When some people announced on Instagram that they were starting 2018 with a no-shopping month, I thought that they were crazy; that they wouldn’t last through the month; that I could never, would never commit to a month of no-shopping.
But then, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that it was crazy (and very sad/pathetic) that I couldn’t last a month without buying new clothes. And so, I challenged myself to prove myself wrong. When better to start new habits than in the new year, am I right?
So spoiler alert: I did it! I went one month without buying any new clothes! And I learned some things along the way.
1. EMAIL SPAM
I suddenly became very aware of how bombarded we are with people telling us to buy stuff or that we need this or that. Every morning, I would get at least 10+ emails from brands telling me about sales or the next must have in my closet. I deleted every single one this month, without opening them or even really reading the subject line. It felt very freeing not being controlled by or feeling pressured due to a limited time sale or brands telling me what I needed in my closet. January was probably a good month to do this challenge simply because of the abundance of sales–so many brands were trying to unload their stuff that wasn’t sold during the holidays. Deleting emails (or unsubscribing altogether) from brands might actually be a new habit that I adopt this year.
2. INCREASED & DECREASED CREATIVITY
At the beginning of the month, I felt more creative with my wardrobe. Knowing that I had to work with what I already had made me really look at what I had. I came up with some new combinations that I loved (like this sweater and skirt combination). I also developed a love for all-black outfits, and even joked about getting rid of color (and by color I mean greys and creams) altogether and just having everything be black in my wardrobe on Instagram. However, towards the end of the month, I began to resent my clothes: I didn’t want to come up with new outfits and ended up just repeating a lot of outfits during the second half of the month. I didn’t realize just how much a new clothing item breathed new life into my wardrobe until I wasn’t allowed to get one.
3. AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT
As I said, this past month made me really look at the clothes I had: what did I actually wear and what I didn’t even consider wearing. At the end of the month, I started putting clothes away in my storage because I realized that I didn’t want to wear them and they were just taking up unnecessary space in my closet. I’m predicting that many of these clothes will be donated to Goodwill the next time that I switch out my closet for next Fall/Winter. This makes me think that I can live with even less than I already own. I think I’ll continue to downsize my already downsized closet throughout this year.
This month also made me realize what I really need (and want) in my closet. I know that I want to buy a new pair of black booties (I’ve been wanting a new pair for about a year). These babies are falling apart after years of devoted service. I know I also want to invest in some new tops that aren’t sweaters or t-shirts, and some more dresses so that I stop defaulting to jeans.
4. RETAIL THERAPY
I didn’t realize just how much I used shopping as therapy until well, I couldn’t this month. To say that January was crazy would be an understatement: I got sick with the crazy flu that’s been going around, and was really overwhelmed and busy at work. And so, because I couldn’t shop to escape my problems, I tried yoga. And while I haven’t quite found zen in downward dog quite yet, yoga will be something I’m looking forward to continuing as the year progresses.
I did start to wonder why I did turn to retail therapy when I’m stressed, and why shopping made me feel good–because theoretically, money shouldn’t be able to buy happiness, right? And while I haven’t quite figured it out yet…
5. TRUE APPRECIATION
Over this month, I really did gain an appreciation for the clothes that I do own. I wake up really early in the mornings (anywhere between 5 to 6:30 A.M.), and Brandon doesn’t have to wake up that early. Because we live in a 400-square-foot apartment, I try not to wake him in the mornings by not turning on lights in the main living area. So I quite literally do have to sometimes get dressed in the dark.
I think the true test of a cohesive wardrobe is being able to get dressed in the dark and being able to randomly choosing a top and a bottom that goes together; and I do think my wardrobe pasts that test. A cohesive wardrobe has been a goal of mine for years, so it’s exciting to see that I’m getting closer to that goal.
So what does this mean once February 1st rolls around? Will my shopping habits be changed forever? I really don’t know. Only time will tell, I guess. I will say though, I think knowing that I won’t die (socially or literally) naked or in an ugly outfit if I don’t frequently buy something new is really quite liberating. My biggest takeaway from this has to be how much of a slave I am to consumerism, and how much I don’t want to be anymore. I think not shopping for a month has definitely lessened my urge to shop aimlessly. I do want to impose more no-shopping months on myself and see what comes out of them (aka hopefully another trip to Paris?). I am hoping that through this practice, I do develop good habits for shopping.
True contentment for what I have is something I haven’t achieved yet, but I think I’m on my way. The proof being: at work earlier this month, I was in the midst of a group conversation surrounding shopping. People were complimenting on each others’ shoes, asking where they got them, etc.; and others were sharing where they like to shop or about their most recent purchases. I thought I’d be jealous hearing about other people shopping, but when someone asked what I’d been up to in terms of shopping, I shared that I’ve boarded a different train: the one of minimal, slow fashion. And as they all looked at me in dismay, I felt a tinge of pride as I tried to explain a capsule wardrobe to them, and even more gusto to finish this month’s challenge.
So here we are: a Sagittarius successfully committed to something and executing it through. Go me!