“Buy Better Clothes. Buy less of them. Wear them more.”
– from journalist Marc Bain in this great Quartz article.
I love shopping and I love clothes. I love finding a bargain, pairing things together that shouldn’t work but do, getting dressed up, having fun with clothes, feeling inspired by fashion, bargain shopping with my mum or splurging H… I. Really. Love. Fashion.
I don’t love the amount I have spent on clothes (I dread to add it up, so I don’t), I don’t love how crammed full my wardrobe is, how hard it can be to choose something to wear, how frustrated I get because I know I’m wearing about 30% of my wardrobe. I don’t love the tidying I do each evening because I’ve thrown a drawer of stuff onto the floor to find that t-shirt before work. I don’t love how I’ve hung onto things I shouldn’t because I’m a bit ‘meh’ about them or they don’t fit. Basically, I think my wardrobe is stressing me out and it’s time for a change.
I have also watched three things recently that made me question my relationship with clothes. The True Cost, by Livia Firth who is a huge champion of ethical fashion and I completely admire her, the Dispatches documentary on Channel Four last month and Minimalism on Netflix. Those three things combined, together with a big focus on my finances this year have made me realise I need to stop shopping for a while. I highly recommend giving them all a watch.
Here’s what I hope will happen with my self-enforced shopping ban:
- I’LL SAVE MONEY
I used to pop to the shops more than I care to admit (I gave up shopping at the start of the year). Bad day at work? I’ll saunter past a few shops on my way home. Feel like a weekend lift? Let’s go into town. I have some big financial goals this year and spending mindlessly on clothes isn’t going to get me there.
- I’LL CHANGE MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CLOTHES
See point one. I want to build a wardrobe of stuff I love and feel good in. I want to buy things mindfully, because I love them, my wardrobe needs them and I’ll wear them 100 times. I don’t want to feel guilty, or shop out of boredom.
- I’LL WORK OUT MY STYLE
Michael Kors has said the reason women struggle to get dressed (sometimes, not always, I might add, Michael) is because we don’t follow the “Meat and Potatoes rule” – 70% of your clothes should be meat and potatoes – stuff you wear every day and 30% should be dessert – sparkly, more impractical occasion wear. A quick look at my wardrobe and I’m not sure those figures add up. I’m a magpie, I love print, I love colour, I LOVE sparkles. To be fair to myself I do wear a lot of colour in the day and for work (see Instagram for that cat jumper), but I need to make sure my ratio of useful daytime staples is higher than my going out crop tops and jumpsuits.
- I’LL REDISCOVER MY WARDROBE
I want to enjoy the clothes I’ve got. I’ve rotated my clothes before and discovered some old favourites that have come back into play, and I know I have some gorgeous stuff lurking in my wardrobe that doesn’t come out to air enough. I want to ‘shop from my wardrobe’ and feel excited about the investments I have made.
So here’s my #shoplessshopmindfully plan if you’re interested:
Find out what I have: Take an inventory of my wardrobe. Get everything out, and I mean everything, and pile it into keep/maybe/sell/charity. The ‘maybe’ stuff I’m not wearing all the time or don’t 100% adore goes into a bin bag in the loft. If I don’t miss it this season, it’s going to charity. I’ve done it before and I missed about 2% of that bin bag.
Remove temptation: I’ve deleted my go-to shopping apps for a while, and I’m using Monzo, a prepaid card with a weekly budget loaded each Monday. Sounds boring but is strangely a fun challenge?!
Don’t buy anything new for four months*: Not sure where this time period came from, but it feels like a good chunk of time to give this a go, and make some judgments on the kinds of clothes I wear and am missing. I might extend it, who knows. A quarter of a year with no shops?! I can do this.**
*The only exception is footwear. My foot is still broken but will hopefully be open to sporting something other than a trainer in the next few months so I am allowed to buy some really good shoes or boots that fit and support my new inner metalwork. I’ll be doing it mindfully though, not impulse buying.
**I’m going to find it really hard. UPDATE: I have actually been no-clothes-shopping since January and haven’t found it quite as ridiculously hard as I had expected! Hoorah!
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Does any of the above ring true for you? I’d love to know in the comments.