The one where I try to buy less than 20 clothing items in 2020

“This challenge you’re doing has me shook. I bought 10 items of clothing last month alone.”

“20 items?? Including shoes?? Including thrifting??” -recent texts from friends

I posted yesterday on Instagram that I am going to try a “low buy” year for 2020 and am limiting myself to 20 clothing items for the year. If this number sends your mind reeling on the search for loopholes (yes, shoes count, no it doesn’t count if I return it) or announcing your intention leads to a deeply skeptical look from your partner then know that I am with you. I love to shop and it is time to slow my roll. Today I’m talking about my goals for buying less this year and sharing a little wishlist of what’s on my mind in 2020 (items and brands). Here we go!

My motivation to undertake this challenge (#20in2020 if you want to join on IG) is the vague knowledge that I buy too much stuff–so much too much stuff I couldn’t even tell you the number of items I take in in a given month, let alone how much it has cost me. I know that my shopping addiction is fairly normal, and that it’s not even entirely out of hand by modern standards.

But on a deeper level, I know that it is an addiction (I very rarely *don’t* have something en route to me in the mail) and that it does make me feel yucky (in the way that I am sort of afraid to check my bank account balance after I’ve gone on a Poshmark bender). So even though the packages are fun and the clothes are pretty, underneath it all I am certain my purchase habits contribute to my anxiety. I’m hoping that having a definitive number helps me in a couple ways:

  1. It makes me think long and hard about if I want something enough for it to take up one of my 20 slots (instead of buying it because it’s all over the internet, or it seems like a good deal, or I’m stressed out and think I deserve a treat).
  2. It helps me to make more “guilt free” investment purchases–this is a weird one–but when I buy something I really, really want, sometimes I feel bad about it, probably because of all the things I buy that I don’t want quite as much. I’m hoping for clarity between the two.
  3. It allows me to buy from more ethical/sustainable clothing companies. This year I really want to invest in clothes that are made, well, better. This is a new thing for me as someone who has only recently acquired a full time job.

I’m both excited by the parameters and nervous that my old ways will get the best of me. I’ve made a wishlist for the first half of the year that gives me some things to look forward to, so here’s my list items I’ve been wishing for so far:


  • Brass straight pontes: I wear my other pair of Brass pontes at least twice a week when I work from home. I think I might as well have the complete set. Cost: $95.
  • Brass all day set in fig: Brass release their schedule well ahead of time which is why they are on my mind (you can find at the bottom of this page). My All Day Pants are my power pant of all time. And they’re coming out in fig. I’m a goner. Cost: ~$160 for the set. At this point I am obligated to tell you if you want $30 off your first Brass order you can click here. If you do so I also get $30 off and I clearly will need that in the next three months.
  • Wedding dress: The best purchase of the year 🙂 Maybe I’ll do a blog post of the ones I didn’t buy, if anyone else just loves wedding dress browsing like me!


I know it’s weird to have a graphic of all summer clothes when you’re wardrobe planning in January, but my winter closet is perfectly adequate at the moment. My summer wardrobe, on the other hand, could triple in size and I would still sweat through it. There’s also a pretty Portugal picture up there because I’m going in June! Getting excited about travel always makes me think about the stuff I’ve decided I need to travel, so the picture is my reminder to me that it’s really not about the clothes!!! It’s about drinking all the Vinho Verde and coming home with an entire checked bag of pottery. But, here are some summer closet gaps I noticed last year:

  • A new swimsuit: I’ve been wishing for something from Summersalt forever. I know that our impending summer travels will put this into overdrive. And, isn’t it better to have one swimsuit you like than 5 you don’t? Cost: $95.
  • New sandals: Like clockwork, every May I realize all my sandals are completely destroyed and I need a new pair. I’m hoping to pick up a more substantial leather pair with some actual support, maybe Chacos or a pair from Cole Haan. Cost: ~$120.
  • Not Perfect Linen: I also know a wardrobe gap from last summer was teaching clothes that can stand the heat, and I’m teaching a 5 day a week class in May. Another pair of these wonderful linen pants is in order. Cost: $85. Not gonna lie. Might throw this dress in my cart too.

I can’t predict what I might feel I “need” beyond halfway through the year (even this is pure speculation based on my usual pattern of purchasing, just scaled way, way down). It feels odd to plan to want something in May, but at the same time, it gives me some confidence and ability to budget, guilt-free.

I’m trying to mentally think the limit is one item a month. I hope this helps me to be really excited about things I buy and treat them as special, instead of part of my routine.

Ok, this is getting rambly. I’m looking forward to a different relationship with shopping this year. If you want to join in, you should follow our host Dawn on instagram. There’s a slack group that’s formed for check-ins as well. Wish me luck!

3 thoughts on “The one where I try to buy less than 20 clothing items in 2020”

  1. I’m very curious about this journey you began! I think at the end of the year you should make a blog post about all things you didn’t buy haha
    Also, let me know when you go to Portugal! Maybe we could have a coffee with you guys

    Liked by 1 person

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