No Shopping: Amanda Wong's Experience

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If you haven’t heard already, we have issued a Recloseted No Shopping Challenge! We are challenging you to stop shopping from January - June 2019 to end unnecessary consumption and help us right the harmful fashion industry. Sign up and accept the challenge.

To inspire you to sign up for the challenge and show you that it can be done, we are thrilled to have Amanda Wong guest write about her no shopping experience! Amanda lives in Vancouver, British Columbia and is a Senior Strategy Manager at TELUS, a Canadian telecommunications company. She loves dogs (is literally obsessed with them), can quote The Office, and climbs challenging mountains (she’s summited Mount Kilimanjaro!) If you want to get in touch with Amanda, you can find her on Instagram @amandanwong.

PSST: We also previously featured Amanda in a Closet Confidential! Definitely check it out her closet after you read this post!


Digging myself into a shopping hole

I wouldn’t call myself a shopaholic like Carrie Bradshaw (I sadly have no Manolo Blahniks to show for) but I was pretty really into shopping. I would often feel the urge to buy new clothes and shoes, sometimes going with my friends or at times going alone if I was on a mission. Most of the time, I had no need to buy anything... because I had everything I needed from previous years of excessive shopping. There would be no strict evaluation of items being purchased— if I liked it and it wasn’t super expensive, I would be at the cash register with my credit card.  When I had a trip or special event coming up, I felt the need to get new clothes or shoes without even evaluating my closet inventory. As you can imagine, my closet ended up getting a very specific tropical crop top that could only be worn in Mexico, or a sequin dress that was for a Christmas event in 2015 and never to be worn again.

I was Regina George.

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Adventuring > shopping

A few years ago when I was moving apartments, I discovered a consignment shop called Hunter & Hare in Vancouver. They have an amazing consignment and donation program that didn’t make me feel intimidated. I did a massive purge of my clothing and said goodbye to those Mexico crop tops, which left my closet fairly streamlined with items I wear on an everyday basis to work and on the weekend.

It was a refreshing feeling but with empty hangers in my closet, I found myself still needing to fill those gaps with the latest trends and shopping (but to a lesser extent). I traveled to Nepal in the latter half of 2017— hiked in the Himalayas, staying in tea houses and living off items in my backpack. From that experience, I realized that I was living a very extra lifestyle back home. I came to the realization that I would rather spend my money traveling and being with my family and friends.

Sharing my shopping ban experience

Along with my friend, Selina (Recloseted Queen), I decided to go on a shopping ban from January 1 - April 30 of this year. We appointed my sister as our sponsor (my sister is frugal AF, which made her the perfect support person). After our successful shopping ban completion in the spring, we spent the next few months shopping for necessities the Aritzia warehouse sale. After the warehouse sale in September, we started another shopping ban which I’m proud to report is still ongoing (likely ending in January). The urge to shop has subsided over time and for the most part, I feel pretty content with the clothing and shoes in my wardrobe.

How did I manage?

  • Declined invitations from friends to go shopping

  • Redirected shopping money for my trip to Kilimanjaro

  • Unsubscribed to clothing store emails

  • Borrowed friend’s clothing for events (thanks Selina!)

  • Bought stuff for my niece instead of myself

My struggles:

  • Justified buying other items (e.g. candles, house items, etc.) that I didn’t really need

  • Justified spending more money on dinners/events/experiences— I don’t think I saved a whole bunch of money

  • Felt that I had nothing to wear to holiday parties and definitely caught myself looking longingly at store windows and getting outfit inspiration that I couldn’t fulfill. I ended up wearing outfits from previous years and survived

My realizations:

  • I found new life in items that I had tucked away. I guess you have to make do with what you have! Say yes to that Uniqlo button down shirt from 2014!

  • For the most part, I wear simple outfits everyday. Even on trips. Say no to the floral crop top for Mexico!

  • I need to buy a steamer

Slowly changing my habits and lifestyle

I am by no means anywhere close to living a 100% sustainable/no waste lifestyle. I am not sewing my old dishrags into upcycled dresses and yes, sometimes I forget to bring my recycling bags to the grocery store. However, I feel proud to have taken many small steps over the past few years with no shopping bans, donating clothing to my local consignment shop, trying to buy local where I can, sharing my story with the Recloseted community and my hopeful future plans to become a better human (see list below).

  1. More rigour around my shopping criteria. Things I’ll be asking myself when contemplating a purchase: Do I have something like this already? Is this a one-time item for a special event? Is this a sustainable brand? Would my sister approve of me buying this?

  2. Shop more consignment/vintage! I recently discovered a few shops along Main St. that I’m looking forward to checking out in the new year (you have to visit Mintage Mall in Mount Pleasant).

  3. Continuing to donate clothing to Hunter & Hare (and shopping there too)

  4. Discovering more local brands/shops that have a sustainable vision that consign, sell vintage and/or upcycled items and share those with the Recloseted community

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