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The Great American Apparel Diet: Please Join!

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I have been kicking around an idea (in a great pair of clogs) for a while now. It goes like this … no clothing purchases for a year. Could I do it? Could you do it? 


I think giving up wine or chocolate might be easier for me. You see I love to shop and I love to buy. There is nothing quite like the feeling of a new blouse or pair of jeans wrapped in fancy tissue paper at the bottom of an expensive shopping bag. “Ta ta,” I say, waving to the sales girl following a satisfying transaction. 


There are times when I peek into my closet and out of sheer laziness, lack of creativity or simply a need to satisfy my consumer craving; I see nothing suitable to wear. I convince myself that the only way to solve that problem is to go out and buy something new—fast! Invariably, I end up with an item that looks surprisingly like something I already own. (For the record, I have twelve black sweaters.) 


I am famous for talking myself into buying something “newer and better” or “hipper and cooler,” rather than rediscovering last year’s ”newer and better” or “hipper and cooler” item at the back of my closet. Studies say that women wear about 20 percent of what is in their closets. That’s sort of embarrassing, but true for me.


So the burning question is—what would happen to me, or you, if we didn’t buy any new clothing for a year? 


Would you have a mental breakdown? Would you look like a schlump? Would your confidence be shattered? Would you become an overeater, or worse yet, an alcoholic, crack addict, or bag lady? 


Or would you have a fatter wallet? More time? More creativity in your life? Would you spend your time admiring patterns in nature instead of patterns in polyesters? Would you be driven to swap the September issue of Vogue for The Utne Reader? Would you spend the money you saved on books, events, classes, vacations, savings? 


We’ll see.


 As of September 1, 2009, I am giving up purchasing apparel for myself for a year. 


Anyone want to join me? 


Of course, I will blog about it along the way. Giving up apparel purchases as a community, in solidarity with a group of women who are interested in saving the earth, saving themselves, or simply saving their money will make it all that more interesting. 


I will plan to blog about our collective and individual cravings, missteps, temptations, excuses, innovations, ideas, and triumphs. But most importantly, I’ll blog about how we as individuals feel about ourselves while on the Great American Clothing Diet. 


 And next year, on September 2, 2010,I’ll blog about what it feels like to break the restraints, let loose and buy again. Will your spending habits have changed after a year on the wagon? Will you be more selective, more impulsive, or exactly the same as you are today? Stay tuned, follow along, join in and you are sure to find out. 


 Here are the ground rules:


  1. This contest applies to apparel you purchase for yourself only (you can still buy clothing for your family). Apparel includes any type of clothing, including coats, athletic apparel, pajamas etc. It does not include underwear or bras. 
  2. The contest does not include shoes or accessories (you can go nuts with scarves, clogs, handbags, sunglasses and watches).
  3. You can beg and borrow apparel from your friends. You cannot buy (that is transact money) for anything that falls into the category of apparel. 
  4. You can trade, consign, swap, or re-make something but no purchases. 
  5. You can receive unsuspecting, unsolicited gifts of apparel.


Write soon and let me know that you’re in. Also, pass this along if you think one of your friends or relatives would like to join in too.

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