Brexit might miss its Halloween deadline, but it’s still a milestone for me. 31st October marks three months of me not spending any money on new clothes, or the quarter-way point of my year of no new clothes challenge.
At the start I thought this quarter would be the easiest. I’d just bought a suitcase of new clothes back in the UK so I wouldn’t feel the self-imposed ban so much, I reasoned.
But now I’m not so sure. I think – or rather, I hope – that the beginning is the hardest. Going cold turkey from spending around $300-$350 monthly to nothing at all was quite a shock to the system.
For at least the first eight weeks I was still absent-mindedly walking into shops, only to remember and walk right out again. I felt the absence of filling my time with clothes.
Fashion still has my heart
After three months I’ve now trained myself to stop walking into clothes shops or looking at Asos for ‘inspiration’.
So I’m hoping that the next nine months won’t be as hard as the first nine weeks. But if this challenge is showing me anything it’s that my love of fashion remains, even if I’m not able to spend any of what I earn on it in its textile form.
Instead, I got Liam to help me measure every part of my body and I designed a personalised colouring book with the croquis (figure sketch) based on my own measurements. I’ve spent hours on Pinterest, grouping my own clothes in different formulations, inspired by what I find. And I’ve bought two fashion photography books.
And what about the savings?
Estimating a monthly saving of $333 I set up an automatic transfer into a savings account, so I’ll supposedly be saving $4000 over the year.
But, if I’m honest, I don’t think I’ve spent any less money since starting this challenge. Without the pleasure of shopping for clothes I have allowed myself “treats”. I upgraded my blog from a free to a premium plan. I signed up for a candle making course with a friend. I bought a ticket to see Hannah Gadsby’s new show in February, I got a label maker, a new bottle of perfume, a ticket to a seminar, a teacup with built-in infuser and box of expensive loose leaf tea.
I can’t say for certain how many of these I wouldn’t have bought if I was still buying clothes, but I would guess that it’s most of them.
It’s as if I’m so used to treating myself to clothes – or using up more of my salary than I need to on things that make me feel good – that my guilty pleasure has simply switched from one form to another.
With this in mind, my challenge for the next three months is to wean myself off spending money to feel good. I’ll be continuing to borrow clothes and share with friends and mindfully reduce my impact as a consumer on the environment.
If you have any comments or ideas, please do leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you.