Giving up clothes shopping for a year

It was my 44th birthday this week and to mark the occasion of reaching this bingo-tastic age, I've decided to give up buying clothes for a year.

Three things prompted this decision:
  1. Finding an abandoned copy of The Guardian on a train in January and reading about Rebecca Smithers doing exactly this last year. I've been thinking about this article ever since.
  2. Discovering the Stylish Dress Book Japanese home dressmaking phenomenon.
  3. The Bangladeshi clothing factory collapse
Reading Smithers's article I immediately thought it was something I wanted to try too, but couldn't actually imagine giving up the fleeting thrill of a fantastic vintage find, or a root around Primark for a cheap instant fashion fix. I love clothes and always have, but after 28 adult years of acquiring stuff, I think the time has come for me to stop buying and take stock.

I have enough long sleeve tops, cheap vests and socks accumulated in the last few years alone, not to mention rails of dresses and jackets amassed over the decades to see me through at least five winters to come! Of course I can manage one year without buying more.

Two weeks ago a clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed killing 1127 people who died while working in appalling conditions to produce clothing for Western high street retailers. I simply don't want to be complicit in our society's need for increasingly cheap, fast fashion any more. Making more of my own clothes this year has reminded me how much work and skill is involved in producing even the most simple of garments and whenever I return to buying clothes I pledge to only buy products produced in fair conditions – whatever it costs.

Until then I'm following Smithers's lead and will stop buying new clothes for a year. I won't buy any new hosiery, no underwear, no shoes or boots or handbags, no 'preloved' or secondhand items and no accessories – this includes brooches and scarves (my weakness). Instead I will make do, mend or make things myself.

I've started telling friends and acquaintances about my mission and already two have also pledged to join me. And we're not the only ones.  

Others who stopped buying clothes for a year:
Rebecca Smithers 
Leona from Manchester
Sarah Peck from San Francisco 
All the folk who've taken part in The Great American Apparel Diet

Or, if you have money to burn (approx £1,933 that is) and no sense willpower, you can enlist a specialist life coach who will take the money you may have spent on buying clothes and in return they will motivate you not to shop! I think that's how it works anyway. Just like this.

Or do it my way and just stop buying clothes all by yourself. I'll let you know how I get on.

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