. I’ve already noticed a difference in my approach to shopping!

    • I am also doing a similar challenge, but gave myself permission to shop local for that reason as part of the rules at the outset. Although I haven’t really had the time to do that! Agree with both your pros and cons. I also have had a hard time with sweaters! (see linked post) It has been great fun following your journey.

      • try the mens section! my favorite sweaters have come as hand me downs from the men in my life

  • I’ve always wanted to do one of these challenges, because I find i buy so many clothes and sometimes I chuck them out without having even worn them which is terrible. Also buying second hand is a bit better for the environment.

    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    Sarah xo Oomph London

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