The great wardrobe challenge

wardrobe challengeTake the wardrobe challenge

‘I have nothing to wear!’ We have all said it whilst standing in front of a wardrobe full of clothes. I am guilty of this. I tend to wear the same few outfits much of the time: two or three favourite skirts, jeans at the weekend and an assortment of tops.

Most of my clothes are well worn and some have definitely seen better days. Still, they are wearable. A lot were second-hand when I bought them and still going strong. But I have quite a few that just sit there, unworn yet too good to put in the charity bag. I think I will wear them at some point so I hang onto them, but I have some I swear I haven’t touched in three years.

Wear or donate

Time for the great wardrobe challenge! This week, because I am on a no spend month and will not be buying new clothes, I challenged myself to wearing at least one of my ignored garments every day. Of course, there are lots that aren’t suitable for the current cold weather but plenty that are.

I tried a cardigan on that I had actually forgotten I owned. Perfect. Wore that yesterday with my jeans. There was a grey long sleeved top. It is lovely but it is too low cut and I will never feel comfortable wearing it so that went in the charity bag. I have a nice pair of smart trousers – they are too tight round the middle and have been for about three years. It is possible that I might get into them again but I suspect they will just take up wardrobe space, so they are in a pile of things I will list on eBay.

Getting organised

I have organised my wardrobe by item type mostly. Skirts, dresses, shirts and tops, with a section for coats and another for summer wear. That’s better. Now I can see what I have!

I don’t intend to be buying anything new in the next few months apart from underwear. Last year I can think of about 5 items I purchased that weren’t second-hand!  Most of those were in the sale, I am pretty sure.

I would love to go out and spend lots of money on a whole new wardrobe of fabulous clothes,  but I am a realist. I can’t afford it and I don’t really need it!

How about you – nothing to wear? How about trying the wardrobe challenge?

21 thoughts on “The great wardrobe challenge

  1. While not following her advice to the letter, I have a fairly minimal wardrobe in the style of Jennifer L Scott at The Daily Connoisseur. She advocates the 10 item capsule wardrobe (not including accessories and coats.) I keep to neutral colours, buy *navy much of the time (and black, grey, cream) so that most things to with everything else (although I seldom put black and navy together, of course, but with either for the base colour I can then add various others, such as grey and cream or Breton striped tops.) I don’t have many clothes and occasionally I will find a charity shop item but not often as they are usually well worn unless they were bought by the owner for a special occasion and I have little need for special occasion wear as well! So as not to look dull, I have bright scarves to wear with the navy/black/neutral basics, and four or five ‘good’ bags, also in navy, black, tan, and gloves also, but with a few bright gloves in purple and aubergine. Keeping to a few colours (and in summer it’s usually navy and white, or khaki and white) makes life so much more simple, believe me, and with some scarves or beads, or a faux pearl choker, these colours aren’t dull either. *I have four navy coats. A navy overcoat (my most recent purchase); a navy trench; a navy peacoat; and a navy woollen cardigan/coat with tan and grey stripes. These will all ‘go’ with my navy clothes, or even over chocolate brown jeans. But my favourite coat is my red trench which goes over both black or navy. Love it.
    Margaret P
    http://www.margaretpowling.com

  2. Hi, my tip, which works for me is to place My clothes on the hangers with the hooks facing forward, when I wear things I turn the hook around. This way I can instantly see what I wear frequently. The things I don’t wear I can take a view on whether I keep or send to charity. Having a half way bag is also a good idea as I find that sometimes things come back into circulation after a while or get made into something else. Happy sorting.

  3. I am ashamed to say that I have a wardrobe full of clothes that I don ‘t wear because I am too fat for them. I hate trying them on in store because I don’t like to see myself in the mirror, so I just pick it up and bring it home. If it doesn’t fit I kid myself that one day it will. So, I have 19 tops and 6 pairs of trousers that I have never worn,we are moving soon and I hope to make that a new start as I should have a little more time for myself and lose the weight ! I would love to have a couple pairs of jeans and nice blouses instead of baggy cover ups, but it’s my own fault !

    • eBay them? I never buy anything in a shop without trying them on. We can’t all be skinny sticks so find some that suit your size. Don’t beat yourself up x

  4. I went clothes shopping yesterday and bought some cold weather clothes because on Friday I found myself having to stay in as my cardi, two jumpers and long sleeved top were all still drying! They’re the only cold weather clothes I had, so I’m not going to feel bad about a little splurge at all.

  5. In all honesty I could probably live from just 10% of my clothes. The rest just hang. I got rid of all my work wear when I left work. I also sold a lot of clothes which I thought would never fit me again – including a dress I wore just once for a graduation – sickening!! These would now all fit – typical. Most of my clothes are sale bargains which would be too expensive otherwise. I love a bargain. I’m due for another cull asap.

  6. I knew long ago that by the time I slimmed down to get back into most of my clothes they would be considered vintage but not in a good way so last year I had a major throw out with four large bin bags full going to my sister and the rejected goods going on to charity shops. Clothes, mainly cotton summer dresses and taken apart ready to be made into summer tops or otherwise remodelled children’s summer dresses being one use. My hand knitted jumpers are either pulled out so the wool can be reused or the pure wool ones can be “felted” by putting them on a hot wash dried and made into children’s toys. T shirts not worth passing on get reduced to their component bits and used as cleaning cloths, dusters, shoe cleaning cloths and dish cloths which eventually get binned. Tights are cleaned then used as straining cloths for wine making, with the toes being used as holders for pickling spices and so on instead of single use muslin bags.
    The summer clothes that remain are stored in suitcases under the bad ready for the warm weather but only after being repaired (if needed) and cleaned with my winter wear in the draws and wardrobe, shoes are cleaned and stored. When I started doing this last year I was disgusted with myself at the amount of stuff I’d bought and sometimes never worn so much so that I fully intend to buy nothing to wear for several years.

      • Oh, there’s a bit of life in the T-shirt component bits after you’ve used them as cleaning cloths, dusters, shoe cleaning cloths … then pop them in the garage and when you do painting, they’re paintbrush rags, tee-hee! This is the life cycle of our cotton things (underpants for husband, T-shirts for me) … wear them until there’s little life left in ’em, then cut up for dusters, then they go to the garage for polishing the car, and then after that, for paint rags. By then they are seriously done for!
        Margaret P

  7. Not really I was just so angry with myself, the money I’d wasted that I needed to change my ways and I am doing so.

  8. Inspired by this, I’ve just gone through my wardrobe to find something I’ve not worn together before. All ready for work tomorrow. Thanks

  9. Interesting post – I enjoyed it.
    I’ve had huge wardrobe culls recently. Lots of things going to charity shops ( they came from there in the first place). I’ve made up my mind to make most of my wardrobe and add only garments I think are beautiful. It’s a challenge because I’m as keen on a charity shop bargain as the next woman but I need things I want to wear.

  10. Reading your post and the comments makes me think of a “self-improvement” project I’ve been working on for the last few years. You see, I love to snag a great bargain. Don’t we all in one way or another? For me, it applies to all sorts of things as well as clothes. So when I saw a brand new, leopard print cotton cardigan a few years ago for less than $10 (U.S.) with additional 20% off, I bought it thinking I’d eventually find a great price on a black tee to wear under it. Except, I’m not really an animal print kind of gal. So the cardigan and $3 (also brand new) tee have mostly hung on hangars in the closet. I’ve pulled them out to wear only a few times in more than two years. And must confess, only to wear around the house. So my aim has been to break myself of the bargain habit. If I’m not going to wear/use it, it’s not a bargain at any price. It’s a waste. But, oh…. that temptation is always there for serious mark downs.

    • My advice is to stay away from the shops! Sometimes it’s the only thing that works especially if I’m feeling the urge to splurge! Seriously I am trying to follow the 72 hour rule so if I see something that I want to buy, I give myself 72 hours to decide. It works.

  11. I’m keeping a notebook of personal and clothing purchases over the next year so that I can see clearly when and what is purchased and then I can note how often used or worn. Happily, I seem to have been born without a desire to shop but I do have a weakness for books, most of which have found new homes.

  12. Pingback: How to save money on clothes | Shoestring Cottage

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