No new clothes: One year on

clothes rack jan 17Alison writes:

Nearly a year ago some adventurous people decided to take up the Planet & Soul challenge and go for a year without buying any new clothes… So I thought we would catch up with them over the next few weeks and find out how it’s going!    First stop is Sandy.

  • Sandy, why did you decide not to buy any new clothes? What did you hope to achieve?

After your inspirational talk at New Year, Jeremy and I decided not to buy any clothes apart from socks and underwear this year.    I heard my friend Kate talking about when she didn’t buy any new clothes for a year and thought that sounds like a fun challenge!

  • Have you managed to stick with it so far?

I have done really well! I haven’t bought anything new except when we were on holiday and my husband and I bought a souvenir item of clothing each. We figured that was allowed, as it was a souvenir!

  • What did you miss most?

Going to the sales and getting a “bargain” although I’ve now realised that half the time I wouldn’t have bought the item unless it was in the sale so I didn’t really “save” any money but spent it instead!   I used to like a diversion from food shopping by going to the ‘25% off’ sales in the supermarket but fortunately the clothes are upstairs so I can avoid seeing them!   There are lots more positives than negatives though and I really don’t think about clothes now.

  • What surprised you?

I enjoy not having to worry about going shopping.   It was quite liberating.   I have discovered clothes at the back of my wardrobe that I never wore and am enjoying wearing these now.   It’s made me realise that I still have too many clothes and could actually give some away.

  • What have you learned?

When I eventually go back to buying clothes I will think hard about every item before I buy it. I will ask myself “do I really need it or just want it?” and I will buy far less as a result.   I thought I never bought a lot before this year but somehow I still ended up with too many clothes!

  • Would you recommend the challenge to your friends?

I would definitely recommend my friends give it a go and I’m even thinking about not buying any new clothes in 2017 too!

Thank you Sandy! So pleased you enjoyed the challenge.

Now let’s talk with Jan:

  • So Jan, why did you decide not to buy any new clothes? What did you hope to achieve?

I decided not to buy new clothes after your talk on Stuffocation mainly because I recognised my weakness, especially to Boden, and it was a bit of a family joke! I knew I had more than enough clothes to last a year and really wasn’t getting the wear out of what I had.
I got a buzz out of buying something, looking forward to the courier ringing the bell although more often than not they were sent back! So I really wanted to set myself free from this and challenge myself. Also I was encouraged by Kate’s experience when she did it.

  • Have you managed to stick with it so far?

Yes mostly….. well, up until August when we booked a holiday to go to New Zealand next February and I realised there were one or two items that would be useful to buy now at the end of summer as they wouldn’t be in the shops when I needed them next year! I have saved them for New Zealand and not worn them I hasten to add.

Alison interjects “I think you have done really well Jan, it was a carefully planned purchase – no impulse buying!”

Jan – “I’m pleased that I haven’t bought anything from Boden except I had a voucher last Christmas which I did spend right at the beginning of January.    I also had a birthday voucher in May which I spent a few weeks ago at John Lewis!”

  • What did you find hardest?

Probably avoiding the shops!    I have to say I deliberately didn’t go. I missed going into Kingston or Elys for a browse and that impulsive purchase or reduced price bargain. I also recycled Boden catalogues when they arrived…sometimes glancing and deciding ‘No’, nothing I need! All emails from Johnny Boden offering discounts were deleted as were any offers from other clothing companies.    All catalogues recycled!  I did get an email from Johnny Boden to say they were missing me and even sent me a £10 gift voucher to tempt me!

  • What surprised you?

I was surprised to find I became more creative with the clothes I had, finding different ways of coordinating, experimenting, digging out clothes I hadn’t worn much and seeing them in a different light. I’ve learnt that I can manage without new clothes and that I don’t need a new outfit, say for a special occasion.

  • What have you learned?

I realised that I had enough.    And I’m hoping I’m weaned off Johnny B!    I will look forward to an occasional bit of retail therapy next year but I know this challenge has reformed my shopping habits and made me think twice about any purchase.


  • Would you recommend the challenge to your friends?

Yes, I would certainly recommend this challenge especially if you know you have a weakness to retail therapy.   It’s a really good discipline and you can still be happy and content, possibly more so as there are no feelings of guilt!

A big thank you to Sandy and Jan – they are both such stars!   We’d love to hear your stories if you did the Planet & Soul challenge too in 2016.   And perhaps you’ve read their stories and thought, “I could do that!” It’s not too late – 2017 has only just kicked off!