You probably had that moment in your life, when after reading a book about discovering your personal style (or perhaps about advantages of decluttering) you decided to reorganize your wardrobe. Following the advice, you start to evaluate each piece of clothing and decide if you want to keep it or not. And suddenly you discover that there are so many clothes that you own but don’t actually wear. If you’re like me, you may find some of them lying completely forgotten for months (or even years) in your laundry basket.
Sometimes they turn out to be amazing; you find items that you can easily fall in love with again and breathe new life into. You may find out that you actually own that perfect summer dress you’ve been looking for recently. But most of the times, the things you come across during this wardrobe cleanup go straight to the “donate” or “sell” pile. I’ve been there and I know how painful such discovery can be – after all, when you add it all up, it quickly becomes clear that the money you spent on those items could be invested a lot better (in quality pieces that you’d wear all the time or in something completely different like a holiday trip abroad).
But the worst realization came when I went to a local market to try to sell those items. I mean, I was glad I was giving them a new life, but I was really surprised how little they were worth. I was happy if I could get 20% of the price I once paid. After all, there are so many options for people to buy new items on the cheap (either on the high street or in outlets) that they’re unwilling to pay a lot for second-hand pieces.
The conclusion is that, unfortunately, most used clothes do not have much value. Unless you have a designer thing or something truly unique, it’s nearly impossible to regain the money you once invested.
This made me a lot more aware when it comes to shopping. I try to consider carefully every item that I’m about to buy, because I can imagine it lying on a pile with “to sell” note. I recommend such experience to anyone who’s looking for reasons to shop less.
But I’ve learned something more. There are certain types of clothes that get resold more than the others (apart from unwanted gifts, of course). These include:
- items bought on sale – as we all know, sometimes seeing this red tag it’s so irresistible that we can’t help but buy, and yet many of those items turn out to be completely unnecessary. They often lack in quality or aren’t our style and as a result they only take space in our closets.
- items that aren’t exactly our size – it’s never a good idea to buy something if it doesn’t fit right from the beginning. You won’t feel good in it and therefore you’ll be less likely to wear it. I know what I’m talking about – I once bought Diesel jeans (on sale!) that were about 2-3 sizes bigger (I know…) and even with the efforts of my fitter they never looked good.
- “trendy” items – we’ve all been there. Buying something that’s all the rage and looks so great on the runway or worn by celebrities can be so tempting. But unless the trend corresponds with your own sense of style, it’s a lost cause. I’m happy to say that every year I tend to make less and less fashion choices based on what’s trendy, but I used to be guilty of this in the past. I bought the dress with exaggeratedly wide shoulders that made me look like a casual copy of Lady Gaga or those strange, really wide sneakers in middle school, which made my feet look like flippers.
- items that you’ve been told you should own – there are millions of articles around the web and in magazines that tell you what every woman needs to have in her closet. Some of them are wonderful and accurate, but remember that in the end of the day, you’re the one to wear those things. They may be the most beautiful and stylish pieces, but if they don’t suit your needs, they’ll turn out to be useless. I once bought a black pencil skirt and even if I actually like it, I have nothing to wear it with (as majority of my clothes are less formal) and, most importantly, I don’t have a corporate job or any other occasion to wear it to.
I hope my story will help you to rethink your shopping habits. Selling or donating your old clothes can be a great lesson and a big step on your way to becoming a smarter consumer.
Do you have similar experiences? Please share! As always, I appreciate all the comments :)