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Why you never wear some of your beautiful clothes

overflowing wardrobe
ageless style woman in fake suit
OOTD: Loft jeans, dyed GNW Luxe sweater, Harley Davidson booties (all own), pearl leather necklace c/o Wendy Mignot and sequin patch cropped denim jacket c/o StyleWe

Many women have an overflowing wardrobe

Have you been or are you in the situation that your closet or wardrobe seems to be close to burst like an overfull balloon? Despite there are so many clothes, you feel you have nothing to wear? Have you every questioned yourself why you don’t wear some of your beautiful clothes?

As with many things in fashion over 40, the reasons are manifold. Let’s go to the guts of it.

Some clothes are memories and keepsakes

Well, there are those clothes that you kept as keepsakes for memory only. You don’t wear them anymore because they were bought for an once in a lifetime special occasion. A candidate in this category is for instance your wedding dress. Unless you participate in a Wearing My Wedding Dress Challenge there is no reason or opportunity to wear it again. Take clothes that fall into this category out of your closet and store them in an insect safe box or old closet in the garage or cellar.

ageless style wedding attire My husband and I at our wedding in 1992. The skirt suit and black wash-silk blouse were custom-made
wearing my wedding dress challenge I wore my wedding suit again for Catherine Summer’s Wearing My Wedding Dress Challenge

Well, there are also clothes that we associate with bad memories. In German hospitals, you have to bring your own sleepwear and socks. I never wore them again after I was released. However, I don’t think that this negative association is the reason why in American hospitals you have to wear their gowns and “socks.”  😉

 Buy for the size you have, not the size you want to have

One of my friends has a closet full of beautiful clothes that she plans to wear once she looses those 10 lb. Loosing weight is even harder than trying not to gain weight. These clothes just get out of style and she finally tosses them for that very reason. My advice:

Don’ buy clothes when they don’t fit you. When you actually loose those 10 lb, you will be happy to buy new clothes, and you can see it as an award or motivation.

Toss your too big clothes when you lost weight

Some women are permanently on a diet and their weight plays jo-jo with them. As a result they have at least clothes in three different sizes in their closet. This means in this example that they don’t wear at least two third of their clothes. Always give the clothes that got too big away to charity. Once they are gone, you can’t take just one size up for comfort. Thus, you get early on getting rid of the unwanted gained pounds. Also put yourself on a clothes shopping mode until you lost them.

midlife fashion woman in denim on denim with sequin patch
Back view of OOTD: Loft jeans, Harley Davidson booties (all own), and sequin patch cropped denim jacket c/o StyleWe

Overcome your resistance to toss expensive clothes

My mom’s generation had always their Sunday’s Best. Often these clothes had been more expensive and were very trendy at the moment they bought them. However, since they were not in the normal rotation of tear and wear, they lasted longer than the everyday clothes. In other words, they still look great beyond their prime, but at the same time looked old-fashioned beyond any hope. The clothes got into the every-day category one day and made her – well look not fashionable or modern. She was fully aware of this fact, but resisted to toss the items because they were still in good condition. Needless to say, she was always unhappy about the way she looked and dressed except on those few Sundays in the first year these clothes were new. 😦

Don’t go that route:

Expensive outdated clothes don’t do you any favor. Never take something for Sundays only. Wear your new expensive clothes also on weekdays. What do you want to save them for? You want a Sunday every day.

Know your style and shape and shop for them

We  all love clothes and not only the clothes that look great on us. However, just because we like an item, doesn’t mean that we have to buy it. I love the look of romantic clothes, but the look is not me. Thus, if I had these type of clothes in my closet, they would just take up real estate. I wouldn’t feel “me” in them and therefore, I won’t wear them. I guess you know what I mean. When you have those type of clothes in your closet, give them to someone who will feel awesome in them.

fashion over 50 woman wearing a dirndl as skirt Karl Jaeger Dirndl with Jeanne Pierre sweater, L.K. Bennett pumps (all own) and scarf c/o India Hicks ambassador Tammy Grayfashion over 50 couple in Alpine tracht at Fairbanks International Friendship Day Southern Tirolean dirndl and Austrian lederhosen and leather jacket with traditional trim. The accessories on the apron are for Sunday’s Best only

over 40 fashion dirndl outfit for a rainy summer day Bebe motorcycle leather jacket with Karl Jaeger button front dress, Carhartt gingham shirt, Anne Klein T-strap slingbacks, DIY necklace and LV bucket bag (all own)Alaska beading on mittens Mittens are just not me. Not to mention it is hard to drive wearing mittens. I love the Athabascan Indian beading felt that I sewed onto these shearling mittens

One example of this type of items are my dirndls (photos above) that I bought as some of the women in the Fairbanks community expected me as an immigrant to wear a dirndl. I was so sick of explaining everyone that where I come from you don’t wear a dirndl that I finally bought one. You can read why I regretted that purchase at the link in case you missed it.

Know your flattering colors

Another reason why you don’t wear the clothes you have may be that their color washes you out. Even when your best colors were determined in the 80s, some of them are not so you. There are several reasons. Our skin’s complexion changes as we age. Our hair color may also change, or we even changed the hair color ourselves. 😉

style over 40 versatile jacket paired with BF jeans
Michael Michael Kors versatile leather jacket over GNW Luxe cashmere wool sweater with London boyfriend jeans, Gucci belt, heeled ducks accessorized with a silk scarf (all own)

Another reason is that there is more to a color than just being warm or cold and clear vs. muted. A color can also be deep or light. I was “diagnosed” as a winter in the 80s, and always looked terrible in the icy clear colors of my palette. Why? Well, I look best in deep, saturated clear colors. Therefore, my clothes in icy winter were just wallflowers in my closet back then. My advice:

Check whether you can dye them in a color that is more you. If not, give them away to someone who will love to wear the item.  Also ignore Pantone’s colors of the year when they are not so you and work around them with colors from the same family, but that are so you.

The photo above shows an example of a beautiful leather baseball jacket. I love the style and it fits perfectly. However, the colors looked more like chocolate brown and snow white when I ordered it. Unfortunately, it arrived when I was on business travel. When I came back it was too late to return it. Note that I bought the winter white sweater with the intend to dye it. However, I postponed doing so as it was the only piece that worked with it. Putting a scarf with a flattering color to my face made the jacket work for me. Nevertheless, I rarely wore it.

Buy wrinkle-free fabrics when you hate ironing

I have a confession to make. I hate ironing! In former times, I wasn’t aware that this was a reason why I didn’t wear some beautiful shirts, skirts or dresses. Once they were dirty, I procrastinated on ironing. This meant the items stayed out of the loop until the next season. I now pay more attention to the care labels. However, even if you buy items called wrinkle-free you may have to iron them once in a while, for instance, when you left them in the dry or laundry basket too long.

Going to the dry-cleaner adds costs

Pieces that needed dry cleaning used to be in my category of items that I owned, but wore seldom. Going to the dry-cleaner is time consuming and expensive. Time is money too. 😉 I finally, switched to dry cleaning at home. So if some of your unworn pieces fall in this category you can try it to change this by DIY. I wrote a How-To post on at home dry cleaning a while ago.

In a nutshell: To achieve ageless style start clearing your closet from the clothes you don’t wear. The fact that you don’t wear some clothes you have is sign that something is wrong with them. Tweet this.


advanced style woman in flare jeans and StyleWe sequin patch jacket
Loft night-blue flare jeans, Harley Davidson booties, dyed GNW Luxe sweater, fur collar, wooden sport watch c/o Jord and sequin patch denim jacket c/o StyleWe

The OOTD is an example of items that are so me and that I really love to wear over and over again. ❤

Do you have clothes in your closet that you don’t wear? In which of the categories do they belong? Will you clean up your closet to gain control about what you have? Let me know your dressing challenges so I can help you.

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When you like the blog you may like my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife too.

Photos: G. Kramm

Photo of my husband and me at our wedding: H. Mölders

Photo of my husband and me in ethnic clothing: A. Richards

Copyright 2013-2017 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

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