On January 25, I set a goal to limit myself to 25 new wardrobe purchases in 2017. I bought either 44 or 56 items last year and surely at LEAST half of those purchases were unnecessary/disappointing. After being dazzled by the efficiency and versatility of Beá Johnson’s tiny wardrobe, I started scaling back my clothing shopping.
The year is half over now; how’s the challenge going?
As of today, I’ve only bought 8 items— by this time in 2016, I’d bought 32 garments or accessories (38 if you’d count plain barrettes). What was I thinking? What are we all thinking?
This challenge has DEFINITELY raised my shopping standards; I’ve been tracking my clothing purchases for three years now (here are the lists from 2014, 2015, and 2016) and every year, I’ve bought too much shoddy, cheap-looking junk, then complained that my clothes looked shoddy and cheap. C’mon, me, do the math.
Since I issued this challenge to myself impulsively, with no forethought whatsoever, I never spelled out any guidelines. For example….
Is a suit or a pair of pajamas one thing even though it consists of two pieces? What about a pair of earrings? Pairs of socks? A bikini?
What if I buy something, then return it unworn?
What if I sew something?! Is that a purchase or a miracle?
Complicated, right? For anyone keeping score, here are my self-imposed rules:
- If something comes in pairs (shoes, socks, most earrings, a two-piece pajama set), I will count them as one item.
- Returns don’t count; if the item doesn’t stay in my wardrobe, I won’t count it toward the total of 25. This shouldn’t come up often since I despise making returns. I’ve returned… two things in three years, maybe?
- Garments or accessories received as gifts do not count toward my 25 items; otherwise, my enemies could send me 25 suspender thongs and ruin my whole year. I will not solicit wearable gifts and am not expecting any.
- Things I sew/knit myself WILL be counted toward the 25, but only if they 1) require me to buy new fabric/yarn and 2) look good enough to wear.
For example: If I attempt to sew a dress and wind up with a hideously misshapen failure, which I immediately make it into a throw pillow, that dress won’t be on the 25 items list since it didn’t actually expand my wardrobe.
The “requires new fabric” caveat exists because I bought enough material for a dress and pair of trousers way back in 2016, but haven’t made them yet. At the rate I sew, that fabric may well become a 2018 problem.
Have you ever tried a shopping limit or ban before? How’d it go? Do my rules seem reasonable to you, or am I a cheater cheater pumpkin eater? Tell your story in the comments below.
Photo: Mike Wilson