Celebrate the New Year with the Wear Everything Challenge

9 years ago

New Year's is coming, and I'm feeling all resolution-y.  I'm also feeling a little leery about the economy, but who isn't these days?  On top of all that, I'm currently buried in laundry because my family and I have just returned from five days of vacation. 

Taken together, it seems like a good time to give up shopping! 

I've done  shopping fasts in the past; I've stopped shopping for some window of time (30 days, 60 days) in order to make a point about how less can be more and how having a carefully edited wardrobe is better than having a closet full of stuff that doesn't go together.  The shopping fast is a good thing because it compels me to make what I have work; there is no option to run out and buy a new [fill in the blank].  But at some point in the fast, I find myself focusing more on the calendar -- Ten days until I can shop again! -- than on my clothes. 

This year, I'm doing things differently.

Over the next few days, I'm going to clean out my closet.  And then, starting January 1, I'm swearing off shopping until I have worn every single thing I currently own.

Want to join me?

The rules are simple: there's NO shopping until you have worn EVERY seasonally appropriate piece you own.  Move your summer clothes to the back, or to the guest room; put any black tie attire in storage (unless you're planning to go to a black tie function in the forseeable future).  Make sure everything that is left -- work clothes and weekend clothes and after-five clothes -- fits you properly and is in good condition.  Give yourself a week to take care of anything that needs to be mended or cleaned; if you can't manage to get it to the cleaners or the tailor in that window, really think about how functional that piece is.

When you're done going through your closet, put everything away.  To help you keep track of what you've worn, turn all the hangers around, so that the open part of the hook is facing out; fold sweaters and put them on the shelf with the neck facing out.  After you wear something, turn it around and put it back the normal way.  

Alternatively, work your way from the front of your closet to the back; as you wear things, move them to the back of the closet and go on to the next piece.  Or, if you prefer, keep a list.  The system doesn't matter, as long as you're wearing EVERYTHING.

I'll be taking pictures every day, of course, because that's what I do; I will also be using the backward hangar trick.  Finally, to keep from losing my mind, I'm putting a ninety day cap on this experiment, because with as few clothes as I have, I should CERTAINLY be able to wear them all in the next three months.

At least I hope so.

The idea here is simple: in a weak economy, when every dime counts, buying more stuff isn't the solution, particularly if you have something in the closet that will work just as well, if not better. Compelling yourself to wear everything before you shop will help you find the weak spots in your wardrobe -- the pieces that don't go with anything, or that don't have anything to go with them.  As you find these pieces, group them together and think about what you want to do with them -- do you want to shop for a blouse to go with that skirt, or do you want to give the skirt away?  The goal is to make your wardrobe work for you, and to curtail shopping until you know what precisely you need to shop for.

So who's in?  Come on, it'll be fun!  And free!  How many things can you say that about these days?

Bloomalicious wants to hear about your fashion resolutions for 2009.  And they have a fun quiz that you can take!

Amber at Code for Something is resolving to wear her Chuck Taylors less often -- specifically, not to the office.  Thank god.

Kat at The Vine is going to stop buying disposable clothes.  Good for you, Kat!

Susan Wagner writes about style at ParentDish and everything else at Friday Playdate.  She will be posting photos daily at Flickr for the duration of the Wear Everything Challenge.

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