I love the month of September, the promises and excitement of new adventures and a grown-up version of back-to-school dressing and a refreshed wardrobe that come with the change in season. However, we are reaching a turning point when it comes to clothing, where we honestly need to learn to be intentional about every purchase we make. You can buy breathtaking, but frivolous seems wrong. There is just too much “stuff” in the world and teeming landfills as proof.
I am struggling with the idea of wanting new and knowing that there is a limit to how much I actually need. I know I am not the only one. And going forward, which I will spell out more clearly soon, I am going to try to honestly tackle this and other issues I think need attention on the site (and encourage feedback).
For now, to start the new season, I am personally instigating a new “One In, One Out” rule when it comes to my closet, meaning if I want something new, something old has to go. Today, I have an appointment with The Real Real to consign everything from Celine shoes (which I just don’t have the lifestyle to need) to an older Chanel bag that I have been keeping to pass along to my girls, that’s a dust magnet. (I have other equally beautiful bags I love I will hold onto.) In fact, I am trying to purge even more, because I love the idea of a limited, succinct wardrobe that works (until it doesn’t and then you replace). Getting seriously granular in a closet clean out is hard and somewhat unsettling, because there are the “what happens if?” pieces that I haven’t worn and know I should let go, but worry the minute I do, I’ll find a purpose for them. I actually know I’m kidding myself, I just have to face facts and be hyper realistic. (There are very few things you cannot replace if need be.)
It also goes with my buy better, buy less strategy. Sure I crave newness, but I also hold on to the really good things. For instance, this fall I will pull out a Celine tweed blazer I bought several years ago that looks exactly like the new Celine out now. How do I decide a pair of Celine heels should go, but the blazer stays? I think it has to do with how much I truly feel about a piece. (Do I sound like Marie Kondo?) I love the blazer, but just haven’t wanted to wear it the last couple of seasons. The shoes? They are cool, but I won’t miss them. While it is okay to keep a couple of items solely for their nostalgic appeal (mine are a cashmere sweater from my father who passed away years back and some rather ratty T-shirts from favorite places), you don’t want a closetful. Not to mention, sometimes what you don’t wear is worth something. How much untapped cash is sitting in your closet collecting dust? And to what end? I plan to use my Real Real payments for a couple of have-forever pieces on my wish list. What do I want for fall? Stay tuned.
Love the Real Real. Have been shopping vintage/consignment since I was little – my mother loved finding that perfect piece for a deal!
Thanks for such a thoughtful post. I did exactly what you’re planning on doing over a year ago. I made a lot of money on The Real Real. I kept only one “in case” dress, so I didn’t have to buy another dressy outfit, even though it’s not the most updated dress around. I now try (as much as I can) to buy from independent, sustainable businesses, mostly created and started by women. I’m looking forward to this series – we cannot continue to ignore this problem.
Meg Flynn says
A truly timely post. I have done several “purges” working with The Real Real. I also was concerned with the “what if” items, but honestly I have not regretted anything I parted company with. I am planning my next closet raid as the seasons change and am looking forward to
a more manageable collection. I would encourage anyone to embrace the “less is more” concept-it is uplifting!
May I also add how timely this is and am so glad you’re addressing this subject. I recently moved out of a big house with a big walk-in closet all to myself and into a condo with a smaller closet. I purged a lot of things, intend to purge even more and agree that is rather “freeing”. Thank you, Jennifer!
I also love the timeliness of this topic and the focus on sustainable and fair-trade shopping.
I also love The Real Real. I buy almost everything I need either there or on ebay. Willing to pay full price for the best boots. I am wrestling with the fact that I do not need more for my Monday-Friday profession–retirement is on the horizon. How do I dress after that?
Lordy I want that Max Mara camel hair wrap coat…those don’t show up “gently used” very often…