My year of no shopping

From about July 2017 to August 2018, I didn’t buy any clothing, shoes, or other fashion accessories, other than replacing a few t-shirts for sleepwear/lounging. More than a year of not shopping or buying much of anything material-wise.

I was already well into my year of no shopping last year, having started unintentionally, when I came across Ann Patchett’s column about her year of no shopping. I realized I was doing something similar without meaning to, but decided to keep going and try it out myself. My starting this was due to a combination of a few factors:

  • I was about to start working from home, so didn’t anticipate needing new clothes
  • Having done most of my shopping online the past few years, I was tired of buying stuff just to return 90% of it (and not be quite satisfied with most of the 10% I did keep)
  • I had plenty of clothes – enough to not repeat outfits for a couple of weeks (a very subjective issue, how much clothing is enough – but I thought it was enough for me at the time)

Once I read Ann Patchett’s column and realized I was doing just that, I decided to keep up the experiment for a year myself. The last items of clothing I bought were a couple pairs of chino trousers from Gap, because I wanted to avoid just wearing sweatpants every day. They turned out to be of terrible quality – stretching out a whole size, dye washing out unevenly after a single wash and creating white streaks on the fabric. A good way to cement my decision not to shop for a while, you could say.

Since this wasn’t a personal challenge or anything, I didn’t force myself to stay away from shopping websites or avoid places with opportunities to shop – sometimes I just like window shopping (browser shopping?), and I like and appreciate clothing and style. But I’m also a pretty disciplined person, and for me part of habit enforcement is not forbidding myself from doing something. And as noted, I did buy three t-shirts sometime around April this year to replace some holey ones for sleep and loungewear, because of need. But otherwise, I didn’t buy any wearable item of clothing or shoes or any accessory.

Here are my takeaways – read on after the break!

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