The end of No Buy February is finally in sight!! We’re down to just a matter of days and if you’ve stuck with me this long, way to go! But this hasn’t been easy. I already find myself making a mental list of all the things I want to buy on March 1st.
This past week I have spent more money than I had expected, but it just so happened that a bunch of my beauty products ran out. I’m holding off on replenishing as many as I can, but I did cave and buy a new SkinMedica TNS Serum. It is stupidly expensive, but I think has made a difference in my skin and I didn’t want there to be a gap in usage.
In addition, the round brush I use to blow dry my hair actually broke off at the handle. I also needed to book a flight to visit family and friends in San Francisco next month. And we ran out of vodka and obviously that needed to be fixed.
So, yeah, I spent more in the past week than I had planned or hoped for, but I still have kept to my original goal. I haven’t bought any clothing or accessories all month and I intend to keep it that way!
Because that is the real reason I’m doing this challenge. Yes, I want to save some money and also encourage myself to shop my own closet, but there’s a bigger motivation behind No Buy February.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the real cost of fashion, especially deeply discounted fashion. How many times have I bought a shirt or a sweater because it’s cute but also super cheap and I think, I can’t afford not to. The answer is more times than I can count. And how many times have I worn that inexpensive item just once or twice before desperately trying to get rid of it to make room for more? Also more times than I can count.
So, what ultimately happens to those items? Some I have donated, some I have sold, and some I have (unfortunately) thrown out. I’m committed to no longer doing the latter, but who’s to say that whomever ends up with my discarded items will eventually do the same?
We’re living in a world of heightened consumerism and it’s having a major effect on our landfills. According to recent EPA estimates, Americans throw out around 80 lbs of clothing and textiles every year—each.
I’m also well aware that the nature of my job is to convince people to buy things. But at what cost? I’m trying to be very aware of the messages I send. Yes, I want to help women look and feel their best, and that includes what they wear. But it doesn’t mean you have to buy everything you see on Instagram.
What I want to provide is inspiration. See something you like? Maybe there’s a way to recreate it from items you already own. Or maybe there are some items that are worth the splurge. Or maybe your best bet is to rent instead of buy.
The bottom line is that I want to be more mindful of what I buy and to encourage you to do the same. Do I really need that $30 sweater that is made from cheap synthetic materials just because it’s only $30? Maybe sometimes, but not always.
So, by forcing myself to not buy any clothing or accessories for an entire month I was also forcing myself to contemplate what I really need and want. And how I choose to spend my money.
As soon as March 1st rolls around I will definitely be buying clothes and shoes and bags and accessories again. But not all at once and only in moderation. And I will do my best to only purchase things I truly love and that will bring something worthwhile to my wardrobe.
I also have started a pile of old clothing and textiles that I will be dropping off to be recycled, and I encourage you to do the same. If you can’t sell or donate something just google “textile recycling” in your area and drop it off there. We need to make recycling old clothing as common as recycling glass and plastics. If you’re in New York City, check here to find textile recycling spots near you.
So, go forth and shop (as of March 1st), but let’s all do it a bit more thoughtfully
Photos by Marc Fowler
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