I often go back and forth on the topic of whether to keep our clothes or do a major closet clear out every six months only keeping the items "that bring us joy" as Marie kondo would say.
I always remember, in my teens, my best friend arriving to meet me in a floor length suede coat with fur cuffs her mum had kept in the wardrobe from the sixties. It was so incredibly cool and authentic. I was so in awe.
My sister just recently said to me, while we browsed fabulous dresses in a vintage shop in Co. Cork, " I should have kept my dresses, I had so many of these and they have come back into fashion." The thing is, I remember those dresses! I loved them then and wow would I love to raid her then wardrobe now!
This is why I wince when I hear segments on the radio about how to clear out your wardrobe. Just last week, a guest on a radio show suggested pointing all the hangers in your wardrobe inwards. After six months whatever hangers were still pointing inwards, (in other words, not worn) get rid of them.
Such a general theory just can't apply in my opinion. I have items in my wardrobe I have not worn in six months but I know I will take them out and wear them again.
So many life events can stand in the way of us reaching for certain clothes in our wardrobe.
Having a baby would be an example. It was a year before I went back to my office job after having a baby. I had no intention of throwing out all my business attire and repurchasing it when I rejoined the workforce.
The point I am trying to make is that, in life our circumstances change , we can be in different transitional periods. It is often during that transition that we might do a drastic clear out of our wardrobe without taking time to ask ourselves some simple questions. Will I be need this for an unforeseen event? Will my circumstances change? Will it be a classic of the future? Will by child/niece/nephew wear it?
We all get overwhelmed with our wardrobe. I am sure there are moments we pull our hair out looking at all the clutter and still have nothing to wear!
What I like to do in order to overcome these mini crises is to divide my wardrobe into summer and winter with transitional pieces.
At the end of the season, I will reevaluate the clothing before putting them away.
If there is a question mark over whether I want to keep it, I will think about whether it is a piece worth keeping for my daughter. If it's something that is a classic timeless piece that will transcend into future fashion. I will in that case store it for my daughter.
I might have some items I just didn't reach for but maybe won't stand the test of time, I will see if any family member wants them, failing that I send them to the charity shop.
I really try to keep my clothing very simple and timeless in order to get maximum value and enjoyment out of them.
I have in the past been known to run out and buy a new item for an event or a party, wear it once, keep in my wardrobe for months, then get rid of it.
What I realised is, I felt terribly guilty for giving into such consumption. Buying mindlessly and stuffing my wardrobe with clothes I hardly wore, or discovering the quality was so bad that as soon as I washed it, it fell apart. I would buy a polyester top from Penny's and it would stick like glue to me with all the static electricity it generated!
All of these things made me reevaluate my wardrobe.
The environment, the impact fast fashion is having. The guilt of over consumption and consumerism.
The thought of all the beautiful clothes ( like my sister’s dresses ) that went to waste in a moment of closet clear out mayhem.
The memory and joy my friend has in having the clothes her mum kept in her wardrobe.
I don't want to mindlessly attack my wardrobe anymore, disposing of clothes that were never worn.
I want to buy less, wear more.
I want to have my eyes open and think hard before I make a purchase. Is it timeless? Will the fabric stand the test of time?
I take better care of my clothes, I use only a cold wash now and air dry my clothes.
I will say, my guilt has, by proxy made me more sustainable which is a huge bonus for me.
I find that I am able to achieve my wardrobe happiness by borrowing clothes, buying second hand and getting clothes from my Mum and Sisters that they don't want or won't wear.
I really hope this gives you some inspiration to take some time to reconsider your wardrobe and your current situation before getting rid of all the clothes you didn't wear for six months.
You might throw away a dress today only to receive and invitation in the post tomorrow.