Over Easter, I had a spare afternoon to do one of the things that I loathe the most: going through my wardrobe to sift the wheat from the chaff. In the past, I have found this task not only daunting, but a laborious and worthless use of my time. Mostly because I am useless at it and rarely get rid of more than a holey pair of sports socks. However, this time, after reading this booklet from the Vestiaire Collective, I felt more determined and better equipped to clear my closet of clothing that I no longer use of wear. Plus the booklet promised that a clear out has much further reaching ramifications on all aspects of my life and its efficiency. With a prospect like that on the cards, I approached the black hole in my bedroom with more enthusiasm and gusto than usual.
Importantly, I was provided with this flow chart to aid with my decision on every single item of clothing. It showed me quite quickly where I had gone wrong previously. So often, in clear outs gone by, I have kept items simply because they were expensive or as they were barely worn and in good nick still. However, the booklet told me that these items wasted money at the time of purchase. Keeping them any longer in my wardrobe was not going to make an error of judgement in the past any better now. In fact, keeping them was simply wasting my time by cluttering up my closet space. The chart goes on to ask some pretty basic, practical questions that allowed me to see which items in my closet fell under this category. By asking whether I fell confident in it, or the feel of the material or, crucially, whether it fitted my personal style, it allowed me to see that quality items I bought when I was 20 something London living corporate bod, may not be worth keeping now that I am a work from home blogger and art seller.
Another one of my common pitfalls, is to keep clothes in my wardrobe that have happy memories attached to them. Vestiaire actually don't advocate getting rid of such items, simply storing them elsewhere other than your day to day wardrobe. This was such a great notion to me! I keep a number of clothes for such a reason - the dress I met my husband in, the top I wore to death whilst on a girly holiday, the kaftan I wore on my first foray to Glatonbury. Whilst it does say the clothes aren't the memories (so yes I could get rid of the lime green lycra dress I wore as fancy dress the day I met the boy), at least it gives someone as sentimental as me a bit of leeway. Plus moving them elsewhere, will help me to see the clothes I do actually wear every morning at outfit decision time.
I also now have a pile of clothes that I need to take the tailor. Amongst others, I have a pair of For All Mankind jeans that I wore to death at uni, but no longer wear as the fit of them no longer suit my style. I have kept them due to both their expense and sentimental value. I plan to have the leg straightened to make them more relevant to the tweenies, not the noughties. I also have a dress that needs to be taken in as apparently I was carrying a bit more weight up top and in my trunk in days gone by. And I have a wool cape wrap that is literally dog eared at the moment that I'd love for a more seasoned seamstress than me to cast an eye over. They are all items that, if I spend a little bit more money on now, they will be worn even more in the future than totally new clothes would.
Creating a few other piles also helped me to streamline my wardrobe successfully. I have taken out all office attire that is still as good as new and stored them in the spare room for any upcoming meetings. I have removed all clothing that once suited a life gone by that I simply don't live any more (who needs a pink asymmetric flute sleeved chiffon top anyway?!). I have easy access to clothes that I am not quite ready to say goodbye to, but if I haven't worn them or thought about them in the next three months, they are going on ebay in a bundle. I have clothes that make me smile (a Finding Nemo costume that I had to wear on my hen do fir example). However, all that being said, whilst my success rate using this flow chart has improved exponentially, I have, rather predictably, gone off piste with a small handful of items that I just think look pretty, knowing that they will serve no purpose in my life other than to sit there doing that. (a pair of leopard print shoe boots that I bought thinking I would look like Olivia Palermo springs to mind.)
Other than that, my wardrobe is now a much more pleasurable place to get ready in the morning. I no longer have to fight to find the one particular crew neck woollen jumper that I wear more often than the other more directional pieces I once bought to try to liven up what is my daily uniform (said crew neck jumper and some form of skinny trouser with flats). It also, rather wonderfully, has made it clearer to me to see where the gaps are in my closet. I cannot wait for another spare moment to go out to the high street and try to fill them.
And so it goes on.
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