My strict no buy was short-lived. I bought two tees on eBay within the space of a few minutes one evening last week after a hard day at work. Oof.
I caved into a sudden impluse to browse eBay. I thought I could do it just to "window shop", but I was wrong.
I started my cycle of regular searches, one of which is St. James tees. I was wearing one of my 2 eBay St. James tees at the time and thinking about how it's just the perfect Platonic ideal of a striped tee, when I sorted prices lowest to highest and near the low end were both a longsleeve and a 3/4 sleeve in my size in one of my grail color combinations of white/cream and maroon. The measurements were similar to the older ones I have, not the ill-fitting new one I bought for my birthday and had to return. I thought about passing them by, but I just decided I would kick myself for many moons if I didn't get them when I had the chance. I know they will last for years to come and be so treasured. I just went for it & then logged off immediately.
This experience taught me not to even look at eBay if I am genuinely serious about not buying new stuff, no matter how self-soothing an activity it may be... but also to trust my 6th shopping sense (aka Lizard Overlord) if I see something truly rare that I can afford and have been intentionally thinking about buying for a long time. I don't want to be on a no-buy like a diet. I just want to cultivate a low-buy, mindful approach to developing my wardrobe & a no-buy period can be a tool.
Prior to caving to the desire to poke around on eBay, I'd been trying to convince myself not to buy a new pair of old navy canvas trousers for a couple of weeks. Early in the term, I wore my favorite pair and had such a lovely feeling all day - I really feel myself reclaiming pants and these are my dream pants in fit, feel, and color. I wanted to check what type they were because old navy makes so many variations of pants, so I looked at my order history and noticed they were almost sold out but still had my size (which is rare, as larger sizes tend to go faster) and had only one color left - an olive green. I started fantasy outfit planning about these green pants and wanted to buy them after the no buy, but they sold out.
A couple days after the shirt buying, I had the idea to search for a used pair on eBay and found some at about half the price of the new ones, which were affordable to start out, since they are old navy. I got them too. Yikes.
Thus ended my eBay freakout. Did I learn anything or just break my vow and fail?
I think a combination of social media fashion "challenges" and my history of deeply-ingrained impulses from years of participating in diet culture and yoga "challenges" always gets me riled up to make a broad declaration with a cut & dried rules and a time frame. And it usually ends up becoming a point of stress to "finish strong" or life gets in the way and I fail and beat myself up about it.
I am the kind of over-achiever perfectionist imposter syndrome kind of person who will go to yoga everyday even after getting injured (outside of yoga class) to finish a challenge because I couldn't stand not following through with the commitment I made.
I'm going to carry on with my low-buying through for the rest of the term despite failing at the no-buy - not because I vowed to, but because I want to. I have enough stuff right now to be picky about what I bring into my wardrobe.
At the beginning of the no-buy, I created a wardrobe tracker googlesheet and things were going really well, it was easy to update on my phone and I was enjoying seeing the data pile up. I initially thought I'd only track my work clothes, but I tracked my lounge and home clothes too & found the number of times I change clothes in a day to be fascinating. Including shoes and shawls, I wore a total of 47 items in 10 days! 8 items I wore twice in the 10 day period & 3 items, I wore 3 times (a skirt, a shawl, and a pair of shoes). That's a lot of stuff! Unfortunately, I ran out of formatted rows in the Google Sheet template I'd copied and it got hard to enter the data from my phone, so I gradually petered out at tracking wears.
I realized that on most days, I wear 3 outfits. Usually a comfy lounge outfit, a work/going out/gardening outfit, and an evening outfit after I get home from work, get finished with grubby gardening, or just want to put on something warmer later in the evening. Since it's Fall and there can be a 40-50 degree temperature shift from morning to evening, I even wore 4 outfits a couple days in that 10 day period.
It's a lot, but I also tracked washes and noticed that I don't launder everything after 1 wear and I often cycle things through different purposes so the same clothes can be worn for a lot of circumstances - like I'll wear a favorite tee to work, then the next evening I will put it on as part of a cozy relaxing outfit, then the I'll wear it to run to the grocery store over the weekend and finally wash it. I like that my garments are versatile, comfortable, and can dress up or down.
Tracking the data in a spreadsheet really illuminated my patterns and I thought it was a very cool exercise, but not one I would want to do all the time. I admire people who have the dedication to track all their wears. I just don't have that in me. It takes a bit of the joy out of wearing what I want in the moment - kind of like counting calories and planning meals to come in a certain macros... it may have a purpose, but it is not joyful in my experience. I just want to wake up and choose something that feels intuitively correct for how I'm embodying my body in that moment and what I have to do in the world that day. Having the right garments in that moment to be able to clothe myself with a perfect reflection of my being and its needs, desires, and boundaries is really the thrill of the wardrobe chase I'm after.
A bit about me:
My grandmothers grew up in the Great Depression and their stories, skills, and resourcefulness made a beautiful mark on my heart. I am always making something, usually with fiber or textiles. I love scraps and reusing things and rescuing overlooked treasures. I think about a lot of things while I am making. Here is a record and, hopefully, a connection to the thread of my story.