What I Learned from No-Buy July

& How a No-Buy Season and a Strategic Shopping Plan Could Give You the Best Wardrobe Ever!

I stopped my shop and lived to tell about it! No-Buy July was a success in my eyes, and I’m sharing a few things I learned about myself and my closet along the way. Although it’s said that there are no mistakes, just lessons, I’ve got a plan for how to start shopping again without making the same mistakes that led me to quit buying in the first place. And in the end, I hope to have a better wardrobe for it.

What I Learned from a 2 Month No-Shopping Season and How I Intend to Start Shopping Again with Purpose || www.dimplesonmywhat.com

I did it! No-Buy July (& August)!

My friend, I made it almost two full months without buying any new clothes! And I would have made it all. The. Way. Except for a shopping trip with my mom. (She has a way of making me buy stuff.) 😉 But, I’m still calling it a success because I was only a couple of days shy of two months without purchasing any clothing. Boom!

But much like the “end of a diet,” it’s all too easy to go hog-wild and get right back into the bad habits that caused the closet-overwhelm in the first place. 

Lessons from a Shopping Fast

While it wasn’t always easy to say “no” to good deals and pretty fall clothes, No-Buy July was so successful and liberating that I decided to take it through August. It was like a cleanse.

Here are Some Benefits of a No-Buy Season

  • I didn’t have packages arriving at the house on the daily
  • No long & sweaty try-on sessions
  • Rest from the new item “decision fatigue.”
  • I wore more of my clothes, more often
  • Finding out I don’t need every new thing to be stylish
  • I had more time for other things – I refinished a dresser
  • A complete halt to the “buy, try-on, return center” I had created in my guest room

Even though I’m pretty sure my UPS man and the post office thought about issuing a missing person report for me, 😉 it was a very refreshing summer. But, I’m not going to stop clothes shopping forever, so I’m going to tell you how I plan to move forward with a smaller wardrobe, but more outfits and I’m doing it strategically.

Benefits of a No-Buy July shopping season and an Intentional Shopping Plan to start shopping again || www.dimplesonmywhat.com

Seeing the NEED for a Strategic Clothes Shopping Plan

We’ve all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

In my head, I knew how I intended to start shopping again after the shopping hiatus was over. But since I didn’t put the plan in writing, it started a little like a trip to a pasta factory at the end of a low-carb diet. (I took or sent most things back.)

Find Your Motivation to Plan

However, I don’t want to jump right back into my same old spending habits, because it felt too good not only to be spending less on clothes but also to be wearing more of my clothes more often. They say most of us only wear 20% of what we have, and I’d like to be someone who busts that statistic.

Find Value in Your Creativity

It was also a fantastic way to see my creativity come alive as well as help me better hone in on my style. I’ll be talking more about that in an upcoming post on closet organization.

(Long story short – I filmed a closet organization video many weeks ago, but I tried to get too fancy and use two cameras… let’s say I was going back a forth talking to both cameras. I don’t even think a professional could edit it to make it look right. Next time, I’ll K.I.S.S.

Benefits from a No-Buy JulyShopping Season || www.dimplesonmywhat.com

Strategic Shopping

What Happens When You Go to the Grocery Store without a List?

Strategic shopping is a fancy way of saying – Have a plan! I can liken my old way of clothes-shopping to going to the grocery store without a list or having planned my meals ahead of time. I might be able to come up with a few snacks on the fly, but what I end up doing is spending way too much money and having a pantry full of food I don’t even remember why I bought it. Sound like your closet (or your pantry)? 😉 I know it does mine. 

Fashion Prep

Instead of having a wardrobe full of fabulous clothes but very few cohesive outfits (a.k.a. nothing to wear) we have to do a little fashion prep. I will admit, I haven’t sat down and planned out every outfit I’ll wear for the fall/winter season. But, I’ve been prepping and have come up with a list of items I’d like to add to my closet throughout the next two seasons. 

I’ll tell you what I’ll be shopping for in my next post. (Subscribe to my blog, so you don’t miss it.) I decided to split one long post into two shorter ones. But first, here’s how I’m “fashion prepping.”

1 – Pay Attention to Your Style

I’ve been paying attention to what I actually wear, not what I want to wear, meaning; I need to have clothes that fit my real life, not a life I wish I had.  Most of us have a daily uniform. We might have one style for work and another for play, but most of us have a style we feel the most comfortable in. 

Lessons Learned from No Buy July ||  Develop your own personal style || Fashion for women over 50 || Full figure fashion || Plus Size Fashion
Striped Top – sold out similar || Joggers – wearing XL plus; similar for less || Denim Jacket || Earrings || Tote

My uniform usually involves comfy pants or jeans, a white tee/top and a jacket, sweater or kimono. I’ll also LOVE dresses that can be worn dressed up or casual. So, the foundation of my wardrobe will be built around pieces that make me feel great and fit my lifestyle

Another example of my uniform: Kimono Style, My Summer Uniform

I need to have clothes that fit my real life, not a life I wish I had.

2 – Research Capsule Wardrobes

In my No-Buy July post, I mentioned that I didn’t think I could ever go full out minimalistic but researching capsule wardrobes has proven to be extremely helpful in formulating a shopping strategy.

Think of browsing Pinterest for capsule wardrobes that fit your style as you would browse for a recipe. When you find one that matches your taste, you can peruse the “ingredient list” and add the items you don’t already have to your Strategic Shopping list. Brilliant, if I do say so myself! 

Not Sure What a Capsule Wardrobe Is?

A capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. Source: Wikipedia.

*NOTE: It’s easy to feel intimidated by the thought of a capsule wardrobe because we can’t imagine purging our closet down that much. However, I believe a capsule wardrobe can be as big or small as you want it to be, especially when we’re starting. For instance, I own three pairs of dressier black pants in various styles (wide-leg, slim, & cropped knit, wide-leg). They each fit well and can be worn dressed up or down. I see no reason to get rid of them merely for the sake of getting rid of them as they are classic and easily meets the capsule criteria of “essential” items.

3 – Planning for Special Events or “Just Because” Pieces

Having a “basic wardrobe” doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. If our closet is filled with classic essentials, we can put together outfits for almost any occasion. For instance, those black pants I just talked about and a pretty lace blouse would be appropriate for nearly any special occasion.

Before You Buy a One-&-Done Outfit

 However, there are times when we have a special event coming up, or we want something “just because” and that’s perfectly fine. But to get more mileage out of our closets, unless it’s a black-tie affair or a mother of the bride/groom dress, consider these things when purchasing a unique piece:

  • Does this fit my style?
  • Will it go with things I already own?
  • Can I think of more than one way to wear it?
  • Will I wear this again?

An example of this would be, One Sequin Skirt Styled Three Ways

Benefits of a No-Buy July Season and how to get ready to shop again when it's over || www.dimplesonmywhat.com

4 – Put It In Writing

I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep a running list in my head anymore. Having an “idea” of what we want to buy and having a written plan are two different things. Remember our grocery shopping analogy?  

Start by jotting down a few pieces you’d like to add to your wardrobe on a piece of paper or your phone. It’s straightforward, and I don’t know why I haven’t done this before. SMH

Until Next Time Start Thinking

We’ll get into more detail about creating our strategic shopping strategy next time, and I’ll share exactly what I’m shopping for, what my timeframe is and the scariest part of this entire plan, the BUDGET

Until then, start doing a little self-styling “research.” Look at outfits you’ve already pinned on Pinterest (follow my fashion board to see what I’m pinning) but get real about what you will realistically wear. For example, lots of the outfits I have pinned are worn with heels, but on most days I’m most comfortable in a sneaker or a low heel, so I need to make sure most of the clothes I own go with that style of shoe, or they’re not much good to me.

Do you already do this? If you don’t, do you think it would help you get a handle on not only what you spend on clothes but could it help you to pinpoint your personal style? Think about it, and I’ll see you in a few days!



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Lessons Learned from No-Buy July Season  || How to get a better wardrobe by not shopping! || Want motivation to stop shopping? || No-Buy July

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  1. /

    Fantastic. . . you did it!! I really tried to hang with you in July and failed. But, I was able to No-buy August because I was busy with my son’s house fixer upper and did not make time to shop. I do want to continue with another no-buy month. I am so looking forward to your tips and tricks because I love your style. Kudos!!

  2. I had to laugh when I read the four things to ask yourself before buying something unique. I found a pair of black/red snakeskin booties that I really want but when thinking about how often and where I would wear them it is not really a good buy. Plus for the same amount of money, I can get two pairs of ones I will wear. There are a lot of things in my closet I wish I had thought about a little more. lol

    • Paula

      It’s true of us! We have a lot of “lessons” crammed into our closets and yet we still can’t let them go. ☺️

  3. kristin greene

    I never thought of clothes shopping like grocery shopping. The later I always make a list and a weekly menu. I haven’t for clothes shopping. I usually go clothes shopping for fun and buy something I like. Your analogy is soooo helpful to me! Brilliant! I for see more of my things making an outfit!

    • Paula

      That’s how I’ve always shopped for clothes in the past as well Kristin, seeing something I like and buying it. I’m not saying I’ll never do it again, but I certainly can’t do it all the time and have a cohesive wardrobe.

  4. Irene

    Wow, “I need to have clothes that fit my real life, not a life I wish I had.” Boom. That;s what I needed to hear. That is my pitfall. I buy something that I love on the person I saw it but then I barely wear it because it doesn’t fit my everyday life. Thank you. I am going to get on a closet organizing and purging plan. Can’t wait for the next post.

  5. jodie filogomo

    This was SO good to read Paula. I’m sure my husband would love it if I was successful at this too.
    It’s funny because I was just looking at my closet, and noticing that I don’t have many brown tops. Probably because I gravitate towards bright colors when I’m shopping. But it’s a good thing to realize so I can be on the lookout for filling those “holes” in my closet!!

    • Paula

      I so glad you liked it Jodie. Most of have this struggle, especially in this age of social media “influencers”. We’re being influenced right into a closet full of “nothing to wear”. 🤣

    • Paula

      I’m so excited to share my system with you Jodie. You’ll really be able to see what you wear and if you even need to have brown tops. 😉


  6. Mary

    I need to be more intentional in my shopping.

    • Paula

      I think you’ll be able to use some of the ideas I have coming Birdie.

      Love you,

  7. Kathy Larson

    I read somewhere that most of your wardrobe should be what you’d wear on a Tuesday afternoon.That really hit home!

    • Paula

      Oh, that’s good. I’m definitely down with that.


  8. /

    Good for you! Mostly I manage to not buy in January or February but other then that…….I ‘m afraid not! Hope to see you on my Fancy Friday linkup party!

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