It’s been a year, in fact, a little over a year and I feel it is time to write about the project of 2017.
November of 2016 I decided to spend an entire year without buying new clothes for myself. I decided this as an experiment and also, a necessity. Figuring that for the first time since adulthood, I’m making a lot less money and need to cut down on the purchases, so why not make it interesting 😉
Oddly enough, I feel that the whole project came full circle when I spent another christmas with my father – one of my inspirations for the project in the first place.
Before I get to that I’ll try to recap the year…
The first three months were fine, I started a new job in a supermarket and that newness entertained me for a while, I also had my hot yoga with unlimited classes and realized that instead of spending money of Lululemon products for yoga, save that money and use it for yoga CLASSES. Oooooh, lightbulb!
Until I was rudely spoken to by a yoga reception type lady and then felt bad returning to this yoga centre, decided I didn’t want to spend my money there for a while. I’ve only returned once since then, mostly due to appendicitis though.
I’ve made quite a lot of money selling my Lululemon articles actually. I started selling things in August and kept doing so until November. Turns out, theres a huge market for Lulu gear! My wardrobe space became larger and so did my bank account! Very good.
I had to keep re-deleting email subscriptions as fashion clothes brands turned into book store emails or outdoor sports, even if you just buy a notepad – they still resubscribe you! Clever girls.
I did. However, discover another brand of yoga attire. Although this brand is very eco-conscious (something I too, am trying to get better at), they are very funky and seem to aspire to uniqueness and individuality so I did a couple of times, buy their product. If you’re going to cheat – CHEAT WELL and make it shine. They did save me when I couldn’t wear anything other than their pants post surgery, like funky second skin that covers your scars without puncturing them. OUI.
Working outdoors all the time certainly helps, no need for nice clothes in the horticulture industry. I had my own uniform of jogging pants, old t-shirts and shorts in the hot hotness. Easy.
I had a slip up in September, bought myself (for my birthday and christmas presents) some pants and a skirt from a hippie shop, I’d had my eye on them since summer 2016 and because I only returned September 2017 I figured a) I could afford them and b) perhaps I could even deserve them? Once bought I didn’t take them out of their bags until my birthday and christmas.
Buying myself presents – yes, it’s weird. But, when you’ve lived for yourself for so long you decide, “ain’t no one else gonna buy it for me” Whoopi Goldberg.
I managed to avoid going into the Mall until October when I had to replace my broken phone and also November (when I had to go get an ugly xmas sweater for work purposes – I bought the cheapest I could find – even though it wasn’t the nicest – very unlike me) and to be honest, I wanted to leave the environment as soon as I could. I found being back in the mall busy and full of pressure to buy things.
Pressure that your life will not be full unless you buy things and add to your life inventory.
Distance was good.
Over the year, I went Skiing and to Niagara Falls, I also went camping at Algonquin park. Not only did I have MORE money to spend on canoe rental, restaurant dinners, tourism. I also didn’t feel this NEED to purchase something from each place, usually, I’d be on the look out for a souvenir t-shirt (I used to collect location-shirts) I’d constantly want to go ‘souvenir shopping’ and even dedicate a day to it. That makes sense if you go to New York City or Rome, not when you’re on an adventure trip or nature location.
The ultimate trip – a reunion with Dad. Emotions were quite high as I had’t seen him for an entire year (and not exactly being my choice) I was worried I’d spend money on clothes to help my feelings stay intact. I’m getting help with this, and some topics require more analysis and are outside of our control. But, the spending – I can control!
Even with groceries, there is little second thought to how money is spent with him. I cannot compare myself to him when it comes to spending and I know I used to try, now I’m pulling myself away from these habits.
Quite quickly, a shopping trip was established – it was boxing day after all. I just followed, a little nervous and decided to just take the back seat on this one, new territories after all..
He and his wife walked around the busy stores, she kept picking things out and they would chat about it … I walked to a part of the store I wouldn’t care about ‘accessories’, he bought some items and came to get me. First part – success. Then, we ended up in an outdoor store (code red for both of us – like father, like daughter eh?) He’d been saying I needed some base layer for the trip, it was -30 and rightly so, I could do with more base layers. Living in Canada, with only one pair. I started looking at them in his store, feeling a bit warm, a bit nervous.. she then picks up her own base layer pants, goes to buy them. I’m still undecided, do I really need them? I’m feeling pressured to buy them, father standing behind me. “What’s wrong Natasha? Just get them.” I’m trying to mumble money and priorities… In the end I succumb, realizing I’m taking friggin’ ages to buy underwear (even if ski underwear), I buy a top and bottom layer. Sweaty hands and all.
Immediately after, his wife buys her own base layer top.
I’m a little worried (buyers remorse x100) on my return to the cabin, but I open the plastic bag, try on the clothes, like what I see and decide these will be my souvenirs of the trip. I’m allowed to purchase myself something, and it turns out this is it. I have to accept that. At the same time, I wouldn’t have bought myself anything was I not feeling pressured to do so, even that, is something.
I then choose to talk to my father about the project and he says ‘oh, i thought you were getting all flustered about buying the items’. Yeah, no shit.
By the end of the trip I didn’t buy any other clothes, I was able to go into stores but didn’t feel a need to buy cloth, bring back cloth or own more cloth. Thats good. I noticed my father purchased at almost every new location we went, but, you cannot fix others – only yourself. If it helps him, I won’t stand in the way of that.
After all that, I felt and still feel grateful for the project. I realized that I had a problem and tried to fix it, I’m still trying to fix it but by throwing myself in the deep end, I got a pretty good head start. Oh yeah.
I’m even beginning to appreciate my actual clothes, enjoy putting outfits together and admiring how the outfit looks. I’m always going to love clothes, I love colors matching or contrasting, I love the way certain outfits represent a certain lifestyle or persona. Clothes can be fun, you just have to care about who’s in them too. And, you shouldn’t care if other people like/dislike what you wear – clothes should be fun! Who wants to fit in anyway?
I just need to find a balance now, not go through emotional turmoil every time I friggin’ want to buy something of cloth.
As I’m on seasonal leave – there not getting an income until the Spring, I am extending the NoNewClothes project until I begin working and getting a paycheck again. Although I will allow myself to get some new cloth when in the U.K – it’s not something that happens often and f**k it, I deserve it. I just don’t HAVE to.
In the future, when on a trip – there will be no need to dedicate specific time to shopping, and I will be able to feel satisfied with one (small) or no souvenir. If I see something I like and I have the cash – just go for it. And be satisfied, appreciative.
In the future, when randomly shopping, I will take my time and really ask myself why I’m trying to buy something, if I already have one similar and is it worth it? Remind myself of my money priorities. Perhaps I’ll even go shopping with a list of Qs.
One of the best things that have come from NoNewClothesProject is my intellectual and emotional observations… Basically, I’ve come to appreciate the environment around me more and I’ve understood more things about myself and my character.
Instead of feeling upset or pissed off and driving to the Mall to temporarily feel distracted and ‘better’ – I sit down, write, read, talk and try to figure out WHY I’m pissed off or upset. On December 19th I wrote:
“When you buy yourself new clothes, you feel a little better for a little while. But, in the long run, you choose to fix a bigger problem as you’re not just ‘keeping afloat’ AND you have money saved to put towards a better life.” Reedism 😉
That’s just it, you can do more with your money – people buy houses, have pets, raise kids, buy boats, TVs, go on luxury trips, get the latte with the extra shot of expresso – because they can!
More on that topic coming up – I’m certainly not saying you should buy a boat or have kids… to feel complete. That’s another thing to figure out. Stay tuned.
The point being, since I have yet to buy anything big, my purchasing of my items of cloth was my own way of ‘making something of myself’ like most other humans do, we all spend money to feel better, to own things, to own this life we all temporarily think we are in control of. Shopping helps. Owning helps.
All in all, the NoNewClothesProject was a good bloody idea and I even feel I understand more of this crazy world because of it. Or at least, I like to think I do.