What to do with Wardrobe “Leftovers”?

style, wardrobe

This week I have been at war with myself in a department that is a bit of a sore point for me – my wardrobe. A word of warning: the next part is going to get a bit personal, because it starts in my sock drawer.

My sock drawer was quite frankly a disgrace. Quite a lot of my socks were worn out at the heels, have holes in them, and are beyond mending and my knickers… well. The elastic was gone and threads hanging out at the waistbands… and I thought to myself – why am I putting up with this? This doesn’t make me feel good so I will take no more!

I gathered them all up (took about 10 minutes) into a big pile and then proceeded to debate with myself that I should try to mend them one more time because it’s a shame to bin clothing. The state they were in they would be no good to anyone else – really, not even the bras! The underwire bits were partially missing and before any more discussion with myself I put them straight into the bin. The tights? Bally, holes, stretched… one pair I can’t even wear with one of my favourite skirts because they are so out of shape they sit down almost lower than the skirt! Each lunchtime last week, I went out to replace some knickers, socks and tights.

Then the mania spread over into my wardrobe with an almighty wardrobe purge (just like I clean out my fridge!). Anything that is:

  • too small 
  • that I don’t wear
  • bally
  • washed-out
  • that is mended beyond another mend

all went into a bag to be donated. I kept two fancy dresses that I don’t wear in the hopes that with the right boots I can make them more casual.

I call what is left, my “wardrobe leftovers”. I have found with meal leftovers, they get used up quite happily if there is always a “new” ingredient in there. It suddenly dawned on me that I would wear again what I have had for years if I could just inject new “ingredients”. A few new basics… a new pair of basic shoes. I have been stocking up on good basics for a few months now, which was on the advice of Missussmartypants and I have been trying to put together some different combinations of clothing (outfits) to wear to work. Right now I just made twelve combinations! That should keep me going for quite some time ;)

Mrs Smartypants says that if you just clear out any clothes that give you “bad vibes/guilty feelings” then you can move on into better style – even if you just “shop your wardrobe” to begin with. This means not spending a cent, just rearranging and reassessing what is actually in your wardrobe that works for you.

In one of her podcasts that I have been listening to recently, she mentions that if you work in an office Monday to Friday, then your wardrobe should reflect this, i.e. 70% or so of your wardrobe should be work-wear. In work I wear the same thing to work as I do at the weekend, and I probably shouldn’t.

Whether we like it or not, people judge us on our appearance. In work, people are influenced by how we look and relate it to how good we are at our job (whether that is fair or not). I’m at the stage where with 7 years experience almost I am still a junior and will probably be for another year at least and I feel that this is not right. I think I have to get a bit of a game-plan together for how to overcome this obstacle.

About half the items in my wardrobe were bought second-hand/donated by a kind aunt. I have come to really like shopping in second-hand shops becuase I think it’s been a good exercise in developing my own personal taste. I think the key is to match the things you already have with some nice basic pieces to keep everything looking fresh and simple, just like putting in a new basic ingredient in with leftovers ;)



  1. I can so totally relate to the socks & underwear thing. I have a new rule – NO MORE HOLES! I mean, if something gets a hole because a seam comes undone or because it gets torn, then patching it makes complete sense. But usually the holes are just because the darned things are so worn that the fabric itself is disintegrating – and it’s just not worth it to try to patch it at that point. It’s actually been quite liberating. Now every time I do the laundry, I check for these types of holes and if I find one – to the rag bag it goes! What a relief!

  2. I am SO glad I’m not the only one and wish I could have the self-discipline for a no-more-holes rule. I apparently only get this kind of thing done on a frenzy.

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