How often do you buy clothing and accessories? Is it rarely or frequently? What’s the reason for these purchases?
Did you know that every time you buy something your brain gives you a little hit of dopamine (a happy hormone) that gives you a short rush of feel good chemicals, but quickly wears off, which is why it’s easy to become addicted to this feeling and buy things even when you don’t need them.
Did you know that October is buy nothing new month? And unless your wardrobe is bare (or full of clothes that are holey or worn out) then most of us can easily go a month without buying anything new. If you know that you can barely go a week without buying something new, it could be time to take a break and take part in buy nothing new month.
Pause and Think Before You Buy
It’s the global movement for collective, conscientious consumption. Of course, buying nothing new doesn’t include food, hygiene products, and medicines, instead, it’s about being more conscious about how you consume and just taking one month off and thinking “do I really need it?” and if you do “can I get it 2nd hand, borrow it, rent it?” It’s about thinking about resources and where our stuff comes from and where it goes when we’re done with it (frequently landfill) and what are some of the other ways of getting what we need without always buying something new.
Taking a moment to pause and think before you buy anything, I always recommend you rating the potential purchase out of 10 – and it has to rate an 8 or more for it to be something you even consider buying. Remember that we find it harder to let go of stuff we own, so making good decisions before you buy is so important if you want to be a more conscious consumer.
Have a Swap Party
I see so many overflowing wardrobes with less than 20% of what’s inside being worn. Instead of buying new, why not hold a swap party with friends and see if you can keep your clothes in circulation rather than sitting unworn and unloved in your wardrobe by swapping them for something you will wear. Remember, it’s not just clothes, it’s also shoes, scarves and other accessories that could find new homes where they will be more loved and worn than they are being in yours and swapping means you get to take something home too, just because you’re not buying anything new, doesn’t mean you don’t get to partake in the fun!
Clothes are like milk, they go off over time – fashions change so if you’ve bought something you’re not wearing (and not because it’s the wrong season) then there is probably a good reason for this. Why you’re not wearing it is something that I help you discover in my 7 Steps to Style program, that is all about becoming a more discerning and conscious shopper by getting the style education you need to make the best shopping decisions (as well as learning how to build a wardrobe that works for you and expresses your personality from the inside out).
But there is not point in holding onto something you’re not wearing, because it doesn’t fit or flatter in the way you’d like, because it’s the wrong colours, because you have nowhere to wear it, because it doesn’t reflect your personality, because you have nothing to wear with it …. this list can go on. Instead of keeping it, why not release those unworn and barely worn (and can’t actually see yourself wearing again) garments while they are still potentially fashionable and let someone else get some joy from them. Here are tips on deciding whether you should keep something or let it go.
You can also buy and sell clothes and accessories second-hand – from eBay to Poshmark and a million other options in between (consignment stores, Facebook Marketplace, Rebag, The Real Real and so many more). Plus of course, there are wonderful charities, such as Dress for Success and charity thrift stores you can donate items you don’t wear to, and also pick up something amazing as well if you like to have a fossick to find the gold that is possible to find in them (here are tips on how to thrift like a pro).
Upcycle or Refashion
If you’re not wearing something but you truly-wruly love it, but it’s just a bit wrong in some way or other – how can you upcycle, embellish or refashion it? From a small alteration, a repair, or overdying to a fabulous colour for you, to a major overhaul in some way or other, maybe having a month off buying new will give you some time and inspiration to turn your unworn into something new and loved and you’ll actually get some wear from it.
Do a Style Challenge to See What You Have
Taking a step back from shopping can get you a new and fresh perspective on what you have (why not try and wear everything in your wardrobe rather than reaching for the same favourites over and over, if you need some assistance and inspiration, take on my Evolve Your Style challenge as this gives you the framework to a deeper understanding of your style and your wardrobe.
Recruit Your Clothes and Accessories Well
Jill Chivers and I discuss the concept of recruitment with regards to shopping in the video here, as it’s a great way of thinking about making better shopping choices. It’s expensive to hire and fire employees, and the same goes for your wardrobe. The average woman wastes over $900 per year on clothes she doesn’t wear (that adds up to $9000 every decade!). Don’t you want to use that money for something else? Getting that style education is the key to not being average and instead, being better than average! It’s the education you never got in school, but one you use every single day of your life as you get dressed every day.
More Tips on a More Sustainable Fashion World