The End of ‘The Challenge’

Today marks the last day of the shopping challenge (usually just known as ‘The Challenge’) that MCM and I undertook this past year. But I’m not sure if I ever quiet spelled it out for you all here. Basically, I was feeling that, after two moves in one year, I had a little too much of many things but mostly of clothes. After more years than I can count working in retail, in everything from shoes to hats, I have a lot of things to wear, but didn’t really use most of it regularly. And I was still buying more, things I liked and would use, to be sure, but nothing that I needed. So I thought I would try a ban on shopping, for one year. I didn’t think it would be fun but I also didn’t think I would truly be too put out. Before starting I mentioned to MCM that I was thinking of doing this and to my surprise she thought it was great and wanted to do it too. Like a diet, it helps to have a partner.

So we laid out some ground rules and started on March 1, 2010. Socks and tights and under-things were okay (I wanted to think about need versus want, luxury versus necessity, but I didn’t want to be gross) and if friends or family wished to get us gifts for holidays we would gladly accept. Trading things in for consignment was also okay as you usually get about one new item for every five you bring in, and paring down our closets of unwanted items would be a welcome benefit and in the spirit of the thing. Another aspect was that both MCM and I were getting interested in learning how to sew and this would be very good impetus to help us learn that skill. So fabric was an okay purchase, as would be anything used to refresh or repair things that still had merit but just needed some help (having an old pair of boots resoled, acceptable, buying new shoes, not acceptable.) I have loved the sewing aspect and am thrilled to have been able to add to my wardrobe at the same time I was learning how to be more creative (0ne negative element to ‘The Challenge’ is that I now may have nurtured a rather over-sized addiction to fabric.)

So besides just wearing what I already had  I wanted to show you what I’ve done to help get me through this year, things either made from scratch or  older pieces I’ve made new with a little work.

Wiksten Tova top sewn from Jenny Gordy’s pattern. This will have it’s own post soon.

Loop scarves and Wiksten tanks, my two new staples.

I found that tie-dye was a great way to turn things that had been relegated to the ‘wear only to bed’ pile into some of my favorite pieces of the last year. Learning about all the different methods and traditionally dyed fabrics has also been fun, in a fabric-geeky sort of way.

Lots of basic mending to worn out or Etsuko chewed items and a little ‘New Dress a Day’-ing was also done. An old favorite sweater with a few moth holes was fixed with some darning and grosgrain ribbon sewn over the holes. A skirt in my new favorite length and shape was found in the scrap bin at one of my fabric stores and given a younger hemline. While not in a print I was immediately crazy for and with a label (Liz Claiborne Sport) that I normally would have passed over in a store, I used it as a hemming tutorial and wound up with a skirt I look forward to wearing more often once it gets warmer.

So the year comes to an end and as of tomorrow I can shop again. If you don’t think I already have a list of must-haves the you don’t know me very well. Boots! Jeans! Silly skinny belts! A new biking jacket! Oh yes, I know what I want, but I have also learned what I need, and it’s not much. Which is good because MCM and I have decided to do it all over again starting April 1st, just a little less harshly this time. We are limiting ourselves to vintage or thrift and anything made by small independent designers. A bit of recycling and a bit of supporting talented craftsmen and women. MERCY vintage now, yes! Mociun, yes! Shopping, yes!

One Response to “The End of ‘The Challenge’”
  1. Carol Baker says:

    Hey…Love seeing how creative you have been!

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