One Month Shopping Hiatus
A one month shopping hiatus won't solve any of the pressing issues in the world but it did impact my spending habits which is a start.
In a recent interview, Nadine Farag from One Who Dresses was chatting with Kestral Jenkins on Conscious Chatter and said something profound. Nadine stated how she is interested in clothes subtracted from commerce. This comment really resonated with me. This idea is the missing piece to an internal puzzle I have been struggling with.
Why does everything feel so hollow and unfulfilling in the retail and fashion industry? Because at the end of the day it is about selling clothes to lots of people who can't afford them and having many pieces, one in three, end up in the garbage. I really admire clothing and how it can transform us day to day. This passion of mine is fostered quietly from the sidelines since I don't live in the fashion mecca of New York. I admire clothing from afar. I am much more interested in the stories behind the clothing than how much it costs and where can I buy it.
The fashion industry makes you feel perpetually behind on trends and clothes fighting to keep up with your wallet. You will never catch up. It's crazy to think that everyone can and should spend tons of money on a wardrobe filled with choices dictated to them. I decided to start this challenge after listening to this interview. It is hardly suffering to stop yourself from buying clothes because they will still be around at the end of your hiatus or they won't. I've realized having a passion for a piece of clothing and still thinking about it a month later is probably a purchase you won't regret.
Because those fleeting affairs add up quickly. If every time I clicked on an item and decided to buy it without consideration for my wallet or my closet; my wardrobe would be twice as full. I talk a big game about thinking before purchasing but sometimes I don't. Which is okay. I'm not perfect. But I do learn from these purchases if it was worth it or not. Another bad habit I get into is piling clothes next to my closet and not hanging them up. Usually if I am looking for something it's in the pile. If you can't see it you forget it.
Another contributing factor to this hiatus is the craziness of holiday spending and after holiday sales in January leaving me feeling depleted. Did I get some "good deals"? Sure. Did they all need to be purchased in these two months? No. I used to be able to buy gifts in advance and not be tempted to buy more “presents” for myself but I am human. Sometimes you get caught up in all the sales emails pouring in and just click a few to see what they have in stock.
As a way to detox and save some money I'm implemented a self imposed shopping hiatus from clothes for the rest of this month. Even though we are more than half way through February I haven't bought anything clothing wise. A great strategy is shopping your own closet when you feel the need for something new. Novelty can be found for free instead of for free shipping.
Since I don't have the iron will of others on the internet I'm not going to try to impose a year long shopping ban. This month long experiment has made me slow down and consider all the options before purchasing. Can I get this somewhere else cheaper or more sustainably made? I try to only shop sustainable and ethical brands but sometimes I slip up. It's hard to find trousers that fit in good vintage condition or made sustainably so I go with Topshop because it is easy and they are on sale.
My closet is filled to the brim and yet I am coerced to see it as empty and vast. I don't think it is a coincidence that after taking a renewed interest in fashion a lot of the media I am consuming is subtly and blatently pushing for me to buy things. I've long been suspicious of the motivations behind our consumer driven economy. I don't like the idea of consuming products just for consumption sake or because the brands and media want me to.
I also go through periods of excess and starvation when it comes to shopping. No month is the same. Obviously if you have less money it is easier to use that as your defacto excuse. I remember not too long ago when I didn't have a job but had a few thousand in savings. I convinced myself not to blow this money, since the future was uncertain, on something I wouldn't care about a few months later. It was hard, sometimes. I would transfer small increments over to my checking periodically to pay for things that aren't luxuries but felt too expensive at the time like gas and health insurance.
I am fortunate now to have a steady paycheck and a larger savings account. Sometimes unexpected expenses come up and even though losing a chunk of money will sting short term I can still pay for it. One thing I've learned is that if you feel like you aren't saving as much or your money seems to be disappearing check your spending habits. Outside of bills and other necessary payments are you splurging a bit too much in one area and can you rein it in for a month to see the difference? It might make all the difference to do your own hiatus.