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Why You Shouldn’t Buy Clothing for a Year

Have you ever looked around your home, room, or closet and just felt like you simply had too much stuff?

If your answer is “yes,” you’re not alone.

We live in a society of consumption, and while there is nothing wrong with spending your hard-earned money on the things you truly love, we often hold onto things for sentimental reasons – even if we never use them again.

It can be difficult to pass up on a sale or a certain offer. After all, you’ll surely find somewhere to wear that impossibly small dress that was 80% off. Right?

It’s easy to pick something up, imagining how many times you’ll wear it, how many occasions that a certain sweater or pair of leggings would be absolutely perfect for! But do we really need all these clothes?

If you’ve ever felt like your shopping habits could use a significant break or that your wardrobe is growing faster than your closet can keep up with, this article is for you. We’re going to talk about why it might be a good idea to put the credit card down and avoid buying new clothes for an entire year!

Does it sound impossible? Hardly. Does it sound like it might not be the most fun activity of your life? Maybe.

But if you commit to truly avoid buying any new clothes for a certain amount of time – let’s say a year – you might be surprised at how creative you become!

The 80/20 Rule

Did you know that we tend to wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time? That means that well over half of our time – in fact, nearly all of our time – is spent wearing the same 20% of clothes from our wardrobe.

That also means that 80% of our wardrobe is filled with clothes we hardly wear… So, why do we have them?

Well, it’s said that most of us have too many clothes. That means that, first and foremost, you shouldn’t feel bad if you have more clothes than you know what to do with. Being raised in a capitalist society primes you for making purchases that you may realize were unnecessary later; it’s human nature.

And beyond our nature as people, there are many sneaky concepts involved with advertising and sales that tend to trick our brain.

Learn more about living with less clutter: Clutter Free Home, Clutter Free Mind

How to Break the Buying Cycle

If you feel like your closet is overflowing with clothes you’ll never wear, there are a few things you can do to correct this and embrace the idea of not buying clothes for a year.

1. Avoid Sales

When we see something on sale, we feel like we’re “getting a good deal,”; even if that something isn’t a piece that we would normally gravitate towards.

Have you ever bought an interesting piece of clothing that was absolutely not your style just because it was on sale? If so, there’s a good chance that that piece has been hanging in your closet, untouched, for weeks, maybe even years.

2. Think of Who You Are, Now

We often make purchases based on a future idea of ourselves – who we might be in the future, who we want to become. But the truth is that we live in the here and now. And many of us have spent the better part of a year working from home, thanks to the challenges we’ve faced this year.

So, do you really need that business suit or that dress that only belongs in a swanky nightclub?

If you’re one of the millions currently working from home, your comfortable lounge clothes are probably the pieces doing the most work right now. Our fancy cocktail dresses have likely been collecting dust since March.

If you have plenty of lounge clothes already, you’re all set!

We don’t know when things will go back to normal. But even when they do, there’s a good chance that your wardrobe already has plenty of pieces that will make you feel fabulous on date night.

3. Search for Different Sources of Gratification

Sometimes the thrill of shopping alone is enough to have us reaching for our credit cards. There’s an instant sense of gratification that comes with shopping. You swipe your card and leave the store with a bag of hope, a bag of new potential.

But, there are many other ways to trigger that sense of instant gratification that will make you feel good in the long run, like saving money, wearing your favorite perfume, and watching a good movie.

Read this one next hopeful minimalist: How to Make a Minimalist Lifestyle Work for You

4. Give Yourself a Break

While you may easily be able to stick to your resolution of not buying new clothes for a year – especially when it comes to cocktail dresses or fancy lingerie – there are a few staple items that you may need from time to time.

Therefore, to stick to the plan, it might be easier to designate a few things as “tools” rather than clothes.

For instance, if winter is approaching and your last pair of decent snow boots fell apart last year, it makes sense to get a new pair for functional purposes. You don’t have to cut yourself off from necessities.

5. Think About the Future

One thing that might feel helpful is to look at the money you’re saving as a future investment. If you see a shirt that you absolutely love, let’s say one that costs $50 - it can help to think about all of the other things you could do with that money.

Or, simply take the $50 that you feel like spending and throw it into your savings account.

That way, you’re investing in yourself and your future, rather than a piece of fabric that you might otherwise never wear.

6. Consider How You’re Helping the World

Fast fashion” is a term that is used to describe the alacrity with which our clothes are created – they now move from the catwalk to the store floor at speeds never seen before. But, this also means that these clothes are produced quickly and inexpensively, which usually requires the hard work of laborers who probably don’t make as much money as their quality work deserves.

When you decide not to participate in fast fashion, you’re making a conscious effort to avoid contributing to these subpar standards.

Even when you prefer certain brands or styles, it can be much more rewarding to purchase last season’s clothing from a second-hand or thrift store.

Embrace Less When it Comes to Clothing

While you may feel a sense of happiness momentarily, it is unlikely that the clothing purchases you make actually contribute to any kind of good vibrations into your life. It feels good in the moment and frustrating months down the line when you haven’t found a reason to wear that rainbow sequined jacket yet.

Try to take a break from buying new clothes for a year to see what it is you actually want to wear and how you want to express yourself. Sometimes the easiest way to figure out what you want is by learning what you no longer desire.

Related article: The Basics of a Sustainable Wardrobe

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle

Rhiannon Liselle is a student and freelance writer who, from the time she began penning letters to the moon, knew she wanted to spend her life writing. She has written for such publications as Self-Love Soup and Astrology Answers. She is a late bloomer who decided to return to college... Read More

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