My Shopping Guru on How She Didn’t Buy Anything New for a Year

Photo by @lauramorsmanphotography


My goal to shop second hand for a year all started when I saw an Instagram post from @JesseCoulter that said:

“Just watched @theminimalists documentary on Netflix. Thinking of taking on a big challenge in 2017. In college I only bought second hand for one year, and I’m thinking of not shopping for myself all together next year. Is it possible to do as a fashion loving blogger? Of course it is, but as someone who loves getting dressed in the morning would I hate it? Yes, it would be hard, but I would love to take that $ and put towards traveling. I’m also thinking of cutting out random home decor that I buy. Anyways (nacho libre voice)…anyone want to join me in a challenge, or have any ideas of what I could do?”

I have a lot of admiration for a fashion loving blogger who can not shop for a year. I’m not that disciplined, but I did decide to try Jesse’s college experiment of shopping second hand for one year.

In addition to being a shopper of tremendous self discipline, Jesse Coulter is a brilliant blogger, YouTuber, a marketing pro as well as  the mother of a toddler and boy/girl twins. She’s created a beautiful space with #thecoulterhome, hosts the ATX Blogger Mixer, and still manages to be real af on her social media. How she does it, I will never know.

I killed two goals with one stone by asking Jesse out for coffee (which turned out to be SoulCycle and juice, more on that here) and asked her how she managed to not buy any new clothes for a year.


Why did you decide to shop second-hand for a year?

I had always been a BIG spender when it came to shopping for clothes, so I thought it would be a fun yet difficult challenge that would push me outside my comfort zone.


Did you have rules?

Shoes were not included, but accessories were.

I know you didn’t have as many online options at that time, so what were your go-to resources for shopping second hand?

I lived in Abilene, TX which is the BEST town for thrifiting/vintage shopping (tons of old rich people from the oil boom years ago). I hit up Goodwill, Salvation Army, estate sales and local church thrift stores weekly. I always found the most amazing things and not just clothing.


Did you ever fail and buy things brand new?

No, I stuck with it!


Did you pick up any creative tricks or strategies for shopping?

I learned that you have to have the time to hunt. Some days I would find a ton of cute things, and other days nothing. I fell in love with thrifting and vintage so much that I actually opened up my own tiny vintage clothing store inside a coffee shop that I worked at. The idea was sparked when I would walk in to a thrift store and find the most amazing pair of leather riding boots or Pendleton wool coat, but they weren’t my size. I wanted somebody to have them, so I started buying the pieces and saving them to open a shop. I even had a men’s section because I thrifted a ton of pearl snap wrangler shirts and vintage corduroy and leather jackets and vests. I closed the shop during my senior year of college because my school work + real job became too time consuming.
Today I don’t get to thrift as much because of my children, but when they’re older I would like to take them with me. I buy a lot of their clothes second hand at Once Upon a Child or Kid to Kid in Austin, and it saves our family a ton of money.

Interesting story: One time I went to an estate sale, and had no idea what I was walking in to. Turns out the woman who passed away was a true fashionista, and had hundreds of vintage designer bags, shoes and clothing. I walked out with original Lacoste dresses from the 50s and beautiful acrylic purses from the 60s.


So far this month I’ve felt tempted to buy a new pair of jeans rather than going through the rather more difficult process of finding a pair secondhand, but this pep talk from Jesse is keeping me going. Follow her No Shopping Challenge and everything else she gets up to on her blog, YouTube, or Instagram!

Cristina V. Cleveland

Cristina V. Cleveland is a senior beauty editor based in Austin, TX. She has been exploring personal style and decor on Fuji Files since 2009. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, To&From Magazine, Coco+Kelley, CamilleStyles and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.

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Rather than pushing up-to-the-minute trends and products, Fuji Files is about discovering a lasting, personal aesthetic and the journey to feeling your personal best. 

Fuji Files was started by Cristina Cleveland, the Managing Editor of NaturallyCurly, the largest hair and beauty content platform. Her work as a writer and editor has appeared in publications like Refinery29, Teen Vogue, CamilleStyles, Blavity, Birchbox, TradHome Magazine, Coco+Kelley, and ads in Glamour, InStyle and Lucky.