A new year always invites reflection, even though if you think about it it’s a little strange that a celestial body’s successful completion of orbit should make us reflect on our shopping and eating habits….but whatever, reflection is always good, right?
Today I’m reflecting upon my decision early last year to forego clothing purchases for the year. I had a few reasons for undertaking the Clothes Buying Ban of 2017:
- Saving money! New clothes are pricey, and if you don’t need them, why buy them?
- Saving space! We live in a small house with very little storage, and our dressers and closets are bursting as it is.
- Saving the environment! The fast fashion industry is terrible for the environment, and the fewer clothes we buy, the less we contribute to that environmental degradation.
- Not supporting slave labor! The fast fashion industry is also supported largely by slave labor or very underpaid labor. I don’t want to be part of that if I can help it.
- Freeing up mental space! I realized how much I think about clothes in general, other people’s clothes, my clothes, etc. Why? It’s not making my life any better, so it’s really just mental clutter.
So, how did it go?
As I mentioned in last week’s Pits and Peaks post, I feel successful about the ban even though I did have to break it on a couple of occasions. Here are the offending clothing items, and their reasons for purchase:
The Running Shoes
I decided to train for the LA marathon (which is in March) in October, and started training seriously. Soon it became obvious that my old running shoes would not hold up. The poor support was causing pain in my feet and legs, and I knew it could become more serious if I didn’t get new shoes. So, I bought new running shoes at my local running store. My feet and legs are happy now, mile after mile.
Yup, I bought this dress (WITH POCKETS) to wear to Anna’s sister’s wedding in November. I really simply didn’t have anything appropriate for this event, so I shelled out the cash for this dress. It’s a simple style, easy-to-care-for fabric, and a timeless color. I anticipate wearing it to many more events in the future. I would also like to note that I carried a total of 5 iPhones in the pockets at one time, because I was the only woman at the event who had pockets.
One fateful day late this summer, I pulled my trusty nude bra out of the laundry, only to find that the two cups had declared independence from each other while I had my back turned. They had not, of course, consulted me on this move whatsoever.
This rendered my longsuffering bra unusable, so I headed out to Target and got a new one, as well as a floppy companion because I am a sucker and it was cheap and looked comfortable. I consider the floppy bra my only true, real failing at the clothes buying ban, because I really didn’t need it.
The Hiking Socks
These are more of a joint purchase, and to be honest Anna is the one who mostly wear them, but we got these lovely, lightly used hiking socks at the REI Garage Sale for $4 last spring.
As I mentioned in my 6 month update, this clothes buying ban has done more for my mind than it ever really did for my wallet. Sure, I definitely saved some money on clothes or shoes I maybe would have purchased if I hadn’t been doing the ban, but the mental benefits were much greater than the financial ones.
I find myself thinking much less about what other people are wearing, what I’m wearing, and why. I no longer have various tabs open on my computer with cool new running gear or fancy jackets waiting in my digital shopping cart. It’s just not something I think about anymore.
Another plus to the clothes buying ban that I didn’t realize when I started was that it keeps me in check health-wise. Recently, I felt my one pair of blue jeans getting a bit snug about the waist. It’s the holidays, you know how it goes. Well, past me may have just gone out and gotten a new pair a size up. But I know that I was strong and at a healthy weight when I got those jeans originally, so it would be better for me to maybe lay off the chocolate and beer for a while and keep myself in check.
Once again, frugality has unforeseen health benefits!
Another benefit of the ban is the conversations it has started. I’ve mentioned it to a few friends in passing, and everyone I’ve talked to about it seems to think it’s a great idea. It also gets us started talking about consumer culture, fast fashion and its dependence on poor working conditions and its environmental impact, slow fashion, and other topics I find interesting (and like to talk people’s ears off about…sorry…)
Probably the funniest part of the ban was the “Murder Gloves.” About halfway through the year, my horseback riding gloves, which had been going for about 8 years strong, started developing holes. I managed to get some black leather and patch them up, but unfortunately they were simply done living in this world. I kept patching and patching but eventually there was more hole than glove.
During the process, I kept wearing them of course. I patched them with red thread one time because, eh, who cares, and my horseback riding friends were appalled – “Those look like MURDER GLOVES!!” they said. So, the Murder Gloves were a regular fixture in our lives until I was very generously gifted new riding gloves by my mother. I would have probably had to buy another pair at some point otherwise, truth be told.
I plan to continue with the clothes buying ban indefinitely. Why not? I continue to not need anything new, and I continue to want to save more money, and I like the mindset it has me in. The only thing is, I might need to get some new underwear – mine are full of holes and I don’t need to be known for my Murder Underwear now…