Challenge: A Year Without Buying Clothes

Photo Savvima

Blogs like Six Items or Less, Miss Minimalist and The Great American Apparel Diet have inspired me to reduce the amount of clothing that I have. Throughout the past year I have simplified my wardrobe and donated many gently used items. Now I would like to go further and simply buy less clothing. Upon reflection I think I can eliminate buying clothes altogether – at least for a year.

Think of all the time I won’t spend shopping for clothes, trying on clothes or watching for items to go on sale. Then there’s the catalogs I won’t have to look at — although very few are delivered to my house these days. After spending so many years working in the retail industry (before teaching) this will be quite a change!

With the money that isn’t spent on clothes I would like to increase my giving to organizations that help solve the problem of poverty, such as Mary’s Pence. While charity helps the immediate situation, many non-profits are now focused on solving the underlying problems that cause poverty. Mary’s Pence is one of these. This is much more difficult and requires a long term focus along with extensive education. But it can, and is being done.

As for clothes, My husband suggested that, if necessary, I could always purchase something at a resale store – as long as I donated something for each piece I purchased. But I hope to avoid that entirely.

What do you think? Can I go an entire year without buying clothes?

Could you? – for a month? three months? a year? Take the challenge. Join me! Let me know how it goes.

P.S. No – this is NOT a picture of my closet – but a picture of my closet in my dreams.

Tomorrow – a trip to the beach . . .


  1. I dunno… Looks JUST like your closet at home. Maybe I have to take another look. The challenge is formidable, esp. for a former retailer and a sharp dresser as you. But it might just work. And I still like the “escape hatch” – buy used and replace only. The price is right – also in that buying in this way does NOT increase production of more clothes. Besides, if you do not like it after awhile, you sell it at a consignment and replace for another great maker, like a gently used Eileen Fisher, or what have you.

    This all makes sense to me in a micro, individual level. On a macro level, of entire populations, I know it SHOULD work, but it is hard to wrap my brains around it. However, it would be fantastic to contemplate.

    Go forth and prosper!

    1. Yes, on a macro level it would reduce the amount of items manufactured. Movies like “Made in L.A.” drive home the questionable labor practices in the apparel industry, here and abroad. We can consider owning fewer things, but with assurance that those making the items were paid fairly. Perhaps similar to the “Fair Trade” logo for coffee?

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