I wasn’t always this way. In my early 20s I would opt to have lots of cheap and poorly made clothes as opposed to a less, well made, ethically and sustainably produced garments and I was proud of the fact that I had so much clothes. My opinions on how to buy and invest in clothing changed drastically once I moved to Vancouver but working in the fashion industry still left me with an abundance of clothes. Being able to get a discount on wholesale pricing (or even having a clothing allowance) allowed me to have clothes cheaper than ever and my collection grew rapidly from the two suitcases I moved here with to a closet bursting at the seams.
Not working a 9 to 5 anymore and being home all the time allowed me to get serious about purging my closet in a meaningful way. Whether it was the Marie Kondo trend or my desire to keep busy in the last 5 months I managed to consign close to 100 pieces (and probably donate about 30.) While I am still making an effort to be a smarter and savvier shopper in the future I am still in a perpetual purging mode.
These are some things that I kept in mind while purging my closet.
Does it fit?
If the answer is no, try to delve into why you’re so keen on hanging on to the item.
Personally, I am someone who has dealt with my weight drastically changing more than once in my 20s. I’ve worn every size of jean from a 26 to a 32 and my denim drawer was full of mismatched sizes. I shoved sizes too small for me into storage in hopes that one day they would fit again and kept sizes that were way to large for me “just in case” I gained the weight back and looking at my clothes either of these ways made me hate getting dressed. There was a few years where it was exclusively dresses, skirts and elastic waist pants because I didn’t want to deal with the heartache of putting on a pair of pants that had previously fit that no longer zipped up at all.
I feel like when it comes to closet purging this question has a big asterisk next to it, because it also has a lot to do with me coming to terms with loving my body, in whatever shape it’s in. I don’t keep clothes that are too small for me because they make me feel shitty and because I know that if I was trying to lose weight I would probably want new clothes then anyways. As for clothes that are too big for me, if I’m not willing to pay to get them tailored to fit, I obviously don’t love them so I am better off donating/consigning them so that they can fulfill their clothing destiny and be worn and loved by someone else.
Would I repurchase the item now?
I used to be the worse impulsive shopper. Sometimes instead of an item being cute it would be that the item is cute for X amount of dollars and my closet was full of cheap clothing I did not even deliberate buying. All that shit, no matter how cheap, adds up quick. I try and ask myself, “if given the option, would I rather have my money back?” and if the answer is yes, I clearly don’t love the item and I donate/consign it.
I had this Club Monoco jacket for years that when I bought it I agonized over the cost because it was so expensive. Looking back on it now it was a great investment because I wore it until it was literally falling apart and the cost per wear was next to nothing I wore it so often. At any given time of its’ life in my wardrobe I wouldn’t have traded it for the money I had originally paid for it, that’s how much I loved it.
What is the likelihood of me wearing this again?
Is the item still in style or even reflective of your own personal style? Quality and retail value aside, if you live in a shoebox apartment like I do there is not enough room to have items you don’t love occupying space. I allow myself to have one vacuum sealed bag of clothes for “special” occasions – the real fancy shit. Everything outside that bag has to be worn at least a handful of a times each seasons or it just wasn’t a great investment. I personally rotate my wardrobe every season which is when I do the biggest purge. For example, as I am unpacking my spring clothes and seeing them again for the first time in months it’s a good time for me to decide if something is worth keeping and re-introducing into my wardrobe.
Years go there was a pair of Ed Hardy sweatpants I did not want to part with because I kept thinking about how expensive they were when I bought them and my best friend told me that if I wanted to keep them I would have to put them on and go out in public with them. That’s when I knew it wasn’t worth keeping because the thought of anyone seeing me in them was mortifying.
Do I feel confident while wearing this?
This is the Marie Kondo of it all, does it bring you joy? This ties into the “does it fit?” question but not always. Even if you’re not a fashionista, your clothes should never make you feel uncomfortable, physically or emotionally.
My last job was working for a fashion brand and I had SO MANY of their pieces. When I starting to have an inkling that they were planning on letting me go seeing their label in my clothes was a small reminder that I worked for a company that feed into all of my insecurities. When I actually lost my job, all of my clothes from the brand made me sick to my stomach. Whether or not I loved the piece, if it still had the tags, whatever; I got rid of every single piece from them for my own piece of mind and to get rid of that toxic energy out of my home. Think of it like burning all of the things your exes left in your house but more sustainable because it was consigned, donated or gifted to friends.