20in2020 update: The limit does not exist

Welcome back to another update on my attempt at a low buy year using the 20 in 2020 challenge–where the goal is to buy no more than 20 items of clothing. I didn’t write a March update because I was busy being terrified, anxious, and glued to the apple news app (you too?). I’m writing an April update in the same emotional state, mildly dulled by its consistency for the past 45 days. Am I feeling better? I think so, until I need to bring my stress blanket to bed.

Some of you might be wondering, how is your 20 in 2020 going? I will sum that up in a gif that has encompassed the last two months.

No really, I keep seeing posts on Instagram that say “how can anyone think of shopping at a time like this?” I respect that that is someone else’s experience but uh, for me, it’s been more of a “I can’t think of ANYTHING but shopping at a time like this.”

I could probably do a psychological deep dive for you at this point about how my mom and grandma went to the mall any time either of them experienced any sadness. “We’re stress shoppers, that’s what we do,” I think my mom said by way of explanation. I have no doubt inherited the gene.

With fashion revolution week last week I’ve been thinking a lot about lessons in buying things slower. I keep returning to two thoughts: 1) you can’t unlearn 20+ years of capitalist consumption at once, and 2) slow fashion is in the practices not the brands bought.

I’ve been feeling some frustration toward my Instagram lately–and yes, I know I shouldn’t care–but I feel that I’ll never be fully “in” the slow fashion Instagram community because I don’t have the ethical brands that seem to count as a ticket to entry. While I like those brands and spent the first two months of the year thinking “maybe if I limit my consumption I can finally buy some of this trendy ethical $300 stuff,” that’s definitely not where this challenge has gone for me.

The Vetta dress in question.

It turns out, I still want the $15 poshmark items from fast fashion brands that I enjoy but no longer feel comfy giving money to.

But the problem with immense stress and opening the Poshmark browsing flood gates is you can get a lot–A LOT– for your money. So, I probably “only” spent about $200 on clothes in the last two months but have acquired:

-4 new workout items (not counted in my 20 items but still)

-a pair of sandals (on my list)

-3 Brass items bought with some credit (the small business feels!)

-some new bras (if it’s practical it’s easier to justify…)

-1 Vetta dress (the small business feels meet the “please let my wedding continue as scheduled” feels!)

The salvaged jeans in question.

If it’s not clear right now, I feel like a mega loser at this challenge at the moment, and if there’s one thing I strongly dislike it’s failing at my goals. On the other hand, some true wins have occurred in the form of:

-not adding extra items to carts to get free shipping

-focusing my endless browsing on things actually on my list

-salvaging a pair of jeans by changing the hem and dyeing a couple of stained shirts so they are wearable again

-avoiding succumbing to the immense Instagram temptation to purchase matching sweatsuits for quarantine

This last one has been the most important, I think. I doubt I am the only person who has not changed their consumption habits in the last month but has instead felt their wants move toward comfort, better work from home clothes, and anything (anything!!) that can arrive in the mail and make me feel a positive emotion, if only for a moment.

On the opposite end, I feel the pull to buy dresses for wedding events, swimsuits, shorts, and anything (anything!!) that feels like a pledge that life WILL continue and I WILL get to wear those happy clothes to happy non-canceled events.

So, that’s where I am. Trying to live in a very very precarious here-and-now that both doesn’t need to buy vacation wear as a promise but also don’t end up with a whole new work from home wardrobe. A here-and-now that somehow commits to the idea that this is not a forever but that I can stay accountable anyway.

All of this to say, I bought a lot of stuff this month. I’m taking May as a chance to restart and remember that my needs are met.

Anyway, how are you?

14 thoughts on “20in2020 update: The limit does not exist”

  1. Thank you for being kind to yourself! I love your blog and style.

    As a grad student emerging from the tshirt and jean wearing engineering undergrad ooze, I have been exploring fashion by heading to the thrift store (in pre-covid times) to buy quality “fast fashion (loft)” second hand. I often check your blog out for comfy fashionable outfit ideas and appreciate that you consider walkability and comfort in your comments!

    I bought myself a pair of sandals to reward myself making progress on dissertation planning. We are all trying our best! Glad you still have fashion to be happy about 🙂


    1. That’s great! That’s how I got into thrifting too! I also bought a pair of shoes at the end of every year to celebrate–usually from Clark’s. Congrats on the dissertation progress–hope you are hanging in there in the transition to online! 🙂


  2. I went on a SPREE that is maybe (?) subsiding. I still haven’t gotten half of what I ordered due to warehouse delays, so that’s probably good for me. While I am very sad for Elizabeth Suzann and her staff at this time, I am quietly relieved that the cult of ES may subside. I HATE the way the slow fashion community has rallied around super expensive, frankly un-fun clothing brands, and that these are now markers of inclusion. That’s not helpful. Anyways, this comment was meaner than I intended.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh so much of this resonates! 1) I wanna see your haul hahaha 2) Yes! I love what ES stands for but most of it doesn’t fit my lifestyle or budget (or size for that matter due to the short inseams on even tall things). I would love for us to get to a point where ethical fashion doesn’t have so much of a “look.”


  3. Me: “I love that dress!”
    *searches Vetta dress on Poshmark and winces*
    Is it really worth $127?


    1. Hahah. I got it in their sale for $70 so perhaps sign up for their email list and see if it goes on sale again! It does feel very nice–it has a slip and it overall feels like a quality item, but I have hard time spending more than $100 on anything!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thank you! that’s great to know 🙂 p.s.: feel free to check out my blog if you’re interested! it’s adventuresofagradgirl.wordpress.com on google


      2. thank you ❤ typing it into google should work, I'm not sure why wordpress does that. I appreciate it


  4. I am definitely with you on stress shopping – at the moment I seem to be limiting myself to food orders (two different ‘healthy’ snack boxes in the last few weeks!), but definitely feeling the pull of clothes shopping. I know what you mean about ethical brands – but I think buying things second hand is just as ethical in a way. So much clothing goes straight to landfill without having been worn much, so anything we can do to break this cycle is a good thing!


    1. I think your point about keeping things out of the landfill is so, so important. When ethical fashion bloggers are buying (or receiving) a whole new wardrobe every season, you do have to wonder if that level of excess is ever ethical.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally! I’m not that tuned into the ethical blogger world, but you do have to wonder how they have enough space in their wardrobes! I know I’ll never be able to totally cut down my purchases, but as long as I can try my best to keep things out of landfill I think that’s the key!


  5. Just dropping in here to say that I REALLY appreciate that your blog isn’t just another regurgitation of “impossibly thin white woman wearing $400 pants”. That seems to be dominating the “ethical fashion” (in quotes because I’m not sure any consumerism is ethical) community right now and, while I don’t hate all the looks, I do hate that it’s very obviously a club built on exclusion and sameness.

    In other words, I am here for your poshmark purchases mixed in with slow fashion brands. Although that vetta dress is adorable on you, please find excuses to wear it all the time.


    1. Thank you!!! I certainly follow and enjoy many blogs that are filled with ethical items and love their outfits–just trying to find my own path in the conversation I guess. I appreciate you being here! Poshmark for life! 🙂 And yes, the Vetta dress is soooo good and feels great. Hoping it gets out of the closet soon!


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