It’s been almost four months since I began Consciously Spending Less To Create More for the second time. It’s been a slightly different experience to the first time round and yet it’s throwing all the same challenges at me as the time before. I feel like I have been on an emotional rollercoaster for 4 months and it’s all to do with fashion.

You can find out more about what the project involves here but essentially I am challenging myself to not buy clothes for 12 months. As a qualified fashion designer, the intention is instead to design and sew what I need, using existing and inherited fabrics. If I do choose to buy something, it has to have the price tag of a luxury brand to prompt me to really consider its purchase.


Four months in and these are the range of emotions I have experienced to date:


  1. Liberation – 100% liberated. It feels cleansing to do a cleanse on your wardrobe and ultimately my self image. Just as I experienced the first time, it feels like I have a clean slate to work with – I ask myself “Well, who do YOU want to be?” and then I go and dress accordingly. 
  2. Smug – Yep, I said it. For no apparent or justifiable reason, I have to admit I do feel a little bit smug about doing this project again and so soon after the first one finished. This cute smugness is riding shotgun to my Ego so I have to keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t take over the wheel.
  3. Blah – Is the best word I can think of to summarise how I felt in October.
  4. Control – Take away the negative stigma we can sometimes attach to this word and see it for what it is. I feel in control, organised and on top of my life and this gives me enormous confidence.
  5. Out of Control – No sooner had I felt fully in control, did I feel totally out of control. How did this happen? I didn’t stay on top of my washing and ironing, which limited decent outfit options and left me scrambling.
  6. Confident and Competent – When I was created I feel like I got the equivalent of 100 people’s worth of creativity. For as long as I can remember, my strengths, talents and skills have always been in the creative industries. To have a project in place which forces me to use my qualification (fashion design) gives me an enormous amount of confidence and self assuredness. When I design, a sweet vibration hums inside me, an organic buzz which is derived from a natural source of feeling whole.
  7. Frustration – On many levels! I spoke about this in a previous blog post…how am I meant to enjoy my wardrobe when I don’t feel like it represents me to my most true self. Yes, I can design and sew anything I want to add to it but I don’t have a lot of spare time and I don’t necessarily want to spend it sewing. Why do I do this to myself?
  8. Resentment – Who are these people who are always seen wearing something new? Where are they getting their money from? How can they afford it? Are they renting these pieces? Why do they feel the need to be seen in something different every time they go out. Don’t they realise they are contributing to the anxiety of “keeping up with the Jones”?
  9. Like Me – If there is one thing this project delivers to me on a shiny silver tray, it is Me – as I know her and have known her for my entire life. This challenge always re-introduces myself to myself. It may sound woo – woo and perhaps it is but my god does it feel good! We deprive ourselves of our ‘self’ so much that it’s hard to remember who WE are, at our very core. Often I find myself asking myself, “Where did you go for so long?”. It’s an emotional reunion when this part of me presents herself. (Take heed: until you’ve met with your true self, maybe you won’t understand why it evokes this level of emotion.) At my core is a really beautiful, kind hearted person who gets a kick out of wearing sequins and slicked down hair.
  10. Creative – Thank goodness for that!

Consciously spending less to create more is a challenge, there is no doubt about it!

On paper, 12 months without buying clothes might sound like a walk in the park to some. However, until you actually take that walk yourself, deliberately, whilst working in the fashion industry, you won’t ever know what the park really looks like… You won’t look at how the trees grow or listen to the songs of the birds. You’ll miss the fragrance of the clean air and will continue to avoid the parts of it which make you feel uneasy or unsafe. 

Challenging myself to a project like this has reaffirmed to me that these “parks” in our lives are meant to be explored, enjoyed and shared with others. You don’t have to walk it alone which is why I’m sharing this experience with you.


If you’re curious about how you can consciously spend less to create more in your life, come with me! There are few things you can do. You can:

  • Subscribe to my CSLTCM newsletter here for How To’s, resources and other cool things which are about to be released.
  • Then, there is my social media platforms you can follow me on where I share hacks, demonstrations and quick bites on ways to live a little more consciously in your every day life – Here (Facebook), Here (Instagram) and Here (Penelope Bell’s Instagram)
  • And then, there is your mouth which is a really useful tool you can use free to help spread a message or word! (Please and thank you!)

Let’s walk this park together!


Until next time, stay in your magic.






About Penelope

I’m a fashion illustrator, designer, storyteller and ambassador who helps brands in the fashion, lifestyle and travel industries, build brand recognition, credibility, loyalty, and trust whilst offering a fresh perspective.

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