The average woman wears just 20 percent of her wardrobe and has more than R6 000 of unworn clothing in her wardrobe. Yes, those are the stats claimed in a recent article by Ray A Smith in The Wall Street Journal entitled A Closet Filled With Regrets. They resonate with me like a clanging gong, only I dont seem to feel the regret, really But Im ok with that. Perhaps I just need to grow up, eschew fickle fashion fads for the pricey investments pieces Ill love when Im 40. Smith noted: The conventional wisdom that shoppers regret splurges isnt true; research found shoppers most regretted, over the long term, passing up an indulgence for something practical or less expensive. But am I ready to put on my big girl pants? My wardrobe is as far from a colour-coded, shoe-matching state of bliss as its possible to get.
When summer starts to fade, for instance, I attempt a seasonal clean-out, but the bin-liners filled with barely worn threads never make it to the charity shop “ my spare room cupboard swallows them up. Inside the clutter of the builtin is a pair of handmade Berber carpet boots from Morocco that I have never worn because they look utterly ridiculous on, but they are so beautiful, and they tell such a good story, that the thought of getting rid of them is too painful for words. Sexy prom dress I have at least four pairs of skinny jeans I bought with the intention of slimming into, but that hasnt happened; yet I cling on to them because the thin me believes one day I will. And the size 8, waist-cinching skirts I can no longer breathe in? Well, theyre just tangible proof I was once the person who did wear them. Then there are the impulse, trend-driven buys, like the floral, tassel-trimmed kimono that simply isnt me, however much I might want it to be. The misguided belief that Ill muster up the guts to wear it will not allow me to let go.
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But its the sale items that have a knack for stuocating my shelves: the monochrome printed culottes two sizes too big have never been taken in, even though I kid myself at being a dab hand with the sewing machine. And the souvenir kangas from Zanzibar I swore Id soak in hot water to get the starch out are still sitting there like sti folds of cardboard, attracting dust in the bottom drawer. Why do we cling onto things? Maybe its laziness, embarrassment at all the money wasted, guilt or emotional attachment. What I do know is that I’m not alone, as these three fashion hoarders, each with a very dierent style, confirm. Last year, we interviewed Aqeelah, founder of popular blog Fashion Breed, after she was handpicked by Adidas to travel to London and attend the launch of its Rita Ora collaboration. Lately shes been hosting the G-Star Lady events along with Tarryn Alberts, Thithi Nteta and Anelisa Mangcu as well as fitting in the time to plan a wedding and get married.
Aqeelah names street-style stars Yasmin Sewell and Margaret Zhang as her icons, and describes her dress sense as playful and experimental, always trying out new trends while partially subscribing to an Islamic code of dress by not showing too much skin. For Aqeelah, flipping the 80-20 rule is something she believes shes achieved within the last year. Since she got married she now has a walk-in wardrobe that enables her to see everything she owns and helps her dress more cohesively by wearing more of the things she might once have forgotten about or been unable to find.
I was very impulsive until about a year or two ago But Ive grown up now and Im more into quality and unique investment pieces, she explains. The past still lingers, though, with never-touched items haunting her from behind the door, like the silk Margiela X H&M dress thats a little too adventurous with its reverse petticoat design, and the Kurt Geiger platforms with an arch so high it gives her feet cramps. And then there are the pieces that wait patiently for the right occasion, or that no longer fit and await the attentions of a seamstress Aqeelah might be wearing a healthier percentage of her clothing, but the familiar hoarding excuses remain. But maybe thats not such a bad thing after all?
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