An Irish woman who gave up clothes shopping for a year says it helped give her a 'reality check'.
Emily Kielthy decided to give up shopping back in December 2019, after an attempt to return a 'ridiculously expensive' pair of boots made her realise how much money she was spending on clothes.
The only exception to her self-imposed rule was for essential clothing such as socks and underwear, as well as exercise shoes if her existing pair became worn out.
A year later, she says she managed to stick to her goal - although now plans to go for a more 'balanced' approach in 2021 rather than going completely 'cold turkey'.
She spoke to Lunchtime Live today about her experience, and why she decided to give up shopping in the first place.
As well as the money she was spending, Emily said environmental reasons were definitely a factor - saying she realised she had a wardrobe 'full of plastic', including items covered with beads, sequins or glitter.
Emily said she has always been an 'all or nothing' type of person, so she needed to make a 'clean break'.
She said: “Nobody believed me that I could actually do this, which probably says something about my shopping.
"But I committed to it very publicly, and I knew I had to stick to it then."
2020 was of course the year of extended lockdowns, with many events - from weddings to Friday nights out - cancelled throughout the year.
However, Emily said the unique circumstances of last year actually made her no-shopping pledge more challenging.
She explained: “People said you ‘picked a good year for it’... but it was definitely harder to do.
“It wasn’t the occasions people shop for, or I shop for anyway… it was pure emotional reward.
"You’re bored, or you feel like treating yourself… or you’re sold into the idea of self-care.
"It was really hard to be sitting at home with nothing to do in quarantine, and not be able to online shop."
Self-care and saving money
Over the course of the year, Emily managed to find new ways to treat and care for herself - such as spending more time with loved ones.
She said: “We’re all taught to think of self-care as you buy a scented candle, face mask or something nice for yourself… but that’s just sort of capitalism’s idea of self-care, and you’re not looking after yourself.”
One of the most obvious benefits, of course, was saving money - helped by the fact she had no nights out or birthday parties to attend.
Emily told Andrea: "I’ve never bought into the idea that if millennials give up avocado and coffee we’d all have houses… because that’s false.
"But I will say doing this for a year, I did save a lot of money."
A year on, Emily says she’s seen her own tastes in clothing shift - and she’s now more focused on vintage and quality clothing rather than ‘flashy’ fast fashion items.
However, she will return to buying clothes in 2021 - just not as much as before.
She said: “When shops open, I will be going in to get a few bits… I’ll probably order something online for myself.
“I think it’s important to have balance - I was glad I was able to this for sustainability and get a reality check, but it’s definitely not easy to go cold turkey.
“There are probably easier ways for people to make an impact - such as vintage shopping or having a re-wear policy. I wouldn’t do this for another year, but I’m very proud of doing it for one.”