Once again, I kept a list of all the clothing purchases that I made over the past year so that I could analyze my shopping habits and establish goals for the following year. I do this in part because I want to be a more ethical shopper, but also because I want to be intentional about wardrobe development. Little did I know when the year began, however, what was lurking just around the corner! If there’s one good thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has done for me, it’s been the fact that it sent me deep into my closets and storage spaces for things to wear instead of to the mall. As I look at my list of purchases, it’s much shorter than previous years and it tells me once again what a strange year 2020 was!
Before we look at what I did buy, let’s take a look at my goals for 2020 and see how I did.
- I will continue tracking my purchases for at least one more year so that I can review and evaluate my shopping habits again a year from now. Done!
- I will continue to buy things that I need and items I love that work well with what I already have. Done!
- I will strive to buy less and experiment with new ways to wear what I already have. Thanks to Covid-19 and the fact that I seldom purchase clothing online, this was a major success!
- I will continue to buy quality pieces and not waste money on fast fashion. Done!
- When considering a purchase that was made in China, I will attempt to find a suitable alternative made elsewhere. Quite successful. I only bought a couple of new items that were made in China. More about that later in the post.
- When adding to my closet, I will consider five adjectives that begin with C… classy, confident, comfortable, casual, and creative. Done!
- I will continue to write a Fashion Friday post each week. Done!
It’s estimated that in a normal non-pandemic year most women purchase an average of approximately 70 items of clothing spending somewhere between $150 and $400 a month or approximately $1800 to $4800 annually. As a frugal fashionista, I never come close to that. For example, in 2019 I bought 43 items and spent $1071.74 CAD or approximately $89 a month. In 2020, however, I spent only $402.33 or approximately $33.50 a month! With that, I bought 24 items including clothing, accessories, and footwear. Exactly half of them were new and the other half were thrifted. I paid full price for only 8 items.
While the thrift store purchases were largely impulse buys, most of them were items that I loved and that fit into my existing wardrobe well. More than ever in past years, the new items that I bought were intentional, planned purchases that filled identified gaps in my wardrobe. Those included underwear and pyjamas to replace ones that were worn out, the running shoes that I bought to use on the treadmill, and two pairs of chinos purchased at the beginning of summer to fill a need for pants that would be warmer than my shorts and capris, but cooler than jeans.
One of the ways that I attempt to be an ethical shopper is to avoid purchasing new items that were made in China. I did buy several garments that were made in third world countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing if they were manufactured in factories that are socially and environmentally responsible or sweatshops where workers are exploited and forced to work in unsafe conditions. Having lived in China, however, I do know that the conditions for many factory workers there are abhorrent and that human rights in that country are being increasingly eroded. In addition, China continues to hold two Canadians in prison in what is widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou and I believe that China is a threat to Canada in other ways. These are all good reasons to avoid purchasing items made in that country. I did slip up a couple of times this year. I failed to find out where the sneakers that wanted to be mine were made before I ordered them and while I made most of our face masks, I did buy one package that were made in China.
Since this was such an unusual year and I did so little clothes shopping, rather than coming up with a whole new list of fashion shopping goals for 2021, I’m going to keep the same ones for another year and hope that I actually get to do some real shopping. With that in mind, however, I will make one change. The third goal will change from “I will strive to buy less and experiment with new ways to wear what I already have.” to “I will continue to experiment with new ways to wear what I already have.” I can’t imagine buying less than I did this year! I yearn for the day when I can browse the stores, feel the fabric, try things on, and even take a few of them home with me!
In the meantime, here’s a sample of my favourite purchases of 2020. You’ve seen many of them on the blog before.
Three tops, all thrifted. The Goddess Blouse from cabi’s Fall 2018 Collection, shown on the left, is one of the only two cabi pieces that I bought in 2020. The other was also second-hand. As I look at the photo on the right, I’m reminded of an unwritten fashion goal that I’ve had for the past couple of years; to gradually transition from black, especially close to my face, to navy and other neutrals that are more flattering to my complexion. I would not have bought this top if the background had been black.
These are the only shoes I bought in 2020. On the left, the Asics GT2000 6 running shoes that were purchased specifically for walking on the treadmill. I’ve put plenty of miles on them since buying them last January. On sale at 40% off their regular price, they continue to be comfortable and supportive and were definitely a very good buy. On the right, the sneakers from Mark’s that I bought simply because I love them! They were also on sale.
And finally, a pair of thrifted capris and one of my most recent purchases, a navy sweater dress from Reitmans.