Ready to try The Great American Apparel Diet?

by G
8 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

The Great American Apparel Diet logoFrugal fashionistas with an environmental conscience -- or credit card debt -- can slip into a new challenge with the potential to reshape closets, lives, and bank accounts:The Great American Apparel Diet.

Call it The Compact Lite for eco-fashionistas (The Compact, by the way, is a hardcore challenge started by a bunch of people in Northern California who decided to go without buying anything new for a year). Sign on to The Great American Apparel Diet, and you're committing -- along with a lot of other women around the world -- to not buy any new clothes for a year!

Rules are fairly lax. First of all, new shoes and accessories are allowed -- so the Carrie Bradshaw-esque shoe-obsessed will need to high heel it elsewhere to curb the stiletto habit. Second, gifts of clothing are allowed. Plus, some women are giving themselves the luxury of buying pre-loved clothes -- or making their own clothes.

Why a closet diet? Laura Cassidy at Where What When has an interview with Sally Bjornsen, the diet instigator, who says:

I found I wasn’t wearing about 80% of what was in my closet. I gave away clothes to my mom, my sisters, and to friends. I occasionally consigned. I was disgusted by my own consumerism, and then the idea occurred to me: What would happen if I gave up shopping for apparel for a year? Would it make me feel like a schump or a reasonable person? “Who am I,” I asked, “if I am not wearing something new?”....

Dieters range from Sally Bjornsen in Seattle who wants the time and energy once spent on her closet "re-focused toward other creative endeavors" to Rebecca Kotch in Southern California who decided to sign up as a sponsor for a child in Cambodia -- and needs to redirect her clothing funds in that direction. As Kristin Underwood at Treehugger points out, :

The women involved in this experiment (and anyone can join) are not women living on the edge of civilization, ready to give the finger to the man and live off the land. In fact, they are women who are used to buying, shopping, swishing, swapping and consuming. Each of them began the project partly as an environmental choice to consume less and partly to see how they will view themselves and the world when they have to make do with what they have.... Other women are simply taking on the diet for financial reasons and can't wait to be free of debt from overconsumption.

Of course, every experiment has its naysayers. Alison Brownrigg at Minding the Store sounds almost horrified, arguing that consumers need to hold up "their end of capitalism." She connects less shopping to everything from ruined local economies to barren neighborhoods:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If we don't shop, the stores that make our neighborhoods so vibrant will disappear. It's already happening; have you taken a look at the number of empty storefronts in your neighborhood lately?

This does force me to point out that, um, our economy tanked basically because we were holding up "our end of capitalism" a little too well. Plus, many of the women who joined the challenge pointed not to cute boutique, one-of-a-kind neighborhood shops as their shopping spots of choice, but to J.Crew and other national chains -- as well as over-zealous online shopping while drinking at home....

Want to join The Great American Apparel Diet? The diet officially started Sept. 2, 2009 -- and you're welcome to join anytime -- but the experiment will come to an end Sept. 2, 2010.

Image via The Great American Apparel Diet
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BlogHer Contributing Editor Siel is ready to start the diet! She blogs at greenLAgirl.com.

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