February 3rd, 2023
Financial Times HTSI

In FT: “Why I’m only buying five new things in 2023”

Firstly, thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday’s post — immensely insightful. You know a lot about me sartorially, so it was wonderful to get a sense of your favorite items of clothing and accessories. I kept waiting for my friend Gigi to weigh in with her enviable vintage Alaïa collection and will ask if I can take a few pictures to share with you.

In the early days of kic I did a series of posts based on the premise that most folks wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. To counter overbuying I talked about simple wardrobes, a fashion diary, and more recently, #Don’tOverPurge. The goal is to love what you buy and wear it forever. This really comes down to knowing what you will reach for over and over again. I wrote about my shopping rules, which I stick to.

This all brings me to an article in FT titled “Why I’m only buying five new things in 2023” by the publication’s fashion editor, Lauren Indvik. The focus is on sustainability and helping to lessen climate change. Regardless of the impetus for the story, overconsumption is troubling. Last fall I filled an inordinate number of holes in my wardrobe — heck, I’d been wearing the same shoes for 10 years! I rarely buy that much in one season, and there are seasons where I buy little to nothing at all. So, could I limit myself to 5 new purchases in 2023? I try to stay prudent and mindful of what I buy, but 5 would be tough. Maybe 5 significant new items…

Lauren Indvik’s Fashion Matters newsletter is a must-read.

  • I loved this article and have scheduled a post for next week with the same sentiments (great minds, yet again). I’m excited to revisit the posts linked here – shopping rules is one of my favorites. Stay warm this weekend, Preston! Marcheline Isabelle

    MarchelineFebruary 3rd, 2023  9:28 AM

  • I love the fact that Camel is “the colour” in your wardrobe 🙂

    SusanFebruary 3rd, 2023  9:49 AM

  • What a great idea to only buy 5 items!
    I’ve kept a list on my iPhone in notes, for a few years now.
    Each season I review, items bought, items I need and the last one is outfits that I loved. It’s been useful, oddly enough though I find I still haven’t purchased a great deal from the items needed.
    I love your posts and guidance . I know your above mentioned previous post have inspire me over the years to be much more aware of my wardrobe and it’s direction. Thank you

    WandaFebruary 3rd, 2023  1:31 PM

  • These articles complement each other nicely! Preston, a Gigi profile sounds lovely. And Marcheline, I look forward to your post next week. I find that wearing a specific palette, or going monochrome, lends itself to buying less and easily pulling outfits together. It’s an old strategy and a good one. I also try to buy natural materials only, partly to avoid putting microplastics into the washing water. This is admittedly a big limitation at the store. At the same time, I like how natural materials breathe and how they reflect light.

    RMFebruary 3rd, 2023  1:32 PM

  • As always, your stories and insight (along with our community) are thought provoking but sometimes they really hit me between the eyes. Last year I shopped an inordinate amount and at the risk of too much information, I know it was grief driven. I’m coming out the other side and truly know that I can get by with only five significant buys this year. I have an odd question for you Preston and the group though: I live in a small city in Canada without easy access to a reliable reseller and though my daughters will of course inherit any of my “good stuff” I’m feeling the need to purge some of the rest. Is it weird to just donate it?

    SueMFebruary 3rd, 2023  7:42 PM

  • SueM – I’ll send you my address 😉 In all seriousness, most resellers are done through the mail and don’t require a physical location, although I’m not sure how it works with shipping from Canada. I’ve had tremendous luck with eBay, The Real Real and Poshmark. Preston should start a resale boutique as I’m sure this community would love to shop each other’s preloved pieces! Marcheline Isabelle

    MarchelineFebruary 3rd, 2023  9:09 PM

  • I bought five things online in one hour today. LOL. Life is short. Buy the shoes.

    Habitually ChicFebruary 3rd, 2023  10:07 PM

  • SueM, without wanting at all to overstep, I am so sorry to hear you had this grief to process in the past year. We all need ways to get through seasons like this; turning to shopping, and looking for beauty, is so human. Following up on Marcheline’s ideas, many consignment sites will cover the cost of mailing your clothing to them. My understanding is that TheRealReal currently only accepts consignments from within the US. Based on a bit of online searching, it looks like VSP Consignment is a Canadian company that would be happy to resell your pieces. If you find it more freeing to simply donate, I also don’t think that is weird at all. Whether you consign or give, I’m sure other women will enjoy finding the clothing you’ve found.

    RMFebruary 4th, 2023  6:45 AM

  • I used to swear by this motto, limited them to luxury items and put a dollar limit on my 5. I would also have a dollar driven shopping budget for each season that only included my list items.

    TracyFebruary 4th, 2023  8:26 AM

  • I really like Tibi’s creative pragmatist concept which focuses on defining your style and having your pieces work together over time. Lately I find I “shopping my closet” more and coming up with new pairings.

    CBFebruary 4th, 2023  9:36 AM

  • So many interesting comments here. I suspect that most in this community love clothes and fashion because it gives them pleasure and it brings beauty and interest and order into our lives. It’s not just materialism run amok. I shopped a fair amount last year, too, but I can’t think of any purchase I regret. Being sensitive’s to over-consumption is always a good idea. My clothing and buying philosophy is much the same as Preston’s. Less is more. Quality over quantity. Love it or leave it. Is it pretty and do I feel good wearing it? Is it worth the price tag? As a result, my closet is already ‘sustainable,’ because I really do keep and wear my things for many years. I don’t place a number on my purchases because some years bring many fantastic selections, and other years it’s slim pickings. It would be great to hear progress reports!? I remain conflicted about the online resale business. Valuable as this service is for so many, it is also exploited by shoplifters, selling their stolen luxury goods. I have a daughter to gift to, and I donate, usually to someone I know. Building a lovely wardrobe over the years is a wonderful creative outlet, so it makes sense that it would be healing during difficult times – like planning and planting a garden.

    PaulaFebruary 5th, 2023  1:03 AM

  • Love the bag featured in your wear it forever post. Who is the designer?

    Thank you.

    Rhonda GregorettiFebruary 5th, 2023  8:41 AM

  • Céline SS14

    PrestonFebruary 5th, 2023  10:03 AM

  • With online buying it is way too easy to over-buy, a few clicks and it’s enroute to you. I have been implementing a 24 hour wait period prior to purchase and am surprised (and relieved) at how many prospective purchases I don’t feel the need to make after that time passes. Also, the hassle of returning items is avoided, another time-consuming process.

    AprilFebruary 5th, 2023  2:50 PM

  • Earlier today, I read Ms. Indvik’s article in full. I hadn’t read it prior to my comment (my bad), but in my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined the nature and premise of her proposals. Setting aside the validity or invalidity of the ‘think tank’ studies she cites, when a woman who bought 102 pieces of clothing/shoes/accessories through two years starts sentences, “We should be…buying less…placing strict limits…sufficiency wardrobes…caps of 74 pieces total…wash clothes less often…buy more second hand…make a significant lifestyle shift,” I break into laughter. The kind of laughter with tears rolling down my cheeks. Funnier yet is that she is not committing to this beyond 2023.
    As I commented above, I oppose over consumption. Personally, I find it unholy and vulgar. But no one should be pressured (shamed?) for living as they choose. If that means having more than 74 pieces of clothing (she includes a breakdown, only 2 festive outfits allowed), it is not anyone’s business but your own. I’m with Habitually Chic – life is short. Make your own wise judgments and enjoy your lovely things.

    PaulaFebruary 6th, 2023  1:04 AM

  • Paula – I always look forward to hearing your perspective! Preston – great discussion you started. Once again causing me to stop and reevaluate where and how I am spending my dollars.

    BethFebruary 8th, 2023  7:52 AM


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