The Great American Apparel Diet

no buying for one year

Dieter Profiles

Sally Bjornsen, Founder. Seattle Washington.  Age: 47 (looks 46) Sally is first and foremost a child of retail (three generations), everything else springs from there.   When she’s not shopping online or assessing the latest trends she is a mother, stepmother, wife, author, blogger, social commentator, idea generator and business owner, not necessarily in that order.  Assessing the retail landscape (both online and brick and mortar) is sport for her—though parting with cash can ignite heart palpitations.


Born with the guilt of a Jewish mother Sally never feels completely “guilt-free,” when she closes the deal at the “cash wrap.”  After 25 years in the advertising and retail biz Bjornsen is finally ready to implement the “less is more” philosophy of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.   “I want to see what life is like when women just say no to the new apparel pick-me-up.  A lot of women in the “program” currently spend a fair amount of time planning, pondering and preparing their wardrobes (some more than others).  This preoccupation is usually motivated by what they want at that moment rather than what they actually need.  As a result a lot of us end up with a bunch of weird things in our closets.  All that time and energy could be re-focused toward other creative endeavors.  Who knows how much time, money and energy will be saved on the diet.  I can’t wait to see.


Kelly L. Murray– Kelly bought coats.  Plural.  Three actually.  In a day.  Nay, in an hour.  Three coats.  It is CLEARLY time for TGAAD.  When not mindlessly purchasing cheaply made, ill-fitting clothing on clearance Kelly spends time bonding with her baby boy, playing flyball with her retired racing greyhound and snarking with her extremely tolerant domestic partner.  She also works diligently as a curriculum developer for a wireless telecommunications company.  Kelly looks forward to dressing more creatively by integrating accessories, as well as dressing more thoughtfully by spending more time than money on her appearance.


Sally Johnson– I am committed to the program for the next year.  My plan is to redirect the funds that I spend on clothing to a travel account.  I went through my wardrobe and I have all the clothes, underwear, handbags and shoes that I need.


Jennifer Funk– Age: 25. Jen is a newlywed/ sometimes-librarian/mom of a 1 ½ year old.  Each time she moves on to a new part-time or temporary academic librarian position, she is rewarded with a new set of ‘professional’ attire and a new store credit card. Last year, after losing all of the baby-weight and getting back down to her original size 8, more “Go Jen!” congratulatory clothes were purchased unnecessarily. After a year the dreaded ‘extra 5 pounds’ have returned, making most (if not all) of the 25+ jeans in the closet unwearable again. By not breaking down and purchasing bigger sizes or any more clothes at all for the next year, hopefully the willpower will return to lose the dreaded 5 pounds and have a whole ‘new’/old wardrobe from the closet-shop again. Especially during the holiday season, money becomes tight as more sweaters, dresses, and jeans are purchased for herself instead of used for gifts for friends and family. This is a most opportune time to join and really become committed to less stuff.


Kimberly King– Crestwood, Kentucky. Age: 35. I am a mother of two who diligently works to keep my children’s clothes tidy and clutter free… but I am guilty of being a clothes hoarder. I think I truly came to the realization that I have just much more than I need when I made a comment to my friend on Facebook that I had a large enough wardrobe to clothe a village. My Fiance and I discussed this and between the two of us, yes indeed we decided it was a true and fair statement. A well dressed village but a village none the less. So then I started looking back at how many times I have used the phrase ‘retail therapy’… I am guilty buying to make me feel better, something new DOES make me feel good. But I also have come to the realization that also makes me end up with clothes that I only wear once or twice and then sit in a drawer or take up space in my exploding closet. It is just a temporary ‘fix’ for real problems. After my soul searching about having an over abundance.  I am suppose to simplify and abstain from purchasing new clothes… this should be fun and challenging! Let’s get the clock started!


Zori Bullock– Fredericksburg , VA. I am 34 years old, have been married for 2 years to my wonderful husband.We moved to Virginia a little over a year ago to have a fresh start. I am working on making positive changes in all aspects of my life and joining the TGAAD will positively contribute to those changes. What does shopping for new clothes mean to me? It means a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling of euphoria of having something new, a feeling of having accomplished something. The problem ith those feelings is that they tend to go away pretty quickly and then I need to shop again to feel “satisfied”. It is quite the vicious cycle. Well, no more! I need to find other things that can fulfill me. I always knew I had control issues with shopping and I always wanted to find a way to control it, but did not know how. So when I saw this on TV, I couldn’t contain my excitement. “There are others like me, I am not the only one”. The comfort of knowing others are there going through the same struggles and successes is the kick in the butt I needed to do this. I am ready to take control and reap the rewards.


Mary Shaver– Denver, CO. Age: 41. I heard about this diet on the news. I had never thought about doing something like this before.  I think it’s a great idea as you are held accountable to the group. I shop too much. I have clothes sitting in my closet with tags and have never been worn.  I have clothes stuffed in the back that I don’t even remember buying. I work in a small casual office with 3 other people. I could wear the same thing every day and no one would care. Of course I won’t have to given the surplus of clothing I have. This will be a great way to save money for a trip some where next year. Hopefully, it will teach me what the Europeans women know….quality not quantity.


Emily S– Little Rock, AZ. I am a 35 year-old mother of two boys (age 6 and 2). I work in cooperate America as an Engineer for Verizon Wireless.  I love to shop, I love being in style, but I also love minimalism. I am excited to take this apparel diet! Current items I dream about buying- but won’t–a white North Face transit jacket,  tall Kenly Ugg boots in gray, and a black Kate Spade microfiber handbag. Maybe next year…


Shannon Nielsen– San Francisco, CA. Age: 29. After seeing your story on NBC Nightly News last night, I would like to start the the Great American Apparel Diet on December 1, 2010. I work in the financial services industry for a small financial planning firm. I love shopping…everything about it! The feeling you get when you find something you love on sale, the bustling of a busy shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon and reading shopping magazines. I really think that a new outfit can make you feel and look like a million dollars! With that said, shopping is the only area in my life that I do not adapt the mantra “less is more.” I just can’t seem to kick the feeling to buy something new….at least once a month! My husband and I have been trying to save money for a down payment on a house; but the house fund keeps getting smaller and smaller  (and the credit cards keep getting bigger and bigger) because I just can’t kick my habit of buying new clothes! This challenge will be extremely hard for me but it is something that I have wanted (and needed) to do for a long time. My family and finances thank you for this fantastic idea and I can’t wait to focus my attention on other hobbies and activities beside shopping!


Marie Isabella Wilson– I have lived in Seattle for three years. I saw the news story of you and ‘The Great American Apparel Diet’. I am in the process of cutting way back. Not because we cannot afford to, but because we seem to spend on items we do not need, just want, plus my husband and I need to save more for retirement. My husband and I have moved eighteen times since marrying. My husband is a test pilot with Boeing and I also work for Boeing in software configuration management. I have BS in social psychology and am one class short of completing my master’s degree in administration. My husband and I have three children in their twenties. I was looking through my closet several weeks ago and noticed I have clothing I have never worn and still have tags attached. I am also interested in the fact that in the news story it seemed you have get-togethers with other women. The group I saw on NBC nightly news looked very interesting and fun.


Lori West– Atlanta, GA. Age: 51. Legal Assistant in a construction law firm. The reason I’m interested in joining the program is not only from watching the segment on the NBC Nightly News with that adorable Brian Williams, but because lately I’ve started feeling guilty.  I own enough clothes and shoes (approx. 150 pair, almost half of which are high-end -Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Prada — all purchased @ at least 50% off, often more) to last for the foreseeable future.  I have a fetish for outerwear, so command over half of our full-size coat closet (I have multiples of everything), plus have an upstairs closet which contains only evening wear, and another that in most homes is devoted to linens but which contains sweaters and handbags.


These are in addition to my full-size walk-in closet which houses all the shoes as well as spring/summer/fall/winter clothing.  I don’t NEED to shop — I like the thrill of finding gorgeous things on sale at a price I can afford (I can still name everything I ever paid full price for, and it’s less than 5 items!).  I can’t wear all that I have now, and yes, I have clothes with tags on them that I’ve had perhaps 2 years now.  They fit, they’re in style, but I just have so much it takes a while to wear something new.  Yet I still go out each weekend to shop, buy more, bring it home, look at and admire it, put it in the closet, and yes, eventually wear it.  At the end of a season, however, I realize I have way more clothes than I can wear, and things get put away for the next season, unworn.  (I will add that I have no credit card debt — whatever I spend each month is paid in full the next, even if/when it hurts!)
I am often accused of never wearing the same thing twice.  That’s not true!  I wear a lot of basics over and over, but pair them in new, creative ways to get more use out of them.  I get ideas from InStyle and Harper’s Bazaar magazines, and love both Jak & Jill and The Sartorialist blogs.  I look at pics in InStyle and realize I have every item in an outfit, so then put them together the same way and there’s a new look!  I just want to wear what I have and try to break the addiction of constantly acquiring more. Clothes shopping is a monkey on my well-dressed back — and I believe I can keep the clothes, still look great and fashionable, but lose the monkey!


Dorothy Reilly– East Long Island, NY. Age: 60’s. May be one of the few crones in the group to have reached the 60’s benchmark  – I’m loving it!. True confession – I’m not a big spender on clothing.  However just the act of inviting 100 friends to join me this act is one that may change the landscape of our cultural consumer need to look a certain way and to buy, buy, buy.  Brilliant. I’ve a wonderful hubby and two grown kids and live on the East End of Long Island.  Being outdoor is the best.  I love the ocean, swimming, biking, walking the clouds… you get the idea.  And I’m passionate about the Earth and Women’s Power and Genius. I’ve trained as an architect, spent most of my time as a stay at home mother.  Now consider myself one of the many midwives of the emerging women’s movement for planetary and personal health. I volunteer as an appointed member of our towns Sustainability Advisory Committee. Currently I’m working though the nonprofit I founded, Women’s Initiatives for a Sustainable Earth.  We’re beginning an initiative to identify existing circles and catapult more women’s circles into fruition. We plan to thread them together, creating the largest worldwide network hub of best practices and calls to action. Your example with the great apparel diet is the way to go.  You’ve done it.  Thanks!


Sandi Hughes– Memphis, TN. Age: 49, which is my Jubilee Year. What’s that you may ask? It’s a celebration of my 50th year of existence. A precursor to the Big 5-0 hoopla. I have a Jubilee List, my take on a bucket list, but my emphasis is on jubilation, not kicking the bucket. I have created a Jubilee Jar, and I’m tucking in my wishes, hopes, plans and schemes for this year and beyond. So adding TGAAD to the jar is ideal…even if I am joining a bit late. Fashionably late, I should say! I am a mother, writer, wife, sister, aunt, friend, and business owner. With the present economy and state of business affairs, a spending diet will help to refocus my attention on what I already have, beginning with mindfulness while shopping. Focusing on present abundance and gratitude for it – what better month to begin this exercise than November?!


April Kuhn– Northern Ohio. Age: 30’s. April considers herself a professional shopper. Which is just a nicer way of saying she is shopaholic. She lives with her hubby and three furry “kids.”  When she isn’t working or studying, you can find her at the nearest retail store. Shopping has been a hobby passed on by her mother.  They perused the clearance racks weekly and bought more things that were ever needed.  Over the years, April has realized that she has more clothes than she can ever use. This reality is quite obvious when she realizes it’s been weeks since laundry day and she still has plenty of clean clothes to wear! She has been wishing to be greener, to buy local, and to eventually invest in timeless pieces rather than be wasteful.  And the (very) recent loss of her mother has made her decide that without her shopping buddy and mentor, taking a break from “retail therapy” makes perfect sense.  April’s first day back in the stores will be dedicated to her mom.


Julie Knuths– Age:52. I am ready to commit to not buying clothes for a year.  I’m not sure I can do it but think joining this group might help me. I teach nursing at a local college and I love clothes and fashion, I shop for fun, for stress relief, when I’m bored or lonely.  I haven’t imperiled our finances with my habit, but it does distress my husband who is more of a low impact kind of guy, not into consumerism at all.  So I would like to use this as an opportunity for personal growth, to gain control of a part of my life that sometimes controls me, and as an act of love for my husband!


Lorie Barnes– Austin, TX. I would like to join the group after having dealt with my own clothing issues for a really long time!  I would also like to get out of the credit card debt I have with two different suppliers of “fixes!” to my closet and your inspiring excerpt on NBC Nightly News has prompted me to GO FOR IT! I have a great family of my very supportive, hunter gatherer husband  and three sons and a lovely daughter-in-law, and because I am in my late 50’s, you could consider me either an old gray mare or more positively, the “Silver Fox!”    Running has been my main “therapy” since my boys entered the teenage years, but perhaps shopping has been retail therapy too, and although I hope to run forever, the shopping is not a healthy habit for me or our family’s finances as we head towards retirement!bI am a free-lance writer and developer of curriculum for children living in poverty and have contributed to two globally known organizations, along with opportunities to collaborate and train internationals who directly work in projects for the poorest of the poor, children of HIV/AIDS, etc., in  26 countries around the world.  Because I have been to Africa and India, many countries in S.America, Central America, and Bangladesh for my work, I have seen poverty at its worst.


However, I am able to get on a jet and return to my comfortable, middle-classed living here in the U.S.  I sense that any of us who have seen and worked with, and met people who live on $2 a day or less KNOW that the rest of the world has less–we have been there personally, the faces of children have names.  Because of my own desire to make a difference, I think that the money I save from shopping and retail therapy will finally go where it is needed, both here in the U.S. with our 14% poverty rate, living below the poverty line, and across the world.  Finally, I will be free of myself to serve others, which is what I was really called to do as both a Christ-follower and a responsible adult in an age where the U.S. still is a playground between two oceans.


Karen Monken– Age: 26. I’m a 26-yr-old grad student until December and I work in a non-profit. TGAAD has been interesting so far, and has saved me some money, but like others have said it is difficult when so much of my “archive” doesn’t fit anymore! My big goal is debt reduction and I had lately been relying on my store cards to buy when I needed stress relief or something to do. I had always paid them off each month but they were now starting to carry a balance. I’ve paid off one and paying another off this month. I’m hoping the two big offenders (Macy’s and The Limited) will drop off soon too. One confession: I did buy a shirt and shorts at Walmart for my Halloween costume, which I know is cheating. But that will be my one slip-up, I’m sure!


Susie Hanna– Age: 27. Hi, I’m Susie and I’m a 27 year old Contracts Administrator. I found out about this site whilst on a snowshoe trek with my good friend Lex.  We were probably talking about clothes or shopping or shopping for clothes and paying off our VISAS™ when she mentioned this site and the premise behind it. It intrigued me. It intrigued me so much, that after inquiring and bombarding her with questions I decided right then and there on that ski trail, that this was going to be my New Year’s Resolution. Lex and I have been friends for years and we both share the same type of passion for shopping.  We have the same taste in well crafted, luxurious fabrics, and generally speaking; expensive clothing. Like most people I know, we also share the same type of zombie consumerism. I want, I want, I want…all the time. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting things, it’s just being able do it with some self control. That’s where my problem comes in. Self control.  Self-control. Self-Control…slefclontrol…control self…yep, I don’t have it.  Not there…zip.  Nothing, none at all.  So after our snowshoe date was over, I went straight to my iPad and looked up this website and the rest is history. Here’s to being inspired, New Year’s Resolutions, and Lex for showing me this site. Wish me luck.  Cheers


Sandra Williams– Vancouver, BC, Canada. Age: 41. My name is Sandra Williams and I’m a shopaholic.  I love deals of all kinds and my friends actually refer to me as “The Eye”.  I have an eye for fashion and an eye for bargains.  I’m 41 and I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada with my darling husband.  I have a weakness for dresses and there are probably 300+ dresses of all kinds (work, casual, summer, cocktail, evening, etc.) hanging in the closet, thrown into dressers, hidden in boxes, still in bags, etc.  And the scary part is…that’s just the dresses!  I actually bought six designer dresses off of eBay last month and I was thrilled with my savings…spending $150 for six dresses and the regular prices on most of them were $300+ and they’re all brand new with tags attached.


Boy was I on a shopping high!  I think I have enough clothes, shoes, accessories in general to sustain an army!  My husband has been very patient with me over the years, but storing all of these items is getting to be a problem.  I have so many things that still have tags on them and I still tend to wear the same rotation of items to work.  I am tired of racking up my credit cards with things that I do not need.  I would like to wear more of what I have and eventually be able to go through my items and weed out items that should definitely be given away.  I want to take control over my closet again as it has definitely spiralled out of control over the years.  I don’t want to become a clothes hoarder!  And the nice part of not spending would be to have extra money for more travelling and just more money in general set aside for those “rainy’ days.  I know I’m a bit late in joining, but I would love to start today and continue this for a complete year!  Let the Diet begin!


Jennifer Wear– I am a 29-year-old stay-at-home mom to two young daughters and married to the love of my life, my high school sweetheart, since I was a teenager.  I’m a Christian, but lately fashion has really been my god, and I spend way more time shopping and obsessing over my outfits than I do reading my Bible and doing “Kingdom Work”.   I love hiking, reading Ann Rule books and fashion magazines (which I may have to drop the magazines if I really want to stick to my diet!) and just spending time with my friends and family.  I am a constant online shopper and have a very hard time resisting a “good deal” and it just leads to overspending and buying the same items that I already have.  I went on a major binge right before starting this diet so I have no excuses for cheating!


Jessica Higgins– My name is Jessica. I am a 28 year old PhD student from Canada with much too fat a closet. If I am successful on this diet, I will not only be able to fatten up my bank account (fat is good in the bank account area), I will also be able to prove to myself that I don’t need as much ’stuff’ as I think I do. Besides, I like doing things just to prove that I can…I am going for a PhD, after all!


Laura Walker– Waycross, GA. I love your website. I had heard about it but never looked until today. I am 46 years old and thinking how could I have wasted so much time and mostly money shopping as I have the past 25 years. I think that it all started when I got my first paycheck. I could now afford to buy what I wanted and keep up with the popular kids (mind you I was in High School). Now I am older, and apparently just getting wiser, and realize what I could have had if I had not been so vain and foolish.  Well its never to late to start fresh. So I want to join TGAAD. I want to go a year without buying clothes, shoes and handbags. These are things that I have more of than I can count. I do believe I could go 1 year without buying a still have new or hardly worn clothes to keep me going through the year. Like some of the other members, if I would lose 20 lbs I would have even more to wear, as I have been bad about breaking the rule – Don’t buy it unless you can wear it now. I have tons of clothes that will fit “when I lose weight”. I am also a retail therapy shopper. When depressed eat or shop, both getting me in trouble. I hope this diet will put me back in control of my life.


Georgette Boggio– Age 37.  I live in a small town in Montana with my husband and three cats.  I love to shop.  I am hoping  that this diet will help me be more conscious about the decisions I make with regard to shopping. I feel like my closet is vortex that I keep throwing more and more clothes at, and only a few make it out on a regular basis to be seen by others.  I am hoping by doing this diet, I can figure out what I really wear, and thus be more thoughtful and conscious about what I buy.  Maybe I can save some money and some space at the local Goodwill in the process.


Helga Peterson– I am currently a non-practicing pychologist looking for a mid-life career change. Actually, I am looking for a mid-life transformation. One of the things I am dissatisfied with is my material consumption and lack of planning for later-in-life goals. I feel as if I just woke up and am shocked to find I am 50 years old! All of a sudden my priorities have shifted and I realize that without planning and the ability to save some money I will never be able to do the things that are meaningful to me. I have no dependents and therefore a lot of freedom but I have spent most of my life acquiring things like a great wardrobe, a wine cellar, a beautiful set of Reidel wine glasses (one for red as well as one for white), and more sunglasses (40 or more?) than I will ever need here in the Midwest. Sitting in my apartment and looking around at all my possessions does not make me feel good. Rather I feel foolish for buying into the materialist ethos our culture reinforces wherever we look.


I just got rid of 35 boxes of books and have learned how freeing it can be to get rid of things. I want to shift my priorities to having more experiences, more friends, more fluidity in my life. I would love to travel and possibly work abroad.  I want to commit to the GAAD in an attempt to learn what shopping has done for me and what other pleasures are out there for me to discover. What will I do with all the time I spent shopping? Since I have a compulsive component to my personality I would like to be a purist and not shop for jewelry, shoes, and accessories because I usually just shift my compulsion from one area to another. I also want to refrain from purchasing anything for my home since decorating and re-decorating seems just another outlet for my desire to spend and need for something new. I have already learned much from reading the posts of fellow dieters and I am grateful for everyone who has shared their experience on this journey. I see this as just the beginning of a future filled with many great, shared adventures.


Sara Johns– Dallas, Texas. Age: 26 I came across this website about 6 months ago and been thinking about doing a shopping diet ever since. I am a college graduate that is still trying to figure out what I want to do with life. At times, this can be kind of scary and stressful and we all know that doing a little shopping can make you feel a little better. I do the same thing with purchasing make-up. You know… “If I have this one eye shadow or this one awesome fitting pair of jeans, life will be better.” Well, I can honestly say, it has never worked and I have a low checking account balance to prove it. So, I would like to take this diet to help me take control of my stress (and bank account balance) and develop more productive ways deal with stress.


Jenn M– I’m 30, and a grad student finishing up my PhD in Ontario, Canada. When I do shop it’s almost exclusively second hand, so I never spend that much. With that said, though, I do love thrift stores (possibly more than I really should).  Recently I’ve been thinking a lot more about my own consumption, especially in terms backing away from consumerism even more than I already have.  For me, I see TGAAD as having a few goals.  First, I have a lot of stuff already and want to get creative with it, both in terms of using what I have well and getting rid of what’s really not working for me. Second, although I don’t spend a lot, I’d like to free up that section of the budget for other priorities, such as educational type stuff, and charitable donations.  Third, I live in a not-huge apartment, and would really like to avoid bringing more into the space, since it’s already pretty full.  Finally, I’d like to free up the time that I do spend shopping for other pursuits – running, yoga, reading, and writing, I’ve got my eyes on you.  Essentially, I want to be happy with what I’ve got, which is most certainly enough, and free up resources for the more pressing priorities in my life.


Kjersten Kipp– K.K. I live in Virginia with my fabulous husband of 10 years and our awesome 7 year old son.  I love to shop!  I shop for me, I shop for my husband and I shop for my son.  But let’s face it…I shop more for myself and my stuff easily costs the most. I want more money in my pocket…but alas I keep buying pockets thus less money   I have more than enough clothes..I have purchased so many things that I even have undies with tags attached. And really I have to say that a line in Jenn M’s profile hit home for me and sealed the deal…”I want to be happy with what I’ve got, which is most certainly enough, and free up resources for the more pressing priorities in my life”.   So sign me up…as of 1 January no clothes till August 31, 2011


Katherine Voyles- Age: 33. I have one son and have been married for almost thirteen years to a man who has taught me a great deal about how to enjoy a wardrobe full of essential items that reflect one’s own tastes and lifestyle. I am pleased to join the Great American Apparel Diet after learning about it through the New York Times. Like many of the other “dieters,” the idea of rediscovering the items already in your closet is very appealing. I’ve spent some time building a wardrobe full of essentials, and I now want to enjoy it instead of worrying over the items I don’t possess.


Oksana Manchur– I’m 18 and i live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. I’ve just started college, and I’m trying to save money so I can move out of my mom’s house.  I can’t wait to start NOT buying new clothes for myself.


Mike H– Age: 42.  I have 3 motivators behind joining the diet: 1. It feels to me as though we’re living in times of anxious greed.  Consume, consume, consume.  I want to opt out of this whirlwind and develop some self control and moderation. 2. Replace quantity with quality.  Buy fewer things of higher quality that look better and last much longer. Use the money saved over the diet to buy high quality clothes when I’m done. 3. I stopped smoking a year ago and gained 48 pounds.  I want to go back to my previous weight.  Updaing the wardrobe at the end of the diet will be an excellent way to celebrate. Wish me luck.  The longest I’ve gone in the past without a purchase or other is 4 days.


Theresa Smith– Bellingham, WA. Age: 43. I know need is a strong word, but honestly.. I shop so much I don’t even wear all the stuff I buy in the season I buy it! I have the beautiful fortune and terrible misfortune to work for a thrift store. I’m a great shopper, and I don’t “overspend” just “overbuy”. I know it sounds like a crazy distinction but a pair of $180 shoes for $10 is a great deal.. 25 pairs of shoes, however amazingly priced is still $250 and 23 extra pairs of shoes. I need to stop buying things and appreciate and use what I have. Most of the stuff I buy is either NWT or maybe tried on and didn’t fit and it’s usually about 80% to 90% off retail and “not new”, it comes from a thrift store after all. I’ve used that argument for years to justify my over shopping, but it’s got to stop. Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean I need it. For me, shoes will be included too. Do you allow substitutions? LOL.


Karen Everett– Annapolis, MD. Age: 51 young. I’m a married mother of 3. Gave up a career after 1st child was born. Loved to shop in my working years. Would find a pair of shoes that was a must have and searched the mall for the rest of the outfit. Yes, in my working days my wardrobe was my identity. Fast forward 3 children and my time is no longer my own. I never intend to go out shopping but, along the way on my errands i inevitably pass by a favorite store and just “look”. Now, like so many others here I am a grazer, not intending to shop but see it and want it. Even as i am writing there is a shopping bag next to me with today’s purchase that i had no intention of buying today, a white blouse, to add to the other 12 i already have. I feel liberated from my grazing habit  by joint your group and i have faith that i can make this work to the end in August 2011.


Sarah Jane Dunaway– Annapolis, Maryland. Age: 26. I work as a brand and marketing communications manager for a technology company and decided after living the last four years in Seattle, Washington it is time to pay off some debt! I have lots of clothes and in a variety of sizes which means if I drop even two pounds I’ll have more clothing options to wear! I recently moved back to the D.C. area to be closer to friends and family, including my mother and younger sister who also have lots of clothes and in my sizes. I  generally do not enjoy shopping though I have a weakness for great shoes and sundresses. Unfortunately, most of my dresses are not cheap. Some are, but those that are not are definitely charges sitting around on my credit card statement! It’s time to pay off some debit and start making good use of my current wardrobe!


Jason Williams– Age: 20. I am from OKC, OK and I am studying fashion marketing at University of Central Oklahoma.  Not only do I study fashion for school but I also am surrounded by it at both of my jobs.  I help manage a non-profit’s consignment store filled with vintage designer clothes. My second job includes working at Express Fashion. Whenever I’m not at work I am constantly looking online at clothes that I want and cannot afford. I feel like it is a sickening addiction.  I came across this site by accident and have read many posts that have inspired me to want to stop my addiction. I feel like this site could help me because I am sort of surrounded by people who love fashion just like I do, which is not common in my social environment. I will be getting my last fix in before the new year and will be going all out once 2011 rolls in.


My addiction to fashion may lodge deeper in my brain. I constantly feel that people are always looking at what I wear and that they are judging me based on my appearance. I don’t know why I think this because I know people don’t really care. I think I care about my appearance because I am so paranoid about what people think about me that I judge people’s outfits harshly so then I judge myself harshly. I hope that makes sense. I think this will help myself money wise and self-confidence wise.


Marisa Rivera– Age: 54 and a fashionista. I am an educator by day and retailer by night. I learned to shop a little later than most because my mom was a seamstress and sewed all of my clothes (even bathing suits) until I was the age of 25. My retail job allows me to be one of the first to see what’s on sale and with the multiple discounts I have been able to talk myself into “needing” clothes just because they’re cheap. After reading about this website, I decided to look in my closets (yes, closets= 3) and check out what I own. I felt a little disgusted and somewhat embarrassed by how much I had and how little I actually wore. After reading several profiles and exploring the website for a few weeks, I finally decided I could do this…..I am more than the clothes in my closet (and of course those at the stores)!


Esmé Wright- A 26 year old living in Los Angeles, California, is using the Great American Apparel Diet to overcome lingering issues from years of eating disorders. She is proud to state wholeheartedly that she is recovered, but needs one final push outside of her learned comfort zone. This will be one of the hardest things she has ever done, which she thinks is silly, which ultimately she thinks is good and hopes that this will help her succeed. Her motto throughout the next trying months is,  “I am not my clothes”.


Missy Dunaway– I recently graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. I’m a painter currently working in my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland. I’m not a shoe-person or a purse-person. I’m a clothes horse with a closet to prove it. My shopping habit has only been made worse by moving back to Annapolis, which as five shopping centers within a 15 minute drive from one another. Consequentially, shopping has become a hobby due to convenience. When I shop I not only feel guilty for wasting money, but also for wasting time that could be spent doing something else, like painting. I hope this diet will fatten my savings account, my portfolio, and my repertoire of hobbies. I’m making my clean break right at the beginning of the new year. I’ll have to postpone all of my other new years resolutions to devote all of my energy to the Great American Apparel Diet.


Gina Mead– Laguna Beach, CA Recent MFA graduate of Laguna College of Art and Design and artist. I am currently cleaning out my home of clutter, nic-nacs, junk, useless items, as well as repeats and mistakes. I have found that I collect and keep. My closet is stuffed with items I have yet to wear! And that my family also collects and keeps for me. For instance, I started collecting teapots and soon I am the owner of lots and lots of teapots, some that aren’t even usable. Santas, OMG, I have too many Santas! I really need to stop the consumerism! It’s even passed down to my daughter, Jessica, who is also a pack-rat. I caught it from my mother… It’s all her doing! My daughter and I have a storage unit that we rent at $280/month to hold stuff. It’s ridiculous!


Andrea Gonzalez– NJ. Age: 27. I’m totally in!  ALL IN!  My original goals were to save some money and organize my home.  So, my organization quickly started, I cleared out my closet, and there I was, drowning in clothes!  I could not even see my floor.  I found myself in what seemed like a mini episode of “Hoarders” and could not even believe I had all of this stuff!  Reality hit me, hard, and I realized I need to put aside any possible excuse and start actually wearing what I have,  AND I will look damn good while doing so.


Kathryn Providence MD– Columbia, SC Age: 32. One of my major goals for the new year is complete elimination of credit card debt. Clothes shopping is a major expenditure that I need to reign in. I look forward to this experience helping me to have the discipline needed to achieve my financial goals for the coming year.


Allyson H.– Mississippi, Age:  37. I remember seeing the GAAD segment on NBC this year and have decided, befittingly, after resigning from my job, to join.  Ironically, I am leaving a job which required a uniform to pursue a new career which requires a uniform and I have a closet FULL of clothes, some with the tags still on them!. So in the midst of cutting back on finances I will join the ranks of the GAAD and hopefully cut a whole lot more…effective January 1, 2011.


Shannon Llewellyn– Age:45. Portland OR. I wanted to start the Great American Apparel Diet because my closet is so full of clothes that I don’t even know what I own anymore!  Also, I need some support because shopping has become more of a recreational thing and less of a necessity thing.  Trust me, I have ALL the clothes I’ll ever need and I hope I can learn to find new ways to spend my time and money. Also, I’m becoming more aware of the excess in America, and I no longer want to be part of that.


MJ– I’m a 30-year-old law student in the Midwest. I’m joining TGAAD in 2011 to save time, reduce my spending, and tread more lightly on the planet. I don’t consider myself a huge overspender on clothes, but I do waste a TON of time shopping online when I should be studying, writing, or doing things that bring me real joy. I’m tired of being distracted by our disposable clothing culture when I have plenty of satisfying items in my closet for my life as a student. A couple of modifications for my personal dietary needs: (1) I’m adding shoes, bags, and accessories to the ban. (2) If needed, I can spend up to $200 on office clothes (including shoes) after I find out the dress code at my summer internship. I look forward to the next eight months!


Tina Haglund– I am an Actor and Executive Director of a small storefront theater company in Chicago. I have more clothes than most people (I have a large stock of costumes) and this idea has come at just the right time- we consume too much, and clothing waste is among the worst. I costume my shows from thrift and second hand store. We don’t buy new if there is any other way to find use out an existing item. I am excited to be part of this and to spread the word!


Deb M– I’m a 54 year old woman who has been living life vicariously through fashion magazines, style books, and you name it, buying new clothes every time I need a fashion fix. I shop when I’m happy, unhappy, bored, excited, skinny, zaftig, feeling old, feeling young or just because. I can never have enough little black t-shirts, or skinny leg jeans. Help me. I’m ready to jump off the commercialism wagon and live simply with what I have. It’s the new minimalist me! Less is more. Thrifty is the new black.


Grace Hwang Lynch– Freelance writer and former television news reporter, who thinks she may been lured into the career choice by the promise of free clothes. She loses all sense of self-control when near cashmere sweaters, designer jeans (Paige Adams Geller is a genius), and high-heeled boots. Her jeans “collection” hovers somewhere around 30-ish pairs, of which at least three she actually wears on a regular basis. After complaining for years that she never gets to travel or buy the really excellent digital camera she truly covets, Grace decided to go on a one-year break from clothes shopping. The thing is… she’s very good at finding deals on designer clothes and hates to see them go to waste. Then again, she really wants that camera. Follow her journey at “A Year (Almost) Without Shopping”


Thanks for creating this, it’s a great idea. And honestly, the year will be quite challenging for me, so I’m looking forward to the moral support of other “dieters”.


Kelly S– I’m an avid shopper.  I literally have and addiction to shoes, handbags, and clothes.  On my days off all I do is shop online then I have to work like a crazy woman to make enough money to finance my addiction. This year (2011) I’ve decided that I need to stop wasting money and start saving.  I don’t have kids so all the money I make goes to my shopping addiction and it doesn’t help that I have expensive taste. Just in the past few months I’ve been shopping non-stop so I’m done with shopping for this coming year!


Tamika– I am 28 years young, and looking to make some major steps to change my life. I’m working really hard at losing weight, and at spiritual and financial freedom. I think this will help my addiction to Retail Therapy and light my laundry load due to the over whelming amount of clothes I own. I am committed to this and am excited to challenge myself.


Helen Macinnes– I’m from Chester in England and currently studying at Manchester University. I was inspired to take up a New Years resolution, which is something I don’t normally do, by reading a newspaper article about a woman who gave up clothes shopping for a year – saved £1000 (US $1400) and lost 2.5 stone (don’t know conversion). What a fantastic idea I thought!! I became quite disillusioned with shopping in general about two years ago, when I was scrupulously saving my money to go travelling. So I only went shopping every few months, got a taste for charity shops and enjoyed the challenge of finding a bargain rather than going for the usual high street shops. Now I find I’m totally uninterested in clothes shopping altogether and find the whole experience unfulfilling and supericial. I also have the added incentive that I’m saving up my money again to go travelling in the summer after my course finishes! I’m excited about the challenge ahead and will be itching to get back to some charity shopping once this is over! But I have enough to clothes to fill my wardrobe several times over so I’m looking froward to discovering old clothes I’ve probably forgot I ever bought! Happy New Year to everyone and wishing good luck to all!


Amanda T– I’m 28, work full time in academic administration and attend graduate school part time (I’m studying for my doctorate in education). I love, love, love clothes. But I don’t love how much money I’ve been spending on them, and I’d like to focus on being less consumerist and more sustainable in general. My closet seems like a good place to start, because I have plenty of clothes and want to stop being so influenced by stores and advertisements that tell me I don’t have enough or the “right” clothes.


Caroline– I’m a compulsive shopper. I have two closets bursting with clothes, multiple plastic storage buckets with out-of-season clothing, and a home “office” that is filled with stray clothes and shoes. I am so overwhelmed by my accumulation of things that I cannot enjoy what I have. I feel like I am always in a frenzied state of buying, trying on, returning and buying again. I admit I have a problem. I have been searching for a way to get this under control. I want so much to feel peace inside and enjoy my life experiences, not just my life purchases!  I look forward to the comeraderie and support!


Debbie Yara– I am 42 years old and I live in Seattle. I’ve started this year with the intention to change a few things about my lifestyle.  I’ve been sort of a minimalist for several years now.  My issue with acquiring more stuff is because I love to find bargains.  To be in pursuit of a great “find” is an awesome feeling.  It’s hard to resist.  It has been one of my joys. I’ve gotten rid of all of the catalogues I used to get via mail.  I try to avoid the mall but found myself there trying on pants two days ago because I was just “trying to kill time while waiting for a appointment”.  I didn’t buy anything (whew! close call)   I’ll admit that I have  few pieces in my closet that I just can’t get rid of even though I have not worn them.  I have vintage dresses….It’s a weakness, I collect them but don’t really get to wear them out of the house.  I know that not shopping saves time and money.  With the extra time and money I will have from not shopping I’ll be saving money for my cousin who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.  I would like to help her with some medical expenses and/or to help her attend our family reunion later this year.  I am also starting a regular exercise program.  It’s not anything spectacular just the usual: run, swim, dance, walk, strength training, and yoga…at least three of those activities once every week should do it.


Jean Bragg– I live in Ottawa Canada and need to stop spending,spending,spending. Purses are my serious addiction. I am onboard for 3 months,only because I am in true need of spring/summer clothes. Once the few needed items are purchased in 3 months time, it’ll be back on the wagon. Love this idea!


Alison T– I’m based in Canada, in my early 30s and am a manager in the public sector.  I’ve loved clothes and shopping for as long as I can remember so this is going to be a real challenge for me!  Growing up, my mother would often buy clothes for me in spurts.  Sometimes at the beginning of the school year or a new season.  We were quite poor though so this only happened on an as needed basis at various discount stores.  To some degree I think I’ve always associated pleasant memories of shopping with my mother with new clothes.  To this day, I still have a habit of holding off on buying clothes and then splurging as soon the gates reopen.  It’s such a huge adrenaline rush, especially when I purchase things on sale!  The last couple of years are a good example of this pattern.  In the year leading up to the summer of 2009 I was really able to cut down on spending as I was simultaneously saving up for a wedding, paying for adult orthodontics, putting a down payment for our first house and saving money to furnish said house.  I didn’t just save money on clothes alone but on eating out and other discretionary items as well.  It all paid off when the wedding went off without a hitch and we started our new life together with no debt aside from our mortgage; we even managed to make an extra large payment towards our mortgage principal.  I’d never felt so together financially in my entire life.


Now fast forward a year and half and I’m a bit embarrassed about how much things have changed with respect to my spending habits.  When my husband and I got married we realized that we had different spending habits and that this could be the source of discontent. To put it simply, he’s a saver and I’m a spender.  If he had his way, he would put every last penny towards our mortgage and saving for retirement.  I like to have new things, travel to different places and don’t mind paying for nice meals etc.  Our solution was that while we would both pool our salaries to pay for bills, joint expenditures (including groceries, gas, dining out and vacations) and put aside the rest for savings; we would each receive a monthly spending allowance to do what we liked with.  Now here’s the embarrassing part – while I’ve spent nearly all of my spending money (close to $4000 on clothes, shoes and accessories in the past 18 months alone and that’s not including dining out and other stuff), his spending account just keeps piling up.  I’ve been spending within my means/allowance, that’s not really the issue, but I feel really guilty about spending so much on myself and my personal needs especially since I don’t particularly need everything I’ve purchased.


My goal by the end of these next several months is to find a happy middle ground between my current spending habits and where I was in mid 2009 and successfully diverting my energies towards personal and professional growth as well as maintaining and building on the relationships that matter most to me.  I’ll also be very happy to gloat to my husband come the end of this year about how much I’ve saved!


Ashleigh Hill-Buxton– I’m a 20 (almost 21!) year old journalism student that manages a juice-bar full time…and has rather a penchant for bags, jeans, coats, sweaters, skirts, shorts and tops. So much so, that I’ve been working full-time whilst studying for over a year and still have almost no savings. This year, I want to go to Europe with my boyfriend and am also preparing to move out of home after I graduate-two things that are definitely not cheap. I’ve followed the TGAAD (even though I live in Australia!) for over six months now, and I really feel that it’s time for me to get off my butt and do something about my shopping addiction!


Ashley M: Age 27. I’m a blogger ( and full-time employed gal living with my husband and two cats in upstate NY. I love cooking, baking, running, and writing. But it seems most of all, I love shopping. I have bought so much clothing over the past several years, it’s seriously out of control. I even find clothes in our laundry basket that I don’t recognize. That’s right — I have so much, I can’t keep track of it all! My goal with TGAAD is to lean out my wardrobe. Do more with less. Appreciate the clothes I do have and how they make me feel/look. Of course, I’d like to save money because I’m looking at going back to school. I’d also like to get a handle on the clutter and mountains of laundry that often occupy our spare bedroom. Oh, goodness. I’m so glad I found this great group of people!


Rebecca Halpern: I’m a 23-year old graduate student in Austin, TX.  I’m a sale-aholic and I often go shopping to cure bad moods; I’ll scourge sales racks for HOURS, just to not go home empty-handed.  Instead, I usually have a low-quality, ill-fitting garment that doesn’t really “go” with anything.  To me, if it’s on sale, it’s a good deal.  Which is, uh, not true.  I’m looking forward to saving money, reducing my overall desire, and limiting my contribution to the environmental devastation of the manufacturing and shipping of new clothes.


Riza Jariol- I’m a 19-year-old undergraduate student who, like many of my peers, loves to shop. When I heard about The Great American Apparel Diet, I immediately wanted to take part in it because of my desire to deviate from a lifestyle of unnecessary consumption and make smarter financial decisions. I realize that if I want to study abroad and go to medical school, I should start saving up more than I already am. Plus, I love a good challenge. My last purchase was on January 1st, 2011. It’s definitely not easy, and I often find myself wanting to give into temptation after finding inspiration through friends, some of my favorite blogs/websites (The Sartorialist, Altamira, and Lookbook), and simply almost anywhere I go. I’ll even torture myself at times by browsing online, but so far, my motivation to continue this diet far exceeds my desire to shop. We’ll see how my feelings change (or not) in a few months, perhaps even a couple of weeks. I’m truly excited about TGAAD; I hope to learn a lot from it and, when forced to make do with the clothes I already own, grow creatively.


Claire– I’m 23 years old and I live in Marquette, Michigan. I realized I needed to seriously rethink my clothing situation when there was no way I could possibly hang up or put away all my clean clothes at one time. If I didn’t have dirty clothes in the hamper, there was no room for them! That is a problem. So slowly I began to go through and get rid of the things I wasn’t wearing, but really I felt like I was getting anywhere because I was still buying to “replace” the things I got rid of. I’m a sucker for a good deal and that really means I have way more of everything than I need. The solution: stop buying. Do I really need more black dress pants when I already have 3 pairs? No. I’m really looking forward to this and challenging myself not to buy more clothes. I’ll be using the money toward buying my first house and saving for a new car.


Sarah R– Age: 30. Burlington, Vermont. I keep busy working full-time on a language program at a university, chipping away on my second Master’s, and blogging ( Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money, but were huge bargain shoppers. It was like our hobby. Now, as a single working girl this simply means that: I like to shop. I have a lot of clothes. I rarely wear most of them. My closet needs reorganized and I can’t seem to think of what to pair with what. This happens fairly regularly. So, I normally just wear the same few outfits that I always wear or I want to shop for something else. I’m horrible at what I call “shopping in my own closet.” In addition, I’ve noticed everything has been breaking on me. (My computer broke. My camera lens broke. My car exhaust system needed work and my battery replaced.) It all started to add up, especially after the holidays. I felt like I was just seeing $$$$$ every day. I need to find ways to save more money. I’m going to try to sell some stuff I rarely use, clip coupons, take better care of what I do have,  and – the biggie – I am joining TGAAD. No more unnecessary clothing purchases!


Mel P– I am a wife and a mom to the most wonderful little boy, who both mean the world to me. I’m doing them both an injustice by spending so much time and money on my closet, and calling it a hobby. I truly enjoy the whole shopping experience, and was “taught” well by my mom, who was taught by her mom. I love finding bargains and really enjoy clothes, but I’ve had enough. I HAVE enough. My closet is brimming with gorgeous pieces that don’t get enough love, b/c I’m always waiting for the next pretty thing around the corner. So I’m pledging myself to TGAAD (a little late), and am really excited about it. Excited to put all that money towards my son’s college, our retirement, charity, fun trips and new experiences. Excited to let go of the shopping madness!


Siobahn Smith– I am married, 38 yrs old, one child; boy 11 yrs old and two doggies.  I am not working currently.  My exercise used to be shopping…..  I love fashion and beauty and I cant get enough spa days   I paid to get my seasonal colors done last year in hopes that would give me direction on how to streamline my closet and really haven’t found “IT” yet; lol Cant wait to be a part of what you’re doing.

Hi my name is Kelsey and I recently got out of a long-term relationship. That coupled with the fact that I just turned 24 means I have obviously gone into ‘buy everything you don’t need because it feels good’ mode. Yes I bought two $50 bras from Victoria’s Secret because they made me feel sexy. Yes I may have bought three of the same type of black and white dress. NO, clothing should not be a rebound. And…yeah…I’m a graduate student, so spending Obama’s money is not being a good citizen of this country. Thank you for helping me find the balls to stand up to myself.


Angela Williams– I am a 44 year old administrator in Houston, TX. A friend and I actually went on an “apparel diet” in January of 2010 without knowing about this site or book. We made it about six months, and that included shoes. I finally broke because my everyday shoes literally fell apart and had to be replaced. Oh, the shoes, they are my downfall. Shoes and Flax clothing. I now have more clothes than hangers and must put a stop to this! I am also trying to save money right now because I work for the state and the powers-that-be in Austin are talking about salary cuts and furlough days. No more new clothes or shoes for a year! However, I am an avid knitter and will be knitting shawls and sweaters and sock from the copious yarn stash in my closet – those don’t count!


Joana Ribeiro– I’m 50 years old. I am originally from Brazil, but have been living in the US for 20 years. I live in Fairfax, VA. I have one daughter and 3 cats. I am a “jeans and T-shirt” kinda girl , but, seriously, how many t-shirt does someone need? I have hundreds of   t-shirts, polo shirts etc… My goal with this challenge is to wear what I have in my closes and drawers and use the money I will not spend in clothing to get rid of some credit card debt.


Erika Lassetter – Cincinnati, Ohio; Age: 26-ish.  Erika has a problem with shopping.  She loves to find deals, but, if in the right mood, she’ll easily drop hundreds on a single handbag … why, you say?  Because she’s bored, tired, annoyed … in just about any mood.  The addiction is so strong that she craves going to the grocery store when stuck at home alone.  She realized she had a problem when she found three brand new pairs of heels in the closet that she’d forgotten she’d purchased.  She still doesn’t remember when and where she bought them.  Erika’s goal is to re-align her money-spending habits so she can save for her wedding in St. Lucia and prove to herself that she does have SOME self control.


Courtney Beasley– I’m 21 yrs old, newly married, newly relocated to the Atlanta area, and newly introduced to the GAAD. I think this is one of the most brilliant ideas. I often find myself thinking about how silly it is that we spend bundles of money on clothes that in a few months will be out of style. I have lived for a while by the rule of waiting. If I find something I like I go through my closet to see if it will go with other stuff I have. I think about where I’ll wear it, how often I’ll wear it, what the temperature has to be for me to wear it, and can I layer it. I make sure that I don’t have to buy another piece of clothing in order to wear the piece I’m wanting, and lastly I make sure I don’t have something like it, or know someone with something like it that I could borrow. I know that sounds silly, but I grew up as a pastor’s kid. In high school and through college I paid for everything myself. Now I’m married and though we feel greatly blessed by God, we aren’t sleeping on beds of cash. I see buying and owning piles of clothes as wasteful, and I am delighted that others in America are fighting back against the propaganda making people feel like they always need the “newest.” I’m looking forward to participating in GAAD.


Allison Poon– New York, 24 years old.  I recently completed a project called Six Items or Less and it inspired me to find a new perspective and live in ways where you don’t have to live your life spending so frivolously and clogging up your closet as well as the environment.  I was looking for new inspirations and ways to continue to better myself and live a more simple lifestyle when I stumbled upon this lovely gem of a website!  A perfect way to continue this journey and hopefully my actions will inspire others to do the same.  I’m young and love to party, shop (especially sales!), eat and have a good time wherever I go, so it’s definitely going to be a new experience not being able to purchase new clothes for the next year but it’s a challenge I’m willing to take and hopefully complete!


Millie– I’m Mallie a twenty-something grad student. I will be graduating in one year and I’m not looking forward to paying back my student loans. I love shopping. It is my main hobby after running. It is the thing that I do when I’m upset, or sad, or even just bored. Through my addiction to shopping I have not only found myself living outside of my means, but I have also found myself participating in something that doesn’t align very well with my value system. I do not want to be someone who consumes, consumes, consumes. I want to be respectful towards the planet and towards the people who are making my clothing. And truth be told, I’m tired of drowning in my stuff.


Lisa B– Age:25. New York, NY. I’d like to join TGAAD because shopping takes up way too much of my time, thoughts, energy, and money. I live on a graduate student stipend and I’ve just gotten engaged. We both have a pile of credit card debt as well as a wedding to pay for in the near future. So basically shopping has no place in my life for the next year, I have so so so many clothes that I could probably do this diet for two years! I am sick of being consumed by sales, discounts, and trends. I am sick of wasting time online shopping when I am stressed out about school. So I’ve said enough is enough. I am ready for my credit cards to be at $0, to save up for our wedding, and to actually have a savings account! PS.My fiance has agreed also to not buy clothes for one year!


Melinda Brunell– Melinda is an over-50 mom with a professional career and on-and-off addiction to clothes shopping. The evolution of cheap-chic retail has fed her bad habits because no one purchase is really “that bad” for the pocketbook…but boy, they do add up. Add the psychological trap of “if I don’t buy it now, it may not be here when I come back,” and I am a goner. Having recently completed the Six Items or Less 30-day challenge, I know these exercises lead to some real “aha” moments. I haven’t bought any new clothing since 1/1/2011 and am ready to officially commit through 8/30.


My name is Amelia Marquis.  I am 27 years old and live in Sacramento, CA.  I work for a nonprofit that provides training and resources to local children’s charities.  For a long time I have been drawn to the idea of simplifying my life- my closet being the perfect place to start.  I love to travel and have frequently referenced that part of the joy of backpacking is that I only have “x” articles of clothing to choose from.  It is so freeing!  With less options to choose from, l spend less time thinking about what to wear and more time enjoying myself.  I also find that my creative side is sparked as I try to make new outfits and combinations with the same pieces.  Like several of the other dieters describe in their profiles, I get extreme buyers’ remorse, even when shopping the sales, and seem to spend the remainder of the day justifying my purchases.  I love that this group gives me a tangible goal to work towards and I look forward to feeling the freedom of not worrying about what my next purchase will be or justifying my most recent.  Plus with less money spent on clothes, I will have more money for the travel fund!  Bring on the diet!


My name is Marie, and I live in Tauranga, New Zealand.  I’m 41, a single mother of two (5 and 2.5) and work full time as an accountant. I’m completely obsessed with fashion and shopping, with my main weaknesses being dresses, boots, jeans, sandals, sports shoes, clothes for the kids, and books.  My visa bills are horrendous, oops.  I shop all the time, but mostly when stressed or unhappy, and I’ve been trying to stop for ages but don’t seem to be able to.  I’m a bargain shopper and buy most things on sale, and plenty on TradeMe (the NZ equivalent of ebay), but I also have a thing for Annah S (local designer) dresses, and at $300-odd per item, this is not an inexpensive habit.  Your challenge is perfect for me J I know I’m late, but I would be very grateful if I could join in. As well as shopping I love hanging out with my kids and dog, riding my mountain bike, hiking, coffee, chocolate, reading, food and wine, travel, and the usual social stuff.  So I do have some good habits too. I desperately need to break the habit of buying stuff I don’t need, and to reduce my credit cards (I’m too scared to put the amounts on here).


Sharon Hunt- I’ve been watching TGAAD facebook page for sometime now and read many of the testimonials of dieters.  I put myself on the Great American Apparel Diet last November and now wish to officially join the group.  I am a binge shopper – that is, I can go for months without spending money on new clothes and then I find myself in the dressing room at WHBM without the will power to say “No” to all the gorgeous outfits.  My personal shopper, Alex, is a great salesperson and must know my weakness.  She keeps bringing me clothes to try on and because they all look so good, they come home with me.  I guess the upside of this style of shopping is that I’m capable of putting together lots of different outfits and don’t get bored with the selections in my closet.  I have found, however, that since the rules allow it, I spend my money on shoes, jewelry and accessories.  It’s fun mixing up outfits with changes in just those items.


63 years young and working from my home as a project manager for a Fortune 500 company, I have little need for business attire.  Although, I do take conference calls at 6 AM in my bathrobe, by the time my wonderful husband comes home in the evening, I’m scrubbed, coifed, and dressed with dinner on the table.  We are lucky to be able to travel to Europe to visit family.  I enjoy the challenge of limiting the clothes I pack by making smart, yet stylish and mixable choices. I look forward to making it to the finish line with this diet.


Robin S– Illinois. I’m turning 40 this summer (almost exactly when the diet ends) and in pondering a career transition (from higher ed to social work), I’ve been mulling over what I want out of my life and what my priorities are. I’ve always loved clothing but I simply have too much of it. I love the thrill of finding something unusual and beautiful at bargain or thrift store prices. But I also like to find “deals” on line when I’m bored or lonely or depressed and I rarely feel better by the time the clothing actually arrives (and sits in my closet, unhung up and unworn). Because no one piece is ever very expensive and I don’t follow trends or care about labels, I used to tell myself that I’m not like “those other compulsive shoppers” or “fashionistas.” But the truth is, I have more clothing that I can wear and yet feel compelled to shop for more. Cheap or not, it’s added up and my husband and I can’t afford for me to keep indulging in my “hobby,” er.. addiction. The very fact the thought of doing this is frightening–what if there is some emergency and I HAVE TO SHOP?!?!–is sort of the proof in the pudding that it’s what I need to do right now. If I change careers, I’ll be going back to school and it will be good practice to live on a smaller budget.


My name is Amy S and I am 42. I am a homemaker in Southern California and a clearance rack addict. I have bought clothes just because they are cheap and I might “need” them someday. My closet is stuffed, I own more than three times the number of shoes than I have kids and I have seven kids, so that makes for a plentiful number of shoes. I wanted to join TGAAD as an exercise in appreciating how much I have. When I look at my friends and neighbors, I feel middle class, but when I think about all the people around the world, I feel very (almost obscenely) wealthy. I have more than enough clothes, but am in the habit of continuing to acquire, anyway. I want to stop buying for a year as an exercise in self-control and to prove to myself that I will survive without clearance racks. In the words of the author Jean Ferris, “More doesn’t mean better. Enough is as good as a feast, you know.” I am also looking forward to a break from shopping for myself for a year. All those decisions I won’t have to make! All those receipts I won’t have to keep track of! All that time I’ll have for other things!


Bishan Colon–  I’m 40 and living in Hoboken, NJ. I’m a mom of two beautiful girls. I just quit my job last year to be with them. Joining The Great American Apparel Diet is for so many reasons, financial, breaking shopping habit, saving time for more meaningful things. I also want to set a good example for my two girls. I have always wanted to do something like it, but I need motivation. The Great American Apparel Diet is my best motivation.


My name is Janna Bogert, and I too am a shopping addict….I reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado and have an entire room in my house designated as a closet.  I am 25 years old and feel the need to curb my habits before it is simply too late… In all seriousness, I only shop on sale, discount shops and thrift stores, so I am much better than many, but that is no excuse for my materialistic tendencies.  My new husband and I are slowly building our savings, working on financial planning, while paying off a small amount of debt we have and it’s going pretty good.  I just believe that participating in a project like this will only improve upon the  results we are getting and lessen the feelings of anxiety I get when I overspend.  I intend to join your ranks, stick to the plan until the specified date and then hopefully extend myself past that date so that I too have a full year of Apparel Dieting!  Long live The Great American Apparel Diet!


I’m Jen, I’m 40ish….and to my credit I’m a sewing-fanatic, swap-aholic, goodwill-addict and consignment-junkie. On January 1, 2011, I committed myself to abstain from department store shopping for one year. For the past 80 days I have been sewing more, swapping excessively and using Goodwill more often for any clothing, shoes and household items including furniture. I’m truly a Frugal Fashionista in every aspect. I currently teach sewing classes in the Silver Spring, MD  area and I encourage my students to bring in clothing that we can breathe new life into instead of buying more. Either we do some alteration, add on or refresh by mixing and matching with other items we might not have normally given consideration to. Currently my a 8×10 foot storage space is full of nothing but fabric and and it would be in my best interest to spend the next year sewing instead of shopping. I found out about the Diet at the Green Living Expo in Arlington VA this weekend and was “sew” excited about getting involved. I’m looking forward to expanding my self imposed challenge and encouraging my friends to do the same. Also looking forward to saving $$ and becoming more creative by refashioning what is already in my closet. This challenge is a perfect step up for me and I can’t wait to share my experiences with others.


Amanda Dickey– I heard about the Diet from a friend this morning, and my first response was “not buy clothes for a whole year? That’s crazy! I could never do that!” I figured that was a pretty good reason to try it. I’m a 27-year-old mom, wife, and university student, and buying clothes is one of my go-to ways of making myself happy–I’m excited to see what will take the place of that! I’m also recovering from an eating disorder and I think giving myself a little space from trying on tiny jeans in dressing rooms will help me learn to love (or at least not hate) my healthy weight. I typically buy new clothes every few weeks, and my wardrobe is embarrassingly huge. One of the ways I’d like to approach the challenge of going a whole year with the same clothes (the horror!) is by making my own and/or modifying my current clothing. I’ve also recently given up fashion magazines, which helps a lot with the urge to buy new things. Having the latest style jacket makes me happy for about a day; I want to be happy for a lot longer than that!


Janice Joiner– After a lifetime of binging, then purging when it comes to my closet, I’ve got to find a middle ground before I die (I’m 60 for God’s sake & KNOW better but don’t DO better).  I think the group therapy is just what I need. I live just across the river from St. Louis in Alton, IL. I buy on impulse as often as not: if the price is right regardless of anything else.  I’ve said for years that I want a “uniform” of sorts.  The best job I ever did was when I was pregnant:  sat down with one J. C. Penney catalog (PAPER THEN) and in an evening picked out 5 outfits that lasted me throughout my pregnancy, including working 5 days a week and being a matron of honor at a courthouse wedding for friends.  It was wonderfully simple to get dressed.  Now, with a large walk-in closet AND packing clothes away seasonally I still have more clothes that I can even count.  Forget what I own & would rather shop (now this is embarrassing) than do the laundry — that’s extreme but I have done it. Even now that I’m largely retired, I still buy way too much.  I love thrift stores & justify buying with ”I’m supporting —- whatever cause is involved.”  And, “well, it’s worth $5.00 even if I only wear it once & re-donate it.”  But, then I don’t clean out my closet often enough to do much re-donating.  With a master’s in education, you’d think I would have resolved this dilemma a long time ago. Changing sizes is not so much of a problem as I tend to stay the same size — but even 5 lbs. sends me shopping for something more “flattering” rather than the gym.


Jules A– I am a 33 years old married female who lives in New England. I am fed up with my attitude towards shopping and excess. I have more stuff than I could wear in 10 years. It’s time to stop shopping and find other hobbies besides spending hours looking at clothes online. I am the type of person who has everything she could need in her closet and every time I have an event I look for something new in the stores. People usually never see me with an outfit twice. Today I unsubscribed to all the marketing emails that I receive all day long and I have a financial plan to save and invest on my future. And this brings me to the Great American Apparel diet … I hope to embark in this journey with all of you and succeed in this diet.


Kara Bashutski– I’m 27, and just finishing up my law degree, spending a semester abroad in Europe. Even though I only brought a small small portion of my wardrobe to Europe, I have 10 times more clothes and shoes here than anyone else I’ve met…including locals!  I didn’t realize I was living in such excess until now.  I love all the clothes I have, I don’t wear half of them, and yet I still have urges to go and buy more.  I realize that I have lost control over buying clothes, and I would like to regain this control.  As well, over the next year while I am just starting out my career, it is important for me to save money, instead of spending it on another shirt or pair of pants that I don’t need.  I’d rather fill my time with jogging, or yoga, or movies, or drinking wine with friends than wasting money on clothes!  Here’s to regaining some control! Let’s start!


Kerstin Forsythe Hahn: I am 31 and live in the Saint Paul, MN. I am addicted to shopping. I shop to make myself feel better, to forget my other stressors, to not feel happy about my body. If I lose weight, gain weight, a shopping trip is the reward. I love the visualness of shopping, the colors, the creativity of putting outfits together, but enough is enough. My shopping addiction really started when I was studying for the bar exam after completing law school. After studying for 8-10 hours straight I would go to the mall to be with other “normal” people, I was not sitting but walking, and it was just about the most nonacademic activity I could do with my brain. Fast forward 5 years and I still use shopping as a great stress relief or pick me up. For the past 3 years my husband and I have been struggling with heart wrenching infertility issues and my shopping addiction has taken on a new level as I used stores and shopping to escape from the pain, depression, and isolation I have felt while struggling with infertility. Enough is enough. My husband I worked very hard to pay off our credit cards a couple years ago, and I have completely reversed that success. It makes me feel awful. Racking up debt due to shopping only delivers a short term high, followed by a lot of guilt and stress. My goal is to start making headway on this debt, to relieve myself of the association of shopping with avoiding the realities of our life, and to find new ways to connect with myself and enjoy my life. Staying out of stores, focusing on making myself physically and mentally healthier is going to be fantastic.


Phoebe Diaz: I am 22 years old and living in Southern California. I am a full time student who may be using retail therapy a little too much to de-stress; I buy clothes with a good deal that are a bit trendy or something I don’t already have. But they usually end up just sitting in my closet because I never really needed them. Consequently, my closet is full and cluttered which led me to search the web for some organization tips which led me to this site! I realize more and more that I have a little problem with impulse shopping and not so much with my organizational skills. I need to stop this nonsense, and this is a great diet to jump-start the process. I’m a little late in joining the diet   but definitely sticking it out until the end!


Hazel Malcolm. Wolverhampton (England) 42 years young. Excited about being part of this! It’s a step along a journey towards financial independence and self fulfilment.  I grew up in poverty and being the youngest mainly had hand-me-downs clothes. Going shopping for new clothes are always a big issues when I was growing up. After all these years I’m probably still enjoying the trill of getting something new that’s all mine. I didn’t consider myself a shopalcoholic but after several culls of my wardrobes (I have two) and selling stuff on ebay – I’m still struggling for storage space and have loads of clothes I’ve never worn.  So maybe it’s time to face up to the need to cut back and reassess where I’m at. I’ve decided to go for no shopping for clothes and shoes – I know if I go shopping for shoes I’ve end up looking at clothes and then convincing myself that I ‘need it’, so better to reduce the risk of temptation.  I want to get to a position where I can work part-time and have the time to pursue my other interests of community activism and creative writing. This mean make some changes in my life – which involves reducing my expenditure, clearing my debts and spiritually getting to grips with the concepts of ‘enough’, ‘need’ and ‘want’ (Matthew 6:27-29). Susie Orman talks about making your order of priorities: people, money, things. I have piles of ‘things’ so over the ‘no new clothes’ year I’m looking forward to developing my key relationships (and maybe forming some new ones), spending more time with friends and family, appreciating my garden/nature, doing more creative writing, getting reacquainted with my sewing machine, and most importantly establishing and building a strong financial base for the future. Most women I’ve mentioned this to think it’s a crazy, impossible idea – but these are crazy, impossible times, so bring it on! I’m looking forward to the support from the network and the sharing ideas. I know I’m never going to be naked over the next twelve months – but it’s still emotionally a daunting challenge!!


Ada: I found out about this site in early February but decided not to join then out of self consciousness. Only later on did I realize that my last clothing purchase was from November and I had been involuntarily participating all along. Save for the late start, which will be extended to September, I would like to make this a year of reassessing priorities and creating a more streamlined system of dressing. I never had the talent for coordinating complete outfits and there is a definite divide without middle ground between basic layering pieces and trendy impulse purchases. I have been gradually clearing out items while gaining a better understanding of personal style and flattering silhouettes. I should have realized long ago that the one portent of many was so clearly illustrated by my own closet filled to capacity with rows of matching hangers. These were acquired over the years but the last count was 200. I have my user image to remind me of this. My current mantra is “Less is more.”

Laguna Beach, CA Recent MFA graduate of Laguna College of Art and Design and artist. I am currently cleaning out my home of clutter, nic-nacs, junk, useless items, as well as repeats and mistakes. I have found that I collect and keep. My closet is stuffed with items I have yet to wear! And that my family also collects and keeps for me. For instance, I started collecting teapots and soon I am the owner of lots and lots of teapots, some that aren’t even usable. Santas, OMG, I have too many Santas! I really need to stop the consumerism! It’s even passed down to my daughter, Jessica, who is also a pack-rat. I caught it from my mother… It’s all her doing! My daughter and I have a storage unit that we rent at $280/month to hold stuff. It’s ridiculous!