LCCE member Janice Arkulisz tells us about her self imposed shopping ban.
A friend visited wearing a pair of trousers I really liked, with buttons down each side at the front. She had bought them from La Redoute so I had a look and saw they also did the same style in shorts. I ordered a pair of white, full price at £17.99. As it was February when they arrived I threw them up into the top of the wardrobe. Months later I was digging around in the wardrobe looking for a hat and a packet fell out and hit me on the head. It was unopened and I had no idea what it was. Of course it was the shorts that I had completely forgotten about. I was quite cross with myself partly because I hadn’t worn them over the summer and partly I asked the question “How can we as a society (you see I couldn’t just blame myself!) be so wealthy that we buy something on a whim to then forget about it?
I quickly decided not only did I obviously have too many clothes but I needed to reprimand myself! The word “punishment” comes to mind but that sounds like I need counselling…. I declared a 1 year ban on buying ANY clothes and that included underwear and tights of which I have plenty.
Some friends and family said I wouldn’t be able to do it. At first I naturally veered towards shops, charity shops, catalogues etc etc. In charity shops I had to start looking at books and bric a brac (I have probably as a result bought more kitchenware as a result but that’s another story…) It took 3 or 4 weeks before I automatically walked past a clothes shop. I started reading geographical and food magazines even in the hairdressers.
Soon I was as addicted to not shopping as you can be to shopping. It became fun not shopping! It saves time and money. I made a data base of all my clothes and started playing around with wearing them in different ways – wearing the dress that I had bought for my birthday (that I only wore for posh do’s with high heels) instead with a pair of doc marten gladiator sandals and a rucksack.
After 1 year I didn’t want it to end… I went on for another 6 months so i did it for 18 months and it really wasn’t difficult. For 18 months people asked me “What will the first thing that you buy?” I fantasized about a really good pair of black jeans but in fact I simply bought a pair of comfy black pants from Wallis for £30 which I am still wearing now 4 years later.