On January 1st 2020 I began my no-buy year. I made a video diving deeper into the details of this mission, but the part relevant to this post is that fact that I am not buying any new clothes for the entire year. I chose to go down this path after years of my only hobby being shopping and realizing a large portion of my happiness was dependent on acquiring things.
It has been six months since I started this and I haven’t had much in the way of temptation thanks to a certain virus keeping me indoors and out of stores. Despite the lack of temptation, I have learned a lot about the way I feel and how those feelings relate to my clothing and shopping. I have become so much more analytical about my clothing and I am thankful to share the top things I have learned from this experience so far.
1. Retail Therapy is Real
When I am sad, or feeling any unpleasant emotion, my first instinct is to go shopping. These days, I am finding new ways to deal with my feelings like going for walks, working out, and talking to someone. One thing I started doing to step out of this habit was to say out loud that I wanted to go shopping. Then I would be able to see what feelings caused me to want to go shopping in that moment.
2. Research Over Impulse
These last six months have taught me to be more thoughtful. So many of my purchases have been an impulse, and end up not working for me. I have done a lot of decluttering in the last few years, and I have spent more and more time analyzing why something doesn’t work for me. Often times the impulse purchase I buy are the first to get decluttered.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I get lucky and the impulse purchase is a staple in my wardrobe. However, many times it ends up being something I wear a few times and then gets added to the donate bin. When I eventually do start shopping again, I am going to create a wish list, and research options that fit into that need.
3. I Have A LOT of Clothes
During this process I have taken stock of every piece of clothing that I own. I have 190 pieces of clothing that’s a lot and that doesn’t even include shoes. Luckily, I’m working to reduce how many pieces live in my wardrobe by using a capsule wardrobe to see what I wear and how I wear it.
4. Duplication in My Wardrobe
I have more duplication in my wardrobe than I thought. When looking for a certain piece like a white button-down shirt. I will buy one and then like it, but notice there are things I don’t like about, then I buy another which solves different problems. Eventually I find the perfect white shirt, but I have two or three others that are not as perfect and stop wearing those. It’s a habit I didn’t even know I had. Going forward, I am going to keep in mind everything I already have before buying something new.
5. Having a Uniform Isn’t a Bad Thing
In the last first six months of my no buy year I have learned I have a uniform. My uniform is high waisted bottoms and a top with sleeves. This is a combination that I am always comfortable and confident in. For some, a uniform can feel boring (because actual uniforms are). However, when it comes to a personal uniform you’re not wearing the same shirt and pants every day. You are using the style elements that make you feel the most confident.
When I figured this out, I used my uniform as the base of my outfit creation as well as a tool to decide if something in my closet should be decluttered. Let’s use my uniform, high waisted bottoms and a top with sleeves, as an example. I can choose pieces that fit into that criteria to create outfits and know that most of the time I will be satisfied with the look I put together because this is a proportion and silhouette that I know I love.
Having a uniform will also come in handy when you are thinking of adding a new piece to your wardrobe. When you are out shopping you can use your uniform to decide if something would work for you. If you only have high waisted bottoms then you might want to think twice about adding a mid- or low-rise bottom because it will feel more difficult to style.
6. Choosing Colors That Go Together is Important
After six months of not buying anything new I have started to realize it is easier to put together outfits when you have colors that work together. When choosing any colors to add to your wardrobe, whether they are bold or neutral, it is important that those colors can be worn together. This will make putting together outfits less stressful because you don’t have to worry about a color being the reason your outfit doesn’t work. This is an easier task with a neutral colored wardrobe, but using bold colors is possible. I have found that staying in a color family helps when I am adding brighter colors to my wardrobe. For example, I have a lot of different shades of green and all the greens I own work with all my navy (and denim), beige, and white, and cognac pieces.
Right now, my wardrobe doesn’t have much of a color story because I just love color and there was no method choosing colors to add to my wardrobe. However, as I analyze my wardrobe I have definitely found pieces that I don’t wear as much because the color is hard to style. Going forward, I will develop a color palette that works for me, and use that to make decisions on future declutters or purchases.
There you have it! With six months down and six to go this is what I have learned and I excited to see what comes next. I hope you guys enjoyed this post. If you want to learn even more about my no-buy progress check out my Youtube channel where I do monthly check-ins.