“I think there’s a reason I have three black singlets”

The secret of the little black jacket.

The secret of the little black jacket.

There I was sitting in the middle of my childhood bedroom surrounded by a sea of clothing strewn around my room. It looked like a giant clown had thrown up multi-coloured spew with chunks of shoes over my bed and across my floor.

I was in my mid-twenties and trying to pack to leave home. I needed to sort the high school fashion disasters from the potential work outfits because I had only two suitcases I could fill.

There, in the middle of my room as I conducted an inventory of my wardrobe I had a fashion epiphany: I was done. There was nothing left I could buy. I had bought everything.

Here’s what brought me to this conclusion. Among the mass of cotton-poly blends I counted: three mauve singlet tops, two one-shouldered sunlight yellow tops, four pairs of black capri pants in varying lengths, two pairs of white capri pants in varing stages of decay, half a dozen floral dresses – all similar but not quite the same – and a singlet top in every colour of the rainbow. So, you see I had not only bought one of everything I was starting to buy multiple versions of the same thing.

Now all the shoe fetish girls out there I’m not talking about having lots of shoes. Not having lots of a kind of item but rather having lots of the exact same thing.

As I went through and analysed my wardrobe I realised there were a number of serial offenders. I have in my shopping life bought brown capri pants at least three times, each time deciding after the purchase that I hated brown capri pants, throwing them out and then a few years later buying a new incarnation of the same item of clothing. Black skirts of varying lengths are a common theme as is anything in a shade of purple.

I mean seriously, who needs three mauve singlet tops? And, when has mauve ever been on trend. There was a reason behind all of this mauve madness. I had this floral skirt I really liked and I couldn’t find one that matched it just right. And, I reasoned, mauve would be a lovely colour to wear to a wedding some day. But then the next three weddings that came around that mauve number never saw the light of day. Of course,  I had to have something new for each of those events.

What amazes me is that each time I buy such an item I seem to have fashion amnesia. Even though I could tell you every single thing that is in my wardrobe, where I got it, how much I paid for it, how much discount I got on it and the resulting price. But somehow when I am in a shop and especially at the check out I completely forget the fact I’ve got two other black wrap tops at home and simply must have this one.

It’s funny how many fashion excuses we women can come up with at such moments.

I don’t know how many times I’ve come home with something too big, or stretched out a top accidentally or lost weight and instead of returning, donating or returning the offending item I decide to keep it. Why? Because I secretly tell myself I will wear it one day when I am pregnant. That’s right, pregnant. And I have been doing that for years, even though I am no closer to being knocked up. A recent conversation with a girlfriend proved I am not alone.It’s the same with “wedding clothes”. What are these? Well these are clothes, like the offending mauve tops, that seem too pretty to be smart casual and too pretty to be work clothes so again, instead of dumping them, they go in the cupboard. And, I tell myself I could wear that to a wedding one day. Because of course, I get invited to so many weddings.

Painting the house clothes (I’ve never painted a house and if I ever intended to I’m sure my boyfriend would dive tackle me to prevent that kind of atrocity), potential pyjamas, possible gym clothes, could be an art-smock shirts,  ”when I lose 5kg” clothes (otherwise known as skinny jeans), ugly-but-could-wear-that-under-a-jumper-in-winter-tops, “If I ever go to the football” supporter coloured gear and “my kids could wear it as dress ups one day” clothes (that’s right, still don’t have kids).

And then there are the “it could come back into fashion one day” clothes. This group of clothes started the first day after I ever threw something out only to decide I really did need it to complete that day’s outfit.  This feeling only ever applies to the things that I throw out, the things I keep never seem to make a comeback. Bumster jeans, peasant tops and 90′s era bodysuits anyone?

What are your “fashion excuses”?

Alison Branley is a news reporter with the Newcastle Herald in NSW. She is a self-confessed clothes horse who would love to afford designer clothes but a career in writing means she contents herself with discount knock offs.

What do you think?


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