You may have been there before. In a lunchtime slot from work I mysteriously find myself wandering round the clothes shops in central Oxford with no specific purpose apart from admiring the latest collections and seeking out bargains. I spot something I like and decide there and then to purchase it. All it takes is the swipe of a card and I am immediately warmed by the comfort of retail therapy.
In February 2017 I decided to do something different. I decided to go for 365 days without purchasing any clothes, with the exception of essential underwear. I’m not sure exactly what lead me to make such a bold decision, but it felt good and, a year on, I am able to reflect on the lessons I learned.
‘We live in a world of scarcity, which means we feel like we never have enough.’ Brene Brown
1. I have enough
We are surrounded by messages that tell us we don’t have enough stuff, enough clothes, enough space, enough fitness. We are never slim enough, pretty enough, good enough or rich enough. I learnt that I have enough.
2. I found forgotten items
Without the luxury of buying new clothes I took the opportunity to declutter my wardrobe. This enabled me to find forgotten items buried at the back. I re-kindled my love for some of my treasured clothes.
3. I was more creative and resourceful
I tried to wear as many different combinations as possible, rather than reverting to wearing my same old favourites. I mixed and matched much more than usual and enjoyed creating new combinations.
4. I realised I didn’t miss buying new clothes
I found after a while that I didn’t miss clothes shopping and that I developed more gratitude towards everything I own. It made me treasure my possessions which were of value to me and to get rid of those which weren’t. If I go in to a clothes shop now, I tend to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude and abundance of choice.
5. I saved time and money
I didn’t spend my time walking round clothes shops and I saved money. It made my shine a spotlight on where my money goes and how I choose to spend it. I now think more carefully about how I celebrate success and what I buy to treat myself.
I really found that ‘less is more’ and I shall take great pleasure in treating myself to a new item of clothing soon. It will be treasured and appreciated all the more.