Reflections of a 3 month shopping ban

Friday, July 15, 2011

On 17th April 2011, I signed up to the Free Fashion Challenge, a ban to stop buying any new fashion garments for a three month duration. Bear in mind as a second-hand shopper, my shopping ban prevents buying new thrift fashion. No garments, no patterns, no fabric, no underwear, no sewing thread, no shoes..

Today I receive an email in my inbox:
"You made it through the 3 months without shopping!"
Two immediate thoughts spring to mind

1. I didn't realise today was the day and have not therefore been counting calender days before my ban is lifted. This is a good thing.

2. I do not feel the need to rush out and hit the op shops tomorrow to replenish the bargains I missed out on over the past few months. Another good thing.

How has this changed my habits over the past three months? To be honest, I have been avoiding op shops, to avoid temptation. Taking aside my last guided op shop tour of course, I found myself visiting op shops much less often, only doing so when I needed something for my son or for the house, avoiding all contact with clothing and fabric!

The Free Fashion Challenge has made me reflect on my current wardrobe, donating and selling (eBay) some of my unworn garments. I have been addressing my large fabric stash, and pile of clothes set aside for refashioning. Creating my own garments suppresses the need to go out and buy (thrift) new.

A few questions have been asked by Free Fashion Challenge on completion of project

Q. What would you buy now if you could pick some items/brands wisely?

A. Hmm, Ok, underwear. Ethical underwear. isismade writes an informative blog post with links on where to buy ethical underwear here

Q. What strategy would you choose?

A. I think of a motto once said by Geneva of A Pair and a Spare "Why buy when you can DIY?" Scouring retail shops, magazines, and online fashion sites can certainly provide inspiration, but really, one can replicate most fashion trends by restyling existing fashion garments. Therefore when picking new items, I would ask the following question, "could I make this myself?" A fitted trench coat, a pair of jeans, or a pair of shoes, probably not, therefore staple wardrobe items would be the only items to consider buying (or thrifting) new. Anything else? Thrift/DIY it.

Q. Are there things you discovered during your participation?

A. Thrifting can be a recreation, a free time activity. There is nothing wrong with this, for hunting treasures can fix a creative need, and thrift shopping is a better activity than high street retail shopping. However, what I have discovered, is a time perhaps better utilised, whether that be sewing, making, reading, writing, baking, or family time, at least one can save money on the latter.

Q. Inspiring websites, swopping events, social communities that really help you?

A. Refashion Co-op, Refashionista, NewDressADay, A Pair and a Spare, Honestly WTF, pinterest are just a few websites/blogs which continue to inspire.

Three months is not a long time for a shopping ban, for many, the Free Fashion Challenge continues for an entire year. Will I continue to stop (thrift) shopping for fashion? Absolutely not! On my next guided Bayside op shop tour (Sat 20th August), I will be scouring the garment racks with the rest of my crew.

Readers, have you banned yourself from shopping at any time? How long for? Did you find it difficult?


Vintage Sweetheart said...

I'm going to set a shopping ban a month before I leave for New York. Avoiding retail won't be a problem but not opshopping for a month might be tough!

Liz said...

I did a shopping ban for a year. On the whole, I didn't find it at all difficult, but I broke it on one occasion, 10 months in, to buy something suitable to wear to a funeral. I actually ended up not buying anything for several months afterwards.

my thrifty closet said...

I feel inspired by you after reading this post. Well done, you made it through a 3 month ban. I hope to stop spending for at least a month and spend more time at home to do more refashion, I have so many incomplete projects. I think I've been too carried away with thrift store shopping, so I will also keep away from the stores too to avoid temptation. Thank you for the reminder.


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