36 items of clothing, 9 pairs of shoes, 4 bags
After a traumatising house move, I had performed a cull of my wardrobe. At 126 items of clothing, 19 pairs of shoes and 8 bags, I realised I had enough clothing to last a lifetime. I had decided it was time to undergo a shopping fast.
This idea did not seem too foreign to me. In my younger, more sustainably minded years, I had shopped very rarely. I usually made my own clothes and only bought things occasionally, considering every single youthful penny precious.
This had changed as I found financial stability. As my income grew, my spending grew. Shopping had become a hobby. I ended up donating hours of my time and hundreds of dollars to the fashion industry.
I had last gone shopping a month before I’d decided to start the shopping fast. I had in one day bought these three things:
- A pair of shoes I’d worn once.
- A pair of ripped jeans that did not last as they continued to rip down the leg.
- An ill-fitting top which ended up in a charity bin.
These were ultimately the typical fates of most things in my wardrobe. As a result, even though I was spending a lot of time and money shopping, I still had nothing to wear.
The shopping fast was hard at first. There was a withdrawal process. There were hours of restlessness. I had to admit that shopping had become a distraction from uncomfortable emotions. To fill the time, I began to discard more of my things.
I tackled discarding my clothes and belongings with the same fervour that I had for shopping. My busy mind began to identify all the things I did not need, and bags and boxes of things started to make their way out of my apartment.
With time I forgot about shopping, and I began to enjoy the space and time I had opened up by giving it up. In fact, I had originally intended to stop shopping for six months, but lasted an extra month after my fast had ended.
When I came back to shopping, I arrived with a completely new attitude. Over those seven months I had analysed which of my clothing worked for me and which didn’t. I had a list of specific items of clothing that I wanted in my new wardrobe. I had rules about where and how I would obtain these items.
Strangely, I realised, that my wish list contained items I had wanted for years. All this time, shopping distracted me from having the wardrobe I had always wanted.