I have mentioned before that this year I have decided to buy no new clothes, for the entirety of its course, but someone recently enquired how on earth I refrain from purchasing said items, so I’ve put together the traditional five bullet point list on How Not To Buy Clothes:
- Have no money. Try quitting your well-paid job to try to set out as a freelance writer – that should do it. However, if you do quite like your job then I would suggest no. 2…
- …Don’t got shopping! Just don’t go. Go for a walk on your Saturday instead. On weekends Chris and I used to mooch into town because I needed jeans or he needed shoes (he seems to always need shoes) and now we do lots of other things instead! Weekends are way more interesting now that clothes shopping isn’t really an option.
- I do, however, completely understand that sometimes shopping is unavoidable, for example I’ve been on lots of shopping trips recently with people who wish to purchase outfits to wear to my wedding (nice). On these occasions I recommend one very important attitude to adopt – be cynical. Like you just told your dad that you’re in love with your very first boyfriend/girlfriend cynical. When you see something you like, pick it up and adopt that slightly amused but overall negative one eyebrow raised look. Find the label which says ‘Made in India/China/Vietnam’, appraise the quality of the fabric and get all uppity about its polyester/viscous content, then put it down and aloofly walk away, as if the garment offended you with its shoddiness (if it’s not shoddy, or 100% silk then the likelihood is that a, you can’t afford it anyway or b, you’re obviously in a very lovely shop and are now far beyond my help).
- DIY! This really helps with no. 2 because it seems to me that most clothes are just a variation on a couple of designs and techniques, so once you understand how those designs fit together you can go forth and make the things you see yourself! If you’ve never sewn before then fear not, someone in your family will own a sewing machine, however ancient – borrow it, go and buy yourself a novice pattern (there are tones of them and the designs really are rather pleasing), either buy a couple of meters of fabric (a lot of places have some very pleasing 100% cotton designs for around £5 a meter) or find an old bedsheet in a charity shop/your nana’s house that takes your fancy and get cutting! Read the instructions so you know what to do and if you’re ever stuck on anything from threading the machine to topstitching then YouTube it (I could fill a whole two years of my life with sewing YouTube videos – there is literally about 28 for every one technique). Once you’re started, you’ll be lying awake at night thinking about what you’re going to make next and with all the money you save from not buying new clothes you’ll be able to afford your own sewing machine in no time at all! Then, as you aloofly walk away from shoddy clothes you can superiorly say “I’ll just make one when I get home”.
- Shop Charity! I do understand that every now and again nothing can beat a bit of retail therapy (happens to me almost weekly) and because the rule of my game is to buy nothing new, charity shops are the way to go. You’ll end up having more of a laugh trying things on and probably come out with a lot more interesting stuff for literally a fraction of the price. Plus whilst you’ve been therapising yourself, you’ve also been giving to charity – it’s like the definition of win win.
I honestly thought this year would be more of a challenge but I’m nearly half way through it and am absolutely loving it! Chris asked me if, when this year is up, I’ll go back to my old shopping habits and I really don’t think I will. I shall buy really good quality clothes that I know I couldn’t make myself and that’ll probably mean that they’re so expensive I’ll only be able to purchase one piece a year away! The rest of the time me and Vera will be hanging out together making a wardrobe fit for a slightly confused Jane Austen fan – bring it.