Erin's self-sufficiency blog

Dedicated to sharing my efforts in radical homemaking, self-sufficiency, simplicity, and general craftiness on a very, very small budget.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

How I spent $100 for a year's clothing

I once heard a "fashion expert" advise women to put a few hundred dollars away each season for new clothes. If people followed that advice, it would mean about a thousand dollars a year for clothing. This is for the apparently important task of keeping up with all the latest trends. Well, as we all know, nobody looks good in all the latest trends and they often don't last that long. I also feel it's a bit morally abhorrent to pump all that money into disposable items, made in inhumane factory conditions, that you don't intend to keep for very long. So I have long thought that I should revise my clothing purchasing practices, and I am pleased to discover that after a year, I have done a pretty good job. This year, I spent about $100 on clothing, and I think I can do even better next year. In that time I've gotten two dresses, a bracelet, a necklace, a pair of pants, three sweaters, a skirt, a neckwarmer, four t-shirts, a blouse, undies, and a purse.

My first discovery was the fact that I don't need as much new clothing as I have previously thought I did. I was remembering back to the nineties, when clothing was more expensive, when I had eight outfits: one for each day of the week and one for special occasions. I did just fine then. So I realized that I didn't need to add to my wardrobe at the rate I had been doing for the past few years. In fact, I got rid of half my wardrobe when I moved to Portland, and I can't even remember what was in the half that I got rid of. I still have plenty of clothes.

I bought two sets of things from the mall this year: two dresses, priced at $20 and $25 Canadian, and a set of badly needed new underthings, about $35 American. I would spend the same money on undies next year, but I might skip the dresses. I love my new dresses and I get a lot of wear out of them, but they aren't something I need new from the mall. I have lots of nice dresses to keep me going for a while.

The bracelet and the necklace I made myself. I had the stuff for the bracelet around, and I used a gift card to buy the stuff for the necklace. They both turned out very pretty.

The pants, two sweaters, and two t-shirts were hand-me-downs from my Mom. I think I spent about $2 on thread to hem the pants, and I use this thread for lots of other things as well. As an extra bonus, the sweaters were hand-knit by my Mom.

The other sweater is actually not complete yet, but should be finished by the end of the week. I am knitting it right now. I bought half the yarn with my gift card and spent $15 on the rest of the yarn. I actually bought too much yarn and I have made a hat for my husband and can probably make a scarf with the rest.

The skirt is the one I just finished sewing. I spent about $2 on the zipper, and the rest of the materials I got for free.

I spent another two dollars on thread and about four more on patches to mend my pants and those of my husband's.

The neckwarmer I made with yarn and buttons I already had.

The purse and the other two t-shirts were gifts.

For spending $100 for a year's clothing, I don't look like a hippie. I look like a nice Christian girl with slightly funky style. I can wear most of my clothes to church or the museum (actually, I can wear just about anything to church but a bikini. I just like to look nice.) Most of my stuff is pretty and fashionable. Since I am poor, it is very important to me not to look poor, and I certainly don't look poor.

I might even be able to sew one or two more patterns before the year is out, meaning that I could get a skirt and a blouse at no cost!

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Blogger Katy said...

I don't know if there are many thrift shops in your neck of Tigard, but we have a million of them in downtown Longview. I took Jonathan down yesterday to search for some fabric to make into bean bags. I was kind of expecting to find a sheet or table cloth or something to cut up. I was amazed at the array of pieces of fabric they had. We picked up two yards of upholstery fabric for $0.89. That's not even worth filing for reimbursement from his school for!

10:51 PM  

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