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?