> Sale shopping is always in vogue, but do you ever get the best deal?

“Sale, sale, sale – must end soon!” Make your way through Bristol on any day of the week, any month of the year and you are likely to be bombarded with promises of “special offers” from clothing retailers. Enticing as they may sound, the problem with these deals is that they don’t end “soon” as the sign states; they just go on, and on and on.

Gone are the days when “The Sales” specifically referred to the traditional once-a-year January sales. In this brave new world of retailing giants, and ever cheaper (if ethically questionable) production methods, we are treated to the year-long temptation of cut-price sales clothing.

Shopping in the sales for that quick fashion fix can become addictive. I often find myself buying things that aren’t perfect, or that I don’t really need, so I decided it was time to go cold turkey on clothes shopping.

I am now three months into a self imposed clothing fast and hope to make it as far as the real sales in January, which will make it six months in total.

But why not indulge every fancy? Well not only is it a drain on the pocket, but it also makes it too easy to end up with far more clothes than any sane person needs, or any sort of student accommodation can cope with.  It’s too easy to accumulate, not because you actually really like any particular item, but simply because it’s there, and you really can’t refuse a “good deal”.

My wardrobe is a case in point. After two years of living in Bristol, repeatedly passing through the shopping hot-spots of Park Street, Broadmead, Cabot Circus, and the Gloucester Road area, I have a wardrobe overfull with items that I “sort of” like, and never wear. In fact, at a guess, I probably wear about 20% of the items contained therein on a regular basis, and I know I’m not alone in this.  The majority of the clothes that I don’t wear are impulse buys, and sale items.

When buying clothes, rather than falling for the passable sale item, surely a better investment for us all would be a few, perhaps more expensive, but better tailored, longer-lasting, and if you’re lucky, more ethically sound, items.  It might not be easy, but detoxing rarely is.

After three months of refusing to take part in the ritual of clothes shopping I have slowly begun to dig out items that I forgot were even there, or items that simply needed a button re-attaching, or some other minor repair. Some items I haven’t seen in a while, and they almost feel like new anyway. It really can be a process of detoxification, not just a matter of denial, and in such a heavily consumer-orientated society, it can feel cleansing too.