When The Journey Ends

2022 is coming to a close and I want to let you guys in on a little secret.

I have been conducting a little experiment over the past twelve months. It didn’t start as an experiment, but it evolved into one once the months started rolling by.

For the past twelve months I have not purchased anything for myself.


I’m talking strictly clothing-related items, since those are what I spend my money on. I’m not counting things like a nice pack of craft beer, or a good steak. I consider those to just be normal everyday purchases.

It may not seem all that groundbreaking. But making small clothing purchases here and there was how I would treat myself.

In the past, if I had a really hard week at work, or if I had just gotten over a sickness, I would place an order for something I’d been recently eyeing.

I think many of you do the same thing.

But around mid-December of last year, I decided I wanted to be a bit more frugal. I thought it would be a good example to set for my kids. Even though I love clothes, I never want to be viewed as a clothes-horse. And even if my kids didn’t even notice, I would still be saving money.

All in all, it seemed like a good idea.

I never expected it to last for a whole year, though. I just set out to curb my spending a bit.

But then a couple months turned in half-a-year. Then the one-year mark was in sight and I thought it would be cool to make it the whole twelve months.

And now, here we are. Mission accomplished.

During the past year, I would still get the impulse to buy certain things. After all, I still enjoy perusing websites even if I have no intention of buying anything.

But what was so interesting was that as the months ticked away my personal threshold for wanting and buying something rose and rose since I didn’t want to break my streak!

I had no hard and fast rule for wanting to make it the whole year. But my desire for a certain product was never more than my desire to continue my streak.

I guess I didn’t really want whatever it was anyway!

So, great… I saved some money and conducted an experiment that my kids won’t care about.

But what did I learn?

The biggest thing I learned was that I very well may be at the end of my sartorial journey. Well, if not the end then definitely a new phase.

This experiment has shown me that I really, truly, definitively DO NOT need anything else in my wardrobe.

That doesn’t mean I HAVE everything there is to have. Far from it. But it means that I don’t need anything else.

Every single instance I can think of I have covered with my current wardrobe. A handful of trousers, sport coats, suits, ties, shoes, sweaters, and shirts is all I (and probably most of you) need.

Of course, buying stuff is hardly ever an issue of need. It’s almost always an issue of want.

And that’s fine. There are plenty of things I still want. I want a camel overcoat. I want a 100% beaver felt hat. I want a tweed suit.

But what my experiment has done is flip my brain around so that my desire to save my money and time overrides my desire for those items. It has opened my eyes to the absurdity of getting yet another tie or whatever.

It feels like the “gathering” phase of my clothes journey is now complete. It’s funny because I didn’t even know I was in that phase! But now I can see it for what it was. I felt like I needed “the stuff” in order to be well-dressed. I no longer feel that way. Maybe it’s just confidence that comes with age.

Over this past year I have been getting much more acquainted with my present wardrobe. And I think that’s the next phase: being comfortable in what I have and realizing that this is what my style is. I no longer feel like I’m searching and looking for the next thing or searching for what my personal style is.

Another unexpected perk of my experiment was that, since I am not buying myself anything, I appreciate gifts much more.

I have always been very appreciative of gifts, but it’s at a more acute level now. I also have a lot of fun incorporating gifts I receive into my wardrobe.

It is easy, however, since the people giving me gifts for my birthday and Christmas are my wife and her family and they are all excellent gift-givers.

But I like to think that I make it easy for them since my style is so steady and predictable.

How much longer will I continue my streak?

Honestly, I’m not sure. Again, I never set out to go the whole year. And I am not specifically NOT buying anything. I just haven’t stumbled across something I want SO MUCH that I go ahead with the purchase.

My experiment has made it much more difficult for me to pull the trigger on a purchase. But that’s not a bad thing.

I have stopped feeling that insecurity or empty feeling if I don’t have what I want. I no longer use buying clothes as a means of feeling better about things.

If something really special comes along, then I won’t have any issue buying it.

But for now, I am much more content to spend my money on the aforementioned beer and steak.

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