I was astounded to read an article in the Seattle Times in October, about women who had created yet another new fad diet to curb their voracious appetites.
They didn’t talk about carbs.
They didn’t talk about fat.
They didn’t talk about calories.
They didn’t talk about protein.
They talked about clothes.
These women committed to following the The Great American Apparel Diet. From September 1st, 2009 to September 2nd, 2010, they committed to fasting from all new clothing purchases. They made an exception for shoes, underwear, accessories, and used clothing. They can feast all they want on purchasing these items.
A woman who doesn’t like to shop, I was enthralled and appalled when I read one woman’s confession to spending $5000 a year on clothing. That didn’t include shoes and accessories. I’m not sure I even have the ambition to spend that much money, let alone the time.
What in the world would I even buy?
Another woman felt she had enough clothes for a lifetime. A lifetime? Another started the process off by selling 300+ items on ebay. I might have 300 clothing items if you included , my few scarves, my gloves, my pajamas and then counted each sock individually.
When I started reading about their spending habits, I could only think, “Oh my, they need to be cured!”
From founder Sally’s blog about herself as she began the diet, “For the record, as I write this I am wearing a J. Crew heather gray long sleeved cotton t-shirt, a pair of strategically ripped jeans by Big Star, my Frye engineer boots with Hue stripped socks, a pair of Calvin Klein undies and a flesh colored Natori bra.”
It took me awhile, but I found these items on the internet. She spent about $373 on one outfit, not including tax and possible shipping.
Now we’re talking my language! That’s more like my clothing budget…
in a year…
Her socks cost about $6. That’s how much I pay for a pair of Old Navy jeans on clearance.
The cheapest pair of Calvin Klein underwear was $12. Maybe she just doesn’t know that you can buy two packages of undies for that price at Target.
Even after I read up on their shopping habits and their diet, I was still a little mystified.
When they were on a DIET, they could still end up spending more than the midwestern they-don’t-know-the-Depression-is-over women I was blessed to grow up around.
My mother was the Queen of Dressing Well on Almost no Budget.
When I was a child, after we all got dressed to go somewhere special, we would add up how much each outfit cost. Since there was a $.25 rack at the Salvation Army, we never had to count very high.
As I read their I went from thinking these women were crazy, to admiring their spunk in publically admitting their weakness and trying to overcome it. In a follow-up article with the Times, you see real growth as they evaluated their time and their money. Some have used their former shopping time for exercise or service. Some of them have experienced a change in focus from inward to outward, as they changed spending habits.
I have the opposite problem; my closet is anorexic.
I measured the spot in my closet where I hang my shirts. It was less than two hands long. Half of the shirts in there I keep only to fill the spot so I don’t have to think about the fact that I really don’t have much to wear.
So, these women inspired me.
Instead of fasting, I purposed to feast. OK, maybe not feast, but at least nibble a little bit more.
Since I read that article, I have been making myself shop occasionally so I have the clothes I need for my life. They might shop too much, but they knew how to shop, how to have the clothes they needed for the activities they participated in, and they enjoyed the process. I had something to learn from them.
I bought a few new t-shirts.
I bought a new skirt.
I even bought a few necklaces on clearance to go with the new shirts.
If I find a few more things, I might even be able to throw out those new shirts, the ones I got after my son was born.
I did really appreciate the shopping advice Sally posted on a sidebar, it will help with my new purpose in life to fatten up the closet.
1. Don’t ever buy something because it’s on sale. Don’t buy it if you wouldn’t pay full price for it.
2. Don’t buy anything you don’t try on first.
3. Don’t buy anything that doesn’t fit you at that moment.
4. Don’t buy anything on impluse–it’s usually all wrong.
5. Don’t buy it unless you have two things in your closet that will pair nicely with it.
6. Don’t buy it if you aren’t comfortable in it right now.
7. Don’t buy it because it’s “in” instead buy it because it’s magical!
Shopping is a lot of work. Maybe part of the year for the fasters should have been to shop for one of the feasters. I could use some help.
So, do you need to FAST or FEAST?
lol, yes, those fasters should shop for us feasters. Well, I might be in a feaster season if I felt we could afford to do it without hurt or wastage. My wardrobe is particularly thin as well. 🙂 As in, a lot of women may actually doubt that I am really a woman because of the lack of clothing and accessories. I am currently a few months in with: one pair of shoes in a first world country.
I'm usually a faster as well. I just don't enjoy shopping. I read recently that the average woman spends about 400 hours a year shopping! (that includes groceries, clothes, everything). I would be surprised if I spend half that amount, and most of that is on groceries and holiday shopping.Thanks for the reminder to feast now and then, I think our husbands wouldn't complain either. :-)~Erin
I liked the "Don't buy it unless you would pay full price for it." Too often I'll buy it because I kind of like it and it is on sale. 🙂
Loved this post! I finally began to go out and shop for myself here and there a few years back. I too had fasted way too long. My first three pregnancies I wore my husband's shirts for maternity clothes— then I finally noticed that there was a thing called maternity clothes. 🙂
I need to go shopping too.I have two winter outfits and two summer outfits, the majority of which date back to high school. The sleeve of my one new outfit met with the side of the oven and needs to be replaced as well.I have a hard time shopping and buying for myself. Thank you for posting this.