I'm an Obsessive Shopper — Here's What Happened When I Quit For a Month

Courtesy of Parke
Courtesy of Parke

For most, the start of spring means finally emerging out of hibernation and once again taking advantage of outdoor activities. For me, it means my seasonal closet clean-out, aka my favorite time of year. As I stared at my closet during my satisfying purge, I realized I have very few items to actually get rid of, contrary to the usual — which is great for my future outfits, unfortunate for my burning desire to make more space in my closet. But things are different this year thanks to my version of dry January: no-shop January.

While most people were cleansing their bodies from alcohol, I was cleansing my bank account (and my closet) of unnecessary, impulsive purchases. I know I can't be the only one who walks into a Zara store and just completely blacks out, only to be revived by a purchase notification from my credit card that I wish were fraud. So in order to save money, and also because my closet literally had no room left, I embarked on no-shop January.

In theory, not shopping for 30 days seems easy. But for a fashion obsessive like myself, waiting to purchase the seemingly perfect item was a little hard to pass up. Like most habits, the first few weeks proved the most difficult. But the shift in behavior surprisingly had a lasting impact, including learning how to smartly spend instead of entirely restricting or buying everything I lay eyes on.

Ahead, check out some of the biggest takeaways from a month of not shopping, from a self-diagnosed shopaholic.


TikTok Is the Biggest Peer Pressure; Pinterest Is Your Best Friend

The idea of finding new ways to style clothing you already own saved me during my month of no shopping. For advice, I turned to fashion influencer Ida Giancola, a strong advocate of timeless consumption and not buying into trends from social media. Her shopping and consumption patterns didn't change overnight; she had to actively work at purchasing less clothing.

"If I find an amazing piece, I just try to wear it over and over, because why not," she told POPSUGAR. "I try not to scroll too much on TikTok, so Pinterest I really, really like."

Using Pinterest to her advantage, Giancola talked about how the app helped her find inspiration for new outfits using pieces she already owned. "I [thought], I have jeans like that. How can I style [them] similarly? And go from there. It's like basically doubling your closet without spending the money to do so."

Shop Your Own Closet
POPSUGAR Photography | Merry Nebiyu

Shop Your Own Closet

I used to spend countless hours browsing online and shopping in-store because I always felt like I had nothing to wear. Whether I was searching for a specific event or changing my wardrobe in between seasons, everything in my closet always felt stale. Not shopping for a month really forced me to look at my wardrobe in a new light, making me think outside the box when it comes to styling pieces I wear on a regular basis.

I learned the art of purging as well. When I came across items in my closet that I often pass up, I had to force myself to either style them or finally let them go. Some of my favorite outfits came from putting a bit more thought into my unworn pieces and giving them more attention.

Spare Your Wallet the Emotional-Support Zara Trips, and Invest in Quality Pieces Instead
Courtesy of Parke

Spare Your Wallet the Emotional-Support Zara Trips, and Invest in Quality Pieces Instead

The worst part about cleaning out my closet was how many items I found from fast-fashion brands that I wore only a couple times, if any. I even found several pieces with the tags still on.

By not running to my nearest Zara every time I had the slightest life crisis, I ended up saving more money to invest in pieces that have now become my go-to staples, including my favorite Parke jeans. Founder and designer Chelsea Kramer created Parke with a vision of sustainability and comfort with a trend-conscious spin.

I can confidently say these jeans are now my most-worn pair. Even if they're more expensive than the denim you find at your average fast-fashion store, you actually save more money in the long run because the jeans last longer.

While I have started shopping again, the habits I developed over those 30 days definitely made a difference. Mindful consumption doesn't have to be boring. In fact, a closet full of your favorite quality pieces presents more styling and saving opportunities than I could've ever imagined.