We all suffer from Wardrobe Guilt from time to time… You know those items in your wardrobe that you really should let go but somehow you can’t?
But wardrobe guilt serves no purpose other than to make us miserable. Even if we pretend to ignore it, when we open our wardrobe it’s there hanging right in front of us!
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about the chances are you don’t suffer from wardrobe guilt – which is brilliant. You’re in a minority but be proud of that! Wardrobe guilt is when you look at certain items in your wardrobe and you know that you should let them go but you can’t. Something is holding you back.
Chances are you know what the issue is but if you’re struggling to identify it, then here are the reasons why. Once you understand it’s a whole lot easier to put it in perspective (maybe even laugh about it) and then let go.
Here are seven reasons you may be suffering from wardrobe guilt:
Hardly Worn It
The items of clothing that you bought on a whim but every time you go to wear it, you look in the mirror and something’s not right. You feel guilty about letting it go because it’s hardly been worn.
It’s understandable why you are feeling guilty. But the chances are that ‘the not right’ means it’s either not in your colours or it’s the wrong style for you.
Be honest what are the chances that you will ever wear it? The money’s been spent. If it was expensive/a designer label you may be able to resell it but otherwise just accept that it was an error of judgment. We all make them – to err is human (Alexander Pope).
Your Weight Has gone up Since You Bought It
This one is a challenge. When I put weight on as I recovered from an eating disorder I had items that unless I hit rock bottom again would never fit me. I don’t mind admitting that I hung on to them for far too long – hiding them in the back of my wardrobe. It was in a sense a grieving process. That may sound mad but I’m sure anyone who’s struggled with an eating disorder can relate.
So what did I do? I had to change my mindset. It was tough but as I came to terms with the fact that my body was healthier and that women were not supposed to have a concave belly and no boobs, I could (over time) let go.
If you are struggling with this kind of wardrobe guilt but are keeping clothes because ‘you only need to lose a few pounds’ be honest. Both in terms of if you do lose the weight will you wear them again. Or are you being realistic about the weight you will lose. I’m not being defeatist here but encouraging you to be realistic.
It Was More Than You’d Normally Pay
You are suffering from Wardrobe Guilt because you spent a lot on an item and you don’t feel you’ve got value for money. Particularly because you’ve hardly ever worn it or worse still it’s sitting in your wardrobe with the price tags in tact.
Stylists like to talk about the return on investment of your clothes in terms of cost per wear. The idea being that the more times you wear an item the lower the cost per wear. So that means a better return on your investment. If you’re not going to wear the item or only wear it once the cost per wear will be the cost of the item. Seriously what’s the point? The only thing you’re going to get from that is the constant reminder when you look in your wardrobe! As I said above forget the money – it’s already been spent. Just keeping it in your wardrobe is pointless.
You’re Saving It For Best
I often talk about the irony of saving something for best. For my generation, bought up by parents who had been through the Second World War, thriftiness was second nature. Not only that but you made an effort to dress up to go out and made an occasion of something.
Clothes were also more expensive relative to household income. Fast fashion was a concept that hadn’t hit the High Street. So it made sense that we saved clothes for best.
But while I do not condone cheap poor quality clothes I also struggle with holding on to things for best. Admittedly there are probably items in your wardrobe only suitable for certain occasions. But don’t just save something for best if you love it and it makes you feel good when you wear it.
It Was A Gift From Your Partner/Parent/Best Friend
Tricksywoo – particularly if it was from someone you live with or see on a regular basis. You’re anticipating that they will notice you no longer have it and be upset.
But be realistic if you’re not wearing it – which you won’t be otherwise you wouldn’t be feeling wardrobe guilt about it! Do they even know you have still got it?
Would it be possible to discreetly donate it to charity or recycle it? If you’re worried you might hurt their feelings then why not take a deep breath and have the conversation. Explain that while you really appreciate the sentiment behind the gift it’s not really your style/colour. That it would be much more responsible to donate it to charity or to sell it on to someone who could benefit.
Strong sentimental attachment
Perhaps it reminds you of a special occasion or a person? A time when you were really happy or maybe someone who is no longer in your life. You feel a sense of wardrobe guilt because getting rid of the item is cutting the tie to that event or person.
But if you’re not wearing the item what is the point of keeping it? Perhaps one way to retain the memory would be to take a photo of it and then to let it go?
If it’s an item with buttons or a form of decoration perhaps you could remove these. Put them on something in your wardrobe that you now treasure. Or retain as a keepsake – it will take up less room than unworn garments in your wardrobe!
It’s An Item You’re Supposed To Have
I’m not talking about an item of formal wear in dark colours. It’s not unusual to have a dress or suit that you keep for attending funerals.
But the Little Black Dress you feel you should have or the ball gown you’re hanging on to because you might need it. Be realistic here.
Are you likely to wear a ball gown again – great if you are – but many women feel they need to buy something new. It might be much better to let go of the ‘supposed to have’ outfit and rent a dress or suitable outfit for the next event. This is a much more sustainable approach.
So do you identify with any of the reasons why we suffer from wardrobe guilt? If you don’t then congratulations!
SUFFERING FROM WARDROBE GUILT?
If you do then maybe it’s time to have a declutter and change of perspective on your wardrobe.
My program Minimal Wardrobe Maximum Style will teach you how to avoid Wardrobe Guilt and how to enjoy the freedom of a much more streamlined wardrobe. Check out the link to find out more!
Carol Hanson is a Conscious Wardrobe Stylist who has empowered hundreds of women to look and feel fabulous whenever they get dressed.
Carol lived with an eating disorder for over 20 years and uses her experience to help anyone struggling with body confidence issues.
Determined to bust the myth we will be happier by continually adding to our wardrobes. Carol passionately advocates a Minimal Wardrobe Maximum Style approach avoiding overwhelm associated with having too many clothes. Carol’s determined to change our approach to shopping: both for our own sanity and to reduce the negative impact of fashion on the planet.