How to Look Stylish During a Clothing Buying Hiatus

clothing buying hiatus

Lately, I have heard a lot of women tell me they have put them self on a clothing buying hiatus.  As I have come to understand this, this type of a hiatus is the decision to not buy any clothing or clothing related items for a certain period of time.  The reason for this is because a woman has found they have way more than they need in their closet and want to work with what they have instead of buying more.  It makes a lot of sense.

With the end result hopefully to be in a better place with their wardrobe than worse, it’s important that the time used during a clothing buying hiatus be productive.  If you are on or are thinking about a hiatus for yourself here are some tips.

How to Look Stylish During a Clothing Buying Hiatus

This is not punishment

All women, to some degree, are perfectionists.  I think being one is just encoded in our DNAs.  We strive for perfection and seem to get down on ourselves when we don’t reach it.  It can be a horrible state of mine to live in if it gets too extreme.

If you have put yourself on a clothing buying hiatus, clearly it’s because you feel like you’ve gone too far in the wrong direction and need to pull back, reassess and make use of what you have.  While some mistakes might have gotten you into the position, it’s not punishment worthy.

Punishing yourself puts you in a state of mind that isn’t productive.  In fact, you should be praising yourself for your efforts to correct what you might have done wrong in the past.  Look at this time positively and approach this time in this headspace.


It may seem to be counterintuitive to get rid of things when you are on a clothing shopping hiatus, but it will actually be quite helpful.  First of all, clearly you have too much.  A little clarity will go a long way.  Second, my guess is you’re not wearing all that you own.  Having a lot but nothing to wear is a common affliction.

You aren’t just doing this hiatus to restrict yourself, you want to actually learn something during this time.  Getting rid of what you aren’t wearing will help you focus on what you are and will make the time of shopping again more successful.

If you aren’t sure where to start with your purge, start by noticing what you wear and what you don’t.  Keep track of this by keeping a list or marking your hangers.  Notice how often you wear what you do and what you keep going back to.  If it is helpful, you can wait until the end of your purge after you have tracked things what you didn’t wear.

Make outfits

The outfit sessions with my clients are so key in helping a client get more with their wardrobes.   A clothing buying hiatus is the perfect time to take advantage of this.  How I work with clients during these sessions is I start with one piece and assemble about four to five outfits.  I then take photos of these outfits so clients can remember what we put together.  You can check out some of these sessions in these posts.

What also makes these outfit sessions helpful is that you will be able to spot deliberate holes in your wardrobe which you can write down and shop for once the hiatus is over.  You’ll probably be more than ready to hit the stores once the ban has lifted and being ready with a list of things you actually need will be helpful.


Recently, a client told me how often she wore a piece once she got it tailored to fit her body shape better.  If you have neglecting getting things tailored a clothing shopping hiatus is the perfect time to take some inventory.

Some items can be taken to your local dry cleaning tailor but other pieces might need more expertise.  If you ordered things online you can still take them to the retailer where they were purchased if they offer tailoring.  Another client of mine purchased a blazer online from Nordstrom and brought it to the store to get tailoring done.  A lot of women don’t realize they can do this.


Use the time during your clothing shopping hiatus to figure out why you needed to put yourself on a fast in the first place.  Again, this is not a time to punish yourself, but to productively understand why you accumulated so much.  Did you use shopping as an emotional crutch?  Did you go through a difficult time?  Has you life changed and your wardrobe didn’t change with it?  Can you never leave a store without buying something?  Do you buy things simply because they were on sale?  These are just a few of reasons why  you accumulated too much.  What are your reasons?

Consider hosting a switch party

While you may not be able to get to the stores, a work around to acquiring new things, and also getting rid of what you don’t, is to consider hosting a switch or swap party.  This isn’t about being sneaky or manipulating the promise you made to yourself, but to test the waters of shopping without spending a dime.  A good point in the process to do this is after you have purged, made outfits and reflected on why you needed a put yourself on a fast on the first place.  Going into a swap party is no different than shopping, you don’t want to come home with things you don’t need, even if it was free.

Clothing shopping hiatuses can be a helpful time to pull back and reflect and to learn how to move forward instead of feeling restrictive.  By the time you come out of it you’ll be in great shape once you hit the stores.

Looking for more guidance during your clothing shopping hiatus?

If you need some further guidance during your hiatus, check out my friend Jill Chiver’s site My Year Without Clothes Shopping.  She offers tips and programs to help.

  • Christine

    Bridgett, Happy Thanksgiving. When I think of the things that I am grateful for, your wonderful blog comes to mind. I have learned so much from you. And every single piece of advice has improved how I feel about myself in the outfits I now create. I’ve started buying less clothes but I look way more stylish because I have been following your tips. Every compliment that I have received in the past year has been while wearing an outfit that you inspired. I’ve ditched black shoes, and I never want to go back. The leopard , neutral and metallic shoes that I have replaced them with are so much more versatile and fun. I’ve warmed up the black clothes that I own (and am not ready to part with) with rich browns and other neutrals to create more interesting looks. I have stopped “splitting my wears”. I have purchased a metallic purse, a mustard yellow tote and a green purse. And they have added so much interest to my outfits that I can’t believe that I carried boring “neutral” bags for so many years. Accessories have become way more important since I started reading you and they have enabled me to expand my wardrobe. I could go on and on. Enjoy this beautiful weekend.

    • Heather

      I want to second the thanks. I love this blog! Because of it I have stopped trying to make myself like black. I have had a lot of fun (and success) with colored and metallic shoes and bags. I now think about “splitting my wears” when evaluating my wardrobe and while shopping. I have reread the posts specifically about jewelry many times as I’ve worked on my jewelry collection. And I have found great specific pieces for my wardrobe after seeing them here. Thanks, Bridgette!

      • Heather, it is so kind of you to take the time and leave me such lovely comments! I am glad this blog has helped you!! Happy holidays!

    • Charlene

      Also want to say “Thank you, Bridgette!” during this season of gratitude. Christine and Heather have expressed my appreciation perfectly.

      • Thank you Charlene! I greatly appreciate your kind words! Happy holiday!

    • Hi Christine! Thank you so much! When I initially read your comment I was down with a bad cold and your comment just brightened my day! I am so happy to hear my advice helped you so much! Keep up the GREAT work! Happy holidays!