As Memorial Day Weekend sales draw near and the month of May is coming to an end, I wanted to share with you an experiment and challenge I have been doing this month. For the month of May, I challenged myself to not buy any new clothing, shoes or accessories. First of all, I do want to explain that this does not mean I did not buy ANYTHING all month. It just means that I cut out any new clothing, shoes or accessories such as handbags. I also defined “new” as anything new to me. So that means I can’t even go thrifting this month to find new, but used items.
I don’t know if it is just me, but I feel like all of the cute clothing always comes out around May because the weather is changing and everyone wants new pieces to add to their Spring and Summer wardrobes. While I found myself wanting to buy everything, I figured doing this shopping cleanse would be a good choice to start the Spring and Summer months on a clean slate.
There are several things that inspired my goal to try this out. I’ve listed them below in no particular order. Some range from super shallow, where as some span to a greater level.
1. The first reason is pretty obvious, saving money. I don’t know about you but budgeting and saving money has been something that I’ve always kind of struggled with. One thing I have struggled with since the beginning of my blogging journey, is how to budget clothing. In a way, buying clothing is part of the job but it also does add up! After my trip to Spain back in February, I realized that I want to focus my money towards traveling more and paying for fun experiences versus material items. Everyone spends their money differently; some people spend their money on going out to eat with friends, some people splurge and use their money towards big purchases, and while I do not eat out that often for example, I do buy clothing more often than the average 24 year old. By not buying anything for a month, I wanted to see if I felt like my paychecks lasted longer and see what I was able to spend my money towards instead. On another side note, the Nordstrom Anniversary sale is coming up and I know I will want to shop that, so by not spending money now, I will hopefully be able to afford several items in the sale this year!
2. Another reason for this challenge was that I already have way too much stuff! When I moved about a month ago into a smaller place and a smaller bedroom, I really realize just how much clothing I already own. Just to put it into perspective for those of you who have not seen my room, if you were to remove all of my clothing, shoes and accessories, the only items I would have would be my bed, my bunny’s hutch and one shelf. Currently I also have a full closet, under the bed drawers, a dresser, a shoe rack and a clothing rack not to mention a few other containers in my closet that are stuffed with clothing as well. The really crazy thing when looking through all my clothing is that some of my items have only been worn once. I have dresses from college that I wore for maybe 5 hours to a sorority formal and then never wore again. Some of these items I had even forgotten that I owned so it seemed crazy to me that I was buying all of this new stuff each month when I don’t even remember or wear a portion of my own closet.
3. As a blogger there is definitely pressure to be constantly selling and styling the newest, coolest trends but in order to do that, you have to buy them. I do know some bloggers who will just take photos in items or will return them right after but for me, if I am posting about an item, 99% of the time I still own it. The pressure of always being “in the know” and “on trend” can get tiring and takes away focus from all the older items in your closet. I totally get it and fall victim to this type of thinking that New is always Better. When you are taking outfit photos all of the time, it is easy to feel like you cannot rewear an item. Or if the item is too old, that you should not post it because then you can’t link it on Liketoknow.It or sell it to your followers. Although this is important for making income, I think it is also important to fight the peer pressure of “needing” new items for every event, photo shoot or daily outfit photo. Most of the time, I feel like no one sees a photos and remembers all of the past times I have worn and posed in that article of clothing. It is possible that maybe some of you do, but then is there really anything wrong with outfit repeating??
Here I am in the same dress, four different times. Even though this dress is so last year (literally), I still love it and will wear it anyways!
4. The last and in a way, most significant reason that I wanted to try this is for the sake of our lovely planet. Last month was Earth Month and I kept reading so many articles about how our consumer-focused society is hurting our planet. Obviously this does apply to buying other items not just clothing and shoes, but the clothing industry ranks pretty high as far as destructive items go. Part of the issue is that most clothing is cheaply made causing the average consumer to feel the need to buy more, more often. I definitely am guilty of buying a lot of brands that are not sustainable. Going back to reason #3, part of showing off on-trend items is that you are participating in fast fashion where the item will probably be discarded in a few years when it is no longer relevant. These items are usually cheaply made as well (which is why they are inexpensive) meaning that if you do keep them, they probably won’t survive a ton of wear and ear over the years. About 3 in 5 garments will end up in a landfill within a year of purchase which is seriously so bad!! Learning all these facts about the way we consume clothing really made me stop and think more in depth about how my fashion blogging is impacting our Earth.
So now what? Well currently the month is not over and to be honest, the past few days have been quite a challenge! I get so many emails every day from brands I love telling me about what great sales they are having. Scrolling through my Instagram feed, almost every blogger is selling an outfit on Liketoknow.it that I want to buy but can’t. I’m already trying to prepare myself for this weekend when there will be talk of all the Memorial Day sales everywhere. There are so many great sales happening right now that I am already having a hard time not clicking the Checkout button haha.
One thing I did notice over the past few weeks was that I will do most of my online shopping when I am bored or have down time. I usually only online shop in the evenings when I am lying in bed about to go to sleep. By filling up my time with other activities (I was running after work for awhile during that sunny week), I had less free time to waste scrolling through online websites. I also used this month’s paychecks to fund a trip to Seattle with two of my friends!
This monthly experiment is honestly just the beginning. I would love to hear what you all think and if you have or plan to try something like this out! I’m hoping to try this again soon; maybe every other month? I would love to say that this has been eye opening and I will never shop again haha but I already have a ton of stuff in my cart that I want to buy once it hits June 1st🙈 I do plan on being more thoughtful about the items I am buying. Often I shop with events in mind versus sustainability over time so I definitely want to focus more on items that I plan to own and love for more than just a few seasons.
I would also love to continue the discussion about sustainable fashion and other people’s shopping experiences so please leave me a comment or send me a DM!