I love buying clothes, I don’t necessarily love fashion or even wearing all my clothes but I love to buy and own pretty clothing.
Almost exactly a year ago I decided to finally quit my well paying job in Stockholm and by that also deciding to quit a lot of the bad habits I had started with during my years as an adult with an office job – the worst one was having online shopping as a hobby and buying tons of fast fashion.
I’ve always been good with money, I love to save, but I also love to splurge when I know I can afford it. Having an office job after years of part time jobs or studying meant having a income every month and finally being able to treat myself to some nice clothes.
I quickly fell in love with fast fashion brands like COS and & Other Stories and bought wool sweaters and silk shirts in every color. Walking past a shop on my way home and easily spending $100 without even blinking happened at least once every two weeks.
When sale season came around I would spend $300-400 on clothes I had wanted but didn’t want to pay the full price for. Then the new seasons clothes would come in and the cycle would start over again. All in all I think I spent around $300-500 on clothes per month on. fast fashion, some months more some less, this was a bad habit I knew was not only unsustainable when living on a freelancing salary but also so bad for the environment.
1 year – No fast fashion shopping
After handing in my resignation I decided it was time to get a handle on my shopping habits and have an entire year of buying no fast fashion or unnecessary clothing. I allowed myself to buy any type of outdoorsy clothes I might need living in Åre, shoes like trainers or hike boots, and underwear. I also knew I had a big wedding to go to in September (it was magical) and I wanted to be able to buy a magical dress for that occasion, which I did. I’m also allowed to buy vintage or used clothes if there was a garment that I feel like I’m missing in my wardrobe.
In december 2019 I said my goodbyes to online shopping and fast fashion and did a huge decluttering of my closet keeping only what “sparked joy” and had any sentimental value. At first I was tempted to go online and see what the sales had to offer but NO, I decided to go completely cold turkey and start my no fast fashion year a month early.
Update – 9 months in
It’s now been nine months since I officially started my no fast fashion year. So far the only thing that can be considered fast fashion is the magical dress I bought for my friend’s wedding, and that was a planned purchase. Although the goal was to stop buying any fast fashion the actual main goal was to break my unhealthy habit of casually and even routinely buying clothes online, something I’m very proud of myself for quitting.
It’s also been important for me to realize and recognize why I fell into such a bad habit. The root cause for me was that I felt like I wasn’t in control of my life, I spent my days at a job feeling uncreative, stressed and unhappy and took it out on the things I could control like my home life and by extension my clothes and purchases. Every once in a while I see myself falling into an old pattern of going online and browsing when feeling stressed, and although I’m not buying anything I know I could easily fall off that wagon if I don’t slow down and take a step back.
All in all, I’m not “cured” but I am recognizing what makes me want to shop and am doing my best to stay away or work through those situations.
There’s still three months left of 2020 and I do plan on continuing on with my no spend on fast fashion challenge and year. Moving forward into 2021 I’ll take with me the idea of not purchasing anything that I don’t necessarily need or have the use for living in a colder climate. I would also like to thrift and buy more vintage and used clothing and one of my biggest dreams is starting to make my own clothes.
I went to school for sewing and pattern making about 10 years ago but haven’t sewn anything other than curtains, pillowcases and half a quilt for the last five years, but I plan to start small and get back into it gradually. Sewing is like meditation for me, it makes me so happy and makes me disappear into a happy daze of fabric and thread while listening to an audio book or a podcast for hours.
Love and value your clothes
I think one of the main things I really would like to take with me from this year is valuing and loving my clothes. When I was shopping fast fashion thoughtlessly I didn’t think of the clothes I was buying as something I would treasure for years, I don’t think I really reflected that much at all other than that I liked them or thought they looked cute.
Nowadays I really like all my clothes and can see myself wearing them for years and wanting to take care of them so that they’ll last for a long time. I will try and bring this idea to the garments that I’ll purchase in the future, something I think will also make my wardrobe more cohesive and sustainable, rather than it being a big collection of random garments.
A book I would really like to read and work through is The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees, she also has a workbook to go with it. The book is all about figuring out your own style and creating a closet that works with and for you, I’ll definitely be putting it on the top of my Christmas wish list.
Here is my 5 tips if you feel like you are spending too much on fast fashion clothes:
- Recognize your issue – if you find that you, like I was, are using (online) shopping as a means to escape or to de-stress I highly recommend you try and recognize what is triggering these actions. Sometimes we need help to recognize these issues and that is 100% okay. Asking a friend, family member or even a professional for help is a huge step forward when dealing with any type of bad habit and is such a strong and good thing to do.
- Say it out loud – I’ve told everyone that I’m doing a no fast fashion year, that way I feel more accountable and “pressured” (in a good way) to continue on with my year even though it’s sometimes so tempting to just buy one more cozy wool sweater.
- Do it your way – I’m an all or nothing type of person, I love going in 100% into something, I know that if I do something half hearted I won’t be able to finish what I’ve started. But we are all different. Figure out what works for you, maybe it’s only buying vintage clothes for a year or only buying staple garments to create your ultimate wardrobe.
- Figure out your style and stick to it – I feel most comfortable wearing jeans, wool sweaters and ringer tee’s, yet I have a closet full of pretty blouses and dresses that I tend to never wear. Finding your style takes time, I’m not there yet but I hope to be soon with the help of The Curated Closet.
- Capsule wardrobe – For the first time in a really long time I decided to make myself a capsule wardrobe, I’ll share my process in an upcoming post. It was really fun getting to “shop” in my own wardrobe and I’m excited to see what I’ll end up wearing the most, what I’m not using I’ll put in a big pile and sell or donate once I haven’t worn it in 3 months.
- Swap clothes – Swapping clothes with your friends is such an understated thing to do and can be so fun. This was something I used to do a lot a few years ago when working at a company with awesome sustainability thinking, we would have these clothes swapping days and you could trade your unwanted clothes to something you really wanted. My best swap was an old sweater for a pair of perfect Doc Marten boots.
- Thrifting and buying vintage – For the longest time I didn’t buy anything vintage, I think I associated vintage with the smell of mothballs, a smell I can’t stand. But lately I’ve been getting more and more into the idea. In Sweden we have Tradera which is a Swedish version of eBay, where you can easily find last seasons & Other Stories tops for a third of the price – love it. Often the garments haven’t been worn more than a few times and are in perfect condition, so the idea of paying full price when you can do both your wallet and the environment a favor just doesn’t make sense.
- Supporting sustainable clothing brands – I love supporting smaller businesses and finding a garment that not everyone owns or have seen before, especially here in Sweden. Although it sometimes can be a bit more pricey to shop small, a lot of the smaller businesses have a way better sustainability think and are often producing locally which is just so awesome.
My three favorite companies when it comes to shopping small is:
- Tuesday Bassen – LA based. Her pipped ringers are just the comfiest ever! Awesome prints and such magical size inclusivity, plus she’s just the coolest and nicest person ever.
- Big Bud Press – LA based. I dream of owning a Big Bud jumpsuit, but for now I’m so happy with the pins and cute tee I got.
- Organic Basics – Denmark based. Organic basics make the most gorgeous and simple underwear ever. I’ve been on the lookout for sustainable underwear for so long and it is surprisingly hard to find. I’ve yet to put in an order but plan to do so asap when I need to buy new underwear.
I would love to hear if you ever done a no fast fashion year or a no spend year! Please share your tips and experiences in the comments below 🙂
Lots of love!