fashion

"The three ways I'm managing to buy absolutely no new clothes in 2019."

I vowed to buy no new clothes in 2019. That means no new dresses, no new activewear, not even new socks.

This is a big statement from someone who is an impulsive (not compulsive, thankfully) shopper and chronic clothes hoarder. But, it had to be done.

Up until recently (when I did a big cull) I had my main wardrobe, a drawer of off-season clothes and a whole other wardrobe in our spare room filled with clothes I never wore. Most of these clothes were from when I was 20 (I’m now turning 27) and were the kinds of things only 20-year-olds could get away with wearing— think tiny flouro mini-dresses and those high-waisted nappy shorts that show your under-bum.

How to make your wardrobe work for you. Post continues after video. 

I had these clothes posted in local buy/swap/sell groups for years with no luck. Eventually, I got the sh*ts and decided I would rather give my old clothes to someone in need than deal with the difficult people on these sites. So, I chucked the entire contents of the spare wardrobe in the local charity bin. I’m looking forward to the moment where I see a youth out and about wearing my old neon orange minidress… I’ll give her a knowing look, and she looks back at me like ‘Why is this strange woman staring at me?’

The second I cleared out that wardrobe, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I immediately felt more calm and clear-minded. Now, the only things in my wardrobe are clothes and shoes I actually love and wear. But culling is only half the battle. In order to prevent my wardrobe from becoming a chaotic nightmare again, I need to control what’s coming in. Which brings me back to operation ‘buy no new clothes in 2019!’

The premise is simple: over the course of the entire year, no new clothes are going to (permanently) enter my wardrobe. The main reasons behind this are keeping my wardrobe clear and somewhat minimalistic, as well as be more sustainable. The average Australian household buys 27 kg of new clothes and other textiles per year and 85 per cent of this ends up in landfills. I’m keen to do my bit to reduce this statistic. There’s also the ‘saving money’ aspect, but that’s not to say I won’t be spending any money on clothes (more on that later).

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In order to ensure I actually stick to this experiment, I have to be realistic. After all, I’m a girly girl and I love pretty clothes. So, here’s how I keep things interesting while buying no new clothes.

Renting my clothes.

Above is a dress I rented through Glamcorner.

I’m a huge advocate of renting (as opposed to buying) clothes. I used to be the type of person who would buy a new dress every time I had a special occasion, only to never wear it again and have it gather dust in my wardrobe for eternity. Then, I discovered Glamcorner. The Australian start-up allows you to choose from over 9000 designer dresses to rent for special events. They take care of all the dry cleaning, all you have to do is pop it in the postbox once you’re done with it in the provided pre-paid envelope . You can even try on dresses before you rent and add backup dresses for a small extra payment. I’m not sponsored by them, I just genuinely think they’re the bomb.

I basically use this service any time I have a special occasion now, but had often thought ‘I wish I could just rent my entire wardrobe’. Then, they launched their premium monthly service and I was sold. For $99 per month, you get a box with three premium items sent to your door each month. You can have a dedicated stylist pick out items that suit your body type and look, or choose them yourself. As well as dresses for special occasions, they have more casual options and workwear items.

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Stylist Sarah Elizabeth Turner speaks about how to turn a dull wardrobe around, on The Well. Post continues after audio. 

I know $99 per month sounds like a lot to commit to spending on clothes per month, but I like the idea that the amount I spend each year will be capped. Plus, many of the dresses on there are over $600, so you’re getting good bang for your buck. As mentioned, my experiment is more about minimalism and sustainability than it is about money, and this will allow me to scratch my itch for new clothes without clogging up my wardrobe.

Getting creative with what I already own.

While I’m someone who loves pretty clothes, I wouldn’t say I’m really into style or fashion. I can’t look at two items that look like they would clash and artfully bring them together into a genius combo with a belt. I’m also someone who tends to rotate between the same five or so items, before getting bored of them and moving onto something else. So, I figure this experiment is the perfect time to get a little more creative with the clothes I already own.

This might mean mixing basics with statement pieces, playing with accessories or trying combos that I wouldn’t necessarily think of. There’s an app called Finery which basically works like Cher’s closet in Clueless. You add in the clothes you own (or pop in your email so it can search for your recent receipts) and it basically puts your wardrobe in your pocket, allowing you to mix and match the items. I’m considering using this app to give me a clearer idea of what I own and help me put together chic outfits.

Basically, I’m hoping this experiment actually helps me discover my sense of style.

Taking better care of the clothes I own.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t take the best care of my clothes. I will chuck basically anything in the washing machine or dryer, with zero regard for whether  they’re actually meant to go in there. I’ve also thrown out perfectly good clothes just because they had a little hole in them, when they could have been easily fixed by stitching them up. I’m not proud of it and I’m ready to change. I plan to make the clothes I own last longer by taking better care of them, whether that’s putting my delicates and activewear in wash bags, or learning how to sew.

This article was originally posted on A Girl In Progress and has been republished with full permission. 

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