Why I’m Not Buying Clothes in 2018

Hello and happy new year to you my readers! I hope that the end of 2017 and beginning of this year has been a time of peace for you and your loved people. Certainly the first few weeks of January have flown by, which is why I’ve made it a priority to sit down and write about my new experiment in dressing with less in 2018.

As you know, last year I completed a 6 months no clothes buying hiatus, and found it to be a powerful lesson in necessity, creativity and cost-saving. So much so that this year, I’m doing it again – only B I G G E R! In 2018, I’ll be on a 12 month clothes buying hiatus and wearing only what I own, to extend this wonderful experiment in simplicity and perspective. Woohoo!

I’ll be joined in my experiment by a dear friend and it was actually with her encouragement and persuasion on New Years Eve that I decided to participate again. Interestingly enough, I was a bit on the fence about doing it all again. My 6 month clothes buying break in mid-2017 taught me many valuable lessons (you can read about my feelings during the experiment here) and between the time it finished and now, I did pick up a handful of new items of clothing that I truly felt were lacking in my ‘basics’ range following the experiment (though for the record – I survived).

At the end of 2017, I felt comfortably set in what I had, but after the challenge ended I found myself having a few creeping consumeristic thoughts along the indulgent lines of – “Gosh, I’d love a new pair of azure blue tassel earrings” and “Couldn’t hurt to have a few extra neutral singlets”, as well as more pervasive thoughts around ‘shaking up’ my entire look ala bohemian chic (never say never) and basically phasing out all evidence of oversized A-line skirts circa 2014. When my dear friend asked if I’d like to join her, I almost started on a list of why now just isn’t the best time to be committing to something like this. Still need to ‘complete’ my basics wardrobe. Don’t have enough earrings. Might want to shift up my look. Thanks but no thanks – I’m just going to keep my options open in the event that I would like to impulse shop and drop $50 on a t-shirt.

Suffice to say, my inner voice heard this nonsense being louted around in my mind and poked her little head up at that point to tap me on the shoulder, and remind me of a) the true ridiculousness of my above statements and b) the benefits that were very real to me during my experiment in 2017. When I examined what I was saying – “no, it’s not a good time” – I was reminded of the fact that our consumer minds can easily be swayed into discontentment and endless yearning, and while I had come strides in breaking myself of this ‘need more, want more’ perspective, there was an opportunity presenting itself to further practice and learn about what it truly means to live a great life with less.

There is never going to be a right time. I also don’t believe that we are ever truly ‘done’ with our wardrobes – life is a changing constant, body shapes are changing, there will always be that ‘magic’ piece, that new event to go to, or the new captivating trend that sets the fashion world on fire. We will probably always stop loving a piece of clothing we once loved because our monkey minds get bored and want something new and shiny – but does that mean we should just discard a perfectly fine piece of clothing? Come to think of it – no.

What I have come to realise from my 6 months of no clothes buying is that wearing what I own saves me more time, money and mental stress than I can adequately convey. It was much easier to do with a self-imposed ban without doubt, but that period in time provided a great many insights which were not really about fashion at all. I saved immense amounts of dollars, time, my vanity metrics shifted vastly, I became significantly more conscious of the wastefulness of fast fashion, and I gained a unique perspective on fashion and style media and advertising (read: I don’t consume it or buy into it. At. All.).

The reasons I am not buying clothing this year build on these previous reasons and then some – specifically, I hope to uncover further peace and contentment and actually lean into or embrace the fact that my pieces are far from perfect, but hey, they look okay, they are paid for, they are clean, they can mix-and-match, my important people actually don’t care what I wear (absolute truth), and I can spend the time I would have spent window-shopping, online shopping, or ‘just browsing’ doing other far more important things my heart calls for.

I think in many ways we can always be held back by fear – of not having enough, or specifically in the case of clothes, not having enough variety, colour, texture, special-occasion wear, or current seasonal pieces. The way I see it these days is that 99% of us (probably 100% in the developed world) do have enough clothes for our current life. You have one body, inclusive of one pair of feet for shoes and one pair of hands for holding a purse or wallet, and can wear one outfit at a time. If you looked in your wardrobe now, you would be very surprised at the amount you could a) find if you looked right at the back of the closet and b) throw together to create different looks.

This challenge is not focusing on how many items of clothing I own, though I’m quite happy to track this out of interest. I’m not big on restrictive one-size-fits-all numbers when it comes to how many shoes, tops, bottoms etc. people own – it’s highly individual and influenced by lifestyle and individual preferences.

People everywhere are getting inspired to ‘shop their wardrobe’. Recently at work, a friend turned up in some awesome pumps and great bright pants. She looked fantastic and I complimented her on these ‘new’ pieces – it turns out they weren’t new at all, very old in fact, but hadn’t been worn in a very long time. Huzzah for shopping your wardrobe!

This year, I’m putting the brakes on any items new or new to me that fit the description of – clothes, shoes, accessories including bags and jewellery. This is not extreme or radical (though be prepared that people will think it is, when you tell them! Ease them into it!). It’s entirely sensible and achievable. Exchanging money for clothing is simply a behaviour, and with awareness and intentionality, you can choose to change that behaviour and replace it with a new behaviour, if you deem the benefit will be greater than the very temporary discomfort of doing something differently. Get creative with what you own. You absolutely can participate in this challenge and discover a true world of outstanding benefits to your mind, wallet, sanity and time.

If you are interested in getting started, here are a few more great resources to inspire and help you get going:

  • Join the Facebook group ‘Shop Your Wardrobe 2018’ #syw18 for inspiration and support.
  • Watch How to Get the Most Out of Your Wardrobe! By Ingrid Nilsen – down-to-earth tips of curating and caring for the clothing you already own.
  • Peruse these 15 Quick Tips for creatively shopping your own closet.

Will you join me in your own ‘shop your wardrobe’ challenge? I challenge you to 1 month, 3 months, 6 months or the full 12 months. Comment below to let me know what you’re planning and how you’re going!

Until next time – simplify, focus, pursue and count your blessings.

Sarah xo

Photo Credit: Pete Bellis

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