Elsie’s Fashion Challenge … 3 Weeks In!

Hi friends! It’s been three weeks since I began my 2019 fashion challenge, and I wanted to update you on how it’s been going so far! First of all, I haven’t cheated!!! Three weeks in, I’d say it’s definitely been a lot easier than I expected! I’m thinking a good way to structure these check-ins is by sharing what I’ve bought, what I’ve been wearing, and what I’ve learned. 🙂

In the above photo, I am wearing a Sézane dress (which was a Christmas gift from Jeremy), a thrifted straw hat and basket (can it please be spring already??) and some Seychelles booties.

What I’ve bought: Diving into the new year, I wanted to take a short break from online shopping, but I’ve purchased two things so far—a Doen top, which I found in a friend’s closet sale, and a Madewell dress, which I found on Poshmark.

I’ve been pretty busy catching up with work post-holidays, so I haven’t done as much local shopping as I hope to, but I’ve still stopped anytime I’ve had a chance. So far I’ve found a white beret and lace dress at a flea market (pictured below), a ’90s black dress (also pictured below—I was trying to decide whether to hem it) and the basket purse (pictured above).

To be fair, I am writing this post only 16 days into the first month and I bought quite a few (new and used) pieces before the new year, so I haven’t really felt the itch to shop yet. I’m sure the next update will be better on the shopping front.

To avoid shopping, I’ve not been opening any shopping emails (I use unrollme, so as long as I don’t open my daily rollup, I don’t really see any sales emails, which is nice!). I haven’t really encountered any hardcore temptation yet, but I will report back when I do. I’m sure it’s coming soon!

What I’ve been wearing: I’m very happy to report that so far I have been much more engaged with the clothing I already have, which was one of my goals. I’ve been trying to wear each item in my closet to prove to myself they still have a place there. It’s been a good challenge and I was surprised to realize I had a lot of clothing I hadn’t worn yet.

What I’ve learned: Shopping for used clothing is so fun. So far, if I have a shopping mood (my night time guilty pleasure!), I have been saving favorite items in Poshmark, Etsy and eBay. I’m amazed how much selection they have of my favorite brands, and really great vintage and unique pieces. I’ve also been exploring the suggestions for online shopping I got from Instagram and I’ll share a full list with you soon!

Three weeks in, I have zero regrets and nothing but positive feelings to report for doing this challenge! I feel so inspired! Just today, I saw on my Timehop a photo of my closet on this day last year and I feel like it’s SO MUCH more honed-in and full of pieces I really wear now (mostly thanks to my capsule wardrobe). I’m excited to see how this year’s challenge will help me get even closer to my personal goal.

Jumper: Hello Holiday, Slides/Madewell (I bought both these items before the new year)

Thanks for reading! If you’ve joined in the challenge, I’d love to hear what you’ve bought, what you’ve been wearing and what you’ve learned in the comments! xx – Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Some photos by Amber Ulmer and some are iPhone snapshots.
  • Great challenge idea! It inspired me to make a version of my own: wearing clothes I already have and, occasionally, purchasing good quality clothes that will last for years. Mainly, I’m trying to get away from fast fashion and focus on quality over quantity. I found these classic black trousers I purchased a while ago and they’re still holding up. Bonus: they still fit! https://www.ofmercer.com/collections/bottoms/products/black-hanover-pants

  • Elsie, I love that white eyelet top you’re wearing at the thrift store in these photos. Was that the Doen top you mentioned??

  • You rock Elsie! I am SOOOO glad you are doing this and that you’re loving it so much.

  • I would appreciate some feedback from people on whether or not purchasing used clothing online is worth it overall. I have used Etsy and ThredUp but I don’t often wear (or at all) the clothes I received due to fit and practicality. Actually, I find shopping online for clothes iffy in general due to fit issues. If you can return, it’s a hassle. To me, one of the main appeals to shopping secondhand is the bargains you can find but when you shop online you have to factor in the middle man costs and shipping usually. So shopping at the thrift store can take more time and can be hit or miss, but I think overall it’s more rewarding.

    • Hi Anne,
      Personally, I don’t think this is an issue. Especially since I started using a tailor. Also- there are some vintage/used places that do accept returns. I get it that you’re never going to get “free shipping” though, although I’m thinking your bill would still be lower overall.

      Anyway! By no means do I think shopping used is what everyone needs to do. It’s just something that inspired me this year in my life- if you’re building up a closet full of basics it may not be the right fit for you, or more something to just do for fun on the side. 🙂


      • Thanks for the feedback Elsie! Just to clarify, I definitely believe in buying secondhand clothing (a good portion of my wardrobe is), just haven’t had the best of luck buying it online! But I too recommend taking things to the tailor. It’s worth it, and you get a custom fit.

  • I’ve always bought used clothing, but never ONLY used clothing. When I read your post, I knew it was something I could (and should) do. I really wanted my purchases to be thoughtful and intentional and I knew this was a great way to do it. So far, so good! A few weeks in and I’ve managed to stay out of the clothing areas of all my favorite stores. I’ve visited my go to thrift and second hand shops and found a couple great pieces – one being an amazing tweed Boden blazer (swoon). The best part of the challenge, and what I’m hoping for most, is that it will cut out the excess that I just don’t need. And, who doesn’t love the thrill of the hunt? Thanks so much for your inspiration and I’m looking forward to following your progress!

  • This is an awesome challenge. I use to purchase most of my wardrobe from thrift shops but I found it difficult to combine the unique pieces into one outfit. I can’t wait to see your looks for the year.

  • I joined your challenge as well! I just had a baby 5 weeks ago and I haven’t been shopping a lot because I still have my post pregnancy jelly belly (that’s how i call it at least Haha ????) I have found a great pair of wide leg high waisted corduroys though that I am loving! I am more nervous about finding good second hand shoes than clothes though ???? They are not that easy to find though imo.

  • I love your challenge, it inspired me to do the same! I haven’t shopped anything so far, partly because I don’t actually need anything, partly because I encountered an issue you might not have: if you live in a small German town, you have no access to proper second hand shops or alike, because there just are none! Ebay might be a solution, but I think it’s by far not as interesting to shop clothes on ebay in Germany (too little of the good stuff and brands). Then there is an app like depop (?) where you might actually find great clothes – however, I was looking for dungarees and I think it’s impossible to find the right size when shopping online and not being able to return if it doesn’t fit. So…I’ll be wearing more dresses this year 😉 and shop sooo much less due to lack of possibilities (just waiting for my first rebound, though).

  • Nice finds, Elsie! I love that red dress. Good on Jeremy for picking it for you 🙂 Did you get those leopard leggings? I’m dying to know 😛 I like the black thrift dress at the existing length. I feel a hem would make it meh. Just my 2 cents.
    I’ve been shopping basics on sale for this month but now have exhausted my budget and my needs. I won’t be shopping again until our vacation in Florida next month. Even then will probably only get one or two things.
    I love shopping thrift and vintage, too and have found several beautiful handbags. Best of luck for the next while and enjoy the thrifting, Elsie!

    • Thanks so much!!!

      I didn’t end up getting the leopard leggings, though I was tempted. It’s just that I already have quite a few leopard pieces. xx!

  • In Iridescence | DIY, Sustainability, and Wholesome Gluten-Free Recipes

    I love the dress hemmed! Maybe even at the hemmed length as a jumpsuit? Just a thought 🙂 Don’t get dismayed, there will be days when there is nothing good at the thrift store, but there will be days when you find amazing things! Best of luck!

  • I joined your challenge Elsie! I was so inspired. So far I’m happy to report I haven’t bought anything. What has been fun instead is picking out which giftcards I will get in exchange for credit card reward points… Nordstrom, Amazon etc. It’s like shopping but in advance and will allow me to shop later within the rules. The giftcard loophole has been satisfying my want to shop. So fun following along wit you! Cheers to your amazing first three weeks!

  • I was going through The Curated Closet due to an upcoming move and it’s SO great so far, but I’m at the part where she says to try on the stuff that you think like and I’m 17 weeks pregnant sooooooo that’s not really doable. I’m torn between finishing the book without doing all the “homework” or just stopping now! Ack!

    • I borrowed that book from the library months ago and started traveling for work so I didn’t get that far either. I received her workbook for Christmas that goes with the book and started doing it instead. That may work for you too when you’re ready. I found that things moved around after having my daughter so I had to tweak some things anyway. Congrats!

  • This is such an awesome challenge! We’re currently doing closet renos, which has given me the time to go through everything an see what has a place and what doesn’t. I can’t wait to have my dream wardrobe!

  • I am working to get that post-pregnancy weight off (which the last one is almost 3 years ago), with the help Weekday Weekend. I really like this challenge, and thinking about to try it in 2020. For now I enjoy reading how you pave the way! Good luck!

  • Ahh, this is so motivating! I love following you on your journey… tempted to do my own fashion challenge now! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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