Setting myself a huge challenge … why I’m giving up clothes shopping (for now)!

Ok, so I’ve been debating writing this post as it feels like putting it out there in the open is a full-on commitment. You see I’ve set myself a bit of a challenge as we start the new year. And when I say a bit of a challenge, it’s actually rather huge for me.

Brace yourself … I’m giving up clothes shopping.

Shocking, I know.

It all started a little while before Christmas, when I met my aunty who managed to go a whole year without buying any clothes. My first thought was that she must be mad. Who purposely gives up shopping for a whole year?! It’s my absolute favourite thing to do.

But it sparked something in me, and as I placed a huge, last-minute Christmas night out outfit order on ASOS, I started to think. My shopping habit is a bit out of control. It’s not that I’m spending loads of money on new clothes, the problem is that I order a ridiculous amount of items, and then send most of them back.

I’ll spend a few hours browsing online before holidays, nights out, or weekends away, panic ordering dresses, skirts and tops, only to find that I don’t like half of what I’ve bought. I see people on Instagram wearing something and buy it even thought I know it’s not really me, either wearing it once and feeling self-conscious, or putting it straight back in the bag after trying it on.

There’s a constant pile of delivery bags in the corner of our bedroom waiting to be sent back, and it’s a bit of an embarrassing reminder of my lack of self-constraint.

Out of the clothes I do keep, there’s a fair few that I will only wear once, or at most a handful of times. Fad fashion pieces that won’t last through the seasons, don’t quite fit or don’t suit me … or the worst excuse “people have already seen me wear it”. How awful does that sound when you actually admit it?

I blame the convenience of next day delivery, especially on ASOS, and how quickly you can get what you want. Last year I paid for the £9.99 annual express delivery, and boy did I make the most of it?! I’ve hit the place order button countless times at 10.59pm, forgetting what’s even in my basket in the haste to beat the 11pm deadline for next day delivery.

My worst moment was opening a parcel that I’d paid for in such a rush that I didn’t even realise I’d ordered two of the same coat. I didn’t even notice the extra £70 on my bill!!! And the worst thing was, it was horrendous! What on earth possessed me to even look at a pastel purple coat with huge pearls sewn on?!

It’s honestly like something out of the Shopaholic books.

When I’m not ordering online I’m popping to Primark … because a bargain doesn’t count as shopping, does it? When our local store opened, I vowed never to go there. Buy cheap, buy twice, as they say.

But no, the Instagram-famous red dress drew me in last summer, and when I saw it in my size I had to buy it … along with the pink and grey striped version, a midi skirt, some hairbands and a jumpsuit that I don’t believe I’ve ever worn.

The beautiful red Primark sundress

I actually loved the red sundress, and it made me think I could change my views on Primark … until the strap snapped on a day out in Cardiff and I had to tie it back on. And the exact same thing happened to the striped version.

Buy cheap, buy twice. Why did I forget?! And of course I’ve still been back there since. I just can’t stop.

So, something has hit me and it’s time to change. No more late night ASOS orders. No more nipping into Primark for cheap and cheerful outfits just for the sake of wearing something new. And no more following people on Instagram who post new clothes every day, making me feel like I constantly need to shop.

Typical Instagram made me do it. Everyone seemed to have this skirt, so I bought it, then lost the receipt and couldn’t take it back when I changed my mind.

Just as a disclaimer, I feel like I should admit that before going cold turkey on the old shopping habit, I invested in two pairs of jeans and a nice dress to see me through for a little while. Ok, so you could see it as cheating slightly, but jeans are a staple and I could foresee my faded, stretched jeggings being the cause of my downfall. The dress was one I’d had my eye on for a while, and I decided that spending a little bit more on something I’ll enjoy wearing was better than several trips to Primark where I’d end up spending more. And I’ve already planned a few occasions to wear it, styling it differently so I won’t feel like I’m wearing the same thing over and over.

Phew, confession over!

This isn’t about money, although I’m hoping to see a difference in my bank balance, it’s about proving to myself that I don’t need a new outfit for every occasion, that people don’t notice if you wear the same thing twice, and getting out of the fast fashion mindset.

I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll last … I did toy with the idea of going for the full year, which made both Stew and my mother laugh out loud (and for good reasons), but for now I’m taking it month by month. as I’ve now made it public I need to give it a good go.

My hope is to make it to the start of the summer, when I’ll let myself buy a replacement sundress for the broken strap Primark number – a good quality one that won’t leave me fearing for my modesty – but we shall see. I’m nearly a month in, and think I’m doing pretty well making it through a trip to Disneyland and having a hen do this weekend without panic-buying a whole new wardrobe!

Wish me luck!!!