In The Great Email Unsubscribe of January 2012, I overlooked GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow’s weekly lifestyle newsletter. It had been easy to ignore until today, when “GET - Ready for Spring” showed up. Sure I could have deleted it without reading, but I didn’t. And I safely skimmed it, knowing that “fashion investment pieces” are so rare for me that even if I weren’t making do this year, I wouldn’t be in danger of buying something. Except when I was asked to:

“Consider the jean…there are so many colors to choose from right now”

Believe me, Gwyn, I’ve been considering the jean these past few weeks. I have four pairs of pants in heavy rotation: two fine-wale black corduroys, two blue jeans. Both cords are about to wear through the seat – like must-wear-with-black-undies levels of wear. One pair of blue jeans split at the knee the other day.

I know I just need to do some mending, but lazy me is hoping to make it another month and then switch to spring clothes, like skirts and some warmer-weather pants in my summer clothes stash. Consider the mending! I tell myself. And consider the fact that those bright-colored jeans are mega-trendy, and in a few years I would never consider wearing them.

Making the kids make do too

All along I’ve said my kids are exempt from this project. But I realize now  I’ve been resistant to buy anything for them too. The other day I panicked a little: I noticed my son Ollie seemed to be muffin-topping over his little briefs! Was he getting chubby? Closer investigation revealed simply that his underwear was getting really small. Yesterday my husband pointed out that Ollie’s long-sleeved shirt was really ¾ length, and his pants were a good two inches above his ankle.

And even Ollie brought a pair of jeans, whose patched knees had worn-through again, to me for repair. “Mommy, you need to fix these before I can wear them anymore. I left them by your sewing machine.”

Perhaps it was time for some new clothes. We went together, which turned out to be a great way to help me stay on target. Ollie didn’t want to meander through the Ladies’ Department even if I’d been tempted. We went straight to Kids and grabbed some new t-shirts and underwear and socks. His current shirts are size 3-4, so we got everything in size 6-7.

“These shirts will surely last me a long long time, Mommy!” he told me happily as we left. I hope so. I wonder if we can make it the rest of the year without going in another store for him? Maybe a little mini-challenge, just to make things interesting? Hmmmm…

The vanity belly

I’ve been jogging again after ages of not doing it. Before I had kids I ran the NYC Marathon and several half marathons. I ran road races on the weekends and logged 20+ miles a week for years. All that stopped when I had my second child, Minna, and I’ve been slow to return to the streets, until now.

I signed up for a road race to force myself back into running, and it’s been fantastic. Except that it’s suddenly warmed up here in New York, all my running tanks apparently were purchased when “cropped running top” was the style. Also purchased: the “crazy low rise running short.”

Ick! It’s one thing to feel my little belly jiggle as I jog. It’s another thing to expose it to the west side of Manhattan so early in the morning. I didn’t take Vanity into account when creating my guidelines!

So be it. I’m Making Do on this one, and it’s all the more motivation to run hard and fast, so the jiggle is burned off. The plus side? I’m a blur as I speed by everyone!

The husband jeans

I recently spotted a guy walking down the street wearing loose-fitting jeans, cut-off around mid-calf and left raw at the hem. They struck me as both comfy and funky, and I resolved to have some myself. Since my husband basically wears jeans every day, I figured he’d be a good source for an old pair. And yes, upon inquiring, I was given a worn pair that hung off my hips just perfectly!

Alas, they were worn in the butt, and there was a big hole that allowed my underwear to peak through.

Jeans 1

No problem though. I cut off the lower legs, trimmed a patch and sewed it over the hole.

Jeans 2

Now the only problem is I want to wear them every day! Yay for husband jeans!


In 2012, I'm not going to buy anything except what I've used up or worn out. For all else, I'll make do with what I already own or I'll do without. I've come up with some guidelines. Update: for 2013 I'm going to continue along, but not as strictly.


I'm Meg Hourihan. I live in New York City but was raised in Massachusetts. I blame my Yankee-ness for this crazy idea. Read more about me and this project.


Some answers to frequently asked questions.


Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @makeitdo
Tumblr: Ask me a question



via RSS