Wartime Wardrobe Challenge

You might have seen the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge badge on the right side of this blog. What is that? Well, it’s an ingenious way to monitor and limit consumption by using the clothes rationing coupon system used in the UK during WWII, when supplies and raw materials were limited. The US also had rations for things like tires, canned food, penicillin, silk, nylon, and footwear. In fact, during WWII in the US, jeans were declared an essential commodity and were sold only to people engaged in defense work.


So, for the next year (or how ever long I can last), I’ll be rationing my consumption by using 66 coupons. Not 66 items. For example, a dress is worth 7 coupons. A pair of socks is worth one. Every time I buy something, I’ll give up a few coupons.

I want to become more aware of what I buy, buy better quality things that last, and buy things in a mindful way. It won’t matter (for this experiment) whether a pair of shoes costs me $20 or $200. I’ll use 5 coupons either way. So this will help me spend wisely.

the rules

I found this idea on jesse.anne.o’s blog. The idea is a collaboration between Little House in Town and The Double Life of Mrs. M. You can see the rationing chart for more details. I modified the rules above so the currency was in US dollars. Everything else is the same.

The good news is clothing exchanges and second-hand clothes don’t require coupons–and you know how I love thrift stores! It’s going to be a great way to stick to ethical shopping too. I think I can do this. Care to join me?

Go to Little House in Town’s site to get the badge and join the fun!


Filed under Ethical, Events, Fashion, Thrifty

11 responses to “Wartime Wardrobe Challenge

  1. This is an admirable idea and I will join you in part. I do agree that we should buy things in a mindful way, spend money wisely and buy better quality things that last. I’m totally in favour of clothing exchanges, second-hand clothes and ethical shopping. Eco/animal-friendly items should be something we always look for.

    I believe in supporting the economy – we need factories to manufacture and stores to sell, so that people have jobs. I would suggest limiting our purchases to help local artisans and small stores, buying items made in our own countries. Boycotting those stores (whether large ones or small shops) that sell things like fur or clothing made in sweatshops and imported from countries that do not pay their employees well, with poor working conditions. (Make sure to tell them why we’re not shopping there!)

    • Yes – ethical, eco-friendly, and animal-free are my goals. I love thrifting anyway and I’ll be much more careful about avoiding sweatshop-made garments and buying “disposable” things.

      That said, you have a point. Supporting the economy is important too. I love buying local and supporting small businesses. I’ll see how long the 66 coupons last and when I run out, I won’t deprive myself (or the economy)! I will make sure that this year I stick to my values. I’m vegan, but I sometimes buy leather and silk. Now’s my chance to vote with my dollars. And tell unethical companies why they won’t be getting my business!

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

      • I must admit–I have bought silk and leather and I will make it a goal not to buy silk and leather this year and in the future!

        Let me know when you run out of coupons! 😉

  2. Hi Jean, I’m stopping in from Nik’s blog to say hello. Good to see another thrift store/secondhand shopper in the challenge with us 🙂

  3. Great challenge! I’m working on a challenge of my own, not to buy anything new for a whole year.

    • Wow! That’s a tough challenge! It would be interesting to see how much money you save over the course of a year. I’ve been buying a few things and I’m halfway through my points, so we’ll see how long I last 🙂

  4. What an interesting concept! I love that second hand stuff is coupon-free. I’ve always loved going to thrift stores – I think of it as a treasure hunt. Celeste 🙂

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