I used to hang on to clothes that I didn’t wear, especially if they had been expensive to buy. ‘Oh, no, I couldn’t possibly throw that out’, I’d say, ‘as it cost x, and, you know, it would be such a waste’. I also kept clothes I didn’t particularly like, and even wore them, because they’d cost money and ‘well, you have to wear clothes that aren’t worn out’. And that was the voice of my mother inside my head, who’d lived through the war and the rationing of clothes.
I went to the exhibition ‘Fashion on the Ration’ at the Imperial War Museum and saw how my mother’s generation managed to look good with very few clothes in their wardrobe. I bought Make Do and Mend, a reprint of advice from 1943 from the Ministry of Information. I could just picture my mother reading it, and I remember her darning our socks and mending our clothes.
But the advice borders on the hilarious. Did you know men’s plus fours make an excellent skirt? Or how about knowing what to do when corset bones break. And who remembers baggy wool skirts? Well, there’s a remedy for that. I shouldn’t laugh because those were hard days, and actually some of the advice is still relevant.
Or is it? There was a video playing in the exhibition of different fashion designers talking about clothes then and now. And how in comparison to our parents, who would have had one or two good pieces and very few leisure clothes, we have endless possibilities to throw away our clothes and buy anew.
But, do we throw out our clothes? Perhaps if you’re young you might, but I can’t tell you how many people my age or thereabouts, have said, ‘oh I don’t need to go to charity shops, Penny, I’ve got so many clothes already’. And when I ask if they wear them, they hesitate and then say no, they don’t.
So, what is going on, why do we hang on to clothes we don’t wear? Clothes, of course, have meaning and value beyond just covering our bodies; they can give us authority and confidence, they say something about ourselves. Your wardrobe is a library full of your stories; of that special occasion, that outing, that memory, even that size you were or want to be.
But too many clothes can become a burden. It’s good to lose the clothes you don’t wear. De-cluttering can make you feel great, and it makes room in your cupboard, your closet, your wardrobe for new clothes that do fit you!
Here’s a top-tip given to me by a great friend who is a declutterer – if you can’t quite get rid of a piece of clothing, put it on ‘probation’. I did that myself quite recently to a skirt, and then said to myself, but I don’t wear it!!! So out it went.
And here’s another that’s on probation. You might say, Heavens to Betsy, it’s beautiful, why don’t you want to keep it? Yes, it is a stunning outfit, but it was bought for last month’s cruise, and I didn’t take it with me (I took a much smaller capsule wardrobe) and I haven’t worn it yet.
So, yes, it is lovely, but it’s on probation.
That’s all for now
With love, Penny, the frugalfashionshopper
P.S. Did you notice something? Yes, it’s the new look blog platform – hope you like it!!! Do let me know if you have any problems seeing it on your mobile, tablet, computer or whatever. This is early days for the new look, and there is still some fine tuning to do. But we can’t hang back for ever, just let us know if there is a problem.
Thank you so much all of you, btw, for reading, commenting and following this blog. I so appreciate you all.