How to Tell When It's Time to Break Up With Your Clothes

Shirtdresses, gingham, cowboy boots… if you're one of those women who finds vintage gold in mum's wardrobe every time you take a trip home, you'll have learnt from a young age that fashion trends are cyclical. But does that warrant keeping everything? And how do you know when it's time to get rid of your clothes?

This is a particularly pertinent question for those of us who live in tiny spaces—and unlike Carrie Bradshaw, we actually use our ovens for cooking. Add to the mix the speed at which today's fashion cycle operates, and you're left with quite the predicament.

"I'm pretty strict with my clothes—these days it's not so much 'one in, one out'—which I have done, but I do really consider what gets to stay and what gets passed on," says Work Work Work's founder Katherine Ormerod. "I give a lot of clothes away to friends and charity mostly because I live in 50 square metres and have a boyfriend, so there's just not room to lose your mind with clothes."

Katherine Ormerod Instagram


Katherine Ormerod

While technology battles to find a real solution to this (Closet+, for instance, is an app that records your outfits and tells you what you wear the least), we've pulled together the ultimate checklist to help you decide when the time has come to clear out your wardrobe and declutter, sell your clothes online or organise a clothing swap.

Keep scrolling to read our five signs you should break up with your clothes, as well as the clothes that you should always hang on to.

1. Your ex bought it for you. We're not saying you should burn it, but…

2. Three year's after you splurged on this item, it's still got tags in. It's probably making you feel guilty. You know what to do.

3.  It's stained (forever) and has holes in it.

Pandora Sykes London Fashion Week


Pandora Sykes 

4. You bought it on a whim for a party, and now you can't stand the sight of it: the sartorial one night stand. Next.

5. You broke it/ripped it/spilt wine on it over a year ago and still haven't fixed it. You don't love it enough.

And now, for the clothing we'd never dream of parting with…

If you're lucky enough to find a pair of jeans that fit you perfectly, treasure them forever. It doesn't matter if they're not always in fashion—if they're flattering and well-made, keep 'em.

A printed T-shirt, no matter how old, is a keeper. In fact, the more worn in it is, the more style points you get.

A pair of designer leather boots like these are a work of art, and if you look after them properly, there's no reason they shouldn't last you a lifetime. Plus, the more you wear them, the better they fit.

Just because you've worn something so much you feel like it's lost its wow factor, don't get rid of it. Pack it away for a few years, and wait until you're excited by it again: Statement tops are easy to grow tired of, but they're impossible to replace.

A classic outwear piece that works well for layering in winter and thrown over a dress in summer. Does anyone else get as attached to their denim jackets as we do?

Leather accessories age really well, and they are basically seasonless. Plus, they take up very little room, so you have no excuse not to keep hold of them.

If you have ever owned and lost/given away a super-soft and well-made leather jacket, you'll have experienced a particularly potent type of regret. Trust us, hang on to it these as if your life depends on it.

A Beautiful Dress That's Only for Special Occasions
Wardrobe Edit: Chloe Dress

When it comes to incredible clothes, the three-month rule simply does not apply. Even if you only wear a dress like this twice in your life, if you love it—keep hold of it. And maybe just keep it hanging on the back of your door so you can enjoy it every day in between.

Next up, here are 50 street style looks to inspire your summer wardrobe.

Opening Image: Collage Vintage

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