Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Year Long Goal

(helloooo.....? I've missed you, have you missed me??)

Right around my celebration of New Year's, I thought up for myself a rather challenging goal to implement this year. This differs from a resolution in that a resolution is something that you hope to accomplish and then continue to do for the rest of your life (ideally) for example: Be healthier; stop swearing; manage money better; blah blah blah you get the idea. A goal on the other hand, is something that you can accomplish and then go back to where you were before if you so choose.

So without further ado, my goal for 2011 is to not purchase for myself any clothing. Now do you see why I say I want to be free to go back to my previous state after the goal is completed? So far, it has been unbelievably hard (pathetic, isn't it?). In fact, part of the reason I have taken my sweet time to announce this on my blog is that I balked a little after initially deciding to do it. What if a completely new style of jeans comes out this year and I won't be able to buy them? I actually thought this not more than a few days after making this goal. Yes I know this sounds completely shallow, and I frequently have to remind myself (and maybe others), that I am actually an intelligent being with depths beyond that of clothing and fashion, and that my interest in clothing is that of an artistic standpoint as well as just good clean fun (right? Are you with me?).

I decided to do this for a couple of different reasons: Firstly, I have a closet full of clothing that is both high in quality and classic in style, and I just wondered if I was using it to it's full potential. It seemed as though I just kept buying new pieces rather than wear what I already owned. Secondly, I wanted to save my money-- or at least spend it on different things. Thirdly, it just sounded like an interesting challenge; I wonder if I can go the whole year without buying a single article of clothing? and that sort of thing. I feel as though this would be an appropriate time to mention that I have not ever gone into debt buying clothes, nor have I squandered our children's college education fund on designer clothes (mainly because my children don't have a college fund), the money being spent is my own personal money to be used for whatever it is that I choose to do with it. Our kids are not going naked or hungry, nor do I have a problem befitting a visit to a daytime talk show about women who cannot stop spending (so don't any of you dare to even think about nominating me, I have receipts and proof).

So far, I have learned a lot about myself, and I think this will be very good for me. I've always thought that instant gratification is a thing to avoid, even when you can get something immediately seemingly without any horrible consequences like debt. Telling yourself "no" every once in a while just for the hell of it is a good thing. Despite these beliefs, I had fallen into the habit of just purchasing clothing like it was a reaction to having money. I think the roots of this habit go back to my college student days where I would use my money for clothing rather than food.

Since I have started this little journey, I have actually felt an odd sense of relief. I no longer have to pay attention to the 50 emails from clothing retailers that I get each morning, I can just delete them. I no longer stress when I receive notice of a sale, thinking I had to participate and take advantage of the good prices. Also, I have learned to think a little more before just spending because there have already been a handful of times where I was seriously considering breaking my goal or making an exception for such and such. But-- I found myself putting thoughts of these items on hold and asking myself what was worth more to me, the ability to complete a challenging and worthwhile goal (thereby adding immensely to my self confidence), or having a cute new fill-in-the-blank? And in that thought process, I found myself letting go of the thing I thought I needed and strategizing how to make do without (you know, as if it is that big of a sacrifice).

Now, I do have a couple of caveats to this goal of mine:

1. While I am unable to purchase clothing, I am able to purchase fabric and patterns and make myself some clothing.

2. Underclothing and socks do not count.

3. Shoes are not necessarily part of the deal either, and that goes for handbags and other accessories.

So do you think I'll be able to make it? Should we place bets?

Now I just have to decide if bathing suits count...

**if you are so inclined, you may purchase the above depicted dress at Anthropologie. I, however, will be using this picture as inspiration for a similar dress to make myself sometime during the year.


Natalie said...

to answer your first question, YES! I've missed you. to answer the other... i think you can do it. and am quite confident that you will. but if you don't, as long as you learn and grow in the process, you still will have achieved something that most couldn't. it sounds like it has already been freeing and thought provoking. kudos to you.

your comment on my blog a post or two ago made me gasp and feel totally undeserving of such kind words. i love you ali. i see your smile in so many people and hear your laugh in my head all the time. it makes me smile:). you are awesome and I love and miss you.

Becky said...

Ali, this is awesome. I think you can totally do it.

We must be on a similar wave length. I am going through a clothes freak out. I am so sick of not wearing what I have because I am not organized well. I will buy clothes this year, but my main goal is to wear what I have.

You've got to check out these blog posts. They were a huge inspiration to me.

Create a Working Closet:
- This post has several other parts, see bottom of post for purging, organizing, shopping, etc.

30 for 30 Challenge:

Chocolates for Breakfast said...

my philosophy is if you don't look, you don't know what you are missing...hence no buying and it is totally okay! i think you can do it...especially if you can sew, and buy shoes and purses! you have got this in the bag girl! (no pun intended!)

Kara said...

This is such a good goal. I am cheering you on! I think i need to do something like this.

Zachary said...

Wow! Bold and Brave! Good luck with that Ali!

Melanie said...

Ali, you can totally do this. My prediction is that the first month or two will be the hardest and then your desire to buy will wane.

Erin said...

Wow. Best of luck on this Ali. This just sounds so hard. I am sure you can do it though.

Jill said...

You can totally do it. It really got me thinking about what I should try giving up for a year. There is quite a list. Good luck and keep us posted.

Emily said...

Wow. Just wow. You go girl. You can totally do it. Seriously. I thought the same thing the other day. It seems my wardrobe has become "disposable" if you will. I wear things a few times and move on to something else. Not because they are worn our or even out of style. Just because I can, I suppose. It got me thinking how much money I was spending on clothes, just out of habit. I walk through the mall, I see something I like, I buy it. I know. I'm a little shallow and spoiled, but honestly. I was just thinking about the same thing. I don't know if I can go a year, but I'm definitely being more conscious of what I am actually buying and wearing what I have. Good luck. Keep us posted!! p.s. shoes are where it's at ;)

Shannon said...

The caveat is that clothes shopping is really not my thing, but I suspect this would be like if I had decided not to buy yarn all year long. But I think you can do it.