If a wardrobe crisis could talk, that’s what it would say. Loudly. Harsh, I know. Have you ever looked in your wardrobe and felt like everything in it is wrong? Me too. Me so too.
I could very easily divide the life of my wardrobe into three distinct phases:
1. Magazines (high fashion and sometimes ridiculous)
2. TV Executive (corporate bland)
3. Self-employed (blissfully casual)
And at the cusp of each of those phases, I have looked into my wardrobe and fallen into a pit of despair. Superficial, yes. Trivial, indeed. But still. Despair.
Chloe Fox, a former Vogue staffer who went freelance after having her second child, knows exactly what that despair feels like. She felt it too not long ago. But it’s what she did about it that’s interesting. She sold HER ENTIRE wardrobe. All of it.
In a great article in The Times online that was published here last weekend in one of the newspapers, she wrote:
“…..In the space of just over three years, my life, my look and my sartorial needs have changed dramatically. I have gone from being employed to being freelance; from the offices of Vogue to being a contributing editor from my spare bedroom in Brixton; from sample sales to jumble sales; from a size 12 to a very heavily pregnant size 16 and back again. Much as I would like to spend my days, as I once did, in an Issa dress and a pair of Prada boots with a four-inch heel, I have to be realistic; Prada and playgrounds just don’t mix. And I don’t want to have to miss the old me every time I get dressed. I don’t want to keep wishing I could still fit into my size 10, waist-hugging Dolce & Gabbana pinstripe jacket when I know I never will.
On the whole, I am very proud of my wardrobe. I’m not a die-hard fashionista, so it isn’t excessive. It fills one fitted cupboard and one chest of drawers in my bedroom. It is made up largely of tasteful stuff, more classic than fashionable. There is a good smattering of designer items and far too much cheap and useless tat for my liking (after this, I’m not sure I’ll be going near the high street ever again). But it’s mine and it’s me and, on the whole, I love it.
That said, I find myself wanting to change it, mainly because I’ve changed. I hadn’t realised how much until I started selling off my younger self. I am a mother now and I am more confident for it. I have spent too many years hiding behind muted colours and safe options. I want to shine, to explore, to be womanly. I want to start investing in a wardrobe that my daughter will one day be proud of (as I am of my mother’s). And she sure as hell isn’t going to be particularly proud of my dowdy Whistles skirts. In a sense, I feel that, over the past few years, I have shed a former skin, become a very different person, and I want my clothes to reflect that.
EBay was, for me, a whole new world – something wondrous and addictive that I had heard about but hadn’t dared try. Now I know why. For weeks, there were several occasions when a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night ended with me sitting at my desk to check the bids on my clothes. And minutes before the item ends, when the bids start flooding in… it’s up there with a moonlit proposal.
That said, it is administrative hell. Listing the 500-odd items I had was beyond tedious; answering the endless “Does it fluff?” questions from nerdy buyers even more so. And as for the posting… I never want to see the inside of Brixton post office again….”
She also writes of sitting amidst a pile of her clothes weeping, something she never thought she’d do. Fox was struck by her sentimental attachment to things like the pair of jeans she wore on her first date with her husband and the dress in which she danced the night away on her 30th birthday.
I don’t get particularly sentimental about clothes. I’m pretty ruthless and am forever culling items to give away or occasionally sell on Ebay if I can be bothered. I can be a bit of a squirrel sometimes though and now I’ve started to think “I should save this for my daughter” . Speaking of which, it’s alarming how much of my magazine wardrobe has ended up in her dress-up box.
What’s your approach to your wardrobe? Do you cull? Sell? Give away?
When was your last wardrobe crisis and how did it go down?