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Rebuilding a Wardrobe


o, now that we have (most of) the house organised, it’s time to move onto my wardrobe – which is a much trickier prospect. 

The problem here, you see, is that I have plenty of clothes that “spark joy” – if we’re going by the Marie Kondo method of organising and clearing out. I just don’t have any reason whatsoever to actually WEAR them. Which is a problem, really. 

flatlay with jeans, sweater and sneakersLike, I have this absolutely beautiful white dress, for instance. Gorgeous. And, I mean, OK, it’s just from ASOS, so it’s not like it’s some super-special vintage piece that you’d want to pass down through the generations or anything. But, to me, it’s perfect. Beautiful cut, lovely fabric, great fit: the kind of dress that, as soon as I laid eyes on it, I thought, “Dress, you will be mine!” And it was so. 

But that was… ooh, maybe four years ago now? Five? And I have NEVER worn that dress. Not ever. Because, the fact is, it might be beautiful, but it’s totally and utterly impractical: not just for the life I have now, as the mother of a toddler, but even for the life I had four years ago, when I first bought it. I mean, no matter how you spin it, this dress is a summer party dress, really. The only kind of “summer party” that would be fancy enough for it, though, would be a wedding or similar, and not only are there no wedding invitations winging their way to me right now (Or not that I know of, anyway), even if there were, I’m old fashioned enough to believe you don’t wear white to a wedding, so it wouldn’t be much use for that either. 

Why did I buy it, then, I’m going to pretend to hear you ask? 

Because, four or five years ago, that was how I shopped. Randomly. Impulsively. Er, stupidly. I’d see something I loved, and I’d feel like I absolutely HAD to have it, regardless of whether or not I was likely to actually WEAR it any time soon. 

I don’t do that any more. 

No, these days I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck to my resolution to only buy clothes I know I’m going to wear – and wear often. Clothes I know I’m going to get my money’s worth out of. I no longer want to have a closet filled with party dresses when I spend most of my days at soft play, or wriggling my way under the couch on my stomach to retrieve a stray building block or toy car. To be totally honest, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think of all of the money I’ve spent over the years on beautiful clothes that have rarely – or never – been worn, and, because of that, I’ve actually found it quite easy to stop buying them. Sure, I still have my moments of weakness, but, for the most part, I’m no longer tempted by the clothes I won’t wear, and am concentrating instead on building a wardrobe full of ones I WILL. 

That doesn’t make it any easier to get rid of those ‘perfect’ pieces that gave me so much pleasure to buy, though, and which still ‘spark joy’ – for want of a better phrase – when I pull them out of the wardrobe and look at them. That beautiful white dress, for instance, has survived every single wardrobe clear-out I’ve had for the past four years now – and when I came across it again last week, I still struggled to throw it on the ‘donate’ pile. I mean, I’m pretty sure that if I get rid of it, I’ll instantly be invited to exactly the kind of event it would be perfect for – but then, if I don’t, I’m equally sure it’ll just languish in the closet for another 4 – 5 years. 

For now, it’s in the ‘I’ll Think About This Later’ pile. But I think I know what I have to do…


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  • LindaLibraLoca
    February 5, 2019

    I can absolutely relate to that problem – it is easy not to buy them, but almost impossible to get rid of them. I have a few similar items that I just can´t seem to clear out!

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

  • Alicja
    February 5, 2019

    Maybe before letting it go, try to take a photo of it on you to have a nice memory “forever”?
    Then giving it a second life should be much more easy 🙂

  • Helen Baker
    February 5, 2019

    I think if you had 50 perfect-for-the-party-I-never-get-to-go-to dresses, then you might need to (just) (maybe) think about considering perhaps getting rid of a couple of them. But this perfect dress sounds like something you should keep. It’s always handy to have a few special occasion outfits as they can be a nightmare to find when you need them. And…this could be the perfect dress to have copied into a wedding appropriate fabric if the need arose!

    • lalie
      February 5, 2019

      what a good idea! A friend of mine dyed a white dress so she could wear it at weddings – it was quite a brave move but that particular dress still looked beautiful.

  • lalie
    February 5, 2019

    your white dress sounds perfect for a nice holiday dinner! It should have been in your suitcase when you went away last winter!

    • Amber
      February 5, 2019

      Alas, white dresses and toddlers don’t mix well, I’m afraid, and it was a very casual kind of place – I’d have felt really out of place in something so formal when everyone else was in shorts!

  • Jean
    February 5, 2019

    You’re singing my tune. I have worked at home for 15 years, after formerly living in New York, where I loved dressing up each day (even though I was merely traveling to a boring office job). Many/most people in New York dress up every day. I couldn’t seem to stop the buying/thrifting habit for a long time after working from home. I then had two children. And aged. And my life has changed a lot. But those beautiful dresses (mainly dresses) are so very hard to get rid of. Yet a big part of me knows I’ll never wear them again. And now I feel too old to “carry off” a number of them. They’re still in my closet. Guilting me.

  • Dee
    February 5, 2019

    I hear this so much. I have about twenty dresses in my wardrobe, and every day I open it and realise that eighteen of them are far too dressy for what I actually do on a normal day (working from home). Thing is, it’s so hard to find casual dresses that I actually like, and so easy to find fancy ones!

  • Jill stylishatsixty
    February 6, 2019

    I can so relate to what you are saying! As my child was growing and I didn’t have the same available free money I did curb this habit but now I am out the other end I have slipped back into my old ways.

  • Amber DeSadier
    February 6, 2019

    I feel much the same and have the added bonus that my new post baby body is just SLIGHTLY different than my old one and clothes don’t fit the same. I can’t put a pin in exactly what has changed or how it exactly changes the look, but it does. Buying a whole new wardrobe is expensive and frustrating.