I have a confession. I began this blog because I intended to go a year without buying clothes. The blog was going to keep me accountable. I even contemplated calling it ‘Far from the Country Road’, due to my slight addiction to Country Road clothes. I was on maternity leave with the littlest lad and not buying clothes seemed like an easy way to spend less. But then there was never a good time to start. I felt like I needed to buy certain things before I began a year without buying clothes. Like a camel trench coat.
While I was waiting for the right time to start my year without buying clothes, I wrote a few things about being a parent. A few of those things resonated with fellow mums (here, here and here). I’d became an accidental ‘mummy blogger’. The original purpose of my blog was lost.
The impromptu beginning
Flash forward to June 2017 and I was sucked into an Instagram induced spending spree. I was on maternity leave take 4 and my maternity leave payments had well and truly finished. So I set myself a silent challenge, I’d see if I could avoid buying myself any new clothes in July. That month passed with the odd temptation, but I resisted. I wondered how long I could keep going. I’m not a fashionista but I do like nice clothes. There’s something satisfying about buying and wearing new clothes.
Then it was September and we were off an a family holiday to Bali. A holiday often triggers a mini spending spree for me, I seem to like packing a few new clothes in my suitcase. It was still cold here in Canberra as we prepared to head off to steamy Bali. The new summer clothes arriving in stores were very tempting. Yet somehow I thought, if you can get past this hurdle, you’ll be over one of the toughest challenges. I stuck to my guns and resisted buying new clothes. With one exception. I did buy one new pair of bathers. In fairness, the only pair I had in my wardrobe I’d worn until I was 38+ weeks pregnant with the twins and they were stretched beyond recognition.
While there’s no denying I broke my own challenge, the ‘year without buying clothes’ thing did help to limit my spending. I spent a very long time looking at lovely, $200 swimmers, online. Given I barely swim these days, that seemed excessive. Instead I opted for a decent pair from Target. Maybe they weren’t as glamorous, but at the end of the day, that wasn’t important. Apart from that indiscretion, I’ve stuck to challenge.
What is allowed in a year without buying clothes?
There are some exceptions to my ‘buy no clothes for a year’ challenge. These things are allowed:
- Shoes. But 6 months in and I’m yet to buy any.
- I can sew my own clothes. I have made one dress (I pattern tested the Lou Box Dress from Sew DIY).
- Underwear. Let’s be frank, my underwear is currently all about function rather than sex appeal.
- A fancy ball gown. I’d need something to wear If I got invited to a swanky black-tie event!
- Clothes as gifts.
I did receive a few new things for Christmas from Mr Wallace which I chose myself. While that’s a murky area, I’ve not purchased anything for myself. The new stuff (about 6 things) were all gifts.
It’s not only about saving
The idea of a year without buying new clothes began as a basic ‘spend less’ plan. It’s evolving beyond that. I’ve begun to realise how consumer driven our lives are. I wonder about the long term cost of fast fashion, to the environment, the economy and on personal level, my savings and the example I set for my children. I want my children to know that happiness doesn’t or shouldn’t come from things. Not only that, but how people dress, and wearing the newest, on trend clothes, isn’t a measure of worth. I need them to know that the kid in the playground with the newest Nikes (or whatever) is not better than them. Likewise the kid wearing sneakers from Kmart isn’t any less important or worthy.
Why are you telling us now?
It does seem odd that I’d tell you about a challenge I’ve set myself 6+ months after I’ve started. I guess I wanted to prove to myself that I could actually go an entire year without buying new clothes before I told you. Now it’s ‘on the internet’, I’m well and truly committed. But I still don’t have that camel trench coat!
I think at this point I’ll nail my own challenge. I’m stubborn, you see. If I’ve set myself a goal I’ll do my very best to achieve it! I do understand the absurdity of this challenge. It’s ridiculous to have to ‘challenge’ myself to go a year without buying new clothes. I’ve no doubt many people in the world would go much longer without new clothes, through circumstance rather than choice. It is indeed a luxury to have a wardrobe full of clothes and not actually need new clothes. A luxury afforded to very few.
Do you think you could go a year without buying clothes? If you are interested in giving it a shot, or even interested in buying less, Carly Findlay has a Facebook group that is encouraging people to ‘shop their wardrobe’ in 2018. Carly says “It’s aimed at reducing spending and waste, and putting together fun outfits from what we already have.” That’s something we all can do!
Linking up with Kylie for #IBOT