What Happened When I Went on a Shopping Detox

Allyson Payer

To most people, the thought of not shopping for a month sounds like no big deal. I haven't always worked in the fashion industry, so I absolutely get that. But now that I'm a fashion editor, shopping is a part of life. Similar to other professions, it's important for an editor to look the part, and for me, that means keeping up with the latest trends and having a wardrobe equipped with stylish options for whatever occasion may come up. And professional duties aside, I really enjoy shopping. In other words, a month was a significant amount of time for me to take a break from shopping. 

So why did I decide to embark on this journey? Simply put, I needed to reassess what I buy and why I buy it. It's very easy to get into the habit of wearing all-new pieces and losing sight of older pieces in your wardrobe that you once loved and chose to spend your hard-earned money on. I wanted to take a step back and take stock of the items I already owned.

I hoped the break would help curtail my habit of perpetually buying the same types of things over and over (how many pairs of denim shorts does one gal really need?), and instead aid me in filling in the areas my wardrobe is lacking in. I also hoped the experiment would help me to be more creative with what I already have in my closet and build fresh new outfits with those forgotten pieces.

So how did it go? For starters, I quickly realised that late in-between seasons was not the best time of year to stop shopping cold turkey. Shiny new shoes, skirts, and dresses immediately beckoned, and resisting their call took significant willpower. But I think that the most challenging thing about it was seeing something I loved and would have typically purchased in an instant, completely sell out while I was detoxing.

On the bright side, I realised I would eventually forget about the ones that got away. There will always be new arrivals to tempt you. If you miss out on something, another piece that's just as good, if not better, will soon come along. I'll admit I did cheat in a couple of moments of weakness, but there are some things that are simply too good to pass up. (For example, a Reformation alpaca sweater on major sale. Missing out would have haunted me all year. Also, those Adidas slides that are constantly sold out. No regrets.)

Since the detox, I've become more thoughtful about my purchases and less impulsive. I've unearthed some gems from my existing wardrobe and made more of an effort to shop my closet instead of Zara's new arrivals. I plan on taking more shopping detoxes in the future, but perhaps a little more well-timed on the next occasion.

The most fun stage of the experiment was undoubtedly the shopping list I formed in the midst of detoxing. Taking more time to pause and think things through made for a more curated wish list comprised of pieces that I'll actually wear on multiple occasions, this season and beyond (and a few just for fun).

Keep scrolling to shop some of the items on my post-detox wish list. (I have a hunch that you may want them too.)

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