The ups and downs of attempting to go a whole year without buying any new clothes...

...without becoming a naturist, as the title suggests

Sunday, 19 December 2010

July - The Rules

I'm well aware that the idea of trying to go a year without buying anything isn't remotely original. I remember reading a guardian article years ago (which still exists: and thinking that it would be amazing to have gone through an entire year without buying anything at all. But it just wasn't feasible with having to set up a home after leaving uni. Looking back, it would have been a lot easier than I thought at the time, and I now regret a lot of the money that we spent furnishing our first flat with characterless bits and pieces.

But I've always been a bit of an 'all or nothing' girl, and the idea of not being able to do the year 'properly' meant that it never happened.

At some point last year, I was talking to a friend who had a lot of time on her hands, not much money and a baby who liked being on the move. She spent most of her time wandering the charity shops of various towns and had decided that you could easily get everything you needed from second hand shops, charity shops and jumble sales. So she tried a year... and three years later she is still buying as little as she can new.

So there was my motivation. I realised that I didn't have to TOTALLY stop buying everything. I could just cut out new clothes for a year. That would be easy, I've never been someone who shops as a hobby and I'm not bothered about wearing the same thing twice. If I could achieve it then there would be so many gains - financially I didn't think I would notice as much difference as some people might, as I hardly had a monthly figure that went on clothes; but there must be a saving in there somewhere. I also wanted to prove (to who?) that I could still look like a professional without shopping... no one is doubting that if you live in jeans and a hoody you can get by without shopping, but to go to work every day, for a year, with only a handful of clothes... that's more of a challenge.

So that there could be no 'cheating', to be justified later, I had to make some rules:
1. Underwear is exempt (for obvious reasons) and includes bras, pants, socks, tights and leggings. However, new underwear should only be bought to replace old, and not to add to the collection!
2. Just because it is from ebay does not mean that it is second hand! Clothes from 'shops' on ebay, or people obviously buying to sell on are not allowed.
3. If I come over all creative (or desperate) and decide to make my own clothes, the fabric must be second hand.
4. Presents are allowed, though asking for specific things, or vouchers is not!

Everything else goes... charity shops, car boot sales, jumble sales, genuine ebay sales, vintage shops, 'designer' second hand shops and, most importantly, friends' hand-me-downs.

I have to admit a slight temptation to rush out and buy a whole new wardrobe full of clothes on the last weekend of 'the year before', but I resisted and satisfied the urge by spending a £10 voucher I'd been given on a pair of leggings (allowed anyway) and two vest tops to replace some which must have been considered vintage by now.

And so the year began.


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