At the end of last year, I decided to no buy any clothes for the whole of 2019. After 3 months or 13 weeks, I haven’t succumbed from such decision yet, actually I’m doing great!!
The decision to not buy any clothes for a year is based on a couple reasons
The first thing is that fast fashion isn’t compatible with my eco-friendly lifestyle. Wearing synthetic, poorly made, eco-disastrous clothes, which don’t even look good after the first wash, wasn’t bearable anymore. If fashion is a form of self expression, then these clothes did not express who I am.
The second reason for such decision was a bit of Marie Kondo effect! A positive reinforcement effect really, as I have been into Feng Shui and decluttering for years. Despite this, my wardrobe still seems to be overflowing. I’m not going to trash everything. Instead I’ll just continue wearing whatever is wearable, even if these pieces don’t necessarily spark joy. I’m going to take things really slow on the donation part.
Another reason is budget. For the first time in my life, last year I created a budget and this year I’m truly following through. Last year, I suddenly felt the need to know what I was spending my money on. Despite having read countless articles about the psychological effects having a budget can have, I only truly understood by doing it. Saving on futile, unnecessary & non eco-friendly buy is a big win.
In addition, I should point out, that I decided to go on a depth year. I should write about this in more detail, in a subsequent post, but quickly I will just say that a depth year is about making the most of what you have. Not starting anything new, but instead mastering what you already have or know.
Just to be clear, I was never a shopaholic. Like pretty much everybody, I do have clothes that I’ve barely or even, never worn. But I’ve never really enjoyed shopping that much. I am completely incapable of shopping during sales as I only pick things that are not on sale. I hate most dressing rooms and I hate crowed shops. Online shopping, yes! That I can do!!
So when I decided to sew my own clothes, I thought that, in addition to being able to make eco-friendly garnement, in addition to saving money and else, I would also save time! Well, on that one, so far, I was very wrong!!
This leads us to the next part: I’m sewing my own clothes!
A year and a half ago, I got a vintage Singer sewing machine. You can find the story of how we met and how things went here. I actually had a good laugh reading what I wrote about our first encounter!
After the sewing of the Sherlock hat, I didn’t start any big project. Life was difficult back then. I did use my Singer to repair yoga pants, to sew curtains hems (which alone is a huge steps for me, considering I always used tape for that in the past!) and other small sewing projects like this.
However, on one of my trip to see my dad, for some reasons, I brought my Singer with me. There, I sewed a seat cover for my dad’s Indian and I did hems on his bed cover. As we played along with some of the attachments that came with the machine, I realized that I had bought a great treasure. I actually didn’t know about all those attachments! It’s quite something really. So ingenuous.
And, this is when it clicked! I thought to myself: I’m going to sew my own clothes. Most of the ones I buy are so poorly made anyway, I can’t do much worst!
I got myself some other clever attachments as Christmas presents and in January, I decided on my first 2 projects and bought eco fabric for these.
My plan was to sew 1 piece of clothing per week for a year. Since I started late, I thought that a goal of 52 pieces in a year, was overly optimistic but that if I reached 35-40, it would be great!
The clothes I would sew, would be the perfect color, the perfect fit, the perfect design….
So how things going? Not quite as planned, for now!!
In 13 weeks, I managed to sew 1 skirt and 1 neck warmer. The skirt lining torn when I first put it on… And in any case, these were winter garnement, and spring came before I could finish them 😂😂😂
Well, I also added lace at the bottom of an existing dress and that’s a really nice upgrade. And I replaced a zipper, on one of the skirt I couldn’t wear anymore, so I’ll count that as an achievement too!
But now, I clearly need to revisit my goals. 😅 And maybe, 1 garnement per month is a good new goal! I’m not even sure.
You understand now why I’m in no rush to donate all the clothes that do not spark joy in my wardrobe. If do, I might end up butt-naked by the end of the year!
Living differently is not that easy
I’ve been mostly vegan for years, and it’s still not easy. Depending on where you live, finding restaurants, dealing with people’s comments etc. can be draining.
I’ve been trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and it’s not that easy either. I try to reject consumerism as much as I can, and sometimes I feel like I’m blowing all efforts out, in one day of shopping online.
Eating organic food wrapped in plastic drives me crazy. My garbages are fatter than I can cope with, no matter how much efforts I put into rejecting plastic bag, bottles, single used containers and other unnecessary wrapping.
Eco-friendly clothes are still not mainstream and designs and variety are somehow lacking. If by chance you find a brand you like, it’ll probably be on the other side of the World. Importing such eco-friendly clothes suddenly becomes an eco-crime.
For now, as an answer to the clothes problem, I’m doing this ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge and meanwhile, I’m learning to sew because it’s a skill I want to grow.
But I’m not sure it is sustainable. Actually I’m pretty sure it isn’t.
I’ve spent days sewing the one skirt I managed to finish. Days I could have spent working on my other creative projects. I know i’ll get better at it and the next one won’t take as much time.
But then, what will I take on? Yes, I’ve considered doing my own everything. From make-up to laundry detergent. And I think it’s nice to learn to do those things. It isn’t as nice when your whole week is filled with such chores. Becoming self reliant feels like it is a full time job. I’m not quite sure I want to go that way.
Anyway, for this year, I’ll try to continue sewing as much as I can while still having a certain balance between my job and my other projects. Will see how that goes!!
But at least, I have not bought any clothes for 3 months! 👏👏👏
See you in 3 months for another status report!
2 thoughts on “Not buying clothes for a year: a status report after 3 months in!”
I love the idea of a no spend year. I have tried to stay away from buying new clothes as well. It’s not easy for me. The idea of learning how to sew my own clothes is exciting but equally daunting. I am fascinated to see where this takes you.
Same here!! 3 months just felt by, but one year seems like a long time!