I’ve read a couple of blog posts lately on the benefits of de-cluttering wardrobes. Whilst I’m all for the cathartic satisfaction of ‘getting rid’ rather than hoarding (indeed, I think my husband is on first name terms with the staff at the council tip!), I’m not much in favour of de-cluttering where clothes are concerned. As for the advice of magazines which exhort us to dispose of anything we haven’t worn for a year – perish the thought! Each season I tend to wear clothes from a fairly narrow selection but next winter it’s highly likely that I’ll wear many of those items that remain unworn this year – quite possibly in a different way.
I recently discovered that a navy top I’ve had for years felt pretty good over a navy & white striped t-shirt dress and navy leggings. Many a dress has been shortened for use as a tunic with leggings, many a jacket adorned with new buttons. My style might be described as fairly classic with a nod to the bohemian (I love touches of unusual styling, jewel-coloured velvets, beading, applique etc.), so the fact that I’m not up to date with the latest fashions isn’t a bother to me but last winter, noticing that the shops seemed to be full of knitted jackets, I resurrected one that hadn’t seen the light of day for a few years, and received compliments on it. I have a pair of gold leather ballerina shoes dating from 1980s which are only worn once or twice a year, but when gold ballerinas are exactly what’s needed to finish off an outfit, my trusty vintage Roland Cartiers are ready and waiting. Similarly a black Chanel-style jacket, bought c1995 comes out for an airing at least once every winter.
This is not to say that I never get rid of anything; of course I do. When I left my full time career-job and became a student, I knew that I’d never again have need of the formal business suits, shirts and coats. Retaining just a few favourites that could be inventively used in a more casual way, I spent several hours photographing and listing quality items on ebay and in a couple of months had made a very useful £800 which paid for my textbooks, university parking pass and several items for my new ‘studenty’ wardrobe.
I’m not embarrassed to admit that, as well as selling, I also buy from ebay. Telling a friend who had admired the almost new Betty Jackson cardigan-coat, now apparently known as a coatigan, that I was wearing (selling for £89 in Debenhams just one season earlier) had cost me £18 on ebay, she quickly looked round to check whether anyone had heard and told me that I should keep stuff like that quiet. The embarrassment was all hers, and apparently had a lot to do with what people would think! Well, I wonder what they’d think about the brand new Alexon devoré evening coat I got for £10 or the gorgeous Viyella wine velvet jacket for even less? I reckon they’d think – lucky her! And if they don’t think that, so what…I love them! I don’t live in a big fancy house or drive a flashy car, so it’s not difficult to anyone to deduce that I don’t have loads of spare cash floating around, and we do like our holidays which leaves even less to spend on clothes – or at least, on the brands of clothing that I want to wear. I’m not averse to buying new clothes (like the beautiful asymmetric purple coat bought from Phase Eight last winter), but I’d choose second-hand Jaeger over brand new Primark any day. What’s more, I’d rather spend what money I do have on good shoes. My mother always said that you can get away with an inexpensive dress so long as your accessories are quality, and I think she was absolutely right. I could go back to work full time which would increase my spending power but I’m at the time in my life when the attraction of free time is of much greater importance than extra money to spend on clothes.
Penny at http://frugalfashionshopper.co.uk/ , a great blog that I recently started reading, is a keen charity shop buyer. I’ve not bought clothes from a charity shop but I may well give it a go after seeing some of her fabulous finds.
Talking of footwear, I’m very lucky to have a friend whose occasional habit of buying too small benefits me rather nicely!
Aren’t they gorgeous? It’s not the first time that this lovely friend has passed on footwear that is too tight for her. And I’m certainly not too proud to accept. Of course if I was as good a friend as she is I might tell her that if she wore them in the house with a pair of socks for an hour or two each day, the leather would likely soften up and ‘give’. Then again … … …
I’ve deviated from the intended purpose of my post – the reasons why I rarely de-clutter my wardrobe – but hey ho, as I’ve said before: my blog, my gallimaufry! (And in case you’ve forgotten, it means a confused jumble)!