Let It Go…
Not For the Reasons You Might Think!
Good day, reader dear!
Cue Elsa and the song.
It could be a personal stylist’s theme song!
I love a good clean out.
I might be the exception, but I don’t think I’m alone. As a matter of fact, I know I’m not.
This week a client packed up her entire wardrobe (minus underthings) and met me at a point between our homes to do a wardrobe edit. Boy did we edit!
A good clean out feels freeing. Whether it’s my own or someone else’s.
Are you overdue for a good clean out?
I was. Of one item in particular.
We see evaluation questions in blog posts all the time! The ones you ask yourself as you handle each piece of clothing…
- Does it fit my body?
- Does it flatter?
- Is the color good for me?
- Have I worn it in the past year (6 months, 18 months, 2 years…)? No one can decide on this one. For good reason!
- Will I wear it again?
- Is it damaged or in need of replacement?
- If I was shopping today, would I buy this? (I really like this one!)
- Does this fit my lifestyle?
All valid questions. There is one question we often do not ask that can be far more illuminating.
Why Don’t I Wear It?
Now, to be clear, the answer might be easy: It doesn’t fit. (Let it go…) The color isn’t good for me. (Let it goooooo…) It’s damaged or needs replacing. (Fix it or, you know…) But what if the answer isn’t easy?
Now we are into Wardrobe Therapy territory. Which is where I found myself after April’s Copycat Style post. Let’s talk about this jacket. It ticks all the right boxes. But until I did a little poking under the rocks, I couldn’t tell you why I almost never wear it. So I asked the missing question.
What Associations Does It Have?
Ah. Therein lies the rub. Under one of those rocks, I discovered that it’s not the jacket’s fault. It’s too similar to another jacket I had and loved. Until I needed to wear it to my father’s funeral.
To be fair, that was more than 20 years ago. That year was one horrible unexpected surprise after another, emotionally and physically exhausting. That jacket got me throught the funeral and through the (what felt like) endless parade of meetings with the lawyer(s), accountants and tax professionals. It was my battle uniform.
Later, I got rid of all the clothes I wore on repeat over as I flew back and forth from Spain to the US (with children in tow) to help my mother over the next year. Letting the clothes go was a way of putting it behind me and moving on with the life I needed to live.
When I found this jacket a few years ago, I was so excited! I remembered loving that other jacket and thought Yay! I found a replacement! What I didn’t count on was the association. Not on a conscious level, but totally under the surface. I wore it a few times. Rather than empowered when I put it on (Like a great blazer usually makes me feel.), I just felt squished. I wish I had a better word. But squished is the one that works. The fit is great. So is the color! The head space isn’t. And that’s okay.
So I took it to consign. (Let it gooooo…) And I pray that whoever buys it loves it and it becomes someone else’s favorite jacket and that they have wonderful experiences wearing it! I’m good with that.
Even if it was an expensive lesson.
How About You?
What do you have in your closet that you don’t wear? Is it for the easy reasons? Or is there something under one of your rocks? If you are looking for permission to let that piece go, you have mine. Let go the piece. Let go the guilt. Keep the lesson. Do let me know how you do… I love to hear from you.
Liz, I’m so happy for you that you realized what was bothering you about this jacket!! I don’t have a simple reason!! I’m keeping a whole wardrobe in plastic totes of one size thinner than I am now I know I should let it go but I just can’t seem to!! This is so hard for me!! I have a very difficult time letting go of any clothing!! I have realized why!! My mother used to just go through my closet when I was somewhere lese and just get rid of my clothing!!! It could be a favorite piece and she would just get rid of it!!!!! So hard!!!!! That is the reason I think I hang on to clothing!! Now, how do I change that?! I think I need to just go through my closet trying on everything and decide this way!! I would take one category at a time!! For example, blouses one day, skirts another etc. Then to the drawers for example lingerie drawers and the the Chester drawers like sweaters etc. Do you have any other suggestions for me? I would love to hear any idea’s you have!!!
I hate to sound cliche, Natalie, but as they say, “Knowing is half the battle.” I’ve certainly done the one-category-at-a-time process. For the items that no longer fit, I always ask “Who will this bless?” It’s not blessing me anymore, so it can go to His use and bless someone else. As for the pieces that do fit, it can be helpful to go into that with an idea of how much is “enough.” How many trousers are “enough”? How many long sleeved tops are “enough”? If you have done the Working Wardrobe Exercise, you know how much is “enough”… At least for that one season! https://closetplay.biz/find-out-what-you-really-wear-working-wardrobe-challenge/
Sally in St Paul
Thanks for sharing this, Liz. It’s interesting that even though this wasn’t the exact same jacket, it was similar enough that it had painful associations as well as the positive associations (“I loved that jacket [pre-Dad’s funeral and that difficult battle year]” and the negative associations won out. This is the kind of purchase that it may be hard to know in advance will end up being left unworn. My takeaway is that we extend some extra grace to ourselves when this sort of (hopefully rare!) situation arises and indeed, let it go.
Once I realized the reason, Sally, all the grace came! It’s the not knowing why phase where we beat ourselves up! There really was no way I could have known. It’s all good!
My takeaway is that we extend some extra grace to ourselves when this sort of (hopefully rare!) situation arises and indeed, let it go.
Sally – I loved the way you put this. Thank you! Your words helped me. “…extend some extra grace to ourselves…”
That was just what I needed today.
And Liz – I loved this post – shared it with several good friends. I really enjoy what you have to say and value your perspective. Thanks for “being here” and sharing!
Cathy in Missouri
We can all use some more grace! Thank you for your kinds words, Cathy. Sally is spot on!