100 Day No-Shop Challenge

Multiple outfits, for 100 days without buying anything new.

Is this possible?

The Challenge

We spoke to Mariska Botha, Director of The Style Consultancy. She undertook a personal challenge to recycle her existing wardrobe for 100 days, without purchasing any new items. Her goal was clear and her rules simple: NO SHOPPING and NO REPEATING OUTFITS although items were worn more than once, styled differently each time. How hard could it be?

As a trained Image Consultant this sounded like a fun challenge. But she quickly realised how little of her items she was actually defaulting to as a convenient option:

Most women wear only 20% of the items in their wardrobes 80% of the time, which means that they spend thousands [of Rands] on clothing they never wear, and eventually get rid of, with the tags still attached… I felt that I had become one of those women,” Mariska stated.

In the US alone, close to 15 billion kilograms of textiles end up in landfills each year. We follow trends and buy items without really even thinking about it, and this habit causes us to waste way too much money on things we often times did not even like that much.

Mariska Botha, The Style Consultancy

The Limitations

Putting together a daily outfit and having to really think about it instead of just grabbing the old favourites was a challenge,”  Mariska admitted.

She started in the autumn months which was great to use items from both her summer and winter wardrobes, but things became more challenging once she was left with more limiting winter options. It forced her to really think about what she had available, and how she styled it previously. Luckily, Mariska is a The Box Fashion member and her accessories made it easier to give items a different look and feel, but it definitely took more planning to make do with less.

Image provided @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided @the_styleconsultancy

The Lessons

When asked what she learned from doing this challenge, she mentioned that she realised how many strong basics she had to work with, especially if they were bought as a quality item that you can do so much with it.

I also realised that I had items in my wardrobe that I had literally not worn in YEARS, for no reason other than that they had been tucked away behind all the new clothes that I had bought every subsequent season.”

Image provided @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided @the_styleconsultancy

After the 100 days had passed and she was free to shop again, she spoke about how it changed her thinking:

I now know exactly what I have in my closet, what I need to add to make it better or more versatile, and what I need to replace. I only focus on that.” 

She doesn’t buy anything unless she really loves or needs it, which lessens those random items we hardly use. 

“I have also discovered that my true style personality is classic and relaxed with a bit of a creative/dramatic streak and I have taken anything that doesn’t fit my personality out of my wardrobe,” Mariska added. If we know our style well enough, it makes shopping so much easier. We buy less things that we’re unsure of, and less things that don’t really match the rest of what we already have.

Image provided by @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided by @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided by @the_styleconsultancy
Image provided by @the_styleconsultancy

The Tips

Trends tend to repeat themselves, and often we throw things out just to buy something similar a year or two later. Along with Mariska, we put together some tips on how to best utilize the items you already own:

  • Rotate your clothing regularly in order to not forget about great pieces getting tucked away underneath newer items. The less you see, the less options you have.
  • Start by investing in good basics. Identify what it is that you wear often (go-to jeans, white button shirt, basic tees, blazer/leather jackets etc.) and make sure they get taken care of.
  • “Formal or smart clothing items can be dressed all the way down to casual wear if you change the shoes and accessories or combine it with casual clothing items like denim or leather jackets.”
  • Focus on buying quality items that you either LOVE or NEED, not just making random purchases.
  • Plan your outfits before you buy something new. “When every clothing item you own can be combined with at least 3 other items in your wardrobe, you will have at least 3 different outfits for every one item you own. If you multiply that with a conservative average of 100 items that almost every woman has in her wardrobe at any given time, you have at least 300 outfits right there.”
  • Be creative! Life is too short for boring outfits. Play around with combinations you haven’t tried yet. Mix and match colours, prints and patterns, textures, you’re bound to come up with something you didn’t know you would like.
  • And lastly, you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe every season. By simply changing your accessories, you can have a completely new look with an old favourite.

If you want to shop less and get more wear out of your wardrobe, a The Box Fashion membership might be just for you! Click here to learn more about our accessory and styling service.

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