(Cheating at) not buying clothes for a year

(Cheating at) not buying clothes for a year

You’ve heard of clothes buying bans, right? Where people make the decision not to buy a single item of clothing, normally for a whole year. For some people, it’s a huge challenge, a lifestyle change even. For others, myself included, I would guess it’s more of a potential inconvenience.

Why do a one year clothes buying ban?

Naturally, different people have different reasons for going a whole year without buying clothes. To save money, to waste fewer resources, to reduce the stuff you own. My reason, embarrassingly, is because I can do it and I can do it easily.

The last time I bought clothes (excluding masks, which I think is a fair exclusion, all things considered), was in March when I bought a couple of pairs of sweatpants. I generally spend 50% of my week or more wearing them at the moment, so they were a hell of a good purchase. That was 6 months ago. It means I’ve gone 6 months without buying clothes without needing to try.

Last year was unusual for clothes purchases- I still had baby weight that I gained through pregnancy but had lost too much to wear my maternity clothes. It meant buying some casual summer clothes as well of nearly a dozen new items for my work wardrobe. Generally though, annual purchases are limited to a handful or two of garments. A few t shirts, a jumper maybe. (I was going to add pyjamas to this list, but I’ve not had a new pair for 7 years. In honesty, this will be the place I struggle.)

I only really need to put any effort into not buying clothes for 6 months, in order to have gone a full year without buying clothes.

On the one hand, it almost feels pointless as a challenge. But on the other, it feels positive to have something deliberately focus on over what is pretty certain to be a tough winter, when it might otherwise be easy to pick up new items to make me smile.

I’m also wondering, if I can do 12 months, can I do 18 months? Or 2 years. Angela who blogs at tread lightly, retire early hasn’t bought any clothes for 3.5 years (here’s her post at the 2 year mark).

And then there’s what you learn from doing a challenge. Will I value my clothes more? Will I consume less in general? Will I save more money than I’m really expecting to? Will I finally pick up my sewing kit to sew the pocket back on my dressing gown? (Probably not, the corner has been torn for about 18 months now, but who knows?)

The bit where I persuade you to try a clothing ban

Except I’m not going to. I think a clothing ban is something you need to decide yourself you’re ready for. Until you decide for yourself, it feels impossible. This is how I’ve always felt, anyway.

But I am going to talk about my clothing ban, maybe here but more likely on twitter. After all, if Tread Lightly, Retire Early inspired me to have my own clothing ban by talking about hers. Sewing seeds is sometimes the best way to grow and nurture an idea for others to then adopt.

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