The other day, Matt and I were taking a walk around DC when he spotted a Dress Barn. He pointed it out to me, but I didn’t feel very enthused about it. I have nothing against Dress Barn, and even bought a very lovely purple dress for a wedding at a Dress Barn outlet store. It’s just… every time I go into a retail shop lately, I have a difficult time finding something that fits me nicely.
This train of thought led me to an idea: a swearing off of shopping for new retail, mass-produced clothing. For the months of May, June, and July, with August acting like a sort of grace period before the start of fall, I will adhere to the following chain of command:
- Make or craft it myself. New purchases, like yarn or fabric, are acceptable.
- Find it at a thrift shop. Ebay and Etsy count, as do local clothing swaps.
- Commission a custom piece, like a made-to-fit shirt from an independent Etsy shop.
The above rules not only include clothing, but also accessories, jewelry, and bags. Certain items are excluded, like socks, bras, and underpants. Shoes are tricky, as I really would like another pair of new, comfortable walking shoes.
While I have traditionally found it difficult to snag good-fitting items at the thrift shop, I’m hoping to put my new sewing skills to the test. I’ve often hesitated to make alterations to items bought new for $60, but perhaps I wouldn’t feel so terrible about fixing up a $5 Goodwill dress.
I am allowing myself three passes, because sometimes things come up! I had a weird thought I would be invited to some formal affair, and would have no summer outfit waiting in my closet for it. In that case, if none of the above benefit me, I’ve got three times to call an out.
With this experiment, I’m hoping to learn more about working with my body’s shape and size to find more clothing I feel comfortable in and comfortable wearing. I want to gain more confidence in my sewing, and finally pull out that shirt pattern that’s been sitting on my table, intimidating and taunting me for weeks. There’s creativity to be had!
I know there are other bloggers who’ve written about similar experiences and experiments. Have you ever put a limit on your spending? What are your preferred methods of clothes shopping? Do you enjoy hacking stuff to make it fit?
Photo credit: “Thrift Store Sign” from S Jones