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Shopping Ban Challenge: 20 Pieces Over 30 Days

Identify your everyday staples, be intentional with your future spending, and prevent unnecessary clothing waste. 
April 20, 2023
By Amy Melton

What Is A Shopping Ban Challenge?

I've always struggled to find clothes I truly love, even though my closet is packed. Items either don't fit quite right or need to be more versatile for my everyday needs - sometimes the materials aren't comfortable, or the pieces don't make me feel confident and like my best self.

In the past, I solved this problem by buying more, which brought some initial excitement, but, later, I would still feel lost in my cluttered wardrobe.

Why was I feeling this way after spending money on things I supposedly wanted? It's because the root problem was still there - I wasn't shopping consciously.

So I wanted to make a change and find a way to resist the urge to impulsively buy clothes that didn't meet my needs.

Instead, I only wanted to buy things that gave me lasting joy and utility. My first step was to really figure out what I enjoyed wearing and why.

That's how I came across the Shopping Ban Challenge, where I'd commit to not purchasing new items for a set time, in my case, 30 days.

If you want to follow my lead, read on... explore the Shopping Ban Challenge and some practical tips for completing it. I also wrote down my takeaways at the end. Try the challenge yourself and see if you experience the same benefits as me. 

Oliver Charles - Rules For A Successful Shopping Ban

Rules For A Successful Shopping Ban

I tried the Shopping Ban Challenge to reduce my clothing waste while  also becoming more aware of my preferences.

The basic idea of the challenge is to stick to a pre-set capsule wardrobe, which forces you to look at the clothes you already own and figure out what you truly love and wear the most.

The challenge is open-ended. Whether you decide to go cold turkey on shopping or simply reduce your budget, customize it to your needs and preferences. 

To guide myself, I created 3 rules I'd follow.

  • Avoid buying new clothes, including shoes, makeup, or even jewelry for 30 days. 
  • Buy only necessities, including hygiene products, food for home-cooked meals, and gas.
  • Pick 20 pieces from the closet to outfit repeat for the next 30 days.

Because I didn't have a capsule wardrobe, I started by auditing my overflowing closet for the 20 items I'd wear. This included removing all my items except undergarments, so I could really see what I had. This process took time, but it was fun and worthwhile. Plus, I found some forgotten clothing items.

Next, I analyzed everything to see which items would stay and which I would purge. Overall, this process focused on clearing and organizing my closet space.

I created 3 distinct piles: keep, donate/sell, and purge.

Creating these piles helped me visualize what I had but no longer needed.

Oliver Charles - Fixing The Never-Ending Shopping Cycle

Fixing The Never-Ending Shopping Cycle

Once I completed the process and had a pile of clothes I wanted to keep, I returned them to my closet and arranged them by color and style. This helped keep things organized while giving me a better sense of what I had to work with.

During the Shopping Ban Challenge, I committed to wearing what was in my closet and not shopping for new clothes. To make mixing and matching my pieces easier, I decided to follow a color palette of 4-5 colors that I would stick to for the next 30 days. This was easy since I recently completed the Color Palette Challenge.

Here's a list of the items I chose after completing my closet audit.

  • 1 100% yak wool sweater
  • 1 Long sleeve bodysuit
  • 1 Blouse
  • 1 T-shirt
  • 1 Tank top
  • 1 Cardigan
  • 1 Jean jacket
  • 1 Pair of dark-wash jeans
  • 2 Pairs of trousers 
  • 1 Pair of faux leather pants
  • 1 Pleated skirt (midi-length)
  • 3 Pairs of shoes
  • 5 Accessories (earrings, belts)
Oliver Charles - Tips For Succeeding In The Shopping Ban Challenge

Tips For Succeeding In The Shopping Ban Challenge

After I selected my pieces, I was ready to curate as many outfits as possible and plan them out for the next 30 days.

Picking out my pieces before this challenge helped me stay focused and prevented any temptation to buy new clothes. I placed my everyday styles into 3 simple categories.

Weekend Time: 100% yak wool sweater paired with faux leather pants, coat, pointed-toe flats, and earrings; or a bodysuit paired with dark-wash jeans, pointed-toe flats, and a cardigan.

Workwear: Blouse or sweater, including the 100% yak wool sweater paired with a pleated skirt or trousers, coat, shoes, and accessories.

Casual Wear: 100% Yak wool sweater, bodysuit, t-shirt, or tank with a cardigan paired with dark-wash jeans, slides, and accessories.

One of my favorite pieces was my yak wool sweater. It's a true everyday sweater seeing how it goes with everything, it's soft and comfortable, and always feels/smells fresh. I wore it at least once a week, whether at work or out with friends.

Overall, I learned a lot, and a tip I found helpful throughout this challenge was to pay particular attention to the quality of my clothes, especially if I planned to wear them every day.

For this challenge, I wanted to choose clothes that would not only go with many of my pieces but were sustainable and high quality too.

I was amazed at how simple my closet could become. It made me realize a few pieces that worked really well in my everyday style, and it also made clear where I need to invest.

If you're interested in taking on a Shopping ban Challenge, here are 5 tips to help you succeed:

  • Identify a few essential pieces from your wardrobe before the challenge. Consider adding an everyday sweater as your wardrobe foundation piece prior to starting.
  • Divide your pieces into categories to make outfit planning easier.
  • Pay attention to the quality of your clothes, especially if you plan to wear them every day.
  • Stick to your chosen pieces and resist the urge to switch them out.
  • Use the challenge as an opportunity to identify the essential pieces in your wardrobe and where you need to invest.
Oliver Charles - The Benefits Of The Shopping Ban

The Benefits Of The Shopping Ban

If you want to simplify your closet and outfit repeat some of your favorite pieces, this challenge is a good opportunity for you! After completing this challenge, I felt my spirits lifted, knowing I could own less and buy better, all while being mindful of the environment.

The pieces I wore during this challenge, including the 100% yak wool sweater from Oliver Charles, held up so well. I just wanted to wear them constantly because they are comfortable and go with everything I handpicked for this challenge.

I highly recommend giving this challenge a try because it's a great way to identify your favorite clothes, be more intentional with your spending, and prevent unnecessary waste. So go ahead and give it a shot - I promise you won't regret it!

Amy Melton enjoys writing about fashion and wardrobe styling. She has been writing about these topics for a while and loves sharing her knowledge with others. Amy used to focus on quantity when shopping but has since shifted to prioritizing sustainability and quality. She hopes to help others find what they are looking for in the fashion world through her writing on topics such as capsule wardrobes, outfit repetition, style, sustainability, and travel.

If you believe that every good wardrobe starts with owning less and owning better, consider buying yourself an OLIVER CHARLES sweater.
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