I think i’m pretty much known for being a shopaholic. I always seem to be buying new clothes, always fast fashion, and it’s been a huge problem for the past few years. Savings??? What are they???
I can’t remember how i found out about the Fashion Detox Challenge, but i pretty much jumped straight on it before even really knowing what it was. I started a week late, so i was a little behind everyone else, but i figured this was the best way to attack my spending habits. They literally would not die.
The Fashion Detox Challenge is basically a pledge you take to not buy any new clothes for 10 weeks, and each week you write up a short post about how you’ve been getting on. There was a whole community of other people completing the challenge, so you’re never alone and if you have a blip or you think you’re struggling, you can be totally honest about it.
It’s been insanely helpful for me to do this and it’s changed the way i think about fashion and money completely. I thought i’d discuss how i feel the challenge has helped me and the changes i’ve noticed whilst completing it, and since i’ve completed it.
So, week one was just about sharing our past shopping habits on the platform and why we decided to take on the fashion detox challenge. I’ve tried to be open about my obsession with new clothes because talking about it makes it real, and it also makes me feel insanely guilty. For so long, i lived in denial that it was a problem and would just continue to mindlessly buy clothes.
Basically, i started the challenge because i needed to stop. I was becoming more and more aware of how out of control i was but didn’t feel like i could do this alone. I needed some kind of support group. Hi, my name is Lauren, and i’m an out of control shopaholic.
The most important thing for me was to make a start on a savings account. I had no savings whatsoever at the end of 2018, and i’m determined to end 2019 on a fuller bank account. I dunno about you, but i am definitely praying for a lottery win.
Honestly, there was a lot of temptation around for the first few weeks of the challenge. During week 2, i went to Livingston with my mum and sister and then Birmingham the weekend after. The old Lauren would’ve jumped on the chance to buy new stuff but the new Lauren, she doesn’t want any part of that.
I got tired of being in the shops very, very quickly and couldn’t even be bothered to have a look at anything. It was quite a surprising moment. It was when i really started to think that this could make a difference.
Feeling ashamed of yourself for being bad with money or having out of control shopping habits isn’t a nice feeling. It’s one i’ve felt for the longest time, and i could tell that i was slowly leaving them behind. With each week that passed without me buying anything, i felt more and more confident that i could do this.
Queer Eye came out, and i felt inspired to take my outfits back to basics. French-tucked tshirts, blazers, all that jazz. Except i lost my black tshirt. I bought them in a 3-pack at some point last year, and they were the nicest fitting tshirts i owned.
At first, i was like “ok i absolutely have to re-buy that tshirt right now because i NEED IT”, and then the crazy shopping obsessive feelings passed and i thought…i definitely don’t need it. I opted for re-organizing my shelf of tops and figured i could be crafty if it didn’t turn up.
I did find it a few weeks later, in the gym bag that was in my car. Simultaneously very happy that i found it, and ashamed at myself for leaving a gym bag in my car for so long that i forgot what was in it. (unworn gym stuff. i thought one day i’d use it)
I knew the temptation would get rough at some point. I knew i couldn’t go 10 weeks without so much as checking a shopping app or feeling a little deflated that i couldn’t buy anything. It was only a matter of time.
Being a blogger and having a permanent finger scrolling instagram means you see the New In sections of every website without having to actually go on the site, and it gets really difficult sometimes. It’s hard to shake the feeling that your wardrobe is outdated and you need some new pieces to feel passionate about clothes again.
Saving also felt tedious, mainly because there still wasn’t any. I know saving is not instant, but some months you can’t help but feel like you’re never going to have a substantial amount saved up. It’s really difficult when all you want is to be a strong position financially.
Halfway through already! It genuinely felt like no time at all, and i definitely didn’t miss the constant supply of ASOS bags that used to litter my room.
By this point, i had decided what i wanted to do in terms of fashion in the future. I was sick of high street stores and fast fashion in general, so i’d been playing with the idea of investment pieces after the 10 weeks are up. I don’t want to rely on the high street to satisfy me when they are also satisfying plenty of other people.
I definitely don’t plan on reverting back to the unhealthy habits i had before. That was one things i was worried about; the results of this 10 week challenge not being what i wanted. I know now i can go 2 months without buying any clothes, so one amazing investment piece every few months will definitely be enough.
I felt really proud of myself this week, for more than one reason. I started my new job and didn’t buy a single new thing to start. It genuinely didn’t even cross my mind, i knew i had everything i could possibly need.
I was also having a bit of a dress dilemma. I needed a dress and i really didn’t want to buy one, but i didn’t think i had anything suitably fancy. In my head, I went through buying something new, buying something secondhand and renting a dress, before realising i didn’t need anything.
I decided to be a bit more creative with my existing wardrobe and pick one of my favourite pieces – my astrology midi skirt. It’s beautifully unique and i bought it secondhand so i could pretty much count on nobody else having the same piece.
So, the skirt didn’t really work out. I had a crisis over feeling like i had nothing to wear, then decided on a very old midi dress. Throughout the whole meltdown, i still knew that buying something new wasn’t an option. I was determined to do this event on a nil budget; it was a goal that i set myself.
Also this week, i had my first full week at my new job. I know a new job is normally a good excuse to go and buy a whole new wardrobe, but i genuinely didn’t need anything. I can be super casual and it’s fine, my new wardrobe is more than enough.
As i mentioned before, i’m keen to invest in more high-quality, long-lasting pieces but i didn’t want to rush into any purchases. I decided i wanted to research more into sustainable fashion before making any decisions.
Ah, temptation. My old friend. Come to ruin my life again.
I’ve decided that i really want a pair of Docs. I keep seeing people wearing them, and at first i thought i really wouldn’t like them because they’re too chunky, but oh man, i love them. I know they’re expensive though, and i figured things like that would be a good reward for saving a certain amount of money.
Once i posted that, the co-ordinator of the Fashion Detox Challenge, Emma, commented suggesting an entirely separate savings account for the clothing bits and pieces you want to save up for. I think i’m definitely going to be doing this – i already have £100 in an account separate from my original savings so this seems like the perfect use for it!
As the weather got warmer, i felt even more inspired to shop my own wardrobe. I play it safe a lot and just want to wear jeans and a tshirt everyday, so i find that tapping into my creativity helps me feel inspired.
A big part of why i shop so much is because i feel like i’m bored of my current outfits. I think “oh, if i had this piece of clothing i could create so many outfits!” and then i buy it and wear it once. It’s a really bad habit.
By shopping my own wardrobe and digging deep into what i already own, i feel like i’ve got new things already. Midi skirts that i hadn’t worn in a while, dresses that aren’t work appropriate but do well for a day out on the weekend – i have a LOT of clothes and i need to start wearing them.
The final week! By this point, it didn’t even occur to me that i was doing a detox. It was so easy to just…not buy things. Easier than i was anticipating.
I thought i would get to the last week and just be desperate to buy things again. I was convinced nothing would’ve stuck and i’d fall victim to the temptations of ASOS or the discount codes New Look keep sending me.
But i didn’t feel any of that when it got to my last week. Because i didn’t still feel like i was doing a detox, i didn’t feel like anything was ending. I felt normal. I didn’t re-download ASOS in anticipation and binned the discount vouchers without a second glance. I was just excited to share my experience, and felt positive about the future of my bank account.
It’s been about 2 weeks since the detox officially ended, and so far so good. I’ve bought one pair of jeans second-hand, but only because i’d been thinking about them since the detox actually started. I haven’t re-downloaded any other shopping apps, and think twice about a lot of my clothing purchases now.
I’ve started to look into ethical fashion brands for future reference, but for the time being i’m happy shopping second-hand. Until i get scammed, that is. That’ll put me off it for a while. Depop is terrible for things like that, so be vigilant.
This challenge is the best thing i’ve done for myself in a long time. It’s changed the way i feel about clothes and made me more aware of my actions and impulses. Buying new clothes all the time is such an unfulfilling way to live, and i’m glad i realised that i hate it. It’s so unsustainable and if i want my future to be debt-free, i needed to stop.
I would highly recommend everyone checks out the Fashion Detox Challenge – i think they’re planning another round soon that everyone should definitely get involved in. If you think you buy too much, it’s the perfect way to put an end to that.