The Great American Apparel Diet: Where Not Shopping is the Only Rule

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American women giving up shopping?? Did we hear that right? Yep, actual the Great American Apparel Diet group has gone global, but began with 18 women who decided to diet, or fast really, and not buy any new clothing for an entire year. That means no nice outfit for the office holiday party, no new Easter dress and no new bathing suit next summer for beach season. Okay, while we might not like the word "diet," here is another climate-focused diet to help us stop buying so much stuff. Maybe it's "easy" to avoid malls, but what will they do when holiday catalogs start showing up on their doorstep, or when models hit the runways in droves during Fashion Week in NY next week? Can these ordinary American women give up running to the mall every time a new season brings a new party or event?The women involved in this experiment (and anyone can join) are not women living on the edge of civilization, ready to give the finger to the man and live off the land. In fact, they are women who are used to buying, shopping, swishing, swapping and consuming. Each of them began the project partly as an environmental choice to consume less and partly to see how they will view themselves and the world when they have to make do with what they have. When members were asked why clothes, why now, here is one response, "I've realized with age that I will always have enough and I will always feel like I never have enough. And I need to learn to live with that. Period." Other women are simply taking on the diet for financial reasons and can't wait to be free of debt from overconsumption.

How Does the Great American Apparel Diet Work?

Basically any new item - dress, clothing, halloween costume, whatever - is off limits for the next year. How each woman defines "new" is up to interpretation as each woman modifies the diet to fit her needs. One Microsoft exec still needs suits for meeting with clients but has chosen to only purchase from resale and consignment shops. If someone gives you a gift for the holidays or your birthday, that is okay and you don't have to deny yourself.

If you feel like joining in, don't worry you won't be alone - their blog includes advice, tips and just funny anecdotes about shopping and the idea of consumption in general. As they try to ignore shopping, it becomes more in their face every day and their observations are pretty funny, as well as universal. As the seasons pass, you can refer to the site for ideas on how to get through each event without just running to your local mall.

So now as going green is more popular and fighting climate change becomes more urgent, we are seeing an increase in creative ways to break bad habits. We have the 100 mile Diet, No Impact Man, Buy Nothing Day, The Compact: Buy Nothing New For One Year and now the Great American Apparel Diet.

September 2, 2010 the women will be allowed back into malls, department stores and online websites. The question is, will they want to? :The Great American Apparel Diet
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