Some people cope with midlife crises by buying hot rods or getting hair plugs. Marisa Lynch of West Hollywood entered her third decade with a blog, a sewing machine, and a plan to remake a new outfit every day for a year. Besides pledging to abstain from “doing an ounce of traditional clothing shopping,” Lynch set herself a budget of $365 for the whole year—an über-thrifty limit of a dollar per look. “This year, I will be foregoing trips to Bloomies and Nordstrom for brand new gear,” Lynch writes on her site. “Goodbye to H&M purchases and accessory grabbing at Forever 21. And seeing the “must have” French Connection dress in People’s Style Watch will just have to suffice as a cut out on my inspiration board.”

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A couple months before her 30th birthday, Lynch was laid off, which put her in a creative and personal rut. Then she watched Julie & Julia, a movie that inspired her to start her own one-a-day project. “Now I didn’t want to cook my way through Julia Child’s French cookbook—je parle un peu Francais, but coq au vin just isn’t my thing,” she says. “However, I did want to do something that would get my creative juices flowing everyday. And then the ‘aha’ moment came to me.”

Lynch transforms dud duds into spectacular ensembles, taking anywhere from 25 minutes to a couple of hours to finish.

Lynch spends her weekends shopping at thrift stores, including Jet Rag, which has $1 Sunday sales, and the Melrose Trading Post. Armed with a supply of secondhand dresses—which are fugly to say the least—Lynch sets to work, transforming the dud duds into spectacular ensembles. Her eco-makeovers take anywhere from 25 minutes to a couple of hours to design, cut, and sew.

And when the 365 days are up? Lynch doesn’t have a concrete plan yet, but she’s considering putting her pieces up for auction and donating the proceeds to charity. Don’t expect her to stop sewing any time soon, however. “The idea of stopping something that has given me so much more than I could have possibly imagined is just not an option,” she says.

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