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Wartime wardrobe challenge – Nov – Dec and final thoughts


So, the wartime wardrobe challenge is finished! I bought a few new things in the last couple of months. I really felt a major urge to shop when I got my first post-mat leave payslip at the beginning of November, but I managed to contain myself, so it’s not too bad.


First thing I bought was the Braintree bamboo leggings. I still think they’re brilliant, and sustainable too. £16.50 with a discount, 7 coupons.


The next thing was not so sustainable or necessary – this skater dress from ASOS. I bought it for having family photos taken. I wanted something simple, with an a line skirt and long sleeves, in green to match Dave’s and Milo’s clothes. It’s harder than you think! I searched all the ethical shops, but at the end of the day I didn’t want to spend the amount of money I would have needed to for that, and actually this was the best option regardless of price. Though at £22, it was definitely a factor. Anyway, it wasn’t totally necessary, but I know I’ll wear it a lot, so I can live with the not ethicalness. 11 points.


What was necessary though was a pair of work appropriate winter boots, after my two black pairs died last winter. I actually have a £100 voucher for the online shoe shop spartoo which I won in an ethical fashion bloggers competition, I was gonna spend it on boots. I was between a black camper pair and a brown fly pair, but I was dithering because I have chunky calves and I didn’t want to have to send them back. I should also say that both pairs were about £140.

So in the end I ended up getting this pair from Sainsburies. Sorry for shitey mobile phone picture, they don’t have them online so no proper image. They’re leather, and were £41 (including a 25% discount the weekend I bought them), and because of the elastic there’s no worries about the fit (and they easily fit over trousers). They’re also the kind of soles that can easily be redone when they wear out so I can keep them going for a long long time. 5 coupons.

I also got some water and windproof cycling gloves cos my hands were freezing off during my morning commute with my handknitted ones. Couldn’t be arsed to find a picture. They’re baby blue and black and look like cycling gloves, i.e. not very nice. £35, 2 coupons.

So, that’s me, taking my yearly total up to:

Coupons used: 53
Coupon equivalent for second hand items: 111
Money spent : £355.13 (I’m not quite sure where that spurious accuracy of the 13p comes from!)

I’m pretty pleased with that. For the new things, it’s well under the 66 coupons allowed, and even the second hand ones its not too bad. And in terms of money spent, it averages out at just over £29/month which is not bad, is it!


I guess this has been an unusual year, what with being in a newborn haze at the beginning of the year, only getting back to something approaching my pre pregnancy size in the summer and then without income for three months in the middle. Those things all meant that I didn’t really have the motivation to shop, challenge or not, which definitely helped with me doing so well.

Another aim for me in doing this challenge was for me to reduce or at least not expand the size of my wardrobe. I didn’t really keep track too much with what I got rid of towards the end but I’d say I generally more than what I got. I donated quite a bit and this was the year I discovered ebay, so I sold a few things too. Plus wearing fewer things all the time took its toll on some of my less quality items, so some landfill could not be avoided. Shrinking my wardrobe is a process I definitely want to continue, as I still think I have too many clothes, but I’m definitely on the right track.

Whether the challenge itself made that much of a difference I don’t know. I actually find the scoring system too convoluted, and since I could never remember how many points stuff cost, at no point did I consider points while actually shopping/planning shopping. I just totted stuff up after the fact. I also found the coupon allowances kind of arbitrary. I know there are probably historical reasons, but for a pair of leggings to ‘cost’ more coupons than a pair of shoes doesn’t seem right.

However, I did like being accountable via the blog, and there definitely was a couple of points where thinking about doing those roundups stopped me getting something (mainly in charity shops though).

What I’m actually thinking for this year is that I would like to continue with recording my purchases, but from a point of view of saving money as well as sustainability. With this £600/month childcare bill I don’t feel so well off any more, and I really want to go on nice holidays, but then with a small child and not being able to just be out all the time, we need to make sure we stay in nice accommodation, which means higher costs again. And since clothes are only a small amount of my spending I don’t want to restrict myself to clothes, but all things that are permanent things (i.e. not food, or haircuts or whisky). It would be interesting to see what we spend on heavily, cos as I’ve proven, it’s really not clothes. I can see that this might end up being deathly dull for people reading, but I might give it a shot. What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Roobeedoo 13 January 2014, 3:13 pm

    This sort of self-accounting fascinates me and I would definitely be interested in reading your progress updates 🙂
    This year, I am trying to keep a record of what I wear to work every day, partly to challenge myself to think up new combinations and partly to get a sense of how much “value” I get from each item.

  • J. 13 January 2014, 6:36 pm

    Oh, I love the fact that you are whisky drinkers! I find this sort of naval-gazing fascinating, tho somehow I have rarely managed to do it in my life (I think there were two two-month periods when I kept track of all spending, and then once since when my husband & I tried to do a slightly rougher estimate – ie. X amount of cash per month beyond all regular expenses, but we didn’t break down where it was all going.) if you want to cut expenses, tho, have you ever considered doing your own haircuts? It’s not really all that hard, and no competition for whisky when it comes to economising.

  • Carina 13 January 2014, 8:15 pm

    Das grüne Kleid ist superschön! ich liebe diese simplen Skater Dresses, die kann man mit so vielen Sachen kombinieren! Ich hab eins in Dunkelrot 🙂 Und die Stiefel sind auch toll! 🙂
    Carina recently posted..she wore a cabernet smileMy Profile

  • Meg 13 January 2014, 11:41 pm

    Thanks for taking part in this challenge and I am glad you got something out of the process. I agree that some values of modern items didn’t make sense. I think it would have been totally appropriate for you to have treated them as (footless) tights 😉

    Good to hear that you are going to monitor outgoings going forwards. Expenditure is often used as a proxy in CO2 footprint calculations so I am sure the process will be interesting from a sustainability as well as a budgeting perspective. I’ll be popping back regularly to see how it’s going.

    Whisky… I love that it is consumable chez vous too. Here it’s single malts & bone dry sherry.
    Meg recently posted..Wartime Wardrobe Challenge: reflections and beyondMy Profile

  • Ingrid 13 January 2014, 11:43 pm

    Hi Franca!

    I have enjoyed all your wartime wardrobe challenge posts – you have inspired me to be more conscious of my spending on clothes. I also relate to wanting nice holidays – there is nothing better than exploring new places and having somewhere nice to come back to at the end of each day.

  • jesse.anne.o 14 January 2014, 12:18 am

    Well done! All very nice picks with some longevity to them! I agree re the points system – and it was difficult to figure out what should even be counted. I counted shoes and essentially anything fabric that I purchased whereas I know others just weren’t going to count things on the list (no judging). Also I felt like a lot of vegan stuff took less resources than some other things – e.g. canvas shoes for leather shoes or a tote bag vs a leather handbag. Still, I was appreciative to look at it in terms of scoring – I just wish it way maybe more accurate for my needs. A good exercise, regardless.
    jesse.anne.o recently posted..I guess it’s time to say Happy New Year.My Profile

  • Señora Allnut 14 January 2014, 6:24 pm

    it was interesting to read your ‘wartime wardrobe’ posts, and see what kind of difficulties it implies, and it’s also interesting to know what were your final thoughts and actual resolutions!

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