Why your wardrobe needs a cleanse
Ared silk frock I last wore to my sister’s wedding seven years ago hangs limply down the back near a black silk dress I’ve worn to one party since I bought it in Thailand five years ago.
Despite the fact that I will never squeeze my feet into the half-a sizetoo-small, teetering black heels I bought in a Zara sale, they sit neglected near the summer sandals I’ve worn daily since I bought them a few weeks ago. My crammed wardrobe looks as though I have a craze for collecting jackets of every colour and style, along with patterned sunfrocks.
According to Auckland stylist Jackie O’Fee, my dilemma is shared by many. Apparently, the average woman wears just 40 per cent of the clothes she owns.
The personal shopper and image consultant has the fun job of going into women’s homes and helping clean out their wardrobes. The No 1 mistake we make? ‘‘Holding on to stuff for too long thinking we might wear it again. We hoard for emotional reasons – like maybe we were so very happy with our lives when we wore that item and it reminds us of that time. Or the item cost a lot of money and so you can’t bring yourself to get rid of it. But if you’re not wearing it, then it’s an even greater waste.’’
O’Fee says most women have at least one wardrobe item that has never left the hanger, along with shoes and garments they haven’t worn for a couple of years. ‘‘Those they’ve never worn are often an item you like the idea of for yourself but you’re waiting to be slimmer, the weather to be warmer, or the circumstances to be just right.’’
Our clothes are often neglected because they are forgotten, tucked away on a shelf, or hanging right at the back of an overstuffed wardrobe. ‘‘We tend to hoard our shoes for that reason. They’re tucked away so you no longer see them, then you go to wear that pair of strappy heels you bought a few years ago only to find they are horribly dated and you just can’t.
‘‘All of that means our wardrobes are full but we can’t find anything to wear. It’s clutter, and the majority of it is simply taking up space.’’
We need a cleanse for two reasons – to find what we actually have, and to ensure our wardrobe stays current. ‘‘Wearing clothes that are dated and old makes you look dated and old.’’
David Jones womenswear manager Damian Burke suggests women should have key pieces in their wardrobes. Timeless, and elegant, these can be pulled out for different occasions – a great fitting pair of jeans, a tailored black blazer, black or nude pumps, and a classic white shirt.
‘‘Denim is one of the most versatile wardrobe items. Being able to be dressed up or down and worn year-round, investing in some great fitting and quality jeans will see you always having an item that you know will look great on hand,’’ he says.
‘‘A good T-shirt takes you a long way. If you find one that you love, buy two.’’
If your wardrobe looks like this, it’s time for a cleanse