donate buttonThis is Alden’s first entry in the series “Grist dared me to make a change.” Read the second, third, fourth, and fifth here. And support her dare with a gift to Grist!

thrift store shirtsThrift store fashionCourtesy of the justified sinner via FlickrFor one week, starting July 18, I’m going to wear nothing but clothing and accessories that I can rustle up from secondhand stores. That includes clothing, shoes, belts, hats, and purses. It does not include underwear. I draw the line.

I spend roughly $5,000 every year on clothes. This year I bought almost my entire spring update from organic and/or sustainable designers. But even more sustainable than a hip purse made from reclaimed leather and stuffed with recycled tissue paper, is something that is recycled itself.

There are a lot of hipsters here in New York City who wouldn’t bat an eye at crazy, ironic combinations. But me, I like to stick with the classics. I am an East Coast girl who likes her black cropped pants and ballet flats. I’m a coward when it comes to edgy combinations. Also, I’m short, so creative, weirdly shaped items don’t work on my frame.

I shudder to think of what my boss — who usually looks like she stepped out of a Stella McCartney ad — will say when I walk in the office wearing something cobbled together from the $5 bin. Can I really report to my CEO wearing something that was dropped off in a trash bag to the Salvation Army?

So I’m going to need some encouragement from readers for when I’m tempted to cheat and try to pass off a nice leather bag as a Goodwill find. It will be so much more fun for me if I can share my outfits with like-minded people and get their feedback!

Donate to Grist in support of my dare. Help me prove to the world that you don’t need a Bloomingdale’s charge card to be fashionably sustainable. Just a little bit of creativity and confidence.