How to Love your Clothes and lose the Guilt

Like many people, I am guilty of owning too many clothes. I do love most of them and wear many combinations of outfits, mending and repairing where I can. Whenever possible I buy vintage and preloved items to fit in my wardrobe, alongside a few well thought out new purchases. For a guilt free wardrobe, the important point to remember is to wear what you own.

My changing shape

My body shape has changed since my teens, through marriage and children (not forgetting the crisps, wine and chocolate) so as I have moved through size ranges, my personal collection has grown. I try to keep my bedroom wardrobe as active as possible, but those I no longer wear, but can’t part from, are stored away in the attic while others are bagged and distributed. Making the most of our own clothes means taking care of them firstly, but get enjoyment of wearing great outfits before the ‘circular fashion’  takes place to declutter and redistribute.

try new print combinations

Experiment and enjoy your own clothes

Here are 4 useful steps to follow:

First Step 

Care for the Clothes you own

  • Wash clothes less and at a lower temperature, 30° is adequate for most items.
  • Ideally wash jeans inside out, on a cool wash, to help preserve the dye and do up zips and buttons to avoid snagging other items. Wash knitwear on a very low heat, preferably in pillowcases to help hold their shape and use a knitwear comb to remove any bobbles.
  • Bras, wash infrequently by hand or gentle machine wash in small bags, available in most department stores, which stop the wires twisting and breaking through the fabric. Remember to avoid fabric softener on any fabrics with stretch to elongate the wear.
  • Make Do and Mend if at all possible. Small holes can be darned, zips replaced and hems re stitched. Yes, another job to do but so worth the effort. Repair cafes are popping up, or learn the basics of sewing to help you do this yourself.
  • Hang them properly. Jackets need to be on wider shaped hangers to support the shoulders and I find the flocked slim line hangers best for shirts and tops with clip styles for skirts and trousers.
  • Jewellery needs to be displayed to help save tangles and to actually see what you own. I covered cork tiles with black felt, and fixed to the inside of my wardrobe so I can pin individual items and see them to wear them. This will stop you buying something you already own.

    declutter wardrobe

    Decluttered wardrobe, ready to wear

Second Step 

Enjoy wearing your own clothes

  • Put aside a few hours of You Time to try on your clothes. Allow yourself to be creative and try new combinations, you may not like them all, but you may find a new outfit.
  • Colours don’t have to match perfectly, in fact they often look more interesting a little off tone, and try to wear more than two colours, add a third maybe as an accessory.
  • If you notice a piece of clothing that you love but haven’t worn for a while, hang it out on view to remind yourself to wear it that week.
  • And wear your scarves, I know you all have lots (many given a gifts) so sort out which ones who will really wear and bag up the others for someone else to enjoy.
  • Don’t keep for best. If you love it, wear it.

    wear your clothes to remove guilt

    Wear each item for more than one occasion

Third Step

Think about what you need

When shopping, concentrate on your list of needs initially. It makes the process so much easier. You may need a long midi skirt as an option to jeans at the weekend – you can whizz around the shops, focusing on one item, look at the options and choose the best far more quickly.

Try and buy local by supporting the boutiques close to you. They offer a unique selling experience with lesser known brands, in a calm environment.

Think about making up an outfit rather than just one item – what will it go with, when will I wear it?

Buy better quality on items you know you will wear a lot; coats, jackets, trousers.

Buy transitional items that can be worn in more than one season. Mid weight knits and layering styles can be worn all year round.

Or try Vintage. A sure way to find a beautiful fabric, unique print or a stand out gem.

Fourth Step 

Clear space so you can see the clothes you love

Donate clothes that you no longer love or don’t fit into your lifestyle anymore.  A simple reminder is to bag up one time each time you buy new.

If you need help, work with a close friend or a stylist to make decisions and move forward.

We all make mistakes, so if an item doesn’t fit well or suit your life, let it go.

Bag up textiles and damaged clothes and take to the tip, good items need to go to a charity thrift shop but remember you can retrieve some money back by selling at the many pre loved, re sale shops for the higher end items.

Designer brands are selling online with companies like Vestiaire Collective where I often send clients clothes if they in this bracket.

Declutter for a guilt free wardrobe

Does it stay or does it go…?

A plan going forward:

To continue my own ‘fashion passion’, and being mindful of the changing world, I know that less is best. I plan to be more thoughtful of circular fashion and would like to spread the benefits of a decluttered, guilt free wardrobe.

If you would like a chat about how we can work together click HERE to read options, although I can tailor appointments as required in person or virtually.


This article is extracted from my published article in Vantage Point magazine, first seen in January 2020.