A friend of mine recently made a commitment not to buy any new clothes for a year. Another is following Project 333 where you choose just 33 items from your wardrobe to wear for the next 3 months. Whilst I haven’t joined them (yet!), there is much to be said for this approach to shopping and managing your wardrobe.
Both friends report how liberated they feel. A wardrobe full of clothes that don’t fit, you paid too much for or you just don’t wear, weighs heavily whenever you look for something to wear. The typical woman wears 20% of her wardrobe 80% of the time, which means there are a lot of clothes from which she is getting little or no value.
When we can buy clothes so cheaply, it’s easy to focus on quantity rather than quality. A better indicator is cost per wear, so a garment costing £100 that you wear regularly for 2-3 years is actually much better value than a £10 top that you wear once or twice. Targeting key items in the sales, avoiding shopping on impulse and returning items that don’t feel right when you get them home, are all tactics to get better value from your clothes. A colour or style consultation ensures you avoid future mistakes.
A good wardrobe declutter can help you see what’s left, what combinations clothes can be worn in and identify any gaps that would make your wardrobe work harder for you. When clothes aren’t crammed into valuable storage space, it makes it so much easier to select what to wear each day. Engaging the services of a “professional” is a great investment, especially if you’ve lost confidence in knowing what styles or colours suit you best. An objective eye helps you to recognise what clothes are no longer serving you. And I can often see a different way of wearing a garment, through accessorising or making alterations, that suddenly brings it back to life.
Good quality unwanted items can be sold on eBay or via ‘preloved’ dress agencies. You can get together with friends for a ‘shwopping’ party where everyone brings a few unwanted garments and sells them for a small fee, often for charity. Charity shops are an obvious outlet for clothes in good condition.
A stylist I know has recently started a charity shop tour for a small group of women in her local neighbourhood. She uses her expert eye to pick out clothes and accessories and encourages clients to try new styles or colours without risking the investment in a new garment. Charity shopping can produce some real gems at bargain prices and it’s surprising how many still have their original price tags! Charity shops have really upped their game and their merchandising is often better than traditional retailers.
So, with careful management of what goes in and can go out of your wardrobe, there are ways of ensuring you get value without having to go ‘cold turkey’!