Last month we introduced you to the dynamic Melanie Wall of Styled by Mel , who shared her valuable tips on how to reduce morning stress by planning our weekly wardrobes. We've teamed up with Mel again this month, but this time she's looking into why we hang onto items in our wardrobe, even though they haven't seen the light of day in months and sometimes even years and how this can affect us.
"If you want to immediately improve your life, detox your wardrobe.
It's often what we are holding onto that holds us back”
I know, I know – you’ve had it up to here with detoxing and all the ‘new you’ motivational messages on your social media feeds but I won’t keep you long. Give me just 5 minutes and you can get back to cancelling that gym membership you signed up to on the 1st January!
Before you get onto the physical process of decluttering your wardrobe (that's actually the easy bit), you need to get your head around why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve.
Why your wardrobe might be holding you back
- Too many clothes and still nothing to wear
- Your style / lifestyle has changed and your wardrobe doesn’t reflect that
- Your weight’s changed and many of your clothes don’t fit properly
What you might achieve from a wardrobe detox/declutter/weed/edit
- A wardrobe full of clothes that you like AND that fit you
- To feel less stressed every time you open your wardrobe door
- Be able to identify items that are missing from your wardrobe so you know what you NEED to buy
Still with me? Brilliant!
So, if Keith Lemon, á la ‘Through the Keyhole’, had a rummage through your wardrobe, would he deduce that it was a wardrobe shared by two, or even three, women of different sizes?
For most women, the answer would be yes. And I’m not talking about the size printed on the labels as we all know how dramatically they vary from shop to shop. I mean the actual size of them – clothes for ‘skinny’ days and clothes for ‘fat’ days – though sometimes those days stretch to weeks, months and years. And therein lies the problem.
Studies have shown that 85% of women have clothes in their wardrobe that don’t fit. And interestingly, it’s the smallest clothes we keep in the hope that we’ll fit into them again one day.
We believe that these ‘skinny’ clothes motivate us to slim down and get back to what we once were, physically and emotionally. However, I’m here to challenge that thinking and suggest that these clothes are not motivational at all, sister (insert sassy finger wag!). Think of those ‘skinny’ clothes as the bullies from school - forever in your face telling you that you’re too fat and can’t join their gang because you don’t fit in, like, literally!
Now, before you all roll up your sleeves and fill that black bin liner with clothes that are too small for you – STOP. If you’re one of those enviable people whose weight doesn’t fluctuate but sometimes, due to a bit of water or cake retention, find your jeans getting just a teeny bit tight, then you can advance to GO, collect £200 and wipe that smug smile off your face! No one likes a smart arse – especially a size 8 one! (I’m being playful, stay right where you are).
For those whose weight and or body-shape has changed significantly, whether it be down to lifestyle or medical reasons, I want to encourage you to embrace the here and now. Yes, you may actively be slimming and yes, may very well achieve your target weight and be able to fit into your smaller clothes once again, but do you really need the pressure/potential torment of seeing those clothes every time you open your wardrobe door? You may as well hang chocolate and pictures of Tom Hardy from your hangers if you’re of the mind-set of seeing things you can’t have every morning!
In addition to the psychological side of things, there are also practical reasons to part with the ‘skinny’ clothes. Once you’ve slimmed down there’s a high chance that these old clothes…
- Won’t reflect the ‘new’ you
- Won’t fit you in the same way as they did before
- Will no longer be stylish/fashionable
- Will not be as exciting to wear as you thought they would be
And I am pretty sure that any woman who has just bust a gut to slim down would be more than excited about hitting the shops and rewarding herself with some new clobber! Equally, if you have put on unwanted weight, the last thing you want to do is wear the clothes you were wearing the last time the scales made you cry – so, the same rules apply, get rid, stop living in the past and embrace the here and now.
I should probably mention that I’m that annoying bird from a few paragraphs ago. My weight doesn’t fluctuate dramatically, but I am, without a doubt, slowly ‘thickening’ (it’s an age thing). My super favourite and super expensive jeans from 3 years ago no longer fit me. They probably could if I cut down the calories, but I’m not going to. I don’t overeat, I live healthily and my body is naturally changing so I will not become a grumpy, potentially malnourished (or even worse, sober!) bore for the sake of fitting into a piece of clothing.
Though, are all the clothes that no longer fit us, or that we haven’t worn for a long time, toxic? Not necessarily.
Some ladies are saving items that they hope their daughters and nieces will like, which is a lovely thing to do, but approach this seemingly generous gesture with caution. The last thing your grown up little ladies want are bags and bags full of clothes that they wouldn’t be seen dead in and that haven’t aged well! Be selective – best to save them only the high quality, designer and vintage pieces as these are more likely to be futureproof and gratefully received.
But back to you and those jeans that are too small, and the shoes that are too high and the skirt that is too big and the top that’s the wrong colour – get rid and replace with clothes that reflect who you are today.
Do you have stuff in your wardrobe you haven't worn in ages? We'd love to know do leave us a comment telling us what you have and why do you still have it?