2013 Wartime Wardrobe Challenge

I have a billion little goals for 2013 already.  (Listen to more '80s hair metal, screw sugar, work less, get diesel like a young Glenn Danzig, learn more Spanish than my paltry lexicon...)  But this is the one I'll actually talk about here.

I'll be joining Little House in Town and The Double Life of Mrs M on their Wartime Wardrobe Challenge in 2013.  In short, it's a clothes-rationing project focused on ethical consumption.  Factoring in ecological and labor standards, items are assigned a "price" (i.e. 2 coupons, 4 coupons, no coupons) and you spend up to your maximum of 66 coupons for the year.  Obviously the nastier the item is for workers and/or the environment, the more coupons you lose.


Rationing chart is {here}

I have 66 of these lil' babies:  

(maximum) to spend in 2013.

I will still - of course - be shopping with veganism as my very top priority and then labor and environment tied for second. 

My interest in participating in this challenge is that it gives me a novel way to track my purchases and offers a re-framing of consumption habits.  I think it's interesting that when all people were buying less, it made a certain baseline level of consumption the norm and therefore it wasn't seen as impossible or weird.  However, nowadays, there is a huge culture of consumption and I find it funny (and sad...and frightening...and interesting) that we have to invent projects or challenges in order to buck the current social climate of consumption.  It is now an event to consume differently.

Do you guys have any wardrobe-related goals for 2013?


  1. What an interesting/fun project. I'm looking forward to following it over the next year.

    My goal for 2013 is to only buy secondhand clothes (with the exception of undies, socks, bras). My current purchasing style is about 50/50 new and secondhand, so this will be a bit of a challenge. I also only buy vegan items, and try to buy high quality pieces.

    Happy new year!

  2. Jesse Anne, glad you are joining Nik and me. I agree with you entirely. We need a collective recalibration of our consumption levels! My informal experiment of 2012 was about rethinking my habits and drivers. The 2013 challenge was conceived as a way of galvanising those and sparking others to rethink theirs. In any event, I look forward to learning how you navigate the challenge as veganism adds a further interesting dimension.

  3. You know, it never really occurs to me how weird and screwed other people's consumption levels might be. Not to toot my own consumer horn or anything but... do people actually live the way that I'm starting to suspect they do? I think that I could count the new clothes taht I purchased in 2012 on two hands so long as I don't count the 3 pairs of stockings I bought when the local AA went out of business or my two sports bras (because I don't really WANT to own them but have found, through trial and error, that I pretty much have to).

    So many items come into my life incidentally that I can't imagine how cluttered my life would be if I went out and purchased whatever I wanted. Maybe that's why I've been able to survive comfortably as a "thing maker" for the past 3 years. After rent, my main monthly expenditures are food/dining out (yeah. I'm that asshole buying the $15 sandwich), business stuff, and touching up my roots every 3 or so months. I've been an avid second hand clothing shopper since high school for reasons of budget and taste. Since I've been within the same 20lb range since age 15, it's not unusual to for me to look down and realize that everything I'm wearing is secondhand (case in point: right now). I can be kind of myopic so the idea that I'm on the fringe is reeeeeeeeeal weeeeeeeeird, man.

  4. So excited to be participating in this project with you! Especially excited that we've got a US/UK comparison and can't wait to see how the rules fit in with a vegan focus.

    E.Elizabeth - I too spend very little of my budget on clothes, and for me this challenge is more about connecting with the origin of the clothes I do purchase and understanding how the supply chain works. I don't think the coupon allowance will hinder me too much (famous last words?), although I am planning my wedding this year, so that may test me!

    When I visit my mum and sisters, I'm always completely floored by their excessive clothing consumption (which, incidentally, they don't see as being excessive at all!). In fact, we took over three bin bags to the charity shop at Xmas just to make way for their new clothes! Unreal.

  5. Wow. This looks awesome. I'm excited to check out these ladie's logs and challenge and also to follow you on shopping journey. Or rather no-so-much-shopping journey, right?

    I was actually just thinking about this the other day, trying to remember the last time I bought something OTHER THAN delicates, bras and tights new. I came to May 2008 when I bought a gray dress with pink horses on it from H&M. This year I'm looking to replace any underwear that needs replacing with organic cotton hand mades. I thrift and receive a lot of stuff from friends via swaps and have a clothing budget of 365 bucks a year. Of course, it's easy for me because I don't have to have anything like a professional wardrobe.

    And like any good thrifter, I have a massive clothes problem and get way too much stuff and don't wear half of it. So my goal for this year is to hone down my wardrobe, get rid of stuff and not feel the pull of those new clothes so strongly. At least I feel good about their origin, even if i'm still embarrassed by my consumption.

    However, after musing on this for a minute and feeling a lot pleased and a little smug about it, it occurred to me that my husband actually buys a lot of new clothes. Okay maybe lot is a gross overstatement, but he does physical work and if it's near impossible to find used ts and pants for men to begin with it's just not feasible to thrift work clothes (unfairly enough I have a lot of thrifted carhartt work pants for me). So I guess my other goal is to make sure that he sources his workwear from as American made and ethical and durable places as possible. That's gonna be a challenge.

    I look forward to reading your musing regarding this topic and sorry about the novel-lenght comment.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Milla,

      I hope you enjoy following this challenge.

      Yes, most of the new items I buy are delicates too. As a teenager mum made me darn my stockings and in the last few years I have taken to doing so again to squeeze more life out of them. As for knickers and bras... I have some interesting explorations coming up in the next few months to see how best to move to eco-friendly smalls!


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