Elsie’s Fashion Challenge – Three Months In!

Hello friends! I’m here today to share an update on my 2019 fashion challenge, which was to buy only used clothing for one year.

I’m in the middle of my third month now and happy to say I haven’t cheated even one time! I thought it would be really tough not to buy any new clothes, but it really hasn’t been. Sure, I’ve had a few temptations, but overall I’ve been shocked how easy it is to shop pre-owned.

Since it’s winter and my personal busy season at work (I’m busting ass finishing things to prepare for a maternity leave in a few months), I haven’t made time to do local vintage hunting. I felt bad about it at first, but now I’m choosing to let that guilt go. I would love to stalk local shops (hopefully later this year), but currently online shopping is the best fit for my schedule.

With that said, do you want to hear about my finds?

Above is a Doen dress I found on eBay. I love it so much and can’t wait to wear it in Palm Springs this month.

I got this Anthropolgie dress from Poshmark for only $30. It’s amazing quality and seems like it was never even worn. The basket purse was a Goodwill find and my sandals are gifted from my favorite Nashville shop, Able (again, I REALLY need it to warm up, haha).

This dress is Ace + Jig via Poshmark, my hat is from Goodwill and my sandals are from Golden Ponies on Etsy (purchased before the new year, if you’re keeping track).

I even found a couple matching Kate Spade dresses for Nova and I from Poshmark. I couldn’t believe it!

So far I feel like I can find anything I want secondhand, which is so inspiring. I had no idea! I do feel like I have shopped less than normal, but that’s something I wanted anyway. I’m still in Konmari mode and so I only want to bring special things (yes, that “spark joy”) into my closet. I can honestly say that shopping slowly for one thing at a time is bringing me a lot of joy!

So what about you? Any good thrift finds lately? xx – Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • I love all the outfits you have shared here, most especially the last dress! 🙂 It looks so gorgeous on you and also looks so comfortable! 🙂 Will definitely get one for myself, thanks for sharing this!

  • I love thrifting and just found the most perfect Lilly Pulitzer pastel plaid skirt with a scalloped edge for $3! It’s going to be perfect for this spring!

  • I love that Ace + Jig dress! & how cute that you found matching dresses for you and Nova.

    I’m doing the same thing this year – only wearing pre-owned clothing (or clothing that I’ve made), and only reading pre-owned or library books! I also recently KonMari’d my life to prepare for a move across the country and it feels so good to only have clothes and books that I REALLY love.

    So far I’ve been able to find everything I want on Poshmark or in friends’ closets, and everything I want to read is at the library or through the library’s ebooks website. 🙂

  • A few years ago, after some big life changes, I got rid of a lot of clothes from my wardrobe. Over the last year and a half, I have been trying to restock while still maintaining a reasonable budget. Searching for beautiful and joy-sparking secondhand finds has become a beloved past time, and I now feel my wardrobe is full of items I love. It feels great to give clothing a second life, it makes the clothes feel that much more special and cherished!

  • What a challenge! I would love to try this! Everything is so fun and adorable. Nice idea, Elsie!

  • Every dress in these photos is amazing! You look stunning, Elsie 🙂
    Great choices!
    And yes – I agree: secondhand shopping is so much fun 🙂

  • How gorgeous is that flower dress?! Absolutely love it!

  • I’ve stayed away from thrift stores because I find their cheaper prices mean I’m more likely to grab things I didn’t need (hello all the books I’ve never read!). The other big factor is I feel like the thrift stores in my area are lacking and being plus sized, my choices are more limited than a straight sized shopper.

    However, I’ve also loved Poshmark for gently used clothes and accessories! Being able to hop online and know what sizes I am in brands I love and finding it there has been a big help.

  • I’m definitely of a different generation. I actually find it hard to imagine it to “be really tough not to buy any new clothes”. While I have thrifted sweaters, jeans, and many pieces for years, I find that spending money on good basic pieces (thrifted or new) means not buying clothes at all for 3, 5, sometimes 15 years at a time. Granted, I wear jeans and pullovers ever singe day of my life and simply add a blouse or sweatshirt or sweater as the circumstance or weather demands, so my wardrobe is easy peasy. But when did buying stuff all the time become what we do? I do remember when, on TV, newscasters stopped talking about us as citizens and started calling us consumers. It was firmly entrenched by the 1990s. Originally “consumer” meant someone who wasted resources and only changed into meaning someone who bought stuff by 1745. I’m glad for your thrifting forays. It was just that line I quoted that made me squirm a little.

  • I’m in Toronto and we have an amazing trading group here called Bunz. It started as a facebook group but has grown into an entity with an app and its own cryptocurrency! I fully restocked my wardrobe this summer with Bunz trades, all the while getting rid of stuff I no longer wore. I even use your Design Kit to make ads on Bunz to attract people to my profile! I also have found a site called ThredUp which sells lightly used clothing. There are some incredible things on there. I’ll bite the bullet and finally order when I’m in the States again cause those CDN shipping costs are deadly. Happy thrifting!

  • I, like you thought it would be difficult, but I’ve been going 3 months also. Loving it!

  • I was inspired by the original post in this series to do the same challenge! Plus I already love thrifting so it’s been great! And it’s worked out better than I thought. Although i’ve been tempted when browsing through the mall, I’ve still found some adorable items but all from secondhand sources: a pussy-bow floral print blouse, a polka dot silk scarf, and even an embroidered iPad case! Thanks for the idea Elsie!

  • I’ve been doing the same thing this year – nothing new (except socks and undergarments) and buying only secondhand. I’ve been loving it so far! I’m finding a ton of good stuff on Instagram (Anthropologie & Modcloth) and vintage on Etsy.

  • Love this challenge! The pieces you found were so cute! Definitely looking forward to the next challenge post. Thanks for sharing, hope you’re having a great day.


  • Thanks for this update! You inspired me to also only buy secondhand this year, and I am doing so well too! I have found some awesome clothes at Salvation Army (Boden dress for $3, Zara top for $5, J Crew dress for $4!) but I also just started checking out Poshmark for specific items I will need. I love it too!

    I have noticed how often I get ads thrown at me though — especially from home design bloggers! Eesh.

  • I love this goal! What good finds, looking forward to seeing more & any tips you may have for eBay shopping!

  • I have been loving Facebook but swap sell groups that let me buy pre-loved fashion from brands I love at a much lower price. I’ve also started using them to buy clothes for my baby girl for particular brands I love but can’t face paying full price for. I plan to use them to sell on clothes we’ve worn and outgrown in the future as well.

  • Converting to a more environment-aware and sustainable life style has been on my mind lately. Looking at your story inspire me to do the same. Keep it up! 🙂

  • I am ADDICTED to Poshmark, it’s a real problem lol. I just scored a vintage Ports International white wool pom pom cardigan that I love so much. Second hand is the best!!

  • I’ve never dived much into second-hand clothing but you’ve inspired me and I’m definitely gonna check it out. There used to be a bunch of shops here that sold second-hand pieces but I think most of them closed so I’m gonna check out apps and online and see if I find anything interesting.

  • I love, love, love secondhand shopping – it’s the best and the satisfaction I get from it is enormous! Thank you for the update, Elsie. So motivating! 🙂 ????

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • I just dyed some dingy white clothes “tulip red.” It worked great. Everything was 100% cotton. It’s like I got three brand new items (white jeans that were no longer very white, a sweater and a blouse with yellowish underarms). I won’t wear them all at once, but I do love that they are the same shade of red.

    • you can do this to refresh black clothes too! it’s one of my favorite tricks (and lifesaver when i was waiting tables). don’t pass up on something black that fits great just because it’s a bit faded. as long as it’s solid black, it’ll work like a charm!

      • i’ve been wondering if this is easy to do! can i just re-dye a pair of black jeans that i love that are faded and have some more worn spots black again?

  • You (and a sewing blog I love) have inspired me to try to buy more secondhand and my first attempt is two luluaroe skirts from ThredUp. I also decided that any brand new items need to be from ethical companies with sustainable practices and so far I have ordered 3 pieces from Everlane which I am dying to get!

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