So it’s been nearly a month now since the self imposed buying ban. If you have no idea what I am on about, you can read my post here on the decision not to buy any clothes for a 6 month period. The aim of this torturous activity was to identify why I kept buying so many clothes, many of which did not satisfy the feeling I was looking for in buying them for the first place.
So in a month have I collapsed and bought a mountain of cloth? Am I gnawing at my fingers, desperate for a new top? Surprisingly not, although there have been some mild panic induced moments, particularly when a sale pops up unawares outside of my mail filtering tools.
Initially I made a note of what I chose to wear and realised I do have a style without even realising it. I like plain clothes in slightly alternative styles with contrasting and bright accessories or layers. So a black dress with a floral blazer, or a colour block dress with a bright yellow necklace. I do not like fuss in clothes. So plain lines, not too many pleats, no frills and definitely no rips. Pretty much your classic shift/sweater dress , a blazer, a shirt or a t-shirt. Nothing too fancy. For work I like a one piece dress and a blazer or a cardigan. For home I like jeans or jeggings and a tunic, or a shirt or t-shirt. I like to have a couple of day dresses for occasions and a few outfits for more swish occasions. I like plain colours and I like bold patterns. I like dark neutrals and bright brights. I do not like anything in between like tie die or little diamonds or god forbid beige or baby blue. So I knew this already, but it was buried in me. I was trying to find an alternative style, to be something I’m not.
Why has it taken me soooo long to work this out? And we’re talking the whole two years I’ve been practicing minimalism , not just a few weeks. I’ve been buying clothes on a pretty regular basis, in fairly consistent quantities for ages. I buy them, I look at them, I might wear them a few times and then mindfulness takes over and I realise I don’t feel great in them.
Taking this purchase pause is allowing me to breathe…it’s taken away the impulse to buy because I’ve told myself I can’t. I’ve also gotten more creative with clothing. So I used some Dylon dye and I’ve dyed a purple tweed blazer ( one word, why?) that’s been hanging in my wardrobe for ages a lovely shade of indigo and I’ve employed my not so great hand sewing skills to turn a denim dress I’m bored of into a peplum top I really love. I’m pretty proud of this. With less in my wardrobe and nowhere to turn I’m looking at what I’ve got and thinking ‘what can I do with this?’ I’ve not run out of clothes yet, and everything I’ve worn I feel good in. I feel like ‘me’. No I can’t explain it either but I think it’s about being more mindful about my wardrobe and thinking ‘What do I actually like to wear?’
I still have just over five months to go so we’re not out of the woods yet – there’s still the fact I’ve got a pretty small winter wardrobe, so layering will have to be the order of the day and I have to get past the lure of the January sale…My ban ends in March and my current aim is to buy a few pieces then to compliment what I know I love.
Fancy working better with your wardrobe? Here’s some tips to get you started
- A purchase pause. Even if it feels like going cold turkey and you can only do it for a month, resisting the urge to spend all your free income on a few new ‘bits’ to tart up your wardrobe and going back to look at what you have will really help you gain perspective
- Upcycle it – Can you dye the t-shirt you’d quite like if it was a darker shade? Can you take up the hem on the maxi you’d love as a knee length dress? Will altering the sleeves or changing the neckline give you a new outfit? Give it a try
- Clothes swap – Lots of cities and towns now have clothes swapping parties- the crux with this one is you have to be the same size as someone else which as a large woman leaves you with little option but if you can find a party that works for you, then you can create yourself a new wardrobe for nothing and get rid of your old stuff to boot
- Put things into seasons – even if you’re short on space, making your wardrobe seasonal is a better way to see what you have and haven’t got, and what you might need. That way you get rid of those jumpers in summer, and when it comes to pulling them out again, you’ve often forgotten what you had and you almost get a new wardrobe! You can use vaccum bags and store under the bed, or fill a suitcase.