New Year’s Resolution: Buy Nothing New

I have set an ambitious goal for 2017 to not buy anything new.

That means one whole year of no shopping.

I know this seems like a peculiar thing to do, considering “ethical fashion” is one of the major talking points of this blog.

What I fear with the concept of “conscious consumerism” is that we all simply swap out our material obsessions for other things. Buying blouses made from organic cotton is definitely better than buying blouses made from petroleum-derived synthetic materials. But what’s even better than that is not buying anything at all- not unless we truly need it.

I just went through a huge closet purge, donating anything that hasn’t been worn in several years, or anything that doesn’t actually bring me joy. I’m left with the smallest wardrobe I’ve had since before I was a teenager. But they are all items that I love, or at least items that serve a purpose. And I intend to keep it that way.

I was watching the documentary Minimalism on Netflix (highly recommend it) and someone made a statement that goes, more or less, as such:

“Everyone says that we, as a culture, are too materialistic. But I disagree. I don’t think we’re materialistic enough. We’ve gotten to the point where we place such little value on our belongings that they have all become essentially disposable.”

I’ve grappled with the idea that I must be a hypocrite for preaching minimalism while also really liking nice things. As a teenager, my family would scoff at me for paying $60 for a pair of sunglasses when I could get a similar pair for $15. But if you looked at how much fashion cost back in the early 20th century, you would understand why people only owned a small handful of items. While the cost of most basic commodities has gone up throughout the years, fashion continues to get cheaper and cheaper.

This post on Dress Well Do Good really put things into perspective for me.

“Here is a historic sample of the cost of buying a women’s dress over the years:

  • In 1909 it cost $15 to purchase a dress or $380 adjusted to our money today; a bargain dress may cost $8 the equivalent of $200 adjusted for today’s inflation.
  • After WW2 a dress cost $16.95 or just under $200 by today’s standards, and average women owned 9 work outfits. A stark contrast to today’s women.
  • In the 1950s, a dress cost $14.98 or more than $100 in today’s money.
  • Current day, you can commonly find dresses anywhere from $15-30.”

you can read the full post on Dress Well Do Good

I can’t say for certain whether or not this endeavor will be a 100% success. So I am going to keep an inventory of everything I buy throughout the course of the year to keep me accountable.

The thing is, I really do have everything I need. Way more. If something needs to be replaced, or if I feel like I really do “need” something, I will try to find one that’s already in existence and which can be bought second-hand. But no more impulse buys, no more shopping for fun, and abso-fucking-lutely no more fast fashion.

Wish me luck!

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  • Good luck! I haven’t bought new clothing (just a few secondhand purchases) for the past couple of years, but my style is – well – not very stylish. The best thing for me is that I can now usually grab whatever is at one end of the closet to wear for the day and later stick washed clothing on the other side. And that means I can sleep in just a little later each day. 🙂

  • That’s a great goal. I’ll stay posted to see how it goes. I stopped shopping about a month ago after I finished up my wardrobe planning. But recently I lost my beanie and it is really cold here in NYC, so I bought a replacement two days ago secondhand. It really is a necessity and I allowed myself to replace it. Good luck.