clothes that don't fit, aren't comfortable, or aren't flattering

mommabirdSeptember 13, 2008

I keep a box beside my dryer. Every time I wear something, I pay attention and ask my self - does this fit, is it comfortable, is it flattering. If the item fails one of the tests, as soon as it comes out of the dryer, it goes in the box. When the box is full, it goes to Goodwill.

I just put in 2 skirts this week. They fit and are comfortable, but I caught a gimpse of myself in the front door of the building where I work while walking in wearing one. OMG what I thought was flattering makes my be-hind look H-U-G-E!!! Since I had 2 of the same skirt in different patterns, I put them both in!

This really helps cut down on closet clutter. I can now keep 4 seasons of clothes in a 4' closet. Actually I only have 2 seasons, with some light sweaters for in-betweens like Spring and Fall, but it all fits.

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Momma, I've been using the same strategy! I'm on my third box. I'm probably slower than you as this has taken me a year. To validate that I don't need any of the items, I have never once thought, where did I put that (fill in the blank).

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 8:47PM
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Well if I used that I'd have to stay home since I don't think anything flatters this figure I've grown into over the decades! :_ ^(

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 11:04PM
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That's a great idea. I usually have a box going in my closet. I also find that I feel better if I remind myself that someone else will be happy to get these items and especially if they're still in good shape and wearable (that lessens my guilt feelings of getting rid of something that's perfectly good!).

    Bookmark   September 13, 2008 at 11:43PM
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what an excellent idea !!

I find that as time goes by, (such as aging, lol) what was flattering before might be less so a year or two later. It might still be a decent looking item but wearing it for half a day and observing yourself might make up your mind to put it up for donation.

A friend of mine's sister is my size, clothing and shoes, so she is the happy receiver of my cast offs, some of them are really good castoffs, it really pleases me to give bags of stuff to her.

This person also lives very far from me so it's not like I will see her every day in my clothing.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 5:44AM
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I find I wear the same outfits over and over. I wash them, so I'm not dirty or smelly. But I have about six or eight outfits I rotate. I find that if I keep just these outfits available in my bedroom closet, then I don't need the other items of clothing I have in various ther closets around my home. I bag up the clothes I haven't worn in a year or more. Donate them to a local charity,I don't wear them and I don't miss them. On another note, when MIL died three years ago, we had the job of removing all her belongings and selling her house. We (her three children and spouses) did the entire job in one weekend. We got together in her home, and decided first what items we children wanted, then what items could be donated, and finally what could be thrown away. We went through every item of her clothing, and threw out anything with rips or stains. The rest was cleaned and then donated to charity. It actually gets easy when you just have a few simple rules.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 6:56AM
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thanks for sharing, great tip.. I will be taking out my winter clothes and will ask these questions.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 9:54PM
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I do that, too. I recently bought a couple of shirts to wear very casually for hiking and my daily walks but after doing so I realized they really weren't a flattering shape on me. Even for such casual wear I want to look good to ME. I have a pile on the cedar chest that I'm adding to.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 6:02AM
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mommabird, that makes so much sense to leave a box by the dryer! I am going to borrow your hint; Since I work at a school this is the time of year I am giving my wardrobe a critical eye. Goodwill, beware!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 1:15PM
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The more I can make myself remember the "not flattering" criteria (comfort, too) the easier it is to purge the clothes. I still end up getting "attached" to things that are ALMOST what I need--the right color but not the best fit, or something like that will cause me to hold on to something way past when I should pitch it--and that's why I am trying to be a more intentional shopper. Also I've noted, and maybe said before, that I've realized it doesn't do me much good to have too many "duplicate" outfits, because if I don't wear them often enough, I lose track of whether they are still current, fit well, etc. Again, that's part of the more intentional shopping approach I need so that I make myself shop for, say, the perfect khaki pants, or the right black sweater, as soon as I discover that that's what I need, or that the "old" one is losing its charms, or whatever, and then I can get by with fewer things because all of them feel great, rather than the kind of random clothing collecting you sometimes do when you shop without any plan. Not that you have to deny yourself that completely, because we all love the serendipitous "find" of the perfect item just as above, but that it often adds stuff in areas you don't need, but fails to complete an outfit or meet your needs for specific occasions.

Interestingly, I think that I'm getting to be a better critic and more able to say, whoo, don't need this top that makes me look so and so. Kind of like, life's too short to keep 10 shirts when you really only love how you look in 4 of them, or something.

I recently wore an outfit to a semi-formal fundraiser event--had a sleeveless black velvet top that looked good with a silk skirt, both of which were also comfortable, you know, not sliding off, not too tight, nothing falling out, and all that--and while I can assure you I did not make any fashion headlines or cause any whistles, I felt very comfortable, and enjoyed the evening knowing I was dressed appropriately and didn't have to think about it much.

I realized, not that that top and skirt would work forever, but it works NOW, and it won't help me to keep a variety of tops and bottoms I don't like very much--they won't get any better, and life, and shopping (except if you don't care at all, which is fine, but I've admitted I care enough to fit in) go on and have to be re-invented from time to time. So it more gives you the strength to stick with the goal you're trying to achieve, to set the "bar" high enough, and gives you the willpower to look at the clothes in the mirror and say, nope, that's not it, that's not going to end up making me better-dressed (in the store before buying, as well as in the closet-purging!).

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 2:42PM
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Every time I put something on to do grubby work like cleaning or gardening and it looks bad even for that, it's been going straight into the donation bag! I've been clearing out a lot of ugly items that way.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 5:35PM
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Sheesh--with my pear proportions and the way some fashion companies design clothes nowadays (pleeeeeze: no more empire-waistline shirts! we don't all want to look preggers!), that "flattering" criterion would leave me naked in no time!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 11:24PM
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Okay, as I said, this approach could just turn out to be an excuse for more excess, but...

I had an opportunity to do some shopping recently.

I did try on a lot of things (and boy, this decade has not been good for my style and type, believe me) and ended up buying 2 tops (always easier, isn't it--sadly, did not find my perfect pants yet!) and in the process, identified more of a "look" that is good for me now. The 2 tops look so much better (well, to my eye)compared to some of the things I have that it really helped put the other clothes in perpective and showed how they did not meet the "bar". So I was able to toss out 7 blouses/sweaters on the spot--you know the ones that seem perfectly good, but you just couldn't toss-- and make a plan to go through some others this weekend now that I have a fresh vision. Plus, it's clear to see how I would gravitate to the new items and so don't need to hold on to multiple "almost right" items that I've been hesitating to wear. I also found that as I looked at some other clothes in stores, I was much better at going, nope, that's not it, nope, that doesn't cut it.

So what makes this more of an improved experience for me, and not just a shopping story, is that in just recent years, I might have bought some of the items I currently am rejecting, because they were sort of right, and would have just added the new clothes to what I have, but now I'm doing better at "upgrading" (which does not even require greater cost per item than what I spent before, but is linked being more attuned to fit, comfort, flattering) and paring down to fewer of those.

So, I do share the pain of thinking that with regard to some types of clothing I've got, I might be naked (for certain occasions) if I threw them out, as there doesn't seem to be a readily available replacement just yet.

But, don't give up; it IS possible to get more hard-nosed about what deserves space in your home and closet if you can get a clearer vision of what you're after.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 12:02PM
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I've been thinking about what harriethomeowner wrote. I am probably the queen of too many ugly, tattered shirts that I won't wear outside of the house. I don't even do gardening and am definitely not on my hands and knees scrubbing floors everyday. So, why do I hang on to them all? I can't seem to part with them. I'd love to take them all and rip each one to use as a rag. Now that's a concept I hadn't thought of until I wrote that line. Use them to clean instead of wear them to clean.

Help me to do this, please.

Truthfully, I don't even like the shirts I do wear to work. I am holding onto a few pieces of nice clothing that I'm waiting to fit into but that's a whole other story.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 1:34PM
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I have gone even one step further with dealing with dressy clothes. I buy a dress for a special occasion, wear it, and then it goes into the closet, and sits and sits and sits because I seldom go to those types of affairs any more.

After purging all my fancy things that went back to the mid-1980's, and realizing that I had worn most of them only once, I bought a dress to attend a wedding. I looked at it a few weeks later and realized that by the time I would need a dress like that again, I might be a different size, it might be a different season, or the dress might be hughly out of style. So, I gave it to the Salvation Army.

And that's my new policy. Wear it and then get rid of it.

Now, tattered old shirts, those are hard to get rid of.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 6:15PM
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graywings, good for you. Once you wear it, then get rid of it, it may still be in style for the next person to wear.

The post that resonated with me was Frankie in zone 7. I have been getting better at getting rid of the "almost allright" items in my closet. After all, the things that look good are getting worn and re-worn. I don't have that many good items but as someone who hates to shop I have developed a better eye for what looks good on me. It doesn't take me a lot of time to decide yes or no and if it's a they have more in a different color or pattern?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 2:44PM
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I went one step further today. I have a skirt that fits, looks good, and is comfortable. HOWEVER, I can't find a top/shirt anywhere that looks right & matches it! I've been looking for 6 months, meanwhile wearing the skit with a plain Tshirt that "almost" looks right.

I decided today that I'm DONE with worrying about that stupid skirt! Since I can't find anything that really matches - into the box it went. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my mind! It was a very pretty skirt, just not worth the mental & physcial energy of trying to find a top any more!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 9:21PM
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Gee--What a difference a week makes!

I was looking for a semi-decent skirt/top to wear someplace and could hardly find anything in my dress-clothes closet. Everything was either much too large (I have lost some weight, not a lot, but the rest of it must've migrated elsewhere!), just made me look shlumpy, or were hopelessly outdated (I could play with an NFL team with all the shoulder pads that were in some of the clothes. I laughed at the "shoulder span" when I put some blazers on!).

Thanks to another poster here, who mentioned that domestic violence shelters can use clothing and shoes, that's where all the stuff will go! (hopefully they will be OK with just taking the shoulder pads out.)

(And I'm NOT naked! But I'm still going shopping for a nice, dressy basic skirt or two--but that's it! just 2!--and I'm going to make sure they will go with more than one top!)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 11:04PM
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mommabird, I had the same experience in reverse. Had a blouse I liked but never found just the right thing to work with it and so I have just given it up. I had to come to grips that my usual "separates" approach sometimes ends up in odds and ends that are fine alone, but don't really work with anything 'cause I never found that thing I hoped I would find to go with it, and therefore they're space-wasters and worries.

What I think is fun to realize is that, assuming that you are fortunate enough to be able to add something to your wardrobe now and then, it is much more fun and "worthy" feeling to do so if you don't have a lot of extraneous clothing. So when you stay kind of pared down on stuff, it makes it more fun to be on the lookout for the right thing and to give it a place in your closet. So now that helps me stay motivated to try not to buy those "almost" items.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 7:05PM
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Momma bird and frankie's problem is one I always had. Then I decided those items were "orphans". Now when I buy a skirt or top or jacket and its an unusual color, pattern or something I make sure to buy something that either matches or goes with it. If I cannot find something in the store that day--thats probably always going to be an orphan, and I don't buy it.
If its dark brown and I cannot find even one top to match it, then maybe its an unusual shade of brown and I skip it.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 8:49AM
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Whether I'm getting brand new clothes from a mail-order catalog, a store that sells brand new clothes, or a thrift store, I have to be sure that any new acquisitions will "work" with something I already have. Otherwise, I'll have to get more clothes to match the new find, and that might not be easy.

I usually chose classic cuts, so that the styles will already seem to match, and I only need to make sure that the colors go together.

I tend to stay with the same colors. I'm a "winter," so I choose pastels like pink, yellow and aqua, taupe and white. And jewel tones and black. A multi-color print skirt will go with many different shirts and jackets.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 12:39PM
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I have a friend who treats herself to one OUTFIT a year. Complete. Right down to shoes, pocketbook, scarf, bracelet. Wish I were that organized, or that I could stand running around for everything in one day. I didn't ask her if she got rid of anything.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 6:17PM
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Toni S

I've been taking baby steps, one thing at a time, to let go of clothes in my closet. TODAY though, I am proud of myself and did away with almost all of my "paint and spackle" clothes. I kept about 3 t-shirts and a couple of pairs of paints for my paint and spackle days. Two(kitchen size) garbage bags of paint clothes are gone. What a relief. I didn't need or want any of them, but just in case... I kept them. Just in case never came. If I am going to paint more than 3 days ever again, I will wash the clothes and start over. Kind of had a duh moment in the closet. One side of my closet is done, getting the dress- work clothes are going to be harder for me to organize or part with. Coming back to the organizing forum is inspirational for me.:)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 10:02PM
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toni, great move !! I always keep a jean fabric shirt for dirty jobs, undestructable.

Sale Racks: avoid buying a super marked down piece, if you can't find what it was paired with, in my case it's a plum color lace skirt, thought it would look good with any black top, not really......... what a bargain, it's hanging in my closet.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 7:02AM
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I've been considering downsizing my clothing by focusing on HOW I need to dress, rather than sorting through all the clothes piece by piece. Basically nail down outfits I need for specific circumstances. Ditch everything else.

I figure I need to dress for (in order of increasing 'niceness' or formality):

.painting/cleaning/gardening/dog washing
.working out
.comfy weeekends, ie fleece in this frigid climate
.casual to-a-friend's-for-dinner, volunteer job etc
.work clothes (80% business casual, 20% better busines)
.going out to a nice dinner, church event or the like
.wedding/holiday party/dressy affair

I'm thinking inverted pyramid... I know I need much more of the first categories than the last few!

I want to find the time to play dressup, then get dressed however many times it takes to cover all the above, holding to the "comfortable fitting and flattering" criteria. Then ditch anything and everything that doesn't make the cut and have a purpose.

There are WAY too many orphans in that closet, I know it. And truth, I usually choose to wear the same things over and over. Why wear that scratchy top when the favorite is at the ready? Hmmm.

It'll be kind of like packing - but for a year long trip!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 8:58PM
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HA! Right when I finished the above post, Purple Heart called to say they will be in the neighborhood the 26th.

I'm in for a donation pick up.

Now I'll have to make time to play 'dress up' by then.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 9:08PM
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This has been one of the most helpful threads on clothes that I have ever ever read. I just went through my closet yesterday, because I've been "out of action" and then away for so long, that I'd lost track of what I had. Also, we are now going from cool weather into our hot season, so I was ready to change things over.
Well, I thought I was doing well yesterday when I filled a grocery bag with items I simply didn't like anymore. Now, after reading on here, I am going back in there, to pull out the two linen shirts I kept, because they are simply great shirts. I haven't worn either of them for 2 years, but they are classics, and so I thought I'd hang onto them, for that skirt that I might find that might just be perfect with them.
Now I realise that there are a lot more "mights" to factor in... They might be out of date, might not fit, might just be a waste of space, might, meanwhile be useful to someone else, might be tired of hanging around for the skirt that I "might" find. They're out of here....gone!
And the more posts I read on here the more things are going out.
I think too, that as we get older, it's not variety we need, but what suits our shapes and lifestyles and age.
When you're glowing with youth and vitality, can any clothing be a "mistake"? I have 3 slim lovely DILs in their 20s, and my son's GF is a beautiful 18 year old. They can throw on a hessian bag or a silk sheath and look stunning.
They don't bulge, sag, wobble, spread or fade.
I'm learning that it's no longer a matter of liking an item of clothing in the shop. It really has to like me.
Sometimes I've thought it would be nice to just find something I like and know it'll look good, rather than having to search and wait to find the "just right" piece. On the other hand, when we're older, we can relax about "trends" and "fads" and get away with just a few good pieces.
When I was younger, I remember avoiding stuff that made me look like my mother. Now I am my mother, and it's rather nice to go "classic" at last. I find that I now have clothes that seem to be able to go "anywhere", by just dressing them up or down. Put on black stockings and court shoes and a lace top with that simple black skirt and it's ok for a night wedding. Throw on some sandals and a T-shirt, and I can wear it to a beach party. Not quite that simple, but something like that anyway.
We recently had a 92 year old lady visit us, and she looked like a queen. She was wearing the softest pale pink fluffy cashmere sweater with a classic blazer, and a floaty skirt. She looked a million dollars and I decided I wanted that look when I'm an old lady. It was comfortable, and yet so dressy. So I've already planned my old age look (LOL). But I realised when I was studying her outfit, that she could have worn it anywhere, at her age, and fitted right in. She wouldn't need anything else to wear outside the house.
Thanks for all the helpful advice on here.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 9:13PM
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I'm learning that it's no longer a matter of liking an item of clothing in the shop. It really has to like me.

Lily, truer words were never spoken! At 46, I'm starting to notice the "bulge, sag, wobble, spread and fade" myself, and shopping is becoming a little more challenging. I am going to keep your words in mind next time I go shopping and when I eventually get to clearing out the rest of my closet. Brilliant!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 9:57AM
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This whole thread has been an inspiration to me.

Now I've gotten rid of 'orphans' in my closet - things I bought and liked, that I have NEVER worn because they had nothing to go with them.

Things I love but that no longer go with my new bulgy, saggy physique. I'm tired of putting them on to wear and not feeling right in them anymore, and putting them right back in the closet.

Thanks guys!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 12:32PM
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