Fashion FebFast: Two Months On

This article was first published by Onya Magazine on May 3 2014

You would remember Fashion Ed Brittany’s pledge to ‘Fashion FebFast’ – to do no shopping for the month of February. How did it go? She fills us in. 

And it’s over. Phew. February passed and not a single item was bought. As did March and I still hadn’t gone shopping. What is wrong with me?

When I challenged myself to complete a Fashion FebFast – to not purchase a single item of clothing, shoes or accessories for a whole month – this is not the result I was expecting.

It was an interesting experience. It made me realise just how much of my time shopping as an activity takes up – weekends felt so much longer when a visit to Bourke Street or Chadstone was off the cards. I was also faced with temptation at almost every turn – with a wedding, birthdays, endless once in a blue moon sample sales, and not to mention my first trip to Sydney.

Somehow, I restrained myself. And it felt great. Unable to shop, I was forced to look into my existing wardrobe, and make clothes that I already owned suitable for each situation. I rediscovered some lost items and wore things that I wouldn’t normally wear. Normally, when an invitation for a special social event like a wedding comes my way, I view it as an excuse – no a reason – to go out and buy an outfit especially. In this case, I looked upon my well stocked racks and found a dress that in normal circumstances I wouldn’t even consider – a floaty blue, green and brown full length strapless dress that I picked up at a Gasp sample sale for $20 a few years ago. Having only worn it once before, to the fellow wedding guests it was as good as new, and I felt great in it.

No shopping also encouraged me to dress in different styles that I wouldn’t necessarily have even considered before. I have a few of my mum’s old vintage dresses in my wardrobe that previously just sat collecting dust. Getting sick of some of my go-to outfits, I decided to try them on and ended up with a new favourite outfit – a long floral red dress, modernised with a belt, leather jacket, espadrilles and a slick of red lipstick.

nevitably I had to repeat some outfits. Feeling inspired and wanting to avoid a Lizzie McGuire “outfit repeater” scene, I set about trying to change the look of the outfit with different hair and makeup. I played around with lipstick colours, dramatic eyes, simple eyes, straight hair, curly hair, hair up and hair down – all little touches that made the outfit different to the last time I wore it.

The lack of new purchases enabled me to see the gaps in my wardrobe, as well as the importance of investment pieces. Cheap additions are always good, but it was my basics and better quality pieces that really saw me through the shopping wilderness.

Against all odds, two months passed and I was still yet to shop. I’d had plenty of opportunities, but hadn’t felt the uncontrollable desire and pull I once had. I find this strange, particularly because in the final few days of the fast, I was extremely excited about going a massive spree as a reward for not shopping. But I’ve realised that dressing and fashion is not quite as exciting if you have new things all the time – it’s much nicer and rewarding to experiment with what you have and come up with a fantastic outfit, not to mention much kinder to your bank account! I certainly hope to maintain at least some of the habits I’ve picked, but it’s about knowing when to treat yourself and not just buying or shopping for the sake of it.

UPDATE: For over two months, Brittany managed to go without shopping. Then the Onya team got invited to the H&M Melbourne flagship launch… A worthy reward we say! Read all about it here.


28 – planned days of fashion febfast

62 –actual days of fashion febfast

3 – shopping trips

9 – the number of times I had to remove myself from a shop for fear of giving in

15 – the number of times I looked longingly at a pair of Windsor Smith shoes I really want

17 – the number of magazines bought or read in an effort to satisfy shopping cravings

17 – the number of times I wanted to go shopping EVEN MORE after reading magazines

3 – the number of special events throughout the month that I would normally have bought outfits for

8 – items bought at H&M Launch