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A Real Style Challenge

I've been hosting an Instagram-based (#)stylechallenge for a while now. It's really not a challenge at all, but rather a calendar of daily prompts designed to inspire participants' outfits. Some are a bit more of a challenge in the sense that the hosts offer a prize for engagement, but mine is just for fun and motivation. I actually follow a half dozen or more every month that help inspire my #ootds.

For the month of May, however, mine will indeed be a challenge. Don't worry - the prompts are super simple to balance things out. Keep reading for the hard part.

I've been shopping only used or ethical/sustainable brands since the beginning of 2019, but every closet has its limit. It's actually quite easy to over-shop when you're shopping secondhand because it is so darn affordable. My wardrobe is bursting at the seams and I'm feeling uninspired when browsing my favorite thrift site so I know it's time for a break.

For the month of May I'll only be shopping my closet. Here's why I think you should join me. (It's not just to save money!)

Best Benefits of a No-Shopping Month

1. Recognize how much you have and love. At first, shopping your closet seems limiting. When you start mixing and matching what you have it will seem like more than enough. Limiting yourself to what you have also helps you recognize what you really love and what - you guessed it - no longer sparks joy. At the end of the month you'll know what can go.

2. Figure out what you really want. As you shop your closet, you may notice an item that you wish you had to include in an outfit. If that happens consistently for a month, it's worth shopping for at the end. Alternatively there may be temptations that you will have completely forgotten about after a few weeks.

3. Reset your marketed mind. We are whipped into a shopping frenzy by marketing that convinces us we need to buy MORE, buy it NOW, and then we will be HAPPY. Any sale you miss this week will be back next week. Clothes are awesome but just having more or a particular item won't improve your happiness. Quitting shopping will be like quitting sugar - your mind has to detox from it. Then it will go from being an involuntary habit to something much more intentional and actually enjoyable.

4. Refocus your resources. How much time, energy, thought, and money do you put into shopping every month? Browsing the internet, strolling the aisles, checking shipping updates? What will you invest that extra attention into? What will that money be saved for or used on or given to?

This may feel like mission impossible. It IS challenging, but I promise it can be done and it's so worth it. After doing this a half dozen times in the last couple of years, I have a few tricks for success.

Tips for a Successful No-Shop Month

1. Plan Your Outfits. This is Numero Uno in my book! When you know what you're going to wear for the upcoming week, you can look forward to it and feel less pull from the "next new thing". You'll also see how much and how many options you already own so that one more cute skirt feels superfluous. I plan my outfits a week at a time, usually on Sundays using this form. Take a look at your forecast, your calendar, add in whatever style challenge prompts you're following this month (the #PYBstylechallenge ones are already added *wink, wink") and then plan your your look.

2. Unsubscribe. Especially in the beginning and for first-timers, you may want to unsubscribe or at least just immediately delete all the retailer's emails that fill your inbox. Don't open them - spoiler alert - there's a new thing and it's on sale! There will be tomorrow too! They will also be there in June so just turn off the temptation if you need to.

3. Put on blinders. Along the lines of #2, if walking past those big red balls is a trigger for you, just take a hard right and walk away from the women's section as quickly as you can. Do NOT browse. Do NOT make eye contact with the mannequins. Maybe just avoid stores where you're tempted for the first couple of weeks until the shakes have subsided. [I say this jokingly, but honestly I've had so much feedback that this exercise of not shopping for a month has been really eye opening for women who didn't realize how truly addicted or dependent on shopping they were. Shopping itself is not "bad" just like any thing, it's how we allow the thing to control our behaviors or resources or use the thing to provide a quick fix that can be abused.]

Whew. That escalated quickly didn't it?! If you're still here - high five!

I really do hope you'll consider accepting my challenge this month and you'll join me on social media so we can inspire and hold each other accountable! Follow me on Instagram and use the #PYBstylechallenge hash tag on your posts so I can see them. I'm hoping to share my weekly outfit planning sessions, tips, and tricks there too.

I'd love to hear your feedback on how a month of shopping your closet impacts you - leave a comment here or feel free to email me too!

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