One Year Shopping Ban

Everlane cashmere ribbed crewneck sweater

The last few months of 2018 I did a bit of soul-searching. What do I want this blog to look like next year? What do I want my outfits to look like in 2019?

It’s true that my style has changed a lot since I first started this blog in 2013. I used to be all about the trends, bold, beautiful colors, and adding a touch of whimsy in everyday outfits. Now? I’ve started to embrace a more neutral color palette, minimalist silhouettes, and a passion for ethical and sustainable fashion.

why the change in style?

What brought about this change? A few factors really. First, I read a book called My Year of Less by Cait Flanders who’s a great personal finance blogger. She did a one year no-spend challenge and came out on the other side better for it. I also read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. It really inspired me to take a look at the sheer volume of things (and especially clothes) I own and how much of it I actually wear outside of the blog. I am a firm believer that a blog’s quality starts to tank when the blogger’s life revolves around the blog. A blog tends to be the most interesting when it revolves around the blogger’s life instead. But isn’t that exactly what I was doing myself? Buying more and more clothes, some of them super cheap, knowing I couldn’t wear them to very many occasions, just so I could feature it on my blog? I hated that I was becoming something I didn’t want to be. My boyfriend once commented upon seeing my wardrobe that I had “the most clothes I’ve ever seen in my life.” I used to chuckle at his surprise with a sense of sheepish pride. Look at all the stuff I have! I have so many clothes teehee! Now, I’m just embarrassed. Marie Kondo says that when you don’t wear your clothes, their purpose is diminished so you should donate them or give them to someone who will appreciate their purpose. I was definitely not giving so many items in my closet their sense of purpose. I hated that.

I also watched a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost about the poor and horrible labor conditions of people in developing countries who make our clothes. They work for cents a day under abusive factory managers and now that I know these facts, I can’t un-know them. I don’t want to contribute my money to encourage companies to keep using cheap labor so they can turn a profit at the expense of human beings being treated in such a way. I’d rather have less. Which brings me to my next point: I’m going to put myself on a one year shopping ban.

shopping ban?? But you’re a style blogger!

I realize the almost counter-intuitiveness of doing a shopping ban as a style blogger. In fact, a friend of mine just laughed at me and bet me that I wouldn’t last (can’t say I blame her - I was a shopaholic!). I’m “supposed to” be featuring new trends and new content and how can I do that when I’m not shopping for new things? Well for starters, I’ve literally outfit repeated on this blog multiple times and no one seems to have noticed. I’ve taken outfits I’ve worn three years ago and worn them again and I got a ton of comments saying, “great styling!” or “that’s so creative!” and the like. This tells I don’t need to buy anything new to create something new on my blog. After all, I honestly don’t notice in my real life when people repeat an outfit so why are we so ashamed of it on our blogs?

The last few months, I’ve either been thrifting my clothes, buying them secondhand on Poshmark, or only purchasing from brands that are ethical, sustainable, or both. The best way to be sustainable in my wardrobe, though, is to just not buy anything new and not contribute to the vast amount of textile waste that’s hurting our planet. That’s exactly what I intend to do. Going forward, expect posts on ethical and sustainable brands I do enjoy, thrifting tips, and the like!

Disclaimer

Whenever I read another blog or watch a Youtube channel on thrifting or buying ethically or sustainably, I always see comments from people saying that they can’t afford to do this, or they don’t live near a thrift store. I don’t want to minimize those comments because they’re legit. I’ve been there - I have been a broke recent college grad, living with my parents for two months because I couldn’t afford DC rent. I remember scrambling when I got a call for my first job interview and not having any professional clothes to wear to it. I remember not having the money to buy slow fashion (because I didn’t have this job yet, remember?) and not having the time to sift through thrift shops praying something there looks professional and fits well without having to tailor it because no time, remember? So what did I do? I went to H&M and bought a blouse, work pants, and a blazer. Fast fashion was there for me when I was poor and needed something quick. I would never shame any low-income person for buying fast-fashion if that’s all they can afford because I don’t believe in forcing low-income people to help fix a problem they never helped create. The way I see it, you know your own income and your own budget way better than I do. You know your neighborhood and living situation better than me. If you can’t afford Everlane and don’t have a thrift shop near you, do what you have to. Shop at Forever 21 or H&M or any of the other fast fashion shops you can afford. I don’t want to tell anyone how to live their lives. I’m just doing this because I’m at a point in my life where I have a larger budget and in a position of privilege to go without certain things. I don’t need to be shopping anymore and if I do shop, I don’t need to be doing so at budget fast fashion brands. This is something *I* want to do because I can and because of what I’ve learned. If that’s not where you’re at, that’s fine. You do you, boo! I just want to share my experiences with ethical shopping and minimalism and hopefully encourage more mindful shopping for those who can.

so the shopping ban… how will this work?

Goal: To minimize my shopping habits and learn to live with less; to not add anything to what I already have; to appreciate the things that are already in my life. 

Rules

  • No shopping for clothes and accessories (including, vintage or used pieces) unless I'm replacing a piece that is no longer wearable (completely torn, shrunk in the wash, etc.)

  • No buying makeup or skincare products unless I'm replacing something I've used up completely (mascara, eyeliner, shower gel, etc). 

  • No miscellaneous purchases including books, magazines, or movies. (I can watch Netflix or borrow from the library) 

  • I can only purchase something to replace something else when absolutely necessary and there are no substitutes for it.

  • Gifts and free items will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis (even though it's free, if it's adding clutter into my space, I don't need it).

  • No purchasing personal technology such as new phones, cameras, or computers unless it becomes completely unusable and must be replaced.

  • Personal grooming will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis but mostly banned (getting nails done, getting a blowout, etc). 

Exceptions: 

  • Food for groceries or eating out - just because I don't eat out often anyway

  • Yoga membership - it's a part of my physical and mental health

  • Bills (of course)

  • Travel fares (on a case by case basis)

  • Hair cuts and maintenance - I get my hair cut only a few times a year and I don't dye it so I'm not too worried about going overboard in this area

  • Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions

  • Gifts for friends and family

Approved Shopping List

  • One pair of neutral all-purpose flats - I'm wearing out

  • Socks - I have so few right now because they keep wearing out

  • Yarn and crafting supplies - I started a knitting circle with friends so I think I'll make a few sweaters this year!

  • Home goods - My place isn't as well-furnished as I'd like it to be. Some things are falling apart so I'd like to replace those furnishings when I'm able.