My favorite part: 'So? Youll be a guy for a year,' said my friend Rob Bragin, who shrugged when I told him about my experiment." http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/03/style/tmagazine/03tquit.htmlDressing-Room Dropout By NELL SCOVEL Published: December 3, 2006 Weve all made rash decisions. Weve all made stupid decisions. On July 19, 2005, I made a rash and stupid decision. I was regarding a pair of Rock and Republic jeans in a boutique when a saleswoman approached and asked, Do you need anything? No, I said. And then it hit me how deeply I meant it. I had a full closet at home that included at least six pairs of jeans. So I issued a challenge to myself: could I go a year without shopping for clothes or even entering a clothing store? And heres the rash and stupid part: I accepted the challenge. So? Youll be a guy for a year, said my friend Rob Bragin, who shrugged when I told him about my experiment. Women had stronger reactions. My stomach turned when you said that, said my friend Robin Schiff. My sister-in-law, Sharalyn Lehman, turned red and said, Thats horrible. And my editor taunted, Youll never make it. The first month was the hardest. Breaking the habit required constant vigilance. Then the second month was the hardest because the stores were showing the new fall clothes. Then every month was the hardest. November was the hardest because I had a wedding in Washington and spent the night freezing in a Michael Kors beaded tank and a flimsy Vivienne Tam skirt. December was the hardest because of the Christmas displays. January was the hardest because of the Christmas sales. February was the hardest because it had been seven months since Id bought anything. March was the hardest because it had 31 days. So I made it. Yep, I set an arbitrary challenge for myself and whined for a year until I declared a Pyrrhic victory. But I did learn some things. Oprah hates me. In her 2005 season opener, Oprah exhorted her audience to Shop, shop, shop, shop, shop! Why would Oprah torment me? Society relentlessly urges us to consume. Tempting postcards from local stores and e-mail messages from national chains filled my mailboxes, both real and virtual. About halfway through the year, it got personal. I received a phone call from Ethel Schon, who runs Fashion Therapy, my favorite neighborhood resale boutique. I just got some gorgeous things in your little size, she said. I groaned and told her I couldnt come in because Id given up shopping for the year. She gasped, What have you taken up heroin? Mirrors are the best mirrors. One day, I realized that popping into stores is a good way to check yourself out in their full-length mirrors. I realized this when I tried to catch my fuzzy reflection in a store window. I did need something! Always have a nice pair of dressy black pants that are up to date. My choices were an old pair of high-waisted Giorgio Armani or a slightly lower-waisted BCBG with zippers at the ankles. Neither is a good choice. You can learn to deeply hate a shirt. If you wear the same Three Dots cashmere V-neck black shirt over and over, you will get horribly sick of it. Digging deep in your bureau, you may find a light-blue Velvet V-neck top, and, gleefully, youll wear it over and over. Then soon you will get horribly sick of that, too. Why are they selling clothes at a doughnut shop? Clothing seems to be sold everywhere nowadays. At yoga studios. The car wash. Restaurants. Museum gift shops. Even the Nintendo World store in Rockefeller Plaza, where I absent-mindedly checked the price of a white polo shirt with a lime-green Nintendog logo before I realized what I was doing. Everything old is kinda new again. At the tail end of my abstinence, skinny jeans came into vogue. I rooted around and found a couple of cigarette pants from who knows when. Good enough. And I didnt mind missing the baby-doll-top resurgence of 2006. My sister-in-law is wonderful. Everyone close to me knew I had banned shopping for a year, but only my sister-in-law made a point of giving me two adorable shirts for my birthday and two more when I was recovering from gallbladder surgery. (It was worth losing the body part!) My flesh-and-blood sister said she thought it would be cheating to give me clothing as a gift. Uh, it would have been fine. Thats not my style ... or is it? I think my diet made me a less picky eater. By the end of the year, I was oohing over every outfit in a store window. Isnt that cowgirl skirt cute? Id think, although Ive never worn a cowgirl skirt in my life. When my year was finally up, my first stop was a D&G boutique. My heart was pounding as I flipped through the rack. A short, fitted jacket in burnt orange caught my eye. My first thought was, I dont wear orange. My next thought was, What the hell? I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. The color was even flattering. So now I wear orange.