I'm a fashion lover and entrepreneur, and I'm not buying any new clothes in 2020.


I always knew I wanted to do something significant the year I turned 40.

Part of me wanted to make a difference, part of me wanted to challenge myself and part of me hoped and prayed that if I got on the front foot, a mid-life crisis wouldn’t creep up on me.

So I have decided that in 2020, I will not buy a new item of clothing.

Giving up new clothes delivers on a few areas of importance for me: one being environmental, one making a stand around how women are perceived in the workforce, and finally, I hope this will enable me to delve deeper into why my appearance is linked to my idea of success.

It was probably the monologue from the Grandmother on the series Years and Years I had been watching on SBS that really spurred me into action.

Set in the future, an extended family sit around the table as she firmly addresses them, highlighting that they had “all played a part in the state of where the world was at, every t-shirt they bought for one pound (without questioning where it came from), every time they didn’t stand up for the things they believed in”.

We have all played a part in the state of our current environment, and in the same way, we are all a part of how this story progresses into the future.

Check out Emma Watson’s eco-friendly looks. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

Our social feeds and newsreels are barraged with stories on climate change and the role of the Government and big business, but I knew there were changes to make in my own backyard.

As a business owner in the travel sphere, I needed to take the steps to make my business carbon neutral – a huge and daunting task which I have started the journey on.

There are changes to be made at home with recycling, food purchases, composting and food waste, just to name a few.

But the one that was quick to action, would have a big impact on my footprint and was one of my biggest personal shortcomings….was purchasing clothes.

What was behind my need to consume?

Starting my own business and being in the spotlight made me believe that I had to uphold a certain persona of immaculate grooming and the latest looks in order to be successful. I couldn’t turn up to train my staff or attend a networking event in an outfit I had worn before, right?

Surely we weren’t living in a society where women were expected to spend an extra 3 hours a week grooming, plus thousands of dollars extra a year just to turn up and be taken seriously?

When I was on the entrepreneurial roller coaster and having a bad day, I would sit on the couch at night (out of my husband’s view) ordering clothes and shoes online.


I knew that if I took away the need to purchase clothes, it would clear the room for some of the other deeper issues to bubble to the surface.

Clothes were filling the void where I felt uncomfortable with my own body, especially after having two children. By having so many outfits and choices I felt I could somehow layer the clothing to cover up the real problem – how uncomfortable I felt underneath it.

My favourite poet Rumi said it the best: “Yesterday I was clever and wanted to change the world, today I am wise so I am changing myself”.

In 2020 I hope to journey within, removing the need to consume clothing at a rate that is well beyond functional need.

How did I start, and what are the rules?

Prior to New Year’s Day, I decided to get some drawers and hanging space put in my closet so I could see my clothes better (rather than half of them disappearing to the back of my drawers never to be seen again).

I conducted a clothes audit. I thought through the occasions I would need clothes for: work, formal, sports and leisure. I knew I may need to purchase one or two items prior to the embargo, like new sneakers for example, and I checked I had enough underwear to see me through!

eco-friendly new year's resolution
"I conducted a clothes audit." Image: Supplied

I started my challenge on January 1.

While I'll be trying not to purchase clothing at all, if I find that I desperately need something, I can buy from a second-hand store, rent an item or borrow from a friend.

So far I have almost purchased clothes at least five times before I remembered I couldn't.

It 's been liberating already, just to walk away and not think twice about it. I suspect that while initially my quest was to reduce consuming, over this year I will uncover something more important: the uglier truths behind why we consume.

Marie is the founder of Kaleidoscopic Travel and recently started the blog Just do Something Sustainable.