One Bag Nation

Wear Your Clothes!

Posted on: July 13, 2008

I have a habit of buying clothes and then never wearing them. It usually happens with things I’ve spent a bit extra for, or are a little bit daring for me. I decide I should save them for a special occasion, or I can’t get comfortable about wearing them, and then they languish in my closet, making me feel guilty.

No more! Maybe I’m developing more fashion self-confidence as I get older, but this week I’ve made a deliberate effort to wear some of the things I rarely – if ever – wear. Some examples?

  • A tank top with a pattern of brightly colored letters; it’s kind of stretchy and clingy and I’ve always thought the pattern was too young for me, but it’s super-comfortable and I love the cut.
  • A really fun skirt with a bold black and white design that I got on super sale a few weeks ago. This is about as close to designer clothes as I get; this skirt definitely makes a statement!
  • A pink cardigan sweater with a wide row of sequins along the bottom. This actually came from the girls department (I’m small) so I worry that it looks like a girl should be wearing it!

I’ve felt really wonderful wearing these clothes; it’s been fun and weirdly liberating. And wearing them ends the criticism and self-recrimination that accompanies every trip to the closet: “You spent good money on this fill in the blank, why don’t you ever wear it??”

On the flip side, I feel compelled to say a word about the clothes in my closet (and perhaps yours?) that no longer fit, have gone out of style, or I just don’t like anymore. Get rid of ’em! Someone out there – via donation or consignment will give them a good home, and you’ll feel better.

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8 Responses to "Wear Your Clothes!"

I have developed a shopping rule for clothes now. When I put the item on in the fitting room, I have to look in the mirror and spontaneously say “Wow!” It’s no longer good enough to say “huh” or “not bad” or “seems okay”. It absolutely has to be “Wow!” That way I know I love it and feel fantastic in it before I even leave the store.

My other rule is to go through my closet at the beginning of each season. If I never wore an item, or hardly ever wore it, it’s time to pass it along.

Hi Ann,

I think you’ve hit on a subject that many women are guilty of. I have some of those items, some with the tags still on them.

What I’ve done is leave tags on until I know for certain I’m going to wear it. Often I get home, look in my own mirror and say, “why did I buy this?”. Back it goes.

I call that “money in the bank”.

Like Urban Panther, I want that “wow” factor when I try something on. Usually when I get that, it means I’ll wear it.

I think a lot of the time life simply comes down to giving ourselves permission. I guess you bought those clothes because they expressed a part of you that was being repressed, and now you’ve allowed yourself to let it out. Good for you! 🙂

@Panther: I like the “wow” test; I need to give that a try!
@Barbara: I do a lot of returning too, but it makes me crazy to spend time on that. Maybe the “wow” test will help!
@Marelisa: I hadn’t thought about it that way. I was blaming my overly-practical side for wanting to “save” things for a special occasion. Today I wore a top I’ve had but rarely worn and got a nice compliment – yay!

I love clothes, more than a lot of other guys I know. I love style, and unique design. But from some reason. I just can’t buy clothes, my closet is rather sparce. I think it’s across between the shopping experience that I have to endure to get to the clothes, and the fact that most stores idea of “men’s clothes” are either some shade of kakis and any number of colored polo shirt, or a “suit” and ugly tie.

So I don’t have much in my closet, but I have discovered a couple shirts that I don’t wear. Got them home and tried them on again… ooh…yeah, need to hit the gym a bit more often. 😦

I keep them as a shameful reminder of two things. I shouldn’t buy crap I’m not going to wear, and I need to stop being lazy.

Though I have seen the opposite, a friend of mine has two large closets crammed full of clothes and shoes. She occasionally thins them out, and picks up new stuff, but she keeps a lot of stuff (shoes and clothes) that have gone “out of style”.

Her reasoning? Because the styles will come back, and she’s been right. Though to be fair her personal style is pretty neutral so you’ll not find loud colors or too many crazy patterns.

@Hyrcan: yes, it does seem that men’s clothing choices are much more limited.

I can’t encourage you in the “shameful reminder” department; that seems very harsh to me! And I’m not sure it really works anyway. A positive message might be more effective in reminding you about not buying things or needing to exercise.

I always find that the very day after I get rid of something I haven’t worn in a couple of years the perfect occasion for it comes up…

[…] ongoing effort to feel less like a schlumpy mom and more like a hip, chic mom, I tried to actually wear the clothing I had in my closet this summer, rather than the same tired old t-shirts and shorts every […]

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