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Fashion Hoarder: How Long to Keep Clothing

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Fashion Hoarder: How Long to Keep Clothing

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Dear Miss A,
Over the years I have bought some great designer outfits. I have many things by Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani. I have taken good care of my clothes and they still look like new. However, some parts of these outfits appear a little outdated. My question is this: how long does one hang on to these outfits without becoming a hoarder. Some of these items I’ve had for 30 or 40 years. I’m not sure if I should hang on to them. Thankfully, I do have the space to accommodate these vintage outfits, but I’m not sure what to do with them, or if I should wear them.

Please advise me,

Potential Fashion Hoarder

Dear Potential Fashion Hoarder,
Thank you so much for writing me with your question. I’m not sure just how much you have kept for the past 40 years, but so long as you’re fortunate enough to have the closet space to keep them, then I think that is fine. They say that if you haven’t worn something in the past two years, you should get rid of it, but I disagree with that rule. I am a big believer in going through clothing each season to edit the mistakes we should never have purchased, pieces we are too old to get away with, and items we no longer like. Personally, I tend toward classic pieces which are timeless and can be worn many seasons. But for those who like the trendier styles, I think high-end designer trendy pieces should be kept if you really love them. Fashion seems to be cyclical, but  it never comes back exactly the same. That said, it’s fun to bring back a vintage piece when the trend comes back in style. I also believe in keeping quality  accessories, as they take up less closet space than clothing, but can make a big impact when you bring them back to change up a look.

As you edit your closet each season, consider smart tailoring as it can not only create a better looking proper fit, but can enhance and update older pieces. While there are designer pieces which should never be altered as they are like art and should be worn proudly as they are, other items can be tweaked. For instance, you can remove huge shoulder pads or add them back, as the trend comes and goes. 

Another thing to consider as you edit your clothing is size. Keeping your “skinny clothing” around will only make you feel badly every morning when you open your closet to find something to wear. They will take up space, so that you can’t really see what you have (that you can fit into). It also does you no good to keep your “fat clothing” around as that is sending yourself a message that you won’t stay your current weight — that you don’t believe in yourself enough to trust that you will never need them again. Realistically, by the time you can fit back into your skinny or fat clothing, they will not be in fashion, so it’s best to donate them to charity while they are still fashionable enough for those in need to wear proudly. If you have great designer pieces that you need to part with after thinking through these considerations, think about passing them on to a friend or relative who would appreciate them, or consign them in a larger city where the fashion will be more appreciated and you’ll gain a little extra money.

I suggest you take some time to go through your collection of designer pieces, and see what you truly love and would wear which still fits or can easily be tailored. Thanks again for writing in, and let me know what you decide!

– Miss A
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In 2008, I launched AskMissA.com which grew from my personal blog into a site with 700 writers, covering the intersection of charity & lifestyle in 20 U.S. cities. With Charity + Life, I am going back to a personal blog where I can share my favorite things, and continue to shine a light on nonprofits, and cause marketing campaigns to inspire others to give as they live.

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