I didn’t buy any clothes for 6 months and this is what I learned


By Joan Kong

I didn’t buy any clothes for 6 months and this is what I learned

A fashion editor abstaining from shopping for half a year? Gasp! While this may seem like an impossible task, I did exactly just that (I know, I can’t believe me either). It wasn’t a challenge or a buying ban per se, nor was it a direct attempt to reduce my fashion environmental impact. But between the pandemic, the lockdown, and the overwhelming sales that are going on, the thrill of buying clothes—be it online or IRL—has somehow just lost its appeal.

And while my bank account is revelling in the fact that no unnecessary splurges were made during these six months, what I’m more glad about, are the things that I came to realise during this period. The feeling of no longer being beholden to mindless consumption, I must say, is very refreshing.

Here’s what I learned from not buying any clothing for six months:

I’ve learned…

That I can survive without new clothes.

Before you roll your eyes at me, I know this is a no-brainer, but if you were to ask me if this is possible a year ago, my answer will be a hard no. But I guess more accurately, not having to dress up for that few months during MCO helped me to look at my wardrobe from a fresh perspective.

I re-organised my closet, donated two bags of clothing, and the simple makeover made things feel new and refreshed again. I’m sure we’ve all experienced wardrobe slumps at some point, but there’s nothing a little rearrangement can’t fix!


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I’ve learned…

To give my long-forgotten pile of clothing some lovin’.

Confession: I have a drawer full of clothes that has never seen the light of day. Call them impulse buys or regrettable purchases, it’s been a long time coming, but I’m glad that I finally made the effort to go through them. I’ve given some clothes away to a few friends, but at the same time, I’ve also rediscovered pieces that are actually trending right now. Case in point: a pair of Bermuda shorts that I’ve worn almost weekly since.

I’ve learned…

That when in need, just borrow from the boys.

A tip to spend less on clothes? Borrow from the boys! As a menswear enthusiast, I’ve always loved raiding my boyfriend and my brother’s closets. From blazers to button-downs to shirts, the juxtaposition of oversized silhouettes and my very own pieces is a style that I can’t get enough of.

I’ve learned…

To make wiser fashion choices.

While I’d like to think that I’m a mindful shopper, the said pile of unworn clothes clearly proved otherwise. The no-buying period has helped to make me see—and draw—a clearer line between wants and needs.

I’ve since started purchasing new clothes again, but I could definitely tell the difference in my shopping habits compared to before. Instead of chasing trends (the temptations for padded muscle T-shirts and the Prada velcro sandals are real, y’all), I’ve learned to sit on them for at least a few weeks to avoid spending on a whim. If it’s sold out in the end, it means they’re not meant to be, and it’s a-okay.


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Seeing how 2020 is the year of “realising things” (all hail Kylie), if you’re in need of a wardrobe intervention (or a style awakening), try giving yourself a no-shopping challenge. Whether it’s for three months or for a year, trust me when I say that it’ll make a difference.

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