One of my goals for this year was not to buy any clothes. This time last year I was thinking a lot about simplifying my life and minimising spending, so the decision made a lot of sense. I did say I would continue to make clothes, and that I might be willing to buy one special vintage piece if I happened to come across one. The goal wasn’t simply to forbid myself from anything, but instead to learn to be more conscious of what I spend money on, and to think more carefully about how I source my wardrobe. For the past few years I’ve done my clothes shopping exclusively at charity shops, but I wondered if I spent less money I might instead be able to afford a few key ethically produced pieces each year. I already have loads of clothes in good condition, so I was fairly sure I wouldn’t need any more this year.
The year’s almost over, and I have surprised myself by actually managing to achieve my goal. I was given one beautiful vintage dress and made a couple of tops (and botched a dress or two, oops). The experience was much easier than anticipated, too. So what did I learn?
- The high street is way less interesting if you’re not buying clothes. I don’t really do high street shopping, but I do enjoy looking at the window displays. I’d never realised how fashion -focused they are, though. Looking was still fun, but knowing I couldn’t buy anything definitely detracts. This is probably only true for shops that are normally within my budget; I still loved window shopping in outrageously priced shops (and there are plenty of those where I live).
- If you’re going into charity shops, walk straight past the clothes. Why torture yourself? Inevitably there will be something beautiful. The only time I was seriously tempted to buy something this year was when I saw a dress in a charity shop window; I actually worked myself up to go in, but it was already gone by then. I think that says it all, really!
- People don’t really notice if you wear the same clothes. I have a few favourite pieces that I love and wear on a regular basis, and my colleagues still compliment them even if they saw them 2 weeks before. I’ve never had anyone comment on seeing clothes multiple times, or even give me funny looks.
- My wardrobe is surprisingly non-seasonal. I wore the same pieces throughout the whole year, with the exception of jumpers. Cardis came out every season, though. I think this speaks of my utilitarian nature.
- If I don’t spend my money on clothes, I’ll spend it on something else. This year I went to 4 gigs (which isn’t a lot, but more than I’ve been to for the past few years), went on holiday, and bought a house. I’m not saying all that money came from money I would otherwise have spent on clothes, but I certainly felt more confident spending that kind of money knowing I had been saving and wouldn’t want to spend it on anything else.
- I can easily live without new clothes every few months & still feel confident about what I’m wearing & how I look.
Maybe I’ll end up rushing out & buying lots of clothes in 2016, but I don’t anticipate it. Above all, I have learned to change the way I look at clothes in shops. I don’t think I’ll be as easily swayed in the future. I wouldn’t recommend this for everyone, but I think the year was really good for me.