At this point, I am about ten months into my year without clothing shopping, and so far, I've learned quite a bit about myself, my buying habits, and what has been the hardest for me to pass up. A few observations:
1. I have to, first of all, admit that I did give in once throughout this journey and buy a pair of shoes on eBay. (I wasn't sure how I was going to handle shoes, and I guess I found out!) They were 99 cents from someone who was trying to get rid of things while moving - I couldn't pass them up! ...which brings me to #2...
2. I have learned that it is hardest for me to pass up things that are a good deal. I haven't struggled nearly as much as I thought with bypassing the mall or the designer stores (I guess I hardly shop there anyway, truthfully), but I do have a hard time saying no to the steals at Salvation Army, Goodwill, or eBay. I have learned a lot about my temptation: getting a good deal. Yet getting a good deal does not equal needing it. I don't need more greatly-discounted jeans in my closet (I already have a leaning pile, and that's after getting rid of quite a few pairs!), and I don't need more shirts, sweatshirts, or purses, no matter how low their price may be! This is hard for me as a thrifter (or just a cheapskate, however you like to word it) to learn to pass up. But I'm working on it!
3. Taking this year as an opportunity to get rid of a LOT of clothes that I don't really wear over the course of a year has helped me to actually realize what I do need to have a well-rounded closet. I've realized that I do need some nice skirts to wear for church, meetings, and speaking engagements with my supervising professors. This is an area in which I am lacking. I've also realized that I'd like to get a few more high heels during the next year, because I tend to gravitate toward those throughout the year when I'd like to feel a little better about myself and need a little self-confidence boost!
4. I've realized what my habits are as a "wearer" of clothes. I don't wear much variety in jeans - if I have a few pairs that I really am comfortable in and can wear with a variety of outfits, I usually really don't wear more than 3-4 pairs from week to week.
5. Finally, I've realized that I have more self-control than I may have previously realized. I have made it throughout these ten months so far with only one indiscretion - my 99 cent eBay shoes. And I feel pretty good about that. Even with my daily Today Show watching habit and love of reading Oprah magazine, I've been able to bypass the temptations of beautiful shoes, clothes, and accessories they feature and realize that I have quite enough in my own closet, and compared to most others in the world, MORE than enough. Also, not having those clothes has not affected my happiness, my relationships, or my sense of well-being. Actually, in some ways, it has alleviated my guilt over unneeded purchases, freed up time that I would have spent shopping to do other things, and has proved to me that I have self-control that I didn't realize I possessed.
That's not to say that I'm not looking forward to March when I can add a few things to my closet that I've been eyeing up at Salval and Goodwill that I really need. I'd challenge you to re-evaluate your closet and challenge yourself to rethink your buying habits. Even if it's just a month, I can almost guarantee that you'll learn about yourself, your habits, and perhaps even realize you have much more self-control than you gave yourself credit for!