Can you imagine not buying a single new thing to add to your wardrobe for an entire year? This means no clothing, footwear, underwear, socks, jewelry or accessories. Nothing. I read an article in British Vogue (October 2007) about a woman who did just that. Her name is Anna Shepard and she likes fashion and clothing so this was indeed the ultimate wardrobe challenge.

Anna came to the realization that…

“I have enough clothing in my wardrobe to keep me clothed for a decade. And I only wear a fraction of what I own. If I spent time organizing my clothes and trying out different combinations, I rationalized, I’d be less tempted to make a beeline for the shops every time an invitation landed in the letterbox”.

Anna stayed clear of the shops for six months, but she was allowed to have clothes swapping parties and make trips to the seamstress to breathe life back into a tired wardrobe. On the odd occasion, Anna was also allowed to get items from charity shops because those clothes weren’t new but already in circulation. We don’t know how the story ends because Anna hasn’t completed the year yet, but she seems to be holding up.

“I’m not saying that I won’t be hitting the shops when my year is up, but I’d like to think that I’ll be a more discerning consumer” .

The shopping ban is less of a challenge if you start out with an organized, efficient and effective wardrobe. Flexing those creative muscles to come up with fresh ways of combining items and accessories becomes the new challenge. On the other hand, it’s difficult to ban shopping for a full year if your wardrobe is in desperate need of an update, or if your body changed to the extent that you can’t wear the clothes you have.

I have an effective wardrobe and my body has not changed, but I would find this challenge extremely hard. I thoroughly enjoy the excitement that new seasonal items bring to a landscape of monotonous clothing. I’ve been in the rag trade for 16 years and it’s my bread and butter. Fashion is a passion and I’m therefore always tempted. But it’s a very interesting challenge and I’d love to know what you think: could you do it?