Wearing Nothing New

Posted by Jill Chivers in Fashion, Style and Shopping, Shop Your Wardrobe Strategies, Shopping in the Movies and Media

The colourful and resourceful Jessi Arrington

The colourful and resourceful Jessi Arrington

I so enjoyed this short TED talk from ‘color loving’ Brooklyn designer Jessi Arrington that I’m making it today’s blog posting.  In this less than 6 minute talk, Jessi shares these key messages:

  • It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to look good.  You can look good for less than $50.
  • If you think you look good – you probably do (my paraphrase on the philosophy that there’s an endless feedback loop between how you feel and how you look).
  • It’s OK to let go – we don’t have to form emotional, hard-to-break attachments to our clothing; and letting go of our clothing is one of the most liberating things we can do (the way Jessi illustrates this in her talk is quite an eyebrow-raiser).

For such a short and sweet presentation, it gives you quite a lot to muse on (and if the comments from TEDites are anything to go by, to talk about too!). I hope you enjoy this video and it provokes some thinking, feeling, smiling and ideas!

Wear Nothing New – Jessi Arrington TED talk

And if this talk prompts you to think about conscious consumption and shopping your own wardrobe – considering joining us here, as that’s what we’re all about.



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    8 Responses to “Wearing Nothing New”

    1. Fascinating! Even more so reading the comments. I love your take away – there is definitely that message here. But here is my takeaway: 1 outfit for 1 day was $55. The most expensive. Let’s be generous. 6 more days averaging $25/day for clothes (Friday she did a repeat with the skirt). That’s a total of $205 for one week. One week! I cannot wrap my head around this being a good thing! My husband says that he is attracted to women who look self confidant (that’s her love youself message)(and why he loves me!). And since he is my kind of guy, he’s my go-to with questions about this attrative thing. You do NOT have to spend $205 a week – new or used – to look self confidant. Self confidance is free. Just playing devil’s advocate here. $205/week is like saying “Well, I only smoke a half a pack of cigarettes a day.”

      • hi Tammy – thanks so much for your comment… I confess that my first ‘pass’ at watching the video, I was all “oh isn’t this fabulous” – I didn’t pick up any of the “dark side” messages until I watched it a second time, and read the comments. So I think this is a fabulous talk in that it is so short and so seemingly straightforward – and yet it provokes a great deal of thought. In that way, I thought it was a sensational topic for TED.

        So I can see what you are saying there about her week’s expenditure. I know many women, who have much much more than 7 pair of underpants, who would spend at least $200 per week on clothes. Which doesn’t make it normal or healthy, sure – it’s just so interesting to put her expenditure into that context. And of course, she knew she was speaking at this event and her experiment of that week sure had great presentation value.

        Thanks again for your comment – great to have the devils advocate perspective!

    2. This presentation pierced me right to my core like a white hot lightning bolt. “When you believe you are beautiful, inside and out, you most certainly are.” I love that Jessi uses clothes and outfits as a metaphor for embracing your own uniqueness, demonstrating to the outside world who you are on the inside, and yet, being able to let go of it all and have faith that something else interesting is undoubtedly around the next bend in the road. Because at the end of the day, it’s really not about the clothes. It’s about your self-worth and confidence. It’s about embodying your value and living your truth.

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

      • hey Emelie – thanks for your comment, and for sharing the impact that Jessi’s talk had on you. I’ve been fascinated at how provocative her talk has been! And I love the underlying message about self-confidence and acceptance — too many women do not feel confident about themselves on a consistent basis, and whether we wish it were true or not, there is a feedback loop between how we look and how we feel… Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

    3. Stacey says:

      Hey Jill!

      I didn’t read the comments on the TED site, but I love the discussion you’re having right here on your own blog.

      I also really appreciate Tammy’s point, but come on! if I were speaking at the TED talk, you better believe I would have spent a lot more time, energy and dollars on the *one* outfit I would have worn on stage.

      So I think her experiment made for a compelling talk *and* I still think she spent less than I would (again considering time, energy and expense) had I been in her funky, fun and fabulous shoes.

      And I loved all of the messages you highlighted in your blog.

      Thanks again for sharing!

    4. hi Stacey – thanks so much for your comment here, love a bit of healthy not-always-agreeing discussion! (this is sometimes called debate, a word I don’t especially like). I love the paradox of what Jessi is presenting — she loves fashion and outfits, and yet she isn’t caught up in the “world of fashion” (and its increasingly shorter fashion cycles); she likes to look good and yet she doesn’t spend a lot of money on her look. She’s presented such a short and sweet presentation, and yet it has provoked a lot of debate and diverging opinions. To me, this makes Jessi something akin to a magician! I’ve made contact with her (and she replied within 5 minutes) as I’m just so impressed with her… on her About page, she mentions how she has an attitude of YES, and to me that is one of the most life-affirming attitudes you can have.

      So thanks again beautiful Stacey for your comment here and contributing to what continues to be an intriguing discussion!

    5. Amy says:

      It was a good video, i can definitely take good stuff away from it. However as a plus size woman, it’s not at all true that i can go anywhere and find a week worth of clothes i like in any thrift shop. In fact i struggle to find anything worth buying in my size at thrift stores, even if they cater especially to plus size clientele. Part of my problematic clothes buying and hoarding is because i know from experience I’m super unlikely to find a similar well fitting piece again in a long while or possibly ever. So while i like the idea of not being attached to clothes i still regret giving away things in my size because they didn’t fit my life anymore, at least in that era. I hope this will change as more plus lines succeed and grow, not least because there are plenty of plus size women who can’t afford new but also don’t have many options to thrift. I’ll say there are plus size clothes swapping groups on fb that are filling the gap for now. Just in case any of your other readers are in the same boat i thought i’d share!

      • Jill Chivers says:

        Thanks for reading, and for sharing your experiences as a plus-size woman, Amy! I hear from other plus-size women who have similar frustrations in mainstream and preloved clothing stores (including vintage and charity stores), and considering how much of the population plus-size women make up, it is indeed not only strange but unfortunate there are so few lovely shopping options to fit that group of women. As you say, this is changing in some quarters, however slowly, so we can only hope that it continues to do so! Thanks again for reading!

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