When Sam posted to the FIFI bloggers that she was enacting a clothing purchase freeze (with a few exceptions) until July 1, 2023, I thought to myself: 1) what a great idea! and then 2) OMG, what will happen if I see something super-cute on sale on the internets? Spoiler alert: the answer to 2) is: I look at it, maybe swoon and sigh, and then go about my no-buying business. It’s surprisingly non-hard to do this, I found.
Like Sam, I also allowed myself a few exceptions:
- replacement of necessary active gear in case something gets ripped or lost or otherwise needs replacing (this hasn’t happened so, far, btw).
- Purchase of replacement bras whenever mine get too ratty or lost, etc.
- Purchase of used items at my favorite consignment shop Wearovers, IF I bring in some of my own stuff at the same time.
- Purchase of clothing as gifts for my niece and sister.
I admit to some frantic ordering of jeans (white, blue denim and black) on June 29. In my defense, I returned all of them except one pair of white jeans, which I love. I also sort of accidentally broke my own rule when ordering bras– I got caught up and bought a cute pair of dark pink and white tie-dye pajama pants. It all happened before I knew it.
Rules feel hard to me. The idea of following them ALL THE TIME feels very constraining and a little anxiety-producing. Of course, I regularly and easily refrain from big things like arson and blackmail (whew, you might be thinking), but the little things feel hard sometimes. I think it’s the pressure of doing (or not-doing) something ALL THE TIME. EVERY DAY. WITH 100% SUCCESS RATE. Put that way, it’s enough to make all of us a bit anxious.
The first couple of weeks felt hard for that reason. Just knowing that I wasn’t supposed to buy anything made me a little antsy online. As time passed though, I realized why: I used to spend a lot of time looking at clothing and other items online. Sam mentioned this too, and we talked recently about how not doing this kind of idle computer-window shopping has changed our online behavior. Sam’s now doing other activities (like Duolingo) and also getting more curated and tempting items in her media feeds.
I’m feeling liberated from anxiety-browsing of clothing, and relaxed when I do see cute things in my media feed. I think Facebook knows what I’m up to, though, and isn’t happy. I keep getting these ads in my feed for clothing that clearly appeals to me personally– bright colored and patterned tops in light-weight fabrics in easy-to-wear styles. And (get this): the top line says: MADE IN SOUTH CAROLINA (my home state). Man, do they play hardball…
And yet, I’ve browsed but not bought. Knowing I’m not buying is calming. I can browse all I want, not worrying about buying. But I don’t browse nearly as much.
So I’ve also turned to my closet and chests of drawers. Man, do I have a lot of clothing and accessories. I decided to do triage on earrings, getting rid of those I don’t wear, and polishing the ones I do. I have a lovely handmade wood earring rack (bought on Etsy a while ago), and it’s now set up so I can see all of them in their timeless glory.
Okay, that’s not all of them. But these are the ones in active rotation. Hey, it’s all a process, right?
My closet is not yet fit for public inspection. But I’m working on it. The goal isn’t to provide some beautiful instagram-worthy space, but rather to make the clothing I have more visible and therefore more used by me.
Originally I committed to the no-clothing-purchase only until December 31. But now I’m inclined to continue until the summer. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s getting to be a habit, which is, I guess the whole point.
Readers: have you ever imposed a clothing or accessories embargo? For how long? What was it like? We’d love to hear from you.