A year without clothes shopping


“Ooo, you’ll be able to buy clothes soon. Got a list?”

I’ve heard this quite a bit for the last month or so.

Before I set about even thinking of buying, it’s time to do a little reflection.

I have almost finished my year without buying clothes.

And what have I learnt?

  • That I had a skewed idea of enough.
  • That cheap fashion has a high cost on the environment and on others.
  • That I don’t need new clothes to look good.
  • That I prefer to spend my money on reducing my mortgage and on travel. But I frittered lots of money on buying lots and lots of clothes.
  • That one new piece (a jacket, a pair of shoes) can lift an outfit.
  • That a wardrobe with space looks luxurious and makes it easier to take out and put back clothes and to get dressed. And keeps clothes from getting crushed.
  • That I had clothes I forgot I even owned (and that shows I owned too much.) And shopping my wardrobe is fun.
  • That I do actually wear most of my clothes regularly and the 20/80 rule doesn’t apply to me.
  • That I do enjoy beautiful clothes, and having a variety of outfits to wear. I also enjoy being noticed and having compliments paid to my outfits.
  • And finally, that when I made up my mind to not buy clothes, it became easier and easier to stick to that commitment.
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    12 thoughts on “A year without clothes shopping

    1. Good on you. It’s so true about how good ones wardrobe looks when there is space. I chucked our heaps recently and now have space to hang T shirts. Love it. I heard/read somewhere that if at the beginning of a season you turn all coat hangers back to front. Every time you wear something you turn the hanger around. At the end of the season you give to charity those clothes on the back to front coat hangers cause you don’t wear them.

    2. I pared down my wardrobe so much last year that whenever a basic item wears out, I need to replace it. I had a lot of replacements this year, especially shoes and boots. Then I ended up buying too many plain basics and not enough clothes with “punch.” I hope to come up with a strategy for buying clothes next year to keep me focused on buying the right things (items that can pull together and make an outfit, but aren’t completely boring). I admire your no-buy challenge this year…I couldn’t do it!

      • I sometimes think I want a pared down, capsule type wardrobe. One where I have basics and replace items. But I know I am too into having variety to my suit different moods, different times, different places and purposes. I know the cuts and fabrics that suit me, but I have a wide range of different styles. Could probably do another no spend year but wouldn’t want to.

    3. I did have a year off prior to buying my place, and the basics (like knickers) wore out! Like Dar I have had issues with getting too many basics in ‘blah’ and few punchy pieces. I suppose there’s risks of not wearing ‘punchy’ stuff.

      Over time and things you’ve mentioned, you certainly seemed to have a generous wardrobe! Space is such a blessing – I am limiting myself to the coat hangers I have, so lately I cleared two old uniform tops, and freecycled/donated/sold 4 other items (skirt, two dresses and a beaded top) to liberate more space for what I need hung (ironed summery tops). I reckon I have too much work out gear, til I go on these ‘once a day every day’ binges, and then it’s all in very regular use. Such a balancing act between needs, and uses, and wants I find.

      Congrats on getting through the year – I do agree, with any challenge, as you found with Dry July and Droptober, it gets easier as time wears on. The first week or month are far harder than the last!

    4. Lucinda that’s quite an achievement and it’s been interesting to read your reflections on your “no clothes shopping for a year” experience with the very valuable self-knowledge that came as a result.

    5. Pingback: A Year of Clothes Shopping | An Exacting Life

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