I’ve a Wardrobe Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear
How often do I hear this refrain? Many people say it to themselves almost every day, go out and buy more clothes, yet the problem still continues. In the words of the late great Professor Julius Sumner Miller Why is it so?. And more importantly, How Can I Change It?
Take a good look in your wardrobe – you’ll find clothes that don’t fit, clothes that you’ve had for years – both well worn and hardly worn, clothes that you bought for a special occasion that you’ve never worn again, clothes that you bought on a trip or holiday somewhere, and those clothes that you wear every day.
Most people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time because all their other clothes just don’t work for them in some way or another. They don’t suit their personality or current lifestyle. They don’t fit – either too big (better keep them for the next fat day) or too small (cos they might just lose that weight and be able to fit into them). Clothes that have sentimental value, but are out of fashion. Clothes that are out of season. And clothes that no matter how often they put on, they don’t go with anything else they own, or for some inexplicable reason or other just don’t feel good on, but because they’re almost new, can’t be thrown away.
So you can see that you’ve probably got lots of clothes that just aren’t working for you, but because of a gamut of reasons you feel unable to part with, so they’re taking up lots of space that could be put to use with new, better clothes that make you feel and look great every day.
So how do you go about making your wardrobe work better for you?
Here is how to do your own wardrobe audit (you may need to get a good and trusted friend, or friendly image consultant to help if you’re a bit scared). Arm yourself with some large plastic garbage bags.
- Pull ALL your clothes out of the wardrobe (yep, all of them, you want to have your wardrobe completely emptied). Put it all on the bed.
- Look inside your wardrobe – get out the vacuum if there’s lots of dust and give it a clean before you start putting clothes back inside.
- Look at each garment individually – imagine this is an op shop. Would you buy it? If it screams a decade at you (that isn’t the current one), it’s had its day and is time to go.
- Look for signs of wear in the fabric – neck, cuffs, collars, stains, hanging threads, buttons missing etc – can it be fixed and be a great garment? Put it on a file for mending, otherwise, put it in a bin bag – and decide whether it’s even good enough to go to an op-shop, or whether it should go straight to your bin.
- Consider when you bought each garment – if it’s more than 5 years old it’s out of fashion (except some well made classic suiting), and looks it, and is making you look old and dated before your time. Look at the details – often collars, pockets and buttons date a garment. Get rid of it.
- Not sure about whether it still fits – try it on and see – make sure sleeves are long enough, that hems are the right length (not sure, see an image consultant and find out what looks best on you). If it’s too big are you keeping it because you might put on weight? If you feel you must, put it in another wardrobe, away from your everyday clothes, and if in a year you still haven’t needed to wear the item get rid of it (it’s old fashioned and out of date now). Is it too small and you’re hoping to loose weight. Unless it’s a really classic garment that you love to bits, get rid of it. By the time you lose the weight to get into it, it will be out of fashion, and plus, when you have lost the weight you’ll be so proud of yourself you’ll want to go out and buy yourself something new to wear, not wear stuff that’s been in your wardrobe for ages.
- It pretty much fits, but the waist is too big, or hips are baggy, sleeves too long, if everything else about the garment is great – get it altered – you’ll look better and wear it. Put it on your alterations pile.
- You bought it on holiday in Paris (or is your wedding dress) and just can’t bear to throw it out? Put it away in a box somewhere, don’t let it take up valuable wardrobe space. It’s a souvenir now.
- Does it go with other clothes you own? Look at the colours, styles, shapes and decide on a few different outfits for wearing the garment. If you can’t wear it with other clothes you already own consider why – if it’s not a great colour then get rid of it. It’s cheaper to do this than going out and buying 3-4 more items of clothing to have something to wear it with.
- Now that you’ve gone through all your clothes, hang them back up (on decent hangers please – no wire dry cleaners hangers – they ruin your clothes), put them in order of the type of clothes, all shirts together, all trousers, jackets, etc. as this will make finding clothes so much easier when you’re going to get dressed.
- Take your bags of clothes (and shoes) and put them in the charity bin so you’re not tempted to dig out an item that is way past its used by date.
- Make a list of clothing that you need to buy – do you have a black jumper that you wear and wear, but now looks worn and daggy, but don’t want to throw out because it’s a wardrobe staple? Then put it on a shopping list and go out and get a new great black jumper.
A wardrobe audit can seem like a daunting task, but it will make you feel cleansed and free of clutter and allow you to really see what you have in your wardrobe, and what you really need.
© Imogen Lamport 2010
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