Elsie’s 2019 Fashion Challenge (6-Month Update)

(Wearing a dress, bag and sunnies I already had on our trip to Oaxaca, Mexico this spring. Shoes are c/o local brand Able)

There are two things I want to cover in today’s six-month update: one is the tough things about this challenge (it’s definitely getting more difficult as the months go by) and what I’ve learned! I still have not cheated even one time and have stuck to all the rules I set here.

What’s been tough
I set this challenge knowing it would be tough at times. I knew it would save a LOT of money over the course of a year and I knew it was something I would be personally proud of. I hoped I would even learn how “easy” it is to buy pre-owned clothing. And yes, ALL of these things have been true! Six months in, I am still so glad I took on this challenge!

OK, so you want to hear about the things that AREN’T great?

I miss being able to shop quickly and at convenience (I MISS RETURNING THINGS). I’ve been planning what I want to pack for our China trip. It’s a two-week trip with two little kids and will be really hot in some of the cities we’re traveling to. I know if I’m not careful I will wear yoga pants or a pair of cutoff shorts the entire trip. That wouldn’t be the worst thing, I just remember how gross I felt on our last trip after wearing the same outfits for two weeks. I want to pack a mix of comfortable clothing that still makes me feel cute when I NEED that (it happens on such a long trip). I was thinking easy dresses with Converse, some sandals … stuff along those lines. It would be SO MUCH easier to just order 10 dresses off ASOS right now (and send five of them back …). I miss convenience shopping. That said, I’ve been buying a bunch of $30 dresses on Poshmark from brands like Free People and Madewell, so although it’s more time consuming, I am still getting great options!

The other thing I miss is impulse purchasing. I know that’s probably a “bad” thing to miss and overall I AM glad it’s not an option right now. But when people I follow post a cute little top from here or a pair of great sandals from there I really like shopping that way and I miss it.

I also have really missed doing capsule wardrobe, even though I am still doing it (sort of) since I’m living minimally and shopping carefully. I missed the part where you make a mood board and shop for the whole seasons. It’s just really inspiring! I think it might be something I want to go back to next year—we will see!

(Wearing a pre-owned dress from Free People)

What I’ve learned
Shopping used really saves a LOT of money. I have bought so many pieces from great brands for under $30. And when it comes, it always looks and feels new—sometimes it even still has the tags attached.

Shopping pre-owned takes a lot of time. It does. I enjoy that when I have the time to treat it like a hobby and it can be slightly annoying when I have something really specific I want to shop for. Although I will say I bought all my clothing for our big Palm Springs trip and our big China trip pre-owned. So as long as you give yourself time (last minute shopping doesn’t really work on this plan), it works great!

Rewearing is a habit. I used to rewear maybe 20% of my closet on a regular basis. Now I rewear 70% of it on a regular basis. I think a big part of that was purging stuff I wasn’t wearing, but another big part is just not having new clothes all the time. I’ve ended up with 4-5 outfits I fall back on for dress up occasions and then tons of basics to mix the rest of the time and it feels really functional. Less waste for sure!

And my biggest takeaway so far …

I LOVE not thinking about clothing. It’s been one of the most busy seasons in my professional life and I was also focused on enjoying my last months with just one kid. I really didn’t shop hardly at all, and I loved it!

I used to browse clothing online almost every night. Now I take a look maybe once a week (mainly on Poshmark, but I also find good stuff on eBay and Etsy when I’m shopping vintage). I have really enjoyed NOT looking at what’s new in all my favorite shops. I haven’t even stepped foot in Madewell yet this year (I do miss that though!). Overall, I am just really enjoying not thinking about clothing.

I have plenty of clothes. When a special occasion like our anniversary comes up, I always have something to wear, even though I didn’t buy anything new for the occasion.

I will always love fashion, but I also am really appreciating a more minimal approach. It’s less to think about.

(Wearing my white Big Bud jumpsuit that I have worn countless times. Feels good to fall back on the same outfits rather than worrying about adding more.)

How do I think I will live after this year is over? 
Biggest takeaway: I know for SURE I will shop used clothing for the rest of my life. I can see doing in maybe 50% or 70% of the time from here on out. It’s so easy and rewarding.

I can see now that there are certain things that are easier to buy new (like jeans or clothing for a specific event) and things that are perfectly easy to shop pre-owned (like dresses and high-end or designer items). I plan to do a mix of both, but keep it heavy on buying used things. Like I said above, I miss capsule wardrobe so I want to bring that back in some way next year—maybe kind of a mini wardrobe refresh each season.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on shopping pre-owned and if this is something you would even try!

xx – Elsie

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