So often I will hear from a client that they have a wardrobe full of clothes but still nothing to wear. Why is this?
The reasons are plenty
- You haven’t thrown out any items for years, so even though that safari tube skirt from 1986 or those leather pants from 1989 are in their wardrobe, taking up precious space, they haven’t been out of your closet in decades. And let’s not forget all those formal dresses back from when you were a teenager, everything you’ve ever worn to a wedding in the past 2 decades – they were expensive so best hold onto them in case you can wear then again, or you never know, they may come back into fashion.
- The clothes don’t fit – whether you’ve put on or lost weight, or bought something in a smaller size thinking that it won’t be much of an effort to lose that 2kg til you can fit into it, but you still haven’t, these clothes are taunting you and reminding you about any weight issues you may have.
- Someone gave them to you as a present (or in the case of one of my clients, his mother got him a load of clothes from a dead guy, including some corporate logo’d shirts, for a company he’d never worked for), and you don’t feel you can give the clothes away – you never know, they might check to see if they’re still in your wardrobe next time they visit
- You went out shopping and even though you didn’t love anything, you felt the need to bring home something to prove that your efforts weren’t wasted (no, instead you chose to throw away money on the wrong item). But you’ve spent money on it, so can’t get rid of it.
- You’ve kept all your favourite clothes, you love them – how could you get rid of them, Ok they’re looking a tad tatty and tired, dated and old, and you haven’t really worn some of them for years, but you still love them, and you can’t throw out something that you love.
- Your shopping habit is such that you’re constantly buying new clothes, without thought about what you have, and what you need in your wardrobe. You have every colour under the sun in your wardrobe. Your clothes don’t match, you can’t create outfits, you’re constantly trying on different personality styles so it’s all a bit too eclectic to really work.
- You have lots of clothes, but they’re all the same, 20 pairs of black trousers, 2 dozen pairs of jeans, 8 green tops, 18 pairs of sneakers, 7 identical white shirts. Whatever your weakness, whatever you think will ‘always come in handy’ you keep buying the same garment over and over, but forget about creating outfits.
So what to do? Let’s look at each reason and the solutions.
- Out of date – this is an easy one – just let it go. If it was expensive or possibly now vintage, but you no longer wear it – why not ebay it if you want a return on your investment. Otherwise donate it.
- Keeping clothes that don’t fit is bad for your psyche. If the clothes are too small and you are in the process of losing weight, then put them into another wardrobe, or pack them away somewhere so that they’re not taunting you daily about your weight. If in another 6 months or year you still can’t fit into them, get rid of them. If they’re too large and you’re keeping them in case you put weight on, get rid of them or have them altered to fit you. If they just don’t fit quite right, see if they can be altered to fit, if not, and sometimes they’re just not cut right for your body shape, then move them on – ebay, give away, donate.
- Presents – keep the love, ditch the clothes. Has anyone ever checked that you have the clothes they gave you? If they have ,or you feel guilty, keep this little white lie up your sleeve “I was wearing the great item you gave me and it got stained, or I snagged it on a nail and it tore, and it couldn’t be fixed.” You are not disrespecting the person by getting rid of the extra stuff that is cluttering up your life.
- Emotional shopping – don’t do it – think about how long it takes you to earn the money that you’ve wasted on clothes that do nothing for you, that don’t make you happy. Do you so love doing that work that you’re happy to have wasted that money? Could you put that money to better use? Think twice, or three times before you buy, to make sure it really is a great purchase. Ebay that stuff and get a return on your investment.
- Favourites – you’re letting your emotions hold you back. Are you going to build extra rooms onto your house to house all your favourite items? That’d be pretty expensive wouldn’t it? Do you have photos of yourself wearing those favourite outfits? Do you have memories of wearing them? Yes they may have made you feel and look great at the time, but if they’re passed their use-by date, let them go, they’ve just become clutter -and does clutter really make you happy?
- Ok, you could really use the services of an image consultant to help you refine your personality style (or alternatively do my 7 Steps to Style program which will help you discover just what does and doesn’t work for you), pin down the colours that make you look really fabulous, and to understand the shapes and styles of clothes that work best on you. Take a calculator and go through your wardrobe, add up what you think you paid for each item, then prepare to be shocked at what you’ve spent. You may think that an image consultant is expensive, but a good one will save you money for years and years and years because you’ll stop wasting money on stuff that doesn’t work.
- Make sure you hang all like items together, then you’ll realise just how many of the same thing you have. You may not have realised just how many pairs of jeans, or black pants or whatever is your weakness you have, until they’re grouped together, staring at you. It’s time for you to pull out your clothes and start trying on and creating outfits, why not photograph them so you can remember, and also figure out what you may be missing so that you can put that on your shopping list. If you do have lots of white shirts, why not buy a few different colours of dye and turn them into a rainbow of colours.
When you can see what you have, then you can really work out what works, what doesn’t and what you need to fill those wardrobe gaps.