How was Dry January for you?

Friday, February 2nd 2024
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I didn't buy any clothes this month. That wouldn't be a hardship for most people and it wasn't much of a hardship for me, but I was surprised how much it changed my perspective.  

On the day after publishing our article announcing our Dry January project, I was in Trunk in Marylebone as I’d had an appointment with Bryceland’s up the street. I was looking at a couple of different pairs of socks, reading the fibre content and trying to remember which brand I’d liked last time. 

And then it hit me - it didn’t matter, because I couldn’t buy them. I couldn’t buy anything this month. Now, it wouldn’t be a big thing if I did allow myself socks, underwear and other basics as part of this project. Many people do as part of similar challenges. But the principle was rather freeing. I was now just an observer, considering the clothes in a completely abstract manner.

It felt quite relaxing as I wandered around the rest of the store, and then popped into John Simons. I was slightly afraid I’d stumble onto a once-in-a-lifetime piece of vintage, never to be offered again, but I didn’t. There were a few nice pieces, but they would be there next month. There was no hurry. 

I am of course in a different position to many readers. I am professionally, necessarily, around beautiful clothes all the time. But I also know friends who say they look at clothes online pretty much every day - that it’s a form of entertainment to research something, to follow it on eBay, and then to buy it. I found it refreshing and calming to have all that taken away. 

There was a slightly embarrassing moment a week later, when I ordered a shirt online and then had to return it. I didn’t remember in time to actually cancel the order, so I had to wait and receive it, want it, then sent it back. I almost wrote to the company to explain what was going on, that I was sure I’d buy it next month, but that sounded complicated and in the end I chickened out.

Here’s another interesting thing: it’s now February 2nd and I haven’t bought anything either. There wasn’t a queue of things waiting to be bought, a row of browser tabs waiting with shopping baskets, longing for completion. Nothing felt that necessary, nothing preyed on my mind for more than a few days, before fading into the subconscious.

I’m sure that will change. If I actively think about it, there is a pair of Yuketen boots in my size on eBay, and I wanted to get another Anderson & Sheppard blanket for my daughter’s room. But for the moment there’s a pleasant feeling of separation from all that, a slowing down and a change of focus.

The vast majority of readers will not, I’m sure, buy as many clothes as me or have a problem not buying anything. But I do know some that do and that do. And I think it’s a useful way to highlight more generally the need to buy carefully and considerately. 

On Permanent Style, it spurred myself and other writers to focus on things like repairing, ageing and re-using in our articles last month. In fact there were so many ideas that several are going to push over into February, including one on an Hermes briefcase, one on a reader’s Wax Walker, and one on the care-and-repair one-stop-shop that is The Valet.

Rather like me, the effect has not switched off as soon as the calendar turned over. 

Dry January was apparently a bigger thing for alcohol than it ever has been before. Pubs in the UK reported lower takings and the campaign group Alcohol Change reported a large number of people signing up. 

We can probably take the latter with a pinch of salt, and I don’t want to see any pubs go under. But interestingly, the response from a lot of pubs has been to offer more non-alcoholic drinks, or to expand their business into family activities and other events, which feels healthy. It could be a way they could reclaim that position as the ‘third space’, the public space that has perhaps been taken over by coffee shops in recent years. 

It’s good to step back, to be forced to change perspective. Thinking about it, our summer holiday effectively performs for the same role - for two to three weeks I’m completely cut off from clothing and retail, and it always feels like a healthy circuit-breaker. 

Would I do it again? Quite possibly. Perhaps I might set myself a limit, like only things that are one-off like vintage, and then only one or two. 

I’m not sure I would do it every year on Permanent Style, just because a twelfth of the year is quite a lot. There are several pieces I’ve been wanting to write this month, and couldn’t. If there’s been any frustration during Dry January, it’s been that - rather than not being able to shop.

But I genuinely think it has made a difference to how I look at clothing, and that surprised me. I didn’t think I needed much of a change - that this was mostly about Permanent Style and the message I wanted it to project. But it has given me a different perspective, just by imposing an artificial restriction. It feels calm, useful, and healthy. 

How was it for you?

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I really liked this initiative and it gave some perspective. I have started to downsize my wardrobe and is also having more of a plan of things that I need. When I can also go back and look at that plan when I am tempted to buy sometimes. Where are categories of clothes that I actually own too much of. I bought a shirt on sale but it was sometimes that was “in my plan”. I saved good money by buying it on sale OTR instead of having it made bespoke or MTM. Even after I had my tailor take it in a bit.
Thank you for not just giving us advice on what to buy!


I recently started to take a more thoughtful and planned approach to my purchasing as well. I have a budget and a couple of items that I plan to buy this year and it really does help me avoid the temptation when something pops up on sale.
I have found the wardrobe building section of Permanent Style and the ‘which office are you’ articles to be very helpful in thinking about the versatility of pieces. I find I can get more variety of dressing out of fewer clothes compared to buying on a whim and discovering afterwards that the new piece doesn’t really fit with anything I already have.
I also like to wait 30 days to decide to buy something. If I still think I should buy it after 30 days then I will. It’s amazing though how many items I never return to though.


Excellent, looking forward to it. Those, and the Seven Levels of Formality are probably the articles I return to the most.


Hi, I did the same and instead of looking to buy I cared about what I have, I went to the cobbler (difficult to find a god one in Brussels, and the one found has long delay…), I cleaned garments, I found some forgotten ones in wardrobe. It was in fact useful. By the way in Belgium we are less courageous, we have a dry February


Cordonnerie de Livourne, Rue de Livourne 27, 1050 Ixelles. It was recommended by the head of shoes department of Degand store, probably the best men’s store in Brussels. And the work done by the cobbler is really perfect


Yeah, a great cobbler and personality that I used a few years back. Highly recommend and still marvel at the perfection of the new soles even now.


Another strong recommendation is Atelier Dascotte, Rue de l’Industrie 11, 1400 Nivelles. It’s slightly outside Brussels but his work is excellent.


Toni Taloni on Mechelsesteenweg in Antwerp is fantastic and swift.


I didn’t observe dry January but I spent a week away. I normally pack very light when I travel – usually just one jacket, two pairs of trousers, a handful of shirts, and knitwear / outerwear depending on the time of year. This time I was driving in my own car, so I could have packed much more if I wanted. I chose not to and packed similarly to how I would if I was flying. Much as I like the choice my wardrobe at home offers me, I find it quite freeing having to live from such a small capsule wardrobe for a week at a time. Perhaps this was my own dry January experience.


Love your approach.


Hi Simon,
Sorry for the off-topic question, but since you have had some clothes made by him in the past, I wanted to ask if you were going to mention/pay homage to Satoki Kawai from Sartoria Cresent that passed away not too long ago?!


Unsurprisingly, I did not find it that difficult to not buy any clothes, and I did pick up on a few of your suggestions. A few garments have been repaired and shoes cared for with the help of your articles guiding the way.

I did not get around to selling away any of my clothing though, and to my surprise the dry January actually made me appreciate more some of the garments that I had previously destined to be replaced. And that is probably what I appreciated the most with this exercise, to remove my self from the hamster wheel of consumption that it can be very easy to get stuck in and appreciate what I have instead. I may end up replacing those garments eventually, there is of course a reason I had those thoughts originally, be it fit or colour, but I will certainly get some more use out of them first.

Personally I will continue with the exercise a little longer, I have more garments to care for and some still to sell, or perhaps start to appreciate again.


Rather like drinkers switching to non-alcoholic drinks for dry January the equivalent for clothes shoppers could be to go into their wardrobe and actually start wearing some of the stuff they’ve accumulated / hoarded !


I’d actually banned myself from buying any clothes a few months back until I’ve lost more weight and got more wardrobe space, minus any essentials. Doing it for several months has been frustrating. There are definitely numerous items I’ve wanted to fill in gaps (a mid-grey wool crew neck!) or things I’d just like but I’ve reminded myself not yet, I can, as you say, get those things later.
For January in particular, well my partner and I bought a house in December and we spent pretty much all our savings buying things for the house so I’ve not had any money for clothes anyhow. It hasn’t stopped the wanting though and I suspect once we’ve had the fitted wardrobe fitted I will end up buying that jumper.


I know of a famous wine-dealer who does a dry two-month period a year. He started with three months and after a few years settled for two.

I think I haven’t bought any clothes in january, but received two shirts I ordered in september.
Having reached a point where I have all these “end-game“ items, like EG Loafers, Saint Crispins Lace-ups, more than enough bespoke jackets and trousers, I find myself in a position where my lust over new clothing has decreased dramatically. Which is rather freeing. I found the same to be true with other items like furniture, watches,… So in a way it’s kind of a money-saver and possibly even more – a brainenergy-saver – to go for the end-game items, once you can afford it. At least it is for me. Is there anyone who made the same experience? It seams like all the attention goes to folks with obsessive collections, like 100 shoes, 100 watches, 30 cars or whatever.


I would not say I have reached an “end game” wardrobe, not by my standards and certainly not by the standards one is used to seeing in instagram (fx the other day someone I follow was selling almost 20 pairs of shoes just to “clear out” while I don’t even have 15 pairs, and at the same time for most of my circles it is completely insane to have more than 3 pairs).
But I do like to think that I can tell the difference between a “want” and a “need”. At this moment they are pretty much all “wants”. And I try to take a good time with the “want” items, thinking how they would fit with what I already have, before going out wielding the credit card. So I find it easier and easier to have “dry” periods.
That being said, January is not particularly a good time to do it for me, as I try to take advantage of the post new year sales to get items I’ve had on the sights for a while.

Bryan H

I agree. While social media, advertising, peer pressure and the internet all lust for quantity and consumption, I too am maturing into the “Buy Once, Cry Once” attitude.


Your dry-January affirmed my plan to buy only six pieces per year, three in January and three in July/August. Apparently like many readers, judging from the comments, I now put much more focus maintaining the items I have. With great interest, I watched e.g. your video on how to wash delicate knitwear and started doing that. It is liberating. Still, I look at clothes on the internet way too much. I was also sorely tempted to buy new Tricker‘s Stow boots for EUR 160 on sale but managed not to do so.


It was a difficult, dry month… approaching its end, time seemed to stand still…

Simon Chambers

Thanks for instigating the Dry January project. I will admit that I bought three pieces in the month- a batik shirt when I was in Indonesia to have for my work event there later this year, and two pieces that were down to the last one in my size and I knew they would not be available again. So I ended up doing things more the way you suggest at the end of the article. But I have held off on buying other pieces, and it has- as you say- been freeing to know that I’m not buying. I am working to take a dry month this month (from when I bought the last of the pieces 2 weeks ago). May the willpower be strong and the shopping cart be weak! 🙂
I also very much appreciated the articles on repair and appreciation for items over the long term. To me, that is exactly the kind of content that we need more of. Rampant overconsumption is a massive problem in the world, and helping people to appreciate what they have, “shop their closet”, care for and repair pieces is a great way to help change attitudes and, in turn, the environment.

Caleb C

My 2024 plan is a bit more ambitious and feels a bit daunting.

I plan to only purchase 2 items the entire year.

They are larger expenses so budget really dictates the experiment. I have felt my perspective change over the past month as many go to purchases are off the table. Since there is now a Tolstoy novel sized hole in my enjoyment time, I plan to try to read through Anna Karenina and War and Peace this year. But the question remains:

Can it be done??


Totally agree on Anna Karenina. I read it in three days while on holiday in Bhutan. My wife couldn’t get me out of the hotel. I certainly missed out but I couldn’t put the book down.

Caleb C

I’m more worried about the lack of clothing purchases so I will have to report back in 2025.


One vote for War and Peace first! Although we’re splitting hairs — number one and number two on my greatest novels list.
I would stay away from the Pevear and Volokhonsky translations. I like both the Anne Dunnigan and (OG) Constance Garnett translations. They lack the academic cachet of P&V but are much more idiomatic in English.

Peter Hall

I read war and peace by making time for 30 pages a day. My kids knew it was my time(they were older teenagers).

I made a little ritual of it -tea,slippers ,soft jazz, a plate of biscuits and throughly enjoyed the experience.


“And I highly recommend Karenina over War & Peace by the way.”
Spoken like a man of excellent taste.


Hi Simon,
Thanks again for the Dry January series, as per previous comments I applaud the way you have approached this subject, which has generated some interesting and informative articles and discussions.
For my part; firstly for full disclosure ! I did have to buy a thermal vest. Otherwise no discretionary spend on clothing on my part. I have avoided a bit of spending in sales.
I was inspired to again dig out a balmacaan coat and chunky roll neck from Trunk purchased about six years ago and this felt a refreshed look. Especially the coat which has aged nicely.
What I started doing a few years ago was keeping an annual list of clothing purchases. Purely just to see in review what I had been buying. . As measuring often does, I did find this resulted in some changes and more thinking about choices. Also thinking (as my wife does) about what is the slot for a specific item.
All in all an enlightening month, not necessarily overly important in the bigger scheme of things , nonetheless greatly appreciated for those of us interested in all aspects of menswear. Right – now I’m off to look at the Drakes archive! (Not really).
All the best for the weekend.


Hi Simon, what do you usually do with failed purchases? Clothes and shoes that don’t fit, and can’t be adjusted? Sell, donate, give away?


It’s a great emphasis. I did not do shopping free January but I think I might do it for Lent.
I have a lot of clothes and I should focus more on how I wear them.


Hi Simon, I found the initiative really beneficial because it made me think hard about my wardrobe and what (if anything) I need to add to it. I have quite a big wardrobe and most of what I buy these days comes from my tailor, so everything is planned pretty far in advance. Given that nothing I had in the pipeline was finished in January I didn’t buy anything new, so I can’t really give myself a lot of credit for not buying anything.

But, the initiative did prompt me to go through my wardrobe and start thinking about what is superfluous. I have accumulated a fair amount of casual outerwear and other casual clothes over the years. Given I wear a suit or jacket to work 5 days a week and I live in a place with 4 distinct seasons, much of if rarely gets worn. There are some nice pieces that I rarely wear and I am starting to think through whether I can sell or find a better home for them, perhaps like you did with your Cifonelli jacket.

All the best, Andrew


Well done Simon! I actually stopped using social media for a month to avoid buying anything…but had lots of dry white wine 🙂


At least you can still call it a dry January 😉


Lol. What a dry sense of humour.


Considering most readers have a reasonable number of clothes already, January can be treated as a month to creatively pair items and discover a new outfit. Reward from effort and no outlay.


I didn’t buy any clothes in January, but only because I’m taking delivery of a bespoke garment soon and need to pay the back 50%. Purely a budget reason – I guess I’ve been following the old adage by buying the best I can (just barely) afford.

Eric Michel

50% discounts killed Dry January on my side. February would be a much better month to still be able to benefit from winter sales…

Mark Seitelman

Mr. Crompton, I have great admiration for Permanent Style. I read it regularly. However, I find the concept of “Dry January” a bit odd for a blog that celebrates clothes and those who supply and make them.

January is a slow month for retailers who have come-off the high of a Christmas season. To advocate consumer abstinence for one full month would be harmful to the industry which has faced precarious times.

Also, January is a great time to purchase sale items. I look at December as the time to buy gifts for others for the holidays (at full price), but at the post-Christmas sales you pick-up clothing for oneself. Aside from buying staples n sale, such as socks and ties, it is a good time to place new clothing orders since the custom-bespoke sellers face a slow time. I have placed an order for a linen suit. I also have some new shirts on order. Your clothiers will be most appreciative of the business in the dead of the winter. Also, an early order insures that you receive the spring/summer clothes early in the season.

I adhere to the Roman maxim of everything in moderation. Buy for yourself in moderation and within your meals during the course of a year, and there will be no need for a “crash diet” in January.

Thank you, Mr. Crompton, for this wonderful blog.



Mark, you have taken the words right out of my mouth, saving me a few minutes on a Friday evening at the same time! I wholeheartedly agree but would love Simon to convince me otherwise. Simon, you must have an idea of the influence you have within the industry and whilst we would all like to think we have a mind of our own, a great deal of your readers will have taken your advice last month and worryingly for the industry you clearly love and dare I say, puts food on your table, will be changing their buying habits in the future as a result of their January experiment. Tell me how exactly, reduced sales can benefit shops already, perhaps, finding the current economic climate challenging? Faced with that challenge then as a business/shop owner I might be inclined to raise prices in an attempt to balance the books. Not sure that would go down terribly well with the majority of your readership.
It would be interesting to hear if your readership redirected any monies that might have been spent on clothing this month in another direction? One earlier reader mentioned purchasing more wine…If that is the overwhelming consensus then everyone else benefits, except those trying to earn a living within the menswear industry! I’m sure I’m probably over thinking this Simon and hope I don’t sound overly aggressive in my tone. That really isn’t the intention and I have found a real passion in menswear in the last six or seven years and that interest has stemmed entirely from discovering your blog. To add some balance, the absurd amount of money I have spent at Anglo Italian, Trunk, Brycelands and Rubato to name but a few in recent years is also solely down to you Simon and so if you have ruffled a few feathers then you can claim some backdated credit!
For what it’s worth, I spent more money than perhaps I should have, once again, this month but enjoyed every moment of it!


Hi Simon,
Yes I can say Dry January has turned my eye and interest into the investment grade/”Buy-Once-Cry-Once” level of clothing brands and away from mall/high street clothing brands. I appreciated the initiative and like other readers have found new outfits and inspiration from clothes already in my closet.

Paul H

100% bone dry and loved it! Not to over play, but on reflection, I think it helped reduce distraction and foster a sense of contentment and appreciation for what I already have. Thanks for idea Simon!

Dan James

I have to own up and admit I fell off the wagon…well in kind as such. I bought some cycling shorts for underneath my commuting trousers. Purely out of necessity, of course! Cycling and the clothes that go with it are another of my weaknesses. At least, I balked at some new cycling gloves.
It would have been so easy just to keep on buying over the calf socks from Mes Chausettes Rouges but 2 dozen is enough for anyone. Another navy blue merino top? To go with the PS polo, Finest Crewneck, Smedley zip-up and roll neck and Kamakura T-shirt…from that list you can see I have more than plenty. This Dry January made me look at what I have and from that what do I regularly wear at this time of year and really think about do I need to replace or add to it.
There are still so many things I want and could convince myself I can justify purchasing but this has re-instilled the idea to think at least twice before buying.


While I didn’t do a dry January, I will soon reach my goal of building a capsule wardrobe (very much based on your ”If I Only Owned” series, thank you very much). That means I soon have all the clothes I need and will only focus on repairs or repurchases. 

This month I bought my last sweater, which was a somewhat strange feeling. Both a sense of accomplishment but also a slightly empty feeling to be honest. 

Time will tell if I can stick to the plan. I’m not there yet, a pair of linen trousers and a navy sports jacket (yes, the last item should have been the first 🙂 among a couple of smaller objects is still on the list. 

The ”problem” has been that researching what should be included in my capsule wardrobe, learning, about plys and microns and bunches and high quality brands has been fun and rewarding. It has been a growing interest, a skill, and a hobby. I’m not sure in what form the interest can be maintained without the purchashing part. That will be interesting to see.


Yes, that sounds like a good approach.


january is not a good time for me to go without buying clothes – sales are the only way i can afford some of the items i wanted to buy. this month it was a Private White parka and a Merz Schwanen hoodie. but i’m planning to go dry in February at least, if not March and April as well, so i’ll report back in a couple of months:)

i did alter a few things i already owned for a while – shortening a pair of pants, opening up the leg on another, changing buttons on an older Loden coat. it definitely gives me more pleasure to wear them – remembering why i liked them in the first place, but also taking pleasure in their new look.


Great article, the premise of using dry January for a different kind of vice is incredibly healthy and the resulting articles have been some of the best.
As mentioned, arguably the value of this has been in getting a new perspective on buying and maintaining and this article reflects greatly, on that. I think everyone regardless of how conscientious one is in buying and maintaing has been benefited greatly by this experiment and potential new tradition.


Although I was at a congress in London, I didn’t buy anything. It was partly due to the lack of size, but also partly due to your recommendation (Alden instead of C&J cordovan loafer). I’m just glad you didn’t have a pop-up shop ;-)) otherwise dry January would have turned into a real party…


I think it’s a great concept to apply to my shopping habits but I’ll be honest I completely forgot about it failed to observe it!

Oh well, roll on 2025


I enjoyed the dry month a lot sine you covered other topics that are also important. I also changed my perspective this year. After a 2-3 year dry period where i had no more than 15 clothes i changed in 2021 a lot and went to the other side with 1 full wardrobe that surprised me very negativ 6 months ago when i counted the clothes i didnt wear once or only 1-2 times. And we are talking about nice clothes that costed a lot or were found after long vintage safari shopping. That made me understand some very important stuff:
1) i am a blue and cream jeans guy and that was like that 5 years ago and will mostly stay like that
2) i almost never wear shirts
3) i almost never wear blazer
4) army stuff is great to look at but not for me
5) i dont need more than 4 pair shoes including the summer ones

All those things made me decide to go again on a 15-20 pieces wardrobe but with well thought stuff that fits me great and mostly compliment eachother on a way that i look like the average man who doenst try for attention but if someone takes a look closely he notices my personal style after all. PM helped a lot with this joyrney till now although i only own a cashmere beanie from you and most of my clothes arent stuff you reviewed or tried and failed. Enough with the dry month, keep the good job comming!

Peter Hall

Slow shopping is healthy for you. I try to have an annual list-this year its shirts and a new pair of black loafers (and I will probably stick to it). It certainly helps that I have business, casual and summer capsules and am at the stage of ‘one in and one out’. I don’t really need anything.

If only I could apply this disciple to guitar paraphernalia.

I have a couple of cheats -in case I see a nice vintage piece and promised myself a quality silk scarf (for my 60th birthday)


I like the line of thinking and your reflections here, Simon.

Having been introduced to quality clothing while still at university (not being able to splurge coin) was in hindsight quite a good thing. I guess I’ve always spent much time reflecting on purchases before pulling the trigger – whether headphones, training gear or that new carpet – but that sentiment continues to be particularly satisfying for clothing. While not quite there yet, it has helped me build quite a well-rounded staple wardrobe over the course of years, with surprisingly few items I don’t use.

Spending time reflecting on clothing and outfits has become somewhat of a relaxing hobby now, and your articles (such as the ones where you modelled various “covid outfits” at home) are integral in that.

Keep up the fantastic work, Simon.

William Kazak

It helped that my car was in the repair shop for two weeks. I did not go into clothing stores. The finances were low so I purposely did not purchase from eBay. Of course I have various items in my watch list. No hurry to purchase anything. I don’t need any duplicate blazers even if they are in a slightly bigger size that may fit me better. I decided that I have enough shoes and shirts already. I donated two black pairs that had cracks in them.. It is still fun to look at eBay and mark “saved” to any possible future purchases. Looking into my closet, I see what I might wear with what in a new way. I am going to try to stop wearing black shoes. Brown or tan might work for me now that I am retired. Thinking about staying with only wool dress trousers and chinos and no jeans. The exception is my creme colored painters pants by RL. Linen trousers work for me also. I want to up my game this year as I already have nice clothing. I should actually wear what I have.


Thanks for your inspiration all along the years.

It leads me to a new year resolution to compile an excel list to cover all my clothing items with measurements and wearing counts to hopefully facilitate future purchases. (Though it hasn’t started even stepping into Feb now)

My dry project indeed starts since my marriage few years ago. Last year in Nov I somehow convince myself the sacrifice in quantity in these years (an excuse maybe) has justified my purchase of a hefty priced Coherence Robert field jacket in hemp.

Though I’m still struggling how and what to pair it with, but, as with my previous sort of fail purchases, buying clothes is like brewing wine, those fail purchases (like my Ascot Chang safari doesn’t get a wear in the first year of purchase) will find their way back.

Jack Linney

I made a couple of partial payments for sport coats at initial fittings. I spent more than I usually spend in a quarter, and I have nothing to show for it (yet).

Tommy Mack

I like how readers are confessing their transgressions! I was going to say I didn’t buy anything but remembered I bought some Merino socks during the cold snap. I did finally get round to taking some trousers to the tailor (a minor repair to some Dopiaa Moleskins that I could really have done with during said cold snap and alterations to some bargain Oxfam chinos that a previous owner had butchered with turn-ups that looked like they’d been hemmed on the deck of a lurching ship)

TBH I didn’t commit to Dry January (Naked January?) I browsed loads of January sales and Marrkt’s daily drops, even hovered over a few items but nothing tempted me enough to break my fast. There were plenty of great clothes at bargain prices of course. In the past I’d have hoovered them all up for fear of missing a never-repeated bargain.

Some of my past impulse sales purchases have become firm favourites that represent great value for money but plenty ended up going to Oxfam or sold for pennies on eBay. More still are unworn because I simply bought too much of the same just because they were bargains. I need to decide whether to start rotating them with very similar pieces or just selling/donating.

So yes, great project, Simon. I’ve enjoyed the articles a lot. PS in general has helped me buy less and dress better. I’m probably echoing comments I’ve made on previous threads but I’d say (a) raising you standards stops you wanting lots of things (certain labels I used to love for their style just seem too cheap and flimsy for me to bother with now) and (b) just as importantly, reading PS, admiring and discussing clothes and style is a far more interesting use of my “looking at clothes to avoid doing work” time than just browsing on a retail site.

Finally, I’m going to spend the money I saved buying nothing (but socks) in January on revisiting my tailor to comission my first piece of bespoke in about eight years!


Hello Simon, I didn’t consciously decide to participate in Dry January (clothing wise), but it kind of worked out that way; the power of suggestion perhaps?
A trip to visit family (in the city where my tailor is located) was postponed – so no temptation there.
I did buy a pair of shoes in the January sales – but it was my favoured last and style in a colour to fill a wardrobe gap I would have purchased at some point anyway, so why not take advantage of the sale price.
What I did do was heavily edit the things I already have, gave a lot a way, and listed for sale other items I thought there might be a secondary market for; a purge that was quite cathartic and which paid for the new shoes, so surely that’s a wash.
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, I re-read some of the books in my menswear library (you’ll be pleased to know I think “The Style Guide” still holds up) and get some outfit inspiration that way.
All in all I think a good start to the year.


Hi Simon: Switching subjects, now that January has elapsed- do you have any recommendations for Amsterdam and Prague? I will be traveling in a couple of weeks and would like to visit stores you recommend.
When is your pop up in London?


Dry January was an interesting experiment, though I suspect I was simply enjoying my Xmas gifts the expected amount I was supposed to.

It did help me rediscover one of my more obscure pieces, a Mandarin-collared suit jacket, which I hadn’t worn in some time. It felt ever so dandy-like during a formal dinner, which eventually resulted in lounging on a sofa with cocktails.

Curiously my shopping didn’t quite take a pause, as I had instead gifted my mother a few scarves and hiking gear since I was still browsing sales.

In conclusion, my budget was not affected at all.


After my comment on the last post I feel obligated to follow up here. I’m glad to see your reflections on the past month and encouraged by some of the new (or revisiting old) ideas for future posts.

One thing that dry January made me consciously do was ignore emails from retailers that I’d normally at least open. So thanks for the extra encouragement there. I’m feeling like I want to keep this up for now but we’ll see how long I can go before needing to “fill a gap” again.

I was already reaching a “contented” state with my wardrobe (i.e. having more than enough) when I bought 4 clearance shirts just before Christmas. These included some denim/western styles, which I hadn’t really worn before. So while the concept of dry January appealed from a practical standpoint, I was also able to cheat in that I was trying out some new things anyway.

On a side bar, earlier last year I splurged on repairs and alterations, including re-lining some tweed jackets that I’d bought at thrift stores years before, so I was fully on board with encouraging that approach as well. My first few suits from the mid-2000s are all wool gabardine, which I understand to be a more unusual (these days) but well-regarded cloth. Unfortunately they are ventless but they are otherwise reasonably classically proportioned (or now trendy with a fuller fit). In altering them to fit a little better, I was able to re-enjoy something of a higher quality than I could find new now. It’s a satisfying feeling – and I would hope that’s one of the key takeaways from the past month.

Jack Williams

Hi Simon,
For those of us who are in the January of our lives, where the path ahead is far shorter than the path behind, the thrill of purchasing new clothes confronts the reality of the limited time left to enjoy them. I find I seldom buy new things, opting instead to repurpose those items from the past in new and different combination that your discussions have alerted me to. It is easy to resist the pressures of newness and “the latest style” when one has seen so many similar moments pass unnoticed. I just recently wore a bespoke Donegal tweed three-piece suit made for me in the early 70’s. It hit all the wrong notes- straight legs, structured shoulders, vest with labels and of course I wore it with a tie. And yet, it was a success because I was wrapped in the memories of the times I had worn it in the past. (And it is a truly beautiful suit!) Perhaps then, the lesson of a dry January, is that we are so much more than our latest purchase; that confidence comes from a life lived to the fullest and that clothes, well-worn or newly acquired, demand that we measure carefully their importance to who we are.
As always, best to you and your wonderful discussions.

Jack Williams


Hi Simon
Dry January was exactly what I needed. Something to help me to re-set and focus on quality. If not decluttering the wardrobe, Dry January certainly a circuit-breaker to declutter my mind. It has helped me put a greater emphasis on the quality pieces I’m planning for this year, rather than haphazardly rolling from one purchase to another. An excellent initiative and one I’ll continue from time to time.


Really enjoyed reading Simon’s reflections on how his Dry January evolved. But I’m afraid … I rather let the side down very badly. I splurged, but in a sensible way. I had earmarked January for the start of my wardrobe rebuild and I just couldn’t postpone it lest I missed key pieces. It was strategic and deliberate. I only bought the items I had lacked for several decades. I had spent a huge chunk of my career working as a freelance and thus never had the confidence nor financial wherewithal to invest in those ‘big ticket’ items.
It was also a practical and mindful way to follow all the knowledge I had and continue to gleaned over the years on PS. It has left a big hole in my proverbial pocket but I feel contented that I have been able to support those artisans and makers I had always admired.
I hope to continue in this vein.


Congrats Simon. Purchasing clothes effectively pays your mortgage. If you can do it, there’s hope for us all!
Used The Valet just before Christmas to ‘sponge and press’ a pair of Neopolitan trousers. George did a mighty fine job.


Now it´s time to GO BIG on the loot(s)! 5 articles on top ten products for spring now!!


This was a great idea Simon, it remained a dry January UNTIL the 29th or 30th, at which point PWVC pushed me over the edge with a knit they had on sale I’d been closely following, they make great knits and have good sales, so it was an opportunity, quality at a significantly reduced price.

Otherwise, it was a chance to take stock. I have this notepad section on my phone, where I plan any purchases for the year and I pretty much stick to the letter on it, particularly as there’s some high price (relatively speaking) items on there, so it’s a small list these days. So this was a good time to refine and outline that for this year.

Particularly as you mentioned, some time for maintenance. I used to be great at looking after and maintaining my knits/sweaters however fell off in the last year or so. They look so much better when they get a wash or two a year, depiled and just cared for, in which case they do definitely get better with age. I think that’s the whole idea!


Dry January went well for me. But as soon as it ends I found myself buying a brown nubuck tote from the Permanentstyle online shop.

Therefore, I consider the Dry Jauary as a mild success.

Aaron L

The scale of my conviction that I would do and enjoy dry January was only exceeded by the scale of my failure. End of winter sales threw up a bunch of things I’d been waiting for (to prepare for antipodean winter), and many things I unjustifiably decided I needed (red drakes OCDB…). The extent of my failure and the state of my credit card have made it clear that I do need to make some adjustments though. Maybe an article on budgeting or self-control might help 😭


I bought two sweatshirts in the past twelve months, and nothing else. I have all I need really, so buying more feels unnecessary. But I get that this isn’t a site about clothing frugality!


I’m actually taking a whole year off buying clothes. I found I was making several long term investments but never actually waiting for the investment to return. I’m sure some will be out of stock when I come back. But so be it



Been an aficionado of Drake’s shirts for quite some time, eventually after 5/6 years the collars start to wear out. Any thoughts on prolonging longevity?



Thanks, yes, all those were on my mental checklist.


Hi Simon,
Did you ever publish the article about a readers Wax walker?
Best regards,


Great Thanks! I’m looking forward to it. The Wax walker is one of my favourite pieces.
Enjoy the weekend,