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Tomorrow is January 16, 2013.

That is an important day, friends, and not just for Kate Moss because it’s her birthday. See, tomorrow is the day I shall give myself a hearty pat on the back. Why? because it marks the end of my “No New Clothes” pledge that I made a short year ago. If you were a reader way back then, you’ll recall I made a bold promise to “Break Up with the Mall” for a whole year. Translation? I would buy only second-hand clothing for a solid 365 days. And wouldn’t you know it: since putting my closet on a thrift-only diet, it’s never been healthier.

That pledge was quick decision, born out of frustration with recent Mall purchases, and elation with new thrift scores. While it was a pledge made in haste, it has had a transformative, lasting effect on this blog, how I shop, and the way I dress. Four months into my Mall-free year, I wrote a progress report as a guest blogger. While I considered penning a similar summary today, I would be a near-rewrite of what I wrote back then (and you can read it here). The benefits I listed there—freedom to shop any trend, choose from any decade, wear any brand, and look in any size—have been (I hope) been illustrated by many of the posts I’ve written since.

When I made this promise 365 days ago, I thought that I’d be starved for some clearance rack goodies by the time January 16, 2013 rolled around. But my appetite to revisit the mall has never been weaker. Meanwhile, I have never had more fun getting dressed, and less guilt about where I spend my money that I do right now. And I really mean that. When I look over what’s in my wardrobe, nearly every piece feels like a score. And while not every piece tells a story, some of them tell great ones. And that’s why this breakup is permanent.

So what’s next? Another pledge that lasts indefinitely? An updated button? I don’t think so. Mall shopping is not something I’m “banned” from anymore: it’s just not something I plan to do. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t want do. Really, this is what New Year’s resolutions are supposed to do. You make a resolution, and at some point, it stops being a resolution, and becomes just another thing about who you are. And that’s what happened this year: I am Juliane Claire Van Huizen, and I shop at thrift stores.

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Will I ever buy clothing from The Mall again? I’m sure I will. I mean, I still need to go there for my skivvies, socks, and bathing suits. And there are other exceptions, too: I may still go there for a fine pair of leather boots, and if my friends want to plan a weekend trip to scope out some outlet malls, I’ll shop right alongside them because I love those girls. But mostly, I’ll carry on exactly as I have for the past year: Thrifting things like this pleated silver skirt from Talize, this cozy black turtleneck is from Salvation Army, and this vintage pink (suede!) coat from Granny’s Attic Treasures on Ottawa Street, that cost me a mere $10.

As I list those items, they highlight exactly why I’ve signed up for a lifetime of second-hand style. I never would have sought out a pink suede coat (or pink suede anything, really), and even if I had, I’d be hard-pressed to find one at at the Mall for $10. I’ll take this coat over clearance racks at H&M any day, any year.

In closing, I have to thank all those who’ve shown enthusiasm as I blogged my way through this year. I’d like to think I would have come to this conclusion without a blog, but I don’t think that’s true. Blogging has not only provided heeps of encouragement for my efforts, but a certain level of accountability as well. And for that, I am truly grateful.

…All the sudden I’m realizing that I haven’t made a pop-cultural reference or used an exclamation point in a couple hundred words, and this post is starting to sound like some kind of sad farewell, which is crazy because I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to thrift and blog my way to infinity and beyond! (Whew, back on track). But it is nice to take sometime to reflect once and while, huh?

So as I put the Mall in my review mirror for good, please join me in raising a glass to a brand new year of old stuff (not really though because I don’t want you to spill on your keyboards). And while we are metaphorically toasting, please also toast me for not titling this entry “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together,” because while thrifting is easy, that was hard.

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