My Year Without Clothes Shopping – (How I learned to ‘Shop My Wardrobe’)

Image of shoes and feetI started my year without clothes shopping on December 15, 2009. I wasn’t sure then what I’d get out of it. I knew I wanted to save some money, I knew I wanted to understand my shopping habits better. The first couple of months were fairly easy, it was all new and I was still in a slight state of dazed shock about what I’d gotten myself into. When I hit the third month, I started to notice some uncomfortable feelings about not shopping coming up. I realised that I used shopping as a way to express or pacify my emotions. I would shop when I felt bad as a pick-me-up. I would shop when I felt good as a way to celebrate or reward myself.

What I learned is that shopping as a form of emotional expression is not only limited but it’s expensive! I knew I needed to find another way. I stumbled around for a little while, exploring ways in which I could parlay my shopping habit into something more spirit-lifting, more life-affirming, less credit-reducing. And through that process of floundering around, I discovered some creative ways in which my energy and talents could be better put to use.

The challenge finishes on December 15, 2010. But the work continues! I have created a 12 month program for other women who want to take a year out from clothes shopping and bring some sanity to what might be an out-of-control habit. You never know what you’ll discover, when you join us on the challenge!

When I tell people I’m taking 12 months out from clothes shopping it generally results in one of two responses:

1. Women are amazed, mortiphied and very curious… how am I managing? Why am I doing it? What am I getting out of it? These women generally love to shop, love clothes, enjoy ‘dressing up’ and other ‘girly things. The more we chat, the more intrigued they become by the challenge. Although, usually, they say something like “I could never do that!”. This tells me that a part of them would LOVE to do the challenge, they’re just struggling with some fear. Which is human, and to be expected. And can be overcome. That’s why I developed the 12 month program – so other women could have this AMAZING experience, too, but with support – you don’t need to do it on your own! When women join the challenge they get inspiration and support, every step of the way.

2. The other response I get, but less often, is a confession that this particular woman does not like clothes or shopping. I’ve discovered that about 20% of women don’t like clothes shopping, don’t like clothes in particular, and don’t especially enjoy ‘dressing up’. And for some of them, this problem is rooted deeply in body issues – they don’t like their bodies. These women are usually curious about the challenge, too, it’s just that they’re coming from a different place.

Taking 12 months out from clothes shopping has changed me. It has shifted my perspective on how I shop, why I shop, the place shopping has filled in my life. It has offered me an opportunity to explore and grow like no other challenge would have. I feel so much lighter about my relationship to my wardrobe and my spending – I feel I understand it better. I can’t tell you what a relief this is!

You can’t hide for 12 months, which is why the challenge is that length of time. If you’re curious about the program and how it might be good for you, check out the website and consider becoming a member! We’d love to have you join us!

Jill Chivers

Jill Chivers

Jill Chivers is a reformed shopaholic and shares with women the opportunity to challenge themselves by taking 12 months off clothes shopping and addressing the underlying emotional needs associated with addictive buying habits.

Working with women from around the world, Jill offers women her challenge program, Shop Your Wardrobe.  Visit her website to find out more about the 12 month challenge program.

Jill also offers a second program, I’m Listening Now where she supports women who are wanting to make changes in their life.  Visit her website now to find out more about this program.

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  1. Interesting post! I like to think I’d be able to go without clothes shopping for a year, but there are so many possibilities for excuses of why I need something that it would not work out.

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