Why I’m Only Buying 5 Garments for the Rest of 2015

Small Shopping
The time has come.  I’m putting myself on an extreme clothing diet.  At some point within in the next few weeks it will be an all-out fast.

Specifically, I’m limiting my purchases for the entire fall/winter season to five pieces.

Here’s what you need to know about me: I love clothes.  I’m a Public Relations professional and certified Image Consultant.  Dressing well is part of my identity.  I have no intention of wearing fraying frocks to prove a point about sustainability.

On the contrary, I expect this challenge will improve my look by forcing me to make highly selective purchases based on a deep understanding of my personal style and existing wardrobe.

So while this isn’t an anti-fashion challenge, it is a rebellion against the wastefulness of “fast fashion” culture, which is the mass production of cheaply made clothing only intended to be worn a few times.

According to Livia Firth, Executive Producer of True Cost, a typical fast fashion garment only stays in our closet for an average  of five weeks before being discarded. That’s a lot of senseless waste filling up our landfills.  Reportedly, the average American tosses 82 pounds of textiles into the garbage each year!

The average American throws out 70 lbs. of textiles every year.

The whole system of fast fashion is environmentally devastating and exploitative of third-world workers.   Further, it’s killing our personal style.  Our cultural obsession with shopping for the sake of shopping and buying cheap clothes for sport is the reason so many of us look in our bulging closets and sigh that we have “nothing to wear”.

I’ve long been a proponent of the “buy less; buy better” mentality, but I still fall prey to poor purchasing decisions from time to time.  By forcing me to buy less, I imagine this challenge will force me to be a more methodological shopper and maximize the value of my existing wardrobe.

My Rules:

  1. Only purchase five new garments for the rest of 2015
  2. I must wear each of the items a minimum of 30 times before I donate or otherwise dispose of them
  3. At least three of the pieces must be consignment OR from an ethical manufacturing company
  4.  Items must coordinate with my existing wardrobe, but also update my look
  5. Most items must be able to transition between my professional and off-duty wardrobe

Will I make any exceptions? 

I’ll make an exception if a highly utilitarian need arises.  If my winter boots are letting water in or I lose a glove, replacement is acceptable.  This isn’t a militant exercise designed to weed out the weak with suffering and sacrifice; it’s a simple test of fast fashion culture to determine if there is a better way to live.

8 thoughts on “Why I’m Only Buying 5 Garments for the Rest of 2015

    1. Thanks Anna,

      And thanks for the comment. I became interested in buying less and buying better even before I became interested in sustainable fashion because I truly believe most women suffer from having too many clothes without a clear sense of style. While my fall/winter shopping diet may prove to be a bit challenging, I don’t think there is an inherent conflict between having great style and taking a more sustainable approach to clothing.

      I think it’s awesome that you are on a similar journey. I look forward to checking out your blog!


      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve just done a year of capsule wardrobes and I too am considering this French wardrobe strategy of only buying 5 new pieces a season. I think it’s a really sustainable way of shopping and consuming fashion – my problem is, if I only buy 5 things, I want them to be amazing and great quality – and currently I don’t have the budget for that. So I think I’ll see if I have the urge to shop this autumn and how I deal with it and perhaps give myself a new set of “rules” come winter.
    Capsule wardrobe planning takes a lot of time and effort and on the whole, I’m not sure how sustainable it is in the long run. But it’s hard to say, I know about myself that I like to have new things – well, not necessarily new, just new to me. Because they keep me inspired, I would absolutely suffer if I had to wear more or less the very same pieces this autumn as I had the last.
    Enjoyed the post and good luck on the shopping fast! xo


    1. Great comment, Katberries.

      It sounds like we share a lot of wardrobe characteristics. I too love clothes and the transformative feeling of wearing a fresh new outfit. My style and sense of self keeps evolving and I want to be able to reflect that in my everyday appearance.

      It is a challenge to balance a love of fashion with living a more sustainable life (and managing the budget) but I believe the effort is a worthy one. I really do think that, buying less things overall, choosing them carefully and opting for higher quality, benefits one’s personal style and helps us get more joy out of our clothing.

      Thanks for the comment. I look forward to following your journey!

      Lesley xo


    1. Hi Simplyyou,

      It’s a very common problem. I think “thought” is really the key word when curating your wardrobe. Plan out exactly what would make your wardrobe more functional (and pleasing) and then look for these key pieces, rather than buy what catches your eye with little regard to how it works with your existing clothes and lifestyles.

      I also recommend trying everything on at home before taking off the tags to see how well it works with your other pieces before crossing the line of no return!

      Thanks for commenting!


  2. I love your rules and I’ve been applying them for a while now as I feel like it is such a waste on the environment, our wallets, and life in general….keep the beautiful basics, buy only what you can wear over and over without it going out of style in the next season or two, and reinvent what you have! I have pieces that have been with me for a decade and are still fashionable today…Let’s exchange ideas and hopefully we can guest post on each other’S blogs 🙂


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