challenge · clothing · fashion · fitness

A year without buying clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry…Can Sam do it?

I’m going to take the plunge and quit shopping for clothes (also shoes, purses, jewelry) for one year, July 1, 2022-June 30, 2023.


Well, I’ve been inspired by Mina Samuels’ account of her one year no shopping challenge. See Making Room in My Mind: A Year of No Shopping.

Not having much stuff with me is one of the things I loved about my sabbatical years in other countries. I arrived with a suitcase of clothes and wore them for the year. I had a few work outfits, a few hanging out at home outfits, some bike clothes, a bathing suit (not 7!) and a raincoat. That was about it. I spent a lot less time deciding what to wear and since I only brought clothes I really liked with me, I was pretty much always happy with my choices.

Simpler life on sabbaticals suits me and while I haven’t been able to make that work at home, I’d like to try.

I’ve also been stress shopping in pandemic times and I’d like to stop that. In terms of pandemic stress bad habits, it’s not the worst but who really needs a nap dress or a #workfromhome llama onesie! I also now own Pride Hunter rainboots AND bright pink UGG rainboots, and leopard print crocs with fur inside. Really, that’s enough frivolous footwear for a lifetime.

Sam’s frivolous footwear
Animated Sam in her llama jammies onesie

Regular readers know that I’m a critic of fast fashion and I used to teach about the ethics of consumption in the context of fashion. While I mostly buy made in Canada clothes, not fast or inexpensive, there’s still not much good in owning as much clothing as I do.

I also hope to get rid of stuff I don’t actually wear. Possibly that might include the nap dress. Lol.

Finally, I’d like to put some money away for travel once the pandemic travel panic eases a bit and I feel like, for me, the bother/pleasure is right again.

Why not?

I get a lot of pleasure out of clothes, and clothes shopping, and putting outfits together. Why quit one of things that makes me happy? The thing is I’m curious. Can I get a different sort of pleasure working with what I’ve got? That’s its own sort of sartorial challenge, right? I confess I was tempted by Nicole’s challenge, wearing the same dress for 100 days, but when I went to the website that sells the wool dresses connected to the challenge, I somehow ended up with three different styles and colours in my cart. I don’t think moderation is the path for me here!

Why blog about this here?

Well, mental health is health and we write about well-being broadly construed here on the blog. I like Mina’s description of making room in her head for thoughts other than shopping. Also, there are some fitness implications. See exceptions below! Most importantly thought putting it out here makes it real, makes it more likely that I will stick with it. I’m also taking all shopping apps off my phone. Do you have any other advice to make this easier? Wish me luck!

Any exceptions?

I will make exceptions–say if my cycling shoes break–or if I need a new pair of cycling shorts. I’ve been shopping for a new non-underwire bra for work clothes and while I am hoping to snag one before the 1st of July. If I don’t, then that too will be an exception. I am not putting off the challenge for the sake of finding a decent bra.

A cute cat waving goodbye

Goodbye Luc Fontaine, goodbye Lesley Evers, goodbye Fluevog and Poshmark too (used clothes are still clothes…)!

Sam’s #OOTD Instagram
More #OOTD instagram

9 thoughts on “A year without buying clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry…Can Sam do it?

  1. Oh wow. That made me nervous just reading it. Whenever I read about such challenges they make me reflect on how I might do at them (this isn’t a competitive reflection; more like a self-knowledge or sled-discovery reflection). This one made me nervous and I’m not sure why because I have plenty to wear (no official nap dress though) and I don’t shop for clothes all that much (but i impulse buy at Costco). Maybe it made me nervous for you — fashionista that you are. I am looking forward to hearing your reports, not just at the end but along the way. Will there be a binge before the start date? Good luck!

    1. No binge but I did buy some plain black and white t-shirts and make offers on stuff I like at Poshmark!

  2. Wishing you ease for the challenge–and the right bra before the 1st. And I will join you for the last six months of your challenge. I’m planning next year as another year of no shopping. And those are a lot of nice outfits! Including the nap dress.

  3. Good luck! I don’t really buy a lot of clothes, other than workout and running shoes. I would need the running shoe caveat. I love your nap dress, by the way.
    Also, Knix now has storefronts that help you find the right fit for you. Went to one in Vancouver and I recommend – before July 1st!

  4. I succumbed to the Wool& offerings…opting for a “bargain/clearout sale” for my first purchase (you chose style, “length” and the size, but that was all); colour was at their discretion. I was chuffed when the dress arrived: long sleeves, nicely below-knee…AND IT WAS BLACK!! Always good to have another “gig” dress.

    I have since opted for one more purchase, in their new “red” (cerise), a sleeveless tank-dress. The colour is on the “edge” of my preferred red (blue-reds are my palette); I’m wearing this sleeveless one a great deal…and it does make life simpler, in so many ways. BUT, If Wool& ever offer a magenta shade, I’ll succumb…

    In the meantime, wishing you well on the bra-quest!!

  5. This is a great idea– many of us have way more clothes than we need (check), have binge- or anxiety-bought during the pandemic (check), and also remember with fondness the simplicity of fewer choices and higher concentration of favorites while on sabbatical or long travels (check). Honestly, I felt nervous reading this, too, but am really drawn to the idea.

    I’ve recently gotten rid of (most of) my clothing that doesn’t fit or suit me anymore, but also bought more clothes that do fit and do suit me. The idea of taking a break from all that feels scary (why? I have no idea!), but I’m going to try it through the end of the summer. Then I’ll reevaluate for fall. Yes, if I need cycling shorts, I will buy a pair, but no more jerseys! Oh, and I’m still looking for a good non-underwire bra, too.

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