Clothing Diet

I have a project going this year which, although the year is already half gone, I will finally write about.  I decided early on in the year that I wouldn’t buy any new clothes this year.  Instead I would make do, make over or make from scratch.  Like many women I have plenty of clothes in my closet and only a fraction of them get worn on a regular basis.   There are some I can get rid of but others I like too much only they either don’t fit or don’t suit my current state of mind! I was mentioning to the children recently that I would need new runners soon and B9 exclaimed, “But aren’t you on a clothing diet?”  His words not mine, but it describes the general idea so that is what I’m calling it.  Shoes, by the way are not part of the diet,  I cannot make shoes.

I have done this once before.  In 1989 I spent the year at Theological college doing a 1 year Diploma of Bible & Missions.  I had worked for two years and saved in order to study that year and decided not to spend any money on clothes from January to December.  I did not know when I began  that before the end of the year I would be preparing for my wedding.  I stuck to my commitment regardless and made my own wedding dress, something which I had always planned to do anyway.

So far this year I have turned one dress into a skirt.   The dress was one I bought in Melbourne while shopping with my dear friend Alexandra.  She convinced me to step out of my comfort zone and buy a green dress,  a change from the blue I usually wore.  I bought it from Monsoon, which was for a long time my favourite clothing store.  Fortunately they had very impressive sales twice a year otherwise I could never have bought anything there.  I realized too late that I should have taken a “before” shot, so I could post it beside the after.  L15 was not impressed when she saw that I planned to cut up the dress, she thought it was much prettier the way it was.  She was probably right but I felt I would wear it more as a skirt and it would fit me better.  Just after I converted it I was given a “hand me down”  blouse which matches beautifully.  Hand me downs are totally acceptable in this diet, in fact they are encouraged.

There are two sides to this challenge of course, one is making or remaking what I want or need.  The other is not buying;  the best way to not buy is to not shop, but I do see things when I am out shopping for the girls.  I saw a pink sweater one day for $20.  It was calling my name, despite the fact that I have two in that colour.  They have zips, but this one was a pullover, an important distinction.  I walked away.  Harder was the day I saw a swimsuit.  I will need a swimsuit very soon and the one I saw was precisely  the style I like, exactly the colour I wanted, and on sale.  It was however, not  my size.

4 thoughts on “Clothing Diet

  1. ND

    For some people, the clothing diet would be an impossible diet. With you, the recycling and remaking of pre-loved clothing is a talent we recognized from a very early age. We are confident that in spite of the “clothing diet”, or maybe because of it, you will add some very attractive items to your wardrobe this year.

    The exclusion of shoes prompts me to tell of a project we conducted with our local congregation throughout May. We collected new and “gently worn” shoes to send to shoeless people in some of the poorest regions of Africa and to Nepal. I heard on ABC702 Breakfast Radio of an appeal “Your Shoes were made for Walking” being undertaken by the Students Association of TAFE Colleges. We have learned, for example, that over 300 million children around the world have never owned a pair of shoes, and that having a decent pair of shoes to wear can make the difference in finding a job for some of the poorest people. (For further info, see

    It is surprising how many shoes people have in their closet, many of them only “gently worn”. Over a few weeks, 170 pairs of new and “gently worn” shoes for women, men and children were deposited in our collection box for transfer to a central depot and shipment. We expect that a container of about 12,000 pairs of shoes will be shipped to Nepal in the next few weeks. (The Students Association had sent an earlier shipment to Haiti.)

    I am confident that your clothing diet, like most diets, will prove to be very healthy. And, so far as shoes are concerned, we are finding we can do very well with a little less.


  2. lenanozizwe

    I’m doing the dress diet and so far so good. I also like to upcycle my stuff, I have been for years, so every dress will be one that I’ve made from remnants. Three days in and I’m doing well.

  3. (A)Little

    Oh my goodness…I have been soooo busy and so have just done some Sentient catching up, to discover that nearly everyone has grown one year older and that AMAZING dress has a new life. I remember that dress! And it looks as fab as a skirt as it did as a dress.

    Hope you are all well. I think of you often and miss you more. Let me know when you’re cooking Alvin’s drunken and bruised chicken and I’ll pop in for dinner.

    Lots of love.

  4. Pingback: Clothing Diet – a remake « Sentient

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