After my recent realisation that I buy too many clothes, I decided to challenge myself to a month without buying any at all to see if I could break the habit. My theory was that it had become second nature to spend on a thing I liked, simply because it made me happy, without any consideration of whether or not I actually needed something new. I’d go out at lunch time and buy some new shoes. I’d scroll through my inbox and click on an email from a favourite brand, buying something from their latest collection without thinking. I’d buy jewellery because I’d seen it on Instagram, a top because I was worried it’d sell out, and a new handbag just because it was in the sale. If I broke this cycle of want-buy-wear (I do wear the vast majority of garments and accessories that I purchase), then perhaps it would become second nature to stop and think.
I now have a Pinterest board where I can save things I love rather than buying straight away. It’s full of things I can afford, with a smattering of things I’ll never be able to buy at full price, and the idea is to force myself to wait. I know that fast fashion discourages waiting, as the short runs mean that if ‘you snooze, you lose’, but I really miss the anticipation. Waiting for payday until you make a purchase… waiting until something is in the sale. At the very least, waiting until you know you can’t stop thinking about that item and know that you can work it into at least three outfits you already own.
So, how did my month without buying any clothing or accessories go? It was touch and go at one point, and I did consider buying something but not admitting to it, and also buying something that wouldn’t get delivered until after the end of the month, but in the end I managed it. The only thing I bought was a birthday present for my sister. During the course of the month I realise that none of the things I coveted for myself were essential purchases, and I didn’t miss browsing shops or clothing retailers’ websites during my lunch break. I unsubscribed from lots of mailing lists and became better at deciding that I don’t really need anything from the ones I still receive newsletters from. Hopefully September won’t see me return to my old habits, but only time will tell.