I Didn’t Buy New Clothes for Four Months: The Results

My four-month spending freeze officially came to a close on September 1st. I learned quite a bit this summer about my shopping and general consumption, and I wanted to share some of the highlights:

IMG_8042
At the end of the summer I finally said goodbye to this infamous yellow tank to which I dedicated this post.

 I saved about $120 per month

This was super exciting for me! It turns out I wasn’t spending $120 per month just on clothes, but once I started my freeze on apparel, it trickled over into other areas of my life. I bought less yoga gear, cosmetics, toiletries, camping gear, etc. I didn’t realize how much small purchases were adding up over the course of each month. As a grad student, saving $120/month is a big deal!

I used fewer clothes than I thought I would

I decided not to do a capsule for a few reasons, but I didn’t have my whole wardrobe on hand this summer anyway. I was living out of state so I only took what I could fit into a couple suitcases. I ended up having about 40 items on rotation, and I never felt like I was repeating clothing too often. In fact, there were two items I never wore (which are now being donated).

I Learned What my Go-To Outfit Is

That would be a button down shirt tucked into pants with a belt. I realized I needed to stop investing in dressy tank tops, and direct that money toward button down shirts – especially ones I don’t need to iron.

I never needed something I didn’t have

Well aside from that time I went to the corporate gym in the morning before work and forgot to pack a bra. That is the one clothing item I purchased during the freeze. I wasn’t going to go braless in a white shirt for the day, so I didn’t exactly have an option. It was annoying.

IMG_8043
These pajama shorts were so sad. A hole (visible top left) and fabric peeling from the elastic. I finally parted with them.

I also acquired two clothing items during the summer – both gifts from my boyfriend. He got me socks to commemorate our trip to Alaska (awesome socks), and a t-shirt to commemorate our trip to Seattle. He’s a pretty nice guy.

So, in summary, I did a giant purge at the beginning of the summer and donated two trash bags full of clothing. During the summer I acquired three items, at the end of the summer I discarded/donated 21 items. Then just today I went shopping for the first time, and picked up six items that I needed. I still have a couple basics I need to pick up in the next few days (like a white shirt).

Moving forward I want to be more conscious of buying only what I need. For the next four months I intend to practice a “one clothing item in, two out” rule. In 2016 I will reevaluate the size of my wardrobe, and decide what I want to do moving forward.

Lastly, I’m excited to be taking a class on corporate social responsibility this semester, and I will be learning more about the perils of fast fashion! I’ll keep you all posted on anything I learn.

Anyone else on a spending freeze?

Did anyone start a new capsule wardrobe? How’s it going?

Anyone thinking of a spending freeze or capsule? Why or why not?

Advertisements

Three Months Into My Spending Freeze, I Go to Target

And frankly, it wasn’t a big deal. I wandered around the store (clothing sections included) for about an hour. Rather that looking at price tags and touching different materials, I really just looked. I didn’t feel a sudden urge to try anything on, and I didn’t see anything that I absolutely need.

8IZNhRrfPrior to this four-month experiment, I felt like variety was all I wanted in my wardrobe. Now, I think I really want quality. I want clothes that I love that will stick around for a long time.

Last week I wore a shirt I haven’t worn in a year. Not because I don’t like it, but because it’s falling apart. Therefore, I have avoided wearing it, just hoping that I could get it to stick around a little longer.

I suppose there is a little more to the story. This shirt was my favorite shirt the summer of 2010, and I remember getting compliments on it, going on a first date while wearing it, and dancing at my favorite bar with all of my college buddies while taking Rumple Minze shots with a boy with an amazing beard (my life used to be so much more exciting).

So although this shirt is basically un-wearable, I haven’t wanted to say goodbye. I decided to wear it last week as a sort of farewell. I’m not throwing it away just yet, but my hope is that by the end of the summer, when I’m moving back to my apartment, I’ll be able to leave it behind.

Yeesh, it’s crazy how a little yellow tank top can make me so nostalgic for the past, especially since I’m not exactly a sentimental person. It’s just like this one shirt was my key to an amazing summer!

Does anyone else have a piece of clothing like this? Do you keep it? Or did you say goodbye?

Two Months into My Spending Freeze

I almost slipped yesterday and bought a shirt. My internship took us on a tour of a professional sports team’s stadium, and I found a shirt from the gift shop that reminded me of one my boyfriend has.

dollars-19782_640After trying it on and deciding I wanted it, I remembered – oh yeah, I’m not buying anything for my wardrobe for four months.

So here I am, two months in, so far so good.

You might recall that I initially toyed with the idea of a capsule, but decided against it because I didn’t know what the dress code would be like at my internship. It turns out the dress is way more casual than I imagined, so I packed away my business professional and have about 40 items in my closet. Yesterday my roommate asked me how I survive with so few clothes.

Honestly, I have run into a few snafus in my freeze:

  1. My black flats are peeling. I’ve been wearing these all year and I think they are reaching the end of their life. I will try my best to wear different shoes, but these are just so easy.
  2. My black belt is separating. Meaning, the two pieces of pleather that are holding it together are coming apart. Unlike the black flats, I don’t have an alternative, and my go-to outfit is a button-down shirt tucked into my pants. I’m hoping if I’m gentle with it, and limit my uses to once or twice a week, it will make it to almost the end of the summer.
  3. My jeans are wearing thin. In the crotch. It’s not an area where I could discretely put a patch and still call them business casual. I got these jeans second hand, and since they are my only pair they get worn a ton. I suppose a solution to this would be shaving my legs more often and wearing skirts. I’m just so lazy.
  4. My cream cardigan has an ink stain. I’m going to continue to wear it because it’s my only neutral, but it looks shabby.

Well that’s about it! Everything else has been easy peasy.

When my freeze is over, I’m buying a new pair of jeans. Does anyone know where I can find some that are actually jean material? All I find in stores these days are stretchy, and I can’t wear those to work.

Does anyone have a capsule wardrobe? How’s it going?

Anyone else tried a spending freeze?

And where do I buy real jeans (not stretchy ones!)?

I’m Not Purchasing Clothing for Four Months

Several weeks ago I blogged about minimalism and my wardrobe, and since then I have taken a few steps to analyze how my shopping habits fit into the consumerism puzzle. As I mentioned previously, yoga and minimalism have a strong tie, and as I practice yoga I become more interested in different facets of minimalism.

dresses-53319_640I’ve cleaned out my closet, donated clothes that no longer work for me, and decided to go on a four month spending freeze for clothing (that’s one third of the year! 123 days!). I’m more than one month in to this freeze, and so far I’m feeling great! I decided this was a good path for me because above all else, I want to be more conscious of the items I have and the items I need. I also want to reduce my waste and contribute less to the fast fashion retailers.

I opted out of trying a capsule wardrobe for two reasons. First, I didn’t know what to expect to wear at my internship this summer – I had no clue how formal or casual it would be so I needed to pack both types of clothing. Second, I like my clothes, and it seemed wasteful to hide gorgeous pieces away in a trunk for the whole summer when I’ve already paid for them and I know I will wear them.

So far I’m happy with my decision to buy no new pieces this summer. I’m also being conscious not to shift spending to other areas of my life where I like to purchase items (such as backpacking/camping gear).

Is anyone else thinking about or committed to a shopping freeze?

Is anyone using a capsule wardrobe this summer?

How is it going, and why do you choose to buy less or have less?

Meditating in Alaska

With the tickets from our failed Panama trip, my boyfriend and I packed up and headed to Alaska last week!

11040504_10103131122312740_8644079554237271444_nIn ten days we explored Anchorage, Fairbanks, Denali, and surrounding towns. We watched a plethora of animals (my favorite being the grizzly bear, of course), interacted with sled dogs, hit up a few museums, visited a hot spring, climbed a mountain, camped in Denali, hiked a glacier, went to six breweries, and more!

The trip was incredibly relaxing, and I got to spend time with my long-distance dude, which was even better. I didn’t face my regular, daily frustrations, and it felt like I was in this constant meditative state. I don’t know quite how to explain it.

11020769_10103131123091180_3773669451405817534_nToday I was running around town trying to prep for my upcoming internship (I leave for it on Friday), and I was back in my cranky mood. I realize life cannot be a constant vacation, but I know there has to be a way to translate that bliss back into my everyday life.

Yoga has been somewhat absent from my life since my foot injury, but now that I’m back in one piece I’m hoping to dig more deeply into my practice. Hopefully it’s not difficult to find a good studio in the city I’ll be in this summer.

11150795_10103131123225910_4985174477452622223_n

Has any one else visited Alaska? What was your favorite place/activity?

If anyone has any travel questions, feel free to shoot me an e-mail!

10419618_10103131122716930_6462141377376906536_n

How Control Impacts Happiness

Lately I’ve been a cranky lady. I utter unsavory remarks when strangers on the highway fail to use to their indicators, I am ridiculously impatient when people arrive late to a commitment, then today I snapped at my boyfriend when he suggested we visit a museum different from the one I proposed.

97033289_57fab34574_oThese things are ridiculous, I’m aware. But these little things get into my brain and fester, making me feel even more miserable. Some unscientific sleuthing has helped me realize that I feel this way when I plan for something and it doesn’t turn out how I hoped. The strange thing is, the change could even turn out better than the original plan, but because I wasn’t prepared for it, I feel unsettled.

Today I practiced yoga for the first time (without sneakers) in 3.5 weeks. It was a short 30 minutes, and at first I felt stiff and weak. It was frustrating to see that much of the progress that I’d made has gone – the full wheel that I did the week before I hurt my foot wasn’t happening. But after my first heart openers, I started to feel lighter.

It’s almost like a little switch goes off in my brain when I practice, and suddenly I focus less on what I can control and more of what is. Hopefully this feeling can start to seep into other aspects of my day, not just when I’m on the mat.

Will I feel this shift in my everyday life? I suppose time will tell.

Materialism vs. Minimalism and My Wardrobe

I am unsurprisingly torn between materialism and minimalism. I love the freedom that comes from fewer possessions, but I also love fashion and style. As I delve deeper into my yoga practice, the idea of minimalism bounces around my head more and more often.

Yesterday I zipped to the mall and left with a few new outfits for my summer internship. The thing is, I didn’t actually need any new clothing. I already have a wardrobe that would accommodate three months of business-wear, but I wanted new items. Styles are different this year, after all!

Walk_In_Closet_-_Expandable_Closet_Rod_and_Shelf
My closet doesn’t look like this!

When I left I felt a little guilty (though not guilty enough to return anything!), and I started Googling minimalist wardrobes. It turns out the idea of a minimalist wardrobe is pretty popular – many people tout the benefits of a wardrobe that features 40 items or less. This could look like 15 shirts, 4 sweaters, 4 dresses, 4 skirts, 5 pairs of pants, and then it’s rounded out with some shoes. Some people rotate out “capsules” of clothing from season to season – three months per 30-something items. Some people include accessories in their 37-item closet.

I’ve always viewed my style as pretty neutral, but every year I’ll add a few statement items to spice up my life. Since I haven’t grown in the last decade, this had led to a closet with over 170 items (I just went and counted and didn’t even include my workout clothing, shoes, pajamas, or t-shirts from my college days).

That’s a lot. More than I need, really. I’m playing with the idea of taking a “capsule” or minimal wardrobe with me for my internship this summer. As it’s a 3-month period, and I have to pack all the clothes I’m taking, it could be a good trial time.

What do you guys think about a minimalist wardrobe? It does seem kind of silly to have a full wardrobe and restrict myself from it (it almost seems wasteful, the opposite of what I want to accomplish). What might make more sense is just to stop buying new items for a time period, and to enjoy what I already have.

Does anyone have a minimalist wardrobe? Or has anyone tried? I would love to hear about your experience and recommendations.