Stop buying clothes!
This was what I had to tell myself at some point a few months ago. As part of my news years resolutions I wanted to make some changes. I wanted to find a way to improve my life, safe money and just do things differently then I had done them the last several years.
So I decided to take part in a monthly city cleaning activity, stopped buying lunch or going out for lunch every day and started meal prepping and planned to quit my gym membership and work out on my own. The last one wasn't too succesfull, but the other changes are still going strong 💪
But why do I have to stop buying clothes?
Because I have enough of them! It is easy as that. I'm convinced that every single person I know, owns enough clothes. Clothes for summer and winter, clothes for everyday and a few clothes for special occasions, clothes for the office and clothes to wear to the gym. I'm really confident, that noone I know, including myself, really needs new clothes, or that this is rarely the case, when we go out for shopping or order something new online. Nevertheless, shopping for new garments, shoes and accessories can become quiet the hobby, you can fill a whole saturday with it or spend hours on the internet, scrolling through pages of sale items.
Of course, there are different types of people regarding their shopping behaviour and also regarding their understanding of fashion. Some people don't care about being fashionable at all and only wear comfortable, practical clothes. Then there is the total opposite, people who only wear what's the latest trend and most fashionable, no matter how unpractical or unuseful the item is. Some people just don't care at all and wear whatever comes their way or whats is being handed to them, no matter which brand, style or function. Some have a very specific style and some like to mix and change between different styles. Obviously, these are only a few types, there are plenty more, and if I had to categorize myself, I wouldn't know which type I am right now.
I can't say that I have ever not cared about what clothes I wear or what style I have. I think about it a lot and I am also very aware of how people dress. There were times, I went shopping for clothes as much as three to four times a week, spending all the money I had on my wardrobe. This has changed a lot, since I barely find time to go shopping at all anymore, but still, until a few months ago, it was something very regular on my mind. This, in the end, besides the money saving aspect, was my main reason to stop buying new things. It just took too much space in my thoughts and from time to time, I felt obsessed with my longing for a new skirt, pair of shoes or fancy jacket, which I had seen in a store or in some of the hundreds of "spring/ summer/ fall/ winter sale/ clear out/ special offer" newsletters, I received in my mailbox on a daily basis. Suddenly I couldn't come up with one single reason why not to buy something. The object of desire was more or less affordable, it would fit some of my other clothes, it was something I had been looking for a while now or something new and so special, I didn't know why I hadn't been wanting this for ever... This is how my brain works, unfortunately. Instead of asking myself, if I really need this or if this really is something, that goes with everything and could last a few years, I always only thought very shortterm, in the moment and totally unreasonable.
So I ended up having a closet with a lot of items, I hadn't worn once, didn't like wearing at all because of their bad fit or which were of poor quality and falling apart after several times of washing.
When I was a student, I didn't have the money to buy high quality stuff. I shopped everything I could afford, no matter if this was H&M, second hand or at some random low price place, of which there are a lot in my town. As long as it looked nice, I took it. But even later, when I earned a bit more money, I didn't change a lot about my shopping habits. I was still drawn to low prices more than to quality garments.
I tried to make a change there last year, when I tried to stop shopping at the big textile giants we all know. For example I tried out a new fair fashion store next to where I work and found some very nice jeans made of organic cotton and recycled polyester. But still, it hurt a bit to spend significantly more money on this one item, when I knew I could easily get two or three pairs of jeans at Mango or Zara. I feel very bad about this now, but I think that the huge majority of people don't think about this just once, just as I didn't all the years before.
So I know now, there are ways of conscious shopping and I think, after my one year of shopping abstinence, I will explore the possibilities even more. But for the moment, I decided to completely stop consuming clothes for one whole year in order to think about how I will handle this whole topic in the future. My one rule for this year is:
Don't buy anything new at all, wether it be clothes, shoes or accessories.
There are some exceptions however:
1. I can have something new if I make it myself, e.g. by sewing or knitting.
2. I'm allowed to accept hand me downs, because I strongly believe in recycling and prolonging the life span of a garment.
3. If something, I have no replacement for, e.g. the only pair of winter boots I own (which isn't the case, I have several pairs, so no chance there) breaks or isn't usable anymore, I'm allowed to get something new. In this case, it should better be handmade, second hand or sustainably made, of course.
4. I'm allowed to accept gifts :) This really sounds like a loophole, I know, and it kind of is, but so far I have been gifted only three items. A very, very nice backpack, handmade from vegan leather by my colleague who has her own label Kummerlöwe handmade, and I really want to support small labels like this. A pair of white sneakers, because the only pair I had I lost a few years ago and never bought a new one, and a fan shirt from Noah Guthrie at his concert, which supports the artist and was given to me by my husband. That's it.
So far, I sticked to my rules and have only gotten two new pieces in my wardrobe, which I made myself, see one of them here.
This is one of the positive effects of my plan, I actually have more time to create something instead of spending the time obsessing about something I think I need to buy, where to get it and how much it costs.
I'll update in a few months and share some more thoughts about this topic, as there is a lot more to talk about, such as environmental effects, sustainability and ethical responsability.