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The Clothes-Buying Ban Of 2017: 6 Months In

You read it right – it’s already been six months! Can you believe it? I feel like 2017 is just dragging us kicking and screaming long for a wild ride…

But anyway, the title says it all: it’s been six months now of sticking to my clothes-buying ban, and I wanted to share my thoughts thus far:

Why A Clothes Ban

I explained in more detail in my original post about the clothes-buying ban, but the bottom line is: I just don’t need any more clothes. I have everything I need to work, exercise, and lounge comfortably. Buying more is wasteful and serves as a mere distraction from the things I truly want to accomplish and be.

Too often, we let purchases fill in the gaps in our life, where action or human connection would be more fulfilling. When it comes to clothes, my personal example is fancy workout clothes.

Rockin my (old) Nike for the Mt. Wilson Trail Race. I did get a new shirt for participating, though…

Man, I really love me some fancy Nike or Lululemon workout clothes. So comfy, so sleek, they really make me look like the kind of person who works out every day and is super fit.

But once I have enough clothes for my workout habits, buying any more of these is just a distraction. It doesn’t fulfill my actual desire, which is to be the kind of person who works out every day and is super fit.

The only thing that can actually fulfill that is…..working out!

I think many other types of purchases follow the same pattern – we buy fancy phones because we want to connect, when really a simple conversation with a neighbor over coffee might do. Etcetera. It’s an easy pattern to fall into, especially in a world that urges us to fulfill all our human needs by consuming more.

Also in a world where women’s clothes are NOT made to last, but that’s a separate rant.


No blanket ban is complete without some confessions.

As you might imagine, I’ve slipped up a couple of times in the past six months. Slip-up #1 I only half count, because it was a pair of socks from the REI garage sale intended to be shared between myself and Anna. But it still must be included in the Confessions.

The second slip-up is a doozy, a complete and utter abandonment of the rules. I bought a dress. New.

I know!

I really can’t defend myself here, so I will leave my confession for all to see. Here are the details: I bought a dress to wear to Anna’s sister’s wedding in November. I was agonizing and stressing over what to wear to the wedding, which is what I do anytime I have to dress up for any occasion whatsoever.

Roosevelt says, “What’s the big deal? I never wear clothes!”

My closet yielded nothing appropriate for such an affair, it being a late fall wedding on the East Coast and myself being a sunshine child of Los Angeles.

I was idly searching online for a dress that would be appropriate for the occasion and win the approval of Anna’s mother and sisters (kind of a big task…) when I happened upon a very cute number…WITH POCKETS.

Needless to say I threw my clothes buying ban in the bin for a moment and bought the dress.

It fits very nicely.

I anticipate wearing it to many other events, as it’s a flattering, yet moderately conservative cut in a versatile solid color.

Honestly, I have no regrets. But I did have to confess.

I have also acquired a number of clothing items during the past six months without actually purchasing them. This includes a few gifts and hand-me-downs as well as a couple of free t-shirts from running in races. It’s all about getting the shirt, right? I also acquired a new shirt by knitting it, which I feel is still in keeping with the clothing ban.

What I’ve Learned So Far

  1. It’s not worth thinking about clothing. Once the first few weeks passed, during which I thought about buying clothes relatively often (or perhaps I just noticed how often I thought about it normally, I’m not sure), I really stopped thinking about the ban altogether.There were a couple of instances when I really wanted a clothing item, but I figured I would just write it down and see if I still really wanted it. Inevitably, I didn’t want it anymore.Gradually, I pretty much entirely stopped thinking about purchasing clothing, and I really feel that I’m happier and less stressed for it.
  2. I have way more than I need. Since I’m not buying anything new, I’ve really noticed myself falling into a pattern of wearing the same rotation of clothes ween in and week out. Spoiler: there aren’t that many different items in the rotation.I have a few work outfits that rotate, a few casual ones, and some workout clothes. That’s it. That’s all that’s necessary. I think soon I’ll be able to do another purge and get rid of even more clothing that I never wear, relieving myself and my poor dresser even more stress.I even lost two pairs of jeans to unmendable holes, which I thought would really cripple my wardrobe. It did not. I still have two pairs of jeans (burgundy and regular denim) as well as a few pairs of work-appropriate pants that serve me just fine. And my pants drawer is much easier to navigate for the loss.

    Louise wishes we would buy more clothes, but only so that she can climb them.
  3. Nobody notices or cares. I’m not kidding when I say I’m wearing the same outfits on rotation. This is true at work and at home. No one notices or cares. The only comment I’ve gotten was from Anna, and it was, “You really like that shirt, don’t you?” about a shirt that we got for free from her friend. And I do love that shirt, it’s so comfortable.That’s it. No other comments. No one cares if you wear the same thing every day. Seriously.
  4. Clothing can and should be fixed. Now that I’m not buying any new clothes (this includes thrifting!), I find that I’m more motivated to take care of the ones I already own. Old me used to throw shirts out once the pit stains became too bad. New me searches for baking soda concoctions like this one to get rid of the stains and continue wearing the shirt, just like new.Old me would throw away clothes that developed holes, new me mends them. Actually I did that for my favorite items before the clothing ban, but still.

    Of course sometimes the damage is too bad to be fixed (see: my jeans, RIP), but most of the time clothes can be fixed and the fixes are really not noticeable. Good as new!







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  1. Victoria Victoria

    Ha! I was with you on the dress as soon as I saw pockets!

    I had advance access to a sale last week and had a few things in my basket. One pair of trousers in particular. Left the browser window open and kept looking at them. I’m not on a clothing ban but we’re out attempting a version of uber frugal month and in looking at our budgets I need to cut back on spend for clothes and shoes. I say attempting, because we are cutting back but I’m still eating croissants and drinking wine!

    I kept looking at that basket, then looking at our budget spreadsheet and thinking about what our numbers would look like if I stuck to or reduced my clothing budget line item. Yesterday I finally closed the browser window. So hard! It’s annoying as that felt practically monumental and yet my spreadsheet didn’t change. It’s a bit like exercising; you have to keep going with a routine before you see any difference.

    • Flo Flo

      You’re so right! It is like exercising. Hard, but once you get into a routine it’s easier to get yourself to do it. Congrats on closing that window!

      Sounds like your Uber Frugal Month is going well 🙂 I think it’s totally possible to do UFM and still enjoy some croissants and wine…we found some pretty good boxed wine the other day! 😉

      • Victoria Victoria

        Boxed wine can taste ok but I find it more dangerous! At least when you open a bottle you know you’ve opened it. With boxed wine there’s a tendency to find yourself looking at the empty bag thinking, “where did that go?”!

        • Flo Flo

          True! We found this one that comes in a sort of bottle-sized box…mostly eliminates that problem, I hope? Will report back! ;P

  2. Nice work! It’s fascinating to be able to step back and notice spending habits once we’ve had some time away from them.

    I wear literally the same thing every day all winter. Inevitably once a week someone asks me if I’m going on a date, but not once has someone said Hey you wore that yesterday. It’s so much easier to get dressed in the cold and dark that way, ha!

    Summer, now…. summer is for sundresses. Thankfully I have several 😉

    • Flo Flo

      Thanks! Yeah, it’s really been a good thing for me not just from a financial standpoint.

      Hooray for sundresses! And shorts! If only I could wear athletic shorts to the office, I would be a very happy camper 🙂

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