I Didn’t Buy Any Clothes for A Year

Juliane, fashion lover, former shopaholic, marketing manager and mum of two teenage boys lives in Germany. She recently went for one year without buying any clothes.

As a fashion lover, what made you set yourself the challenge to buy no new clothes for one year?
I often felt the pressure that I had to buy new fashion because others were wearing new clothes. One evening during my yoga class I was inspired by my yoga teacher who talked about abstaining from something, such as no TV or no new clothes, for one year.

Did you do any research before deciding to give up new clothes for twelve months?
I briefly read about Marie Kondo, but literally I decided overnight to go for it ... It just felt that this was the right thing to do for me in this moment.

Was your no new clothes challenge alone or with friends?
Just me.

Did you set yourself any ‘rules’ to follow during the year?
I could only shop for pre-loved clothes, but actually I never bought anything. Gifts were also allowed, but I didn't receive any!

I also decided to clear my wardrobe a la Marie Kondo. I had to wear every piece of clothing at least once before giving it away.

What did you learn about yourself as the year went on?
I was surprised how easy it was for me to not buy anything new. Often I had assumed that shopping for clothes made me happy.

The pressure to buy is still gone today. I don't care anymore if and how much others buy. Sometimes I even feel sorry that they need to buy clothes to feel good about themselves. I have become much more satisfied with myself and I am more confident.

Did you come across any difficult challenges during the year?
There were definitely some challenges:

Once I needed a jacket for a wedding and instead of buying a new one I borrowed one.

My winter boots broke and I had them repaired rather than buy a new pair.

We had planned a family trip to the US and I always used to shop for new clothes before traveling, but this time I didn't and it was fine…

Did you learn any good habits? Or possibly lose any habits that you would consider to be bad (for you)?
Suddenly, I had lots of creative ideas about how to dress, I was more conscious about how to dress myself, I was better-dressed and more chic.

I now dare to dress in combinations that I wouldn't have considered in the past, and I am happy when I stand out.

I altered my old clothes, for example I cut off an old pair of jeans when I needed shorts.

I stopped online shopping. I feel online shopping encourages me to buy clothes I don't really need.

In general my shopping behaviour changed… I am now buying less and no unnecessary and cheap clothes.

I am now questioning where my clothes come from.

What would you say to people who are also thinking about a year of no new clothes?
It was an amazing experience and a big release.

Put aside the money you would normally spend on new clothes and you will see how much money you really spend on clothing.

Just do it! It is easier than you think.

How do you feel now and where do you go from here?
I feel a big release, I don't need to buy new clothes to feel better about myself. And I'm doing something positive for the planet.

I find 'normal' clothes rather boring now. When I buy something, it's either second-hand or from shops I wouldn't have gone into in the past.

The fact that my healthier approach to shopping has inspired others to try something similar makes me happy. Two of my colleagues also bought no new clothes for three months.

But I think, in order to really get a different way of thinking and attitude to life, you should try do do it for at least six months.

What's your next challenge?
I am ready for my next project!

I won't do online shopping any more. I will donate airmiles to relief organisations. I will ride my bike to work 12km away at least twice a week. And no more takeaway eating without bringing my own containers. How does that sound?