my ‘no shopping’ challenge for 2018

personal essay about my year of no shopping. intention, goal and resolution to not buy clothing, accessories, or jewelry for all of 2018. read more on #noshopping #lessismore #fewerbutbetter

When I recording my 2018 goals video, I totally forgot to mention a personal one that I’m working on: I’m not buying clothing for the entirety of 2018! Our DIY contributor, Hannah, did it in 2017 and, after witnessing her succeed, I decided to do it on my own. The final push was this NY Times article entitled My Year of No Shopping — after this came it, it solidified my decision. So now that I’m a month and a half in, I wanted to share it with you guys + set the rules for this grand experiment of mine.

Why no shopping for a full year?

When I initially decided to go an entire year without buying clothes, it was out of frustration. Truth be told, I’ve gained about 15-20 pounds as a result of breaking my leg and having surgeries last year. I wasn’t even really able to walk until September, so it’s not like I was exactly hitting the gym. Only two pairs of jeans fit me right now and I’ve had to go up a bra size. I don’t feel great about my body, so I’m working on getting back into shape. Not being allowed to buy new clothes is just one more form of motivation!

Also thanks to my leg, I’m in a bit of debt. I keep monthly records of my spending and I just couldn’t justify how much I spend on clothes monthly. It’s ridiculous. Part of it is because I believe in fewer but better items, meaning that usually when I buy something it’s more expensive because it’s meant to last longer. For example, I don’t buy a white tee from H&M; instead I spend 4x as much and get one from Everlane because I trust their quality and materials. If I can eliminate clothes shopping from my monthly expenses, I will be able to save so much money.

Another reason I’m doing a ‘no shopping’ challenge is because I have literally run out of room in our closet. While there are still some items I can purge, the amount of stuff I have feels really excessive — especially because I probably only wear about 30% of it! My hope is that I will be forced to get more creative with my outfits and actually wear some of the stuff I’ve forgotten about!

And all of that aside… I just feel like I have enough. This is bigger than living in a small house or being in debt. It’s more about feeling a societal pressure to keep up with trends, dress a certain way, be a certain type of person. And yes, I realize the irony of this when I am a blogger and suggesting trends for you guys to try. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being trendy… it’s just that I’m a bit over it personally. I’m craving simpler, better, easier, less fuss.

What are the rules?

  • I can only purchase 1 new item a month, but it can’t be something exorbitantly expensive (i.e. no Gucci bag for me).
  • No shopping includes: clothing, accessories, and jewelry.
  • It’s ok to buy new underwear as needed.
  • I’ve been invited to 5 weddings this year (!!), so I must try to make my existing pieces work, but if they don’t… I’m allowed to splurge.
  • I am going to reprise my old style series and show you guys how I’m making my existing pieces work harder!

I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to do monthly check ins or what, but I will definitely keep you guys posted on how this goes! My goal is to use the pieces I already own to pull together looks that I can share with you guys and really start to explore the possibilities of what I already own. The truth is that I’ve never been a particularly adventurous dresser, so this year of no shopping just might inspire me to step out of my comfort zone a bit!

What do you think — could you go an entire year without buying clothes?

Photography by Meghan Klein + see more of this shoot here.

  • Let us know how it goes! I never consciously decided to stop shopping as much, but I cut out fast fashion for ethical and environmental reasons and now only purchase items sustainably made and/or by independent designers. I also recently added no more synthetic fibers to the list since they break down into micro plastics when washed. So basically that leaves very little for me to shop from! I probably get 3-5 items a year now and I’m so happy with the unintentional capsule wardrobe I’ve created.

  • Erica

    Love this! One big learning from traveling for 2.5 months with a carry-on was that you don’t need more to look and feel great! Instead of being tired of them, the clothes I took are still my favorite pieces. It hasn’t been very long since the trip, but I’ve found myself slowly letting go of items I don’t absolutely love, and new clothes tend to come from swaps with friends, from the FB buy nothing group, or from trading in clothes at second-hand stores.

    • You’re so right! It’s barely been 2 months, but I do notice I keep reaching for the same pieces. It’s so easy to see my faves ;)

      and I love the idea of doing a swap!

  • Jess

    I love this! I also have been cutting down on shopping and spending on a number of fronts (Mr Money Mustache’s site is also a good motivator) for the past couple of years. I’ve been pleasantly surprised finding some good quality pieces at thrift stores/Goodwill if you have the patience to dig through to find the good pieces. Some spenders here I think wear things a few times, get bored, and do a donation drop. Works in my favor :)

    • I’m really glad you like the post and my challenge AND thank you so much for the additional inspiration! I can’t wait to check it out. And I totally agree — the Goodwill has some major deals and awesome finds. I loooove rifling through it all ;)


  • Thank you for putting this into words. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and I’m going to try my hardest my hardest not to buy things too. Maybe next year you’ll get that Gucci bag 😉

    • I am so glad you like the post!! Are you going to join me in the challenge?? and yes please to the bag ;)

  • You can do it!!! :)

    • ahhh thank you! i’m nervous ;)

  • Ash

    Cait Flanders (.com) is a really good source of inspiration for shopping bans and all things slow/intentional living if you find yourself needing some extra motivation throughout the year :)

    • thank you SO much for sharing! I have the feeling i’m going to need it ;)