Should You Keep It or Bin It?


Young woman is sorting out her laundry at home

In the discussion that goes on on the Evolve Your Style Facebook page, frequently there is talk of whether or not a garment should be kept or let go (to a new home of some sort).  When you’re doing your own wardrobe audit you need to be able to make good decisions.

One of the great things about the Evolve program is that it gives you a chance to really assess all your clothes and whether or not you like them, they are comfortable, they are you (still you now, rather than the person you were when you bought them or the person you think you might want to be, or your friend or neighbour who happens to have one like it and they look great in it), they represent who you want to be today and meet your style needs (from the functional to the aesthetic). So when someone wears something that they either haven’t worn in a long time, or never or rarely wear, it’s great to prod them to discover how they really feel in those clothes.

The number of times when I keep asking questions about how the wearer feels about the garment, when they reply, I can tell immediately by the language they use in relation to the garment, and it’s often not until this is pointed out to them, their negative language, that they realise that they really need to let the item leave their life.

Too often people hang onto clothes thinking that if they just had:

  • the right piece to go with it
  • the right place to wear it
  • the day they might feel like wearing it

then the garment will be great.

In my experience, if it fits, but you use negative language around it, then there is something wrong. You are not wearing it for a reason, if you can figure that out it will save you money in the future as you are more aware and analytical about what you buy. If you use words like:

  • fussy
  • complicated
  • too ….. (fill in the blank)
  • uncomfortable
  • boring
  • bland
  • …….. any word that you don’t associate yourself with that you see as negative in some way

If any term pops into your head when you are putting it on and then taking it off again (we all know we’ve had that experience) or when you bypass it time after time as you flick through your wardrobe, then take a moment to consider should it really be in there or is it time to let it go?

What are the negative words that you’ve used about some of your garments that you don’t wear that you now realise are the ones you’re going to let go of?

Evolve Your Style - The 31 Day Style Challenge

Further Reading on Creating that Fabulous Wardrobe For You

6 Brilliant Strategies to Creating the Perfect Wardrobe Part 1

6 Brilliant Strategies to Creating the Perfect Wardrobe Part 2

6 Brilliant Strategies for Creating Your Perfect Wardrobe Part 3

6 Brilliant Strategies for Creating Your Perfect Wardrobe – Part 4

6 Brilliant Strategies for Creating Your Perfect Wardrobe – Finale


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • As Tim Gunn would say, “It concerns me.” Sometimes I look at a garment and it worries me. Does that look too young for me? Is it too short? Do i look too pale or frumpy or fat? Something just seems off, and I put it back in the closet for another day. Which never comes.

  • I never toss something because it is too boring or bland. I can mix it with more memorable things.

    I do toss things because it is too cheap-looking. Just b/c it still fits and is serviceable, and I am an environmentalist, doesn’t mean I have to wear it. I have enough clothes so I can let those items go to the thrift store. (BTW, when I was a chemistry student, I got acid holes in so many of my clothes, I wore only thrift shop clothes on lab days.)

    I do a fair amount of refashioning of old clothes into new so that assuages the enriro-guilt.

  • Interesting exercise to think of the negative connotations.

    – Stuck-up, stuffy
    – Anything whiff of “mommy put a pretty bow on me”; you know the prettied up child weighed by the beauty bestowed on them
    – Age-inappropriate
    – Never used because I have something similar but better, and even that gets out only occasionally
    – Doesn’t fit
    – Unflattering
    – Risk of feeling too warm indoors (I’d much much rather do layers that I can shed as needed)

  • I do think the “3 piles” (ow!) concept is important – the definitely keeping, not sure, and that can go piles, because the one in the middle can be kind of uncomfortable (really?) to have because you’re unclear about it, but it can also save you those terrible moods of wardrobe regret where you stare into the closet and think, if only I had that green top that I wore once a month…today is the day, and yet, some teenager now owns it after picking it up at the Salvo Army for a dollar. I find I have moods where things go in and out of favour and sometimes restraint in sorting the clothes for binning is necessary.

  • “You’re too old to wear this” is a constant negative term for me right now.

    After I had my first daughter I found myself hating a lot of my clothes. I was still wearing quite a few things from college/high school. I donated pretty much my entire wardrobe and replaced it with one I feel reflects my current status and age (31)

    Out of habit I’ll still wander into old favorite stores. I wander right back out because I get the “you’re too old to be here anymore” vibe.

    • I would love to know what country you’re in. I still drop into shops that I went to until about 30, I’m 38 now and the, hello? What are you doing here old lady? vibe in those stores can be really in your face! It made me quite angry for a couple of years actually. It seemed very exaggerated and OTT where I am (NZ).

      • I live in the United States. You do get looks sometimes from the staff.

        But a lot of it for me is the styles that are out. I walked into a store called Vanity and all over the walls were mini skirts and cropped shirts. I was like “There is no way I am wearing any of this. .. dang when did I get old?!”

        I’m still the same size I was back in high school but the idea of wearing clothes from the junior’s department is no longer appealing and makes me uncomfortable.

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