Friday, 5 July 2013

Clothes rationing

The summer sales have already started here in Spain and will continue for two whole months, which is a long time to resist temptation! I'm not sure whether I am prepared to go cold turkey and give up buying new clothes for as long as a year, but I definitely want to stop purchasing new clothes on a whim, just because  a pretty dress or colourful top in a shop window catches my eye and especially just because it's a bargain.

I have to thank Juhli of A Boomer Girl's Guide for first bringing the Wartime Wardrobe Challenge to my attention.  I think it's an ideal opportunity to monitor and think about what clothes you're buying. The idea is that you have 66 coupons to last the year, which was the allowance in the UK during World War II. If my Mum and Grandmother could do it, so can I!

As I am starting the challenge from 1st July, I will allow myself 33 coupons until the end of the year. This doesn't mean I can buy up to 33 items of clothing though, as everything had a different value.  A dress, for example, cost either 7 or 11 coupons, depending on what fabric it was made of. This is the link for the rationing chart, showing the number of coupons needed for various items: womenswear.

I now have a confession to make, especially to fellow Project 333ers: yesterday I bought three sleeveless tops from Aldi (in my defence, they were only available in packs of three!) The weather has suddenly become very hot and I realised that I have only a couple of sleeveless tops after my last wardrobe purge, although most of the short-sleeved tops are lightweight. These new tops will replace two of the heavier tops and one of the cardigans, which have now been put away until autumn. Not too bad for Project 333, though I will need to find another three items of clothing to discard after this latest purchase. However it is bad news for me on the rationing front, as it means I have already used up 15 out of my 33 coupons.  Luckily the tops have been certified as organic cotton otherwise it would have meant an extra 3 coupons, giving a total of 18.

If you are interested in trying this challenge to help you become more aware of what clothes you are buying, click on this link. What I like about the challenge is the fact that it is encouraging us to buy sustainable/eco fabrics, and particularly to buy second-hand and vintage items.  If I have run out of coupons by October, I will be trawling all the second-hand and vintage shops when I visit London, as we don't have any here in Spain! Do you think it would be cheating if I allow my husband to use some of his precious coupons to buy me some clothes for my birthday?


  1. Interesting post. I had no idea that clothes were rationed that way during the war. The things you learn from other blog participants! Keep it up... you can do it!

  2. Hi Sue - Thanks for bringing awareness to this challenge! It's wonderful when we can be more conscious about our spending and ensure we're bringing things into our home that we can use & find beautiful. We downsized nearly 2 years ago & it has been fabulous. We use everything we have, and when something has served its purpose or has been replaced, it is donated, free cycled or earns us some extra cash (like the CD collection we sold! ;-) We have the same rule about for every new thing coming in, 1 or more goes. Good luck with the challenge - you can do it!!

  3. Glad you are finding the challenge interesting. The originators of the challenge exempted second hand/thrifted clothing as it was exempted during the war so shop away in London!

  4. Thanks for all your encouragement! I'm wondering if my urge to shop so much originates from when I was younger? Actually, I think I may write a post about that, so watch this space!

    Kelly, my step-daughter is a great fan of e-bay - with four growing boys she needs to be as their house would soon overflow!