What I’ve learned from buying no new clothes

It’s been six whole months since I challenged myself not to buy new clothes so it’s time for some accountability! How have I done and what have I learned?

Surprisingly well! It hasn’t been as hard as I thought partly due to some incredible charity shop karma.  A big thank you yo the god if charity shop luck 🙂

I haven’t managed to buy nothing but I’m pleased with what I’ve done.

Purchase one was a sun hat. Not something you always need in Scotland but it was an unusually  hot summer and I really did try not to buy! Charity shops turned up wedding hats but nothing suitable so I tried to make a reversible sunhat, it worked really well and would have been perfect, if I was five!! I’m sure I went for the large template but it didn’t work out. I tried again with a freehand template but I was in a bad mood by then and it was a disaster. Feeling a bit miffed I bought a cheap straw hat with my shopping. A week later I spotted a vintage Panama hat that I wore all summer.

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The evolution of hats!

Lesson one, be patient. Charity shops will normally come good if you have a clear idea of what you need but you need to be prepared to make multiple visits, which means you need to leave enough time.

Purchase two was a flesh coloured vest top. I was working on our new house and needed to go straight out to a work event. I packed a change of clothes – cue transformation from boiler suit to madmen style skirt and blouse. The only problem was that I forgot to wear the right bra, and was rocking a patterned silk number under my work gear. You could see everything through the rather sheer blouse! The vest was to protect my modesty. Lesson two, be organised. I realised that I have made quite a few emergency purchases in the past. I flew to London for work once and forgot my suit trousers (I flew in jeans) and had to buy a dress before my meeting the next day. I’ve bought shoes because my feet were aching after wearing footwear that wouldn’t stand up to a decent walk. And I regularly forget hair brushes, make up and razors.

Purchases three and four were both shoes. Three was a pair of steel toed safety boots which I needed girl the renovation work. These probably fall into the essential category, they are already so worn that I’m sure they have saved my toes many times.  Four was a pair if summer sandals. I looked and looked in chastity shops for these but each pair I found had been so well worn that they looked pretty nasty! I don’t have a phobia for used shoes but dirty sandals and bare feet don’t go for me. Lesson three, be flexible. Buying nothing new is a choice intended to make a difference to my life and the environment but it’s not a penance and there are times when flexibility is needed.

The fourth lesson has been about myself and why I shop and it’s been a revelation. The two key reasons are boredom and envy. Brutal. Boredom is an easy one, quick wander around the shops to fill time or browse the internet. Stopping shopping has freed up lots of time for more rewarding activities, but sometimes planning those things takes a bit more thought than mindlessly wandering the shops! Envy is a more difficult one and I realised that while we were on holiday. We travelled around Spain for two weeks in a tiny camper van and my clothes and shoes were restricted to carry on luggage (friends took to van to Spain and we flew out out to meet them on a budget flight) . Walking around beautiful cities I couldn’t help noticing how chic other women looked and I started looking at clothes in shop windows! That brings me to the final lesson, find your style and be cool with it. That way you can look at other people, admire them but feel good enough about yourself not to feel driven to shop.

So far my wardrobe in holding up well. My jeans have had multiple repairs and before I would have relegated them to painting clothes at the first sign of a hole. The pleasant surprise is that I have tried to be more adventurous with my casual wardrobe and not always wear jeans. I’ve found some great key pieces in charity shops which I’ll post about shortly and I swapped a lot of clothes with my sister which has kept my wardrobe fresh.

Happy not shopping 🙂

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