What Are You Holding Onto in Your Wardrobe and Why?


what are you holding onto in your wardrobe and why?

Some of my clients are serious ‘cullers’ they empty their wardrobe each season of clothes they no longer wear. They keep nothing in their house that they don’t love and cherish and use regularly.  They have mastered the art of ‘Kondoing‘ their surroundings.

But then there are the clients who are sentimentally attached for some reason to garments.  They may no longer wear them, but they keep holding on.  They know that this item no longer works, is out of fashion or doesn’t fit them, but have difficultly in letting go.  There are a few reasons why:

  1. the garment may have been expensive when purchased and they feel they are throwing money away if they get rid of it
  2. the garment has specific sentimental value from an important occasion (or it may have belonged to someone dear who is now departed)
  3. the garment is from a past aspect of their lives and it reminds them of something that is currently missing and they want to keep that feeling, that possibility close to them

Are you holding onto garments or outfits from your past because you want those aspects of your life back?

If you are, what do they represent to you?  It’s important to figure out if you are missing something from your life now.  It could be:

  1. a feeling
  2. an activity
  3. part of your personality

If you spend a little time thinking about what it is that is missing what have you discovered?  What are the emotions that come to the surface when you look at these old garments or outfits?  If it’s an activity you used to do and enjoy can you bring that activity back into your life?

Ideally you want to let the old garment go (space is expensive and clutter is not good for your health).  If the garment is from a specific sentimental experience – can you pack it up and store it somewhere safe?  Remember that your wardrobe should be treated like a kitchen.

Once you’ve figured out why you don’t let these garments or outfits go how can you add those elements of that life into your wardrobe now so that you can let go of the old garments but find that aspect of your personality or lifestyle again in your life?

I’ve had clients who have completely repressed their creativity as they have gotten bogged down in “adult responsibility” and sometimes finding a new creative pursuit, or adding in creative elements to their outfits has made them feel so much happier in the now, rather than wishing for the past.

Some have felt they had to repress their femininity as they entered a male dominant work environment or became mothers and ended up in the ‘sweatsuit’ uniform for practicalities sake when their kids were tiny babies, but never got out of it again as they grew up.  Adding in feminine elements to their clothing has made them feel more whole and stylish.  Learning how to add femininity to a more masculine set of attire has made them feel like they are themselves again, rather than playing a part.

What is holding you back?  Why are you holding onto those garments?  How can you bring back that feeling into your life?

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  • I have been finding it hard to find things to wear lately so just did a big cull to reassess. There were a few things that I really like and were in good condition, but they seem to have shrunk! I agree totally that an honest look at your wardrobe and why you are keeping things is really useful. For me I found myself acknowledging that I really do like these clothes and want to wear them again. I have put everything except one pair of aubergine jeans away. The jeans have become a kind of symbol. They remind me of how good I felt when I wore them, are a no fail method to track my progress and a daily reminder to smarten up and look after myself better. If they don’t fit in the time frame I have allowed I will review, but for some reason I think they will work for me.

  • Imogen, this was greatly thought provoking.
    I hold on to garments for all of these reasons and then some more.
    However I do make an effort to always be on the lookout for things I can get rid of. I do it slowly but securely.

  • I wonder … about the opposite extreme. Throwing out & culling so many clothes and confusion of your now thickening, ageing body and not knowing how to still look presentable… Ends in nothing to wear. Literally nothing.

    • There is no point in throwing out everything and being naked. This is to point out the pieces that aren’t working anymore and to also (maybe) have you think more about what you buy and to buy more wisely.

  • Naturally, but that requires knowledge, insight, money and time.
    If you don’t have either …. I guess you just stand there naked. No one tosses everything and stands around naked on purpose
    Sheer frustration and attempting this “wisely” shopping may just not be everyone’s skill. That’s where stylists come in, but you can only glean so much. Sometimes you just need someone who knows what they’re doing. When you’re young anything goes, after 45 it’s a juggling act.

  • Oh and to be relevant to the post (thought I was) I tossed out lots of black. No matter how good the piece it just gets heavy from waist up when your skin tone softens

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