Is it possible all the hoopla surrounding The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is wrong? At least when it comes to our closets? As fashion girls we tend to "collect" items of clothing, slowly acquiring the passing trends as they come and go and then inevitably come again. See, the thing about being a fashion girl is that you know they do indeed come around again, which gives us good reason to reject the current trend of constant purging. And even if they don't, they often hold a memory, a moment in time that we can recall every time we put on the items—even if that's only once a year in our own home as we once again contemplate giving them away or selling them.
Above image courtesy of @songofstyle and marquee image courtesy of @sincerelyjules
Recently, a hard look at my closet while in the midst of an apartment overhaul had me feeling pulled in two directions. One side told me to edit, edit, edit—get rid of all the things I hadn't worn in the last year, six months, three months. Then I took a harder look at what was hanging in front of me. A Stella McCartney jacket passed down from my mom that, no, I’d never worn but always reminds me of her. There is the embroidered blouse I haggled for at a market in Mexico that I later had tailored to fit perfectly. And the Rag & Bone cocktail dress I had coveted years ago, finally saving enough money to make it mine. I hadn’t actually worn any of these pieces recently, but they all brought back a vivid thought or memory that made me smile.
So who's to say I should get rid of these little wearable pieces of my history? Yes, doing so would make my closet easier to navigate, but it would also cast aside so many stories. That amazing Net-a-Porter sale find from three seasons ago? The sweater from The Row that seemed to magically appear from nowhere at the Barneys Warehouse outlet? So many sartorial successes. The first-date top that actually led to a successful relationship? For a while, anyway. The breakup sweatpants that look best when paired with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s? Not everything in my closet was something I wanted to put on immediately, but they were often things I did want to hold on to—for one reason or another.
And what about those pieces I had given away in the past and later regretted? Sometimes a trend comes back that you truly never expected to see again. I’ll never forget my mom telling me of her deep regret about selling some vintage Gucci when it became passé. Of course, nothing in the world would be cooler than those pieces now.
And when I do end up giving away something I later am sorry about, you know what I do? You know what most fashion girls do? Buy it again. I literally spend money on something incredibly similar, which makes the fact that I already owned it infuriating.
So perhaps the answer isn't edit, edit, edit—perhaps it’s hold on to the things you love, keep the things you really like and maybe give those things you kinda like a second look. Clutter isn't great, but regret is far worse. And for this fashion girl, that realization is what's life changing.