How I had a ‘no-buy’ year – and never went back to normal shopping again


Having Daisy as my #notnewyear compadre was invaluable, cheering me on and giving us both someone to spam with inevitable “STOP ME FROM BUYING THIS” links and “do I look like I ran through a jumble sale covered in glue?” outfit pictures. 

But even if you can’t convince anyone to take up the challenge with you, it’s worth assigning a few close pals to keep you on the straight and narrow. Let them know that their job is to stop you giving into temptation, through tough love and gentle compliments. 

This is important, as so many of us feel bound by social contract to do precisely the opposite: yelling “buy it! Do it! You deserve it!” like racing coxes for capitalism, any time another woman so much as wafts a sequin under our nose. A truly good friend knows when to say no.   

Do: unfollow, unsubscribe and delete all digital temptations

I recommend this step to everyone, even those who would just like to cut back a little and be able to look their banking app in the eye at the end of the month. 

It isn’t until you stage a spring clean across all your platforms and devices that you realise how often you’re being subliminally nagged into shopping. And it’s so much easier to abstain when you’re not being chased around the internet by a dress you clicked on once, by mistake, on the toilet.  

So begin your no-buy year by ceremonially unsubscribing from every single brand mailing list (you’ll find the discount codes if you really need them, I promise), delete shopping apps and unfollow or mute all those influencers who can’t go a day without unboxing their latest piece of #gifted swag. 

If your fingers are twitching and your feeds feel empty, replace them with slow fashion apps like Whering, Bandi, Save Your Wardrobe and Nuw, and follow a few more people who aren’t afraid to grid the same outfit twice. 

Do: have a sort-out

‘Shopping your wardrobe’ might be an irritating phrase, but it’s a solid concept. If the popular claim is true, that we wear just 20 per cent of our wardrobes 80 per cent of the time, it’s no wonder we get bored and start to believe we need new clothes every month. 

So don’t limit yourself to the same capsule collection of ‘whatever’s clean’. Instead, set some time aside to haul all of your clothes out of the cupboard, the drawers, the suitcase in the loft and the boxes under the bed, and sift through it all. Thoroughly. 

Rediscover things you’d forgotten you had, wash and iron the crumpled relics and have fun styling up new combinations of items from across the years. It’s amazing how many of this season’s hot prints/colours/hemlines/collars (or close enough) you can find lurking in the back of your own wardrobe. 

Don’t: be afraid of outfit-repeating


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