When I moved back to the UK I made a bit of a pledge with myself about what I would and wouldn’t buy. As a serial emotional-needs shopper - buying stuff to make myself feel better - I had a terrible habit of shopping when I had a gap to fill in my life. Whether that was simply time to kill or happiness to make up for. And it was never good stuff, I’ve rarely ‘treated’ myself to really lovely clothes that will last, always opting for fast fashion fixes.
Well that’s not good for the planet or my bank balance and as we have a ton less disposable cash in the UK compared to Singapore it’s just not a sustainable attitude. So from the beginning of 2018 I told myself I would try to buy as much as possible second hand and from charity shops. I would only buy new for something special or that I really, really needed.
- Two awesome charity shop finds - super versatile summer dress and a pair of boyfriend fit White Company jeans -
I’m really surprised what happened. It was pretty easy, as I rarely go anywhere where there are clothes shops anymore and my online habits are firmly rooted in business browsing rather than ASOS perusing. When I did feel that itch that needed to be scratched I found that when I was taking my orders to the post office I could just pop in and have a look in the local charity shops - we are spoiled by so many great ones in our local area - and have a browse. Very rarely did I buy anything but I left feeling like I’d had a flick through their latest offerings and had scratched that itch.
Process over purchase
It slowly became less about what I bought and more about the process of searching for a bargain or little bit of treasure. I also found myself looking at my own clothes differently. I have slowly become much tougher on what I wear and buy, being truly honest with what life stage I am at and what fulfils a need each day. As much as I would love to wear some flouncy skirts or puffy sleeved blouse, it just isn’t practical when you’re looking after a toddler, a house and a business.
Not having to dress for work has been a blessing and a curse. There are days where I feel dowdy and frumpy and if I have an event I feel like I have NOTHING suitable. But then most of the time I am happy knowing I can sling on a pair of jeans and a jumper and I’m good to go, no fuss and no one to impress.
Limited buying power but limitless feelings
So by limiting myself to what I am allowed to buy I’ve unlocked new abilities in myself that I never thought I would be able to change. It’s all much more about the process than the purchase and being strict about how it fits into my life means I am consuming less and wasting less. Which makes me happy and fits with my values.
My husband is happy that ASOS no longer sends me ‘gifts’ through the post and my wardrobe is happy that it’s no longer straining under all the things I didn’t wear. But most of all I am happy to have kicked a bad habit because reusing simply isn’t enough, we must strive to reduce if our planet is to stand a chance at all.