Raise your hand if your wardrobe looks half as good as the one in the picture above. If seeing this picture is more likely to make you rest your chin on your hands and sigh than raise them proudly, I can assure you that I am right there with you. I have visions of white walls and garment racks with a curated wardrobe just like any other slightly-basic millennial woman with a Pinterest habit. However, the reality is a much different picture.
By no means is my wardrobe spilling into all parts of my small house. I have two drawers, half of a closet and one tub of out of season garments and that's it. However, I am to the point where I need to take a pause and do a one month "no buy" for the entirety of August. I'm also including cosmetics in my challenge. This is especially hard because August is my birthday month, a time when I usually have a bit of extra cash and am even more inclined to treat myself to a new pair of shoes or lipstick.
The idea of a spending freeze is certainly not a new one. Whether it is the capsule wardrobe craze or the idea of only buying five pieces each season, there are several methods of culling spending and focusing on quality rather than consumption. For me to really get knee-deep in figuring out my shopping habits and wardrobe, I knew I needed something that takes shopping out of the picture all-together.
Think that sounds like your kind of challenge? These reasons will bolster your confidence.
RESET YOUR WARDROBE
One huge impetus for me to stop purchasing any new clothing or accessories for the month is to take a good look at what I do have. I can't get on the whole "Does this spark joy?" bandwagon because literally every article of clothing I have left sparks something. However, as someone who undeniably prefers separates to pretty little dresses, I have way too many of the latter. Anything that's appropriate for the weather that I don't wear before September gets sold or donated, period. It's much easier to sort out what I wear all the time when I don't have a new addition every week.
DEDICATE TIME TO OTHER INTERESTS
In the four days since the month started, I have already tackled a plan for a new fitness routine. I set a few goals and even a fitness budget for weekly yoga classes. I am not insinuating that fashion and personal style isn't a worthy interest. I run a style blog, I would never think that.
However, I already feel myself allocating time to the other pursuits in my life. How does something as simple as not shopping for a month make that happen? For starters, I don't "window shop" online nearly as much. If I'm sitting at the computer, I want to be doing something more productive than spending money. Secondly, if mindlessly wandering through the mall or boutiques downtown is off the table for entertainment, I am much more likely to come up with an interesting plan for the weekend.
TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR FINANCES
While I am looking forward to having a more tightly edited wardrobe this fall, I am also looking forward to having a bit more pocket change. I spend a good chunk of my disposable income on clothing and cosmetics. Then when a band or artist I like visits Knoxville or I want to take a class or short trip, I feel like I have to scrimp and shuffle my budget. Clearly, the math is off here.
I don't intend to give an up close and personal look at the state of my finances on this blog, but I do think keeping a fairly rigorous budget is actually a weight off your shoulders rather than a burden. I love the idea of knowing I always have enough money in the bank to tackle what life throws at me as well as any payments for debt. The financial reasoning behind my shopping hiatus actually inspired me to get an entirely separate checking account where I will keep a monthly shopping and fun allowance.
FIND YOUR SHOPPING "TRIGGERS"
You know those cheeky graphics that say something along the line of "Shopping is cheaper than therapy." Yeah, those aren't true at all.
First of all, your mental health is priceless. If you know for a fact that shopping is a crutch for when you need a pick-me-up, then it is worth evaluating exactly what makes you run to the mall or Goodwill (thrifting is a vice, too!). For me, if I feel stress in my personal life, I love using shopping as an escape. But those endorphins fade pretty quickly after I swipe my debit card. I usually buy things I don't like that much. Secondly, if you can spend $200 a month on clothing, you can afford at the bare minimum one therapy session a month, and likely even more than that.
If retail therapy isn't really your thing, maybe you get caught up in celebration. Maybe going out shopping with your friends always makes you feel pressured to buy things. This time of year is also chock-full of sales to make it even more tempting to buy, buy, buy. I am guilty of literally every trigger I just mentioned, but I am excited to find new outlets for the issues.
REDEFINE AND REFINE YOUR ETHICS
Ethical fashion is such a buzzworthy concept nowadays that it is rare to find someone who just plain doesn't care where or how their clothes were made. It's awesome that the idea of conscious consumption has gone mainstream, but can you take it a step further? I know I can.
For instance, as a vegetarian, it's hard for me to keep buying leather in good conscience. I am quite a bit more willing to purchase it second hand, but even then I may decide to phase out leather purchases altogether after meditating on the issue for this month.
In fact, almost none of my higher end purchases are new. I most definitely could not afford Balenciaga and Loeffler Randall boots otherwise. But even this can be a problem when it comes to consumption: there's the carbon footprint from shipping, the closet space I'm losing, the neglect of perfectly good items I already own. Ultimately, it feeds into the lifestyle of over consumption that we are bombarded with daily. I am in the process of deeply evaluating why I want to make a purchase and the cohesiveness of my wardrobe as a whole. A month long break is a great time for such introspection.
GAIN CONFIDENCE AND DISCIPLINE FOR OTHER GOALS
You know how every single list of productivity hacks tells you to tackle your hardest tasks early in your day to make everything else seem easier? Well, that may be true. But another little tidbit is that if you lack motivation for one reason or another, that can seem impossible. Setting smaller, manageable goals in the face of looming, long-term plans is a great way to get your act together little by little.
If you love shopping and style as much as I do, a whole month of abstaining could do wonders for your confidence to tackle other challenges. Who knows, you (or I!) may even decide to keep it going for another month or two.
Now that you are armed with all this logic and reason, go forth and don't shop. If you need support, check out the bi-weekly thread on the Female Fashion Advice subreddit and give me a comment below so I can link to your blog!