‘I bought no clothes for a year’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 02 November 2014 | 23.08

Sarah Lazarovic wrote a book called 'A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy', about how she went a year without buying any new clothes or accessories. Source: Supplied

COULD you go a year without buying any new clothes or accessories?

Sarah Lazarovic did, and boy, do we take our hats off to her.

The 35-year-old Canadian woman banned herself from buying anything new in 2012 because she was spending "too much time, money and energy shopping." Ms Lazarovic says she was "mindlessly buying stuff" and wanted to fight back against the commercialism that tempted her to buy things she didn't need.

She's written a book of essays and illustrations about her experience, called 'A Bunch Of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy'. Each essay examines a different aspect of our consumer life and she's done a painting of all the things she wanted, but could not buy.

News.com.au asked Sarah how on earth she managed to do it.

A page from Sarah's book, 'A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy'. Source: Supplied

After a self-imposed shopping ban in 2006, Sarah found her mindless shopping habits started creeping up again, but this time in a different form.

"I'd always been a good internet shopper, but somehow the sophistication and sudden ubiquity of internet shopping made it so that I was mindlessly buying stuff. I'd be doing work on my computer and then notice that I was magically on a shopping site, researching sequined jumpsuits. I didn't realise I'd become a prolific internet shopper.

"So I decided to not shop again. I wasn't so much about the money as it was about the mindlessness, time wasting and gluttonous aspect of it. I also didn't like the idea that I was such an easy target. The internet knew when I'd checked out a dress and would haunt me with ads of that dress for weeks thereafter. I needed to fight back."

A page from Sarah's book, 'A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy'. Source: Supplied

Sarah says the most surprising thing about the whole experiment was that actually, isn't wasn't really that hard. (And no, she didn't cave and buy anything. At all.)

"You just stop caring about acquisition, about newness. You just wear what you have, make it work, and look good. It's fun and freeing.

"It's not actually hard to not buy 99% of the stuff that you think you want. It's really not about the stuff and the ban so much as it is about the mental energy one has to exert to not buy. That's the taxing part. Mindlessly buying is easy. Mindfully abstaining is harder.

Sarah says we're all suffering from "stuff fatigue", which is why her family has a "no gifts" policy.

"No one wants or needs any more crap, and people are often happier to receive a small but thoughtful comestible than something they'll never ever use.

"I allow myself to shop now. It's taken me years but I'm now a much more thoughtful, deliberate, infrequent shopper. I pretty much never buy anything new. It also helps that I really don't need anything and could probably wear the clothes I have now til I'm 90, by which time I expect rompers will be in style again anyway."

And after the ban ended, what was the first thing she bought?

"A new pair of running sneakers! Mine had a huge hole in the toe that I'd been running with for six months, which may have explained my wonky stride."

A page from Sarah's book, 'A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy'. Source: Supplied

So what are Sarah's tips for revamping your wardrobe without buying anything new?

1. Refresh with accessories

"I advocate just playing with what you have, remembering to throw on an accessory or two if you feel the outfit needs freshening."

2. Get your stuff mended

"I'd wager that everyone has at least a handful of pieces they don't wear because they need to be mended, tweaked, rejigged."

3. Get things tailored

"I had a pile of once-loved clothes that just needed a bit of TLC. I took them to my tailor and came out with a whole new wardrobe."

Read more about Sarah here.

Could go you a year without shopping? Tweet us @newscomauhq | @beck_sullivan

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