We all have them, those items of clothing or accessories we purchased that sit in our closet untouched, unworn, sometimes with the tags still on but past the point of return. Those are the items I go to first when doing a client's closet alignment. Because those clothes always have a story and embedded in that story are valuable wardrobe lessons.
I want to know is how the item came to be in your closet in the first place. Was it a gift from a sister, a friend, a mother or mother-in-law? You appreciated their thoughtfulness but it wasn't really something you would ever wear. But you'd feel guilty to just get rid of it.
I give you permission to pass these unworn items on to someone who would really appreciate them and wear them. Clothing styles get dated and fabrics deteriorate so consign or donate, but let these garments move on to bless someone else while they still can.
Or perhaps an item is has sentimental value, reminding you of a happy occasion or event in your past? These items do not belong in your clothes closet. Put your sentimental items somewhere they can be well-preserved. Or take a photo and let them go.
Lesson #1. An unwanted gift needs to be re-gifted and sentimental items should be preserved elsewhere.
Or maybe you were talked into buying an item of clothing by a sales person, a friend, or family member. Then once you got the item home you found you just didn't wear it.
So my next question is, "Why not?" Your answers to that question give me a lot of information.
Perhaps it was the color (not flattering for you) or the fit (not flattering for your body) or the style (doesn't feel like you) or the fabric (not comfortable on your skin) or the embellishments (just not you) and so on. This helps us build a list of what you do/don't like and need in your clothing.
Lesson #2. Stop settling for clothes that are "almost" right, but not quite.
Or is the problem that the fit is a little off? Maybe the sleeve is just a tad too long, the skirt a little too short or the pants are pulling at the crotch etc. Or maybe a button is missing, a zipper needs replacing or a hole needs mending. This might be a piece that just needs to go to the tailor for some quick alterations or repair.
Lesson #3. An alteration or repair is a worthwhile investment if it means you will actually wear the piece.
Sometimes, a garment hangs unworn because as much as you love it, you don't have anything else to wear with it. The dress that doesn't work with any of your shoes, the jacket that has no top or pants to pair with it, the patterned pant that doesn't have a suitable pairing and so on. If it's a piece you love, identify what you need to go with it, shop for it, and you'll soon have a fabulous new outfit in your closet.
Lesson #4. Identify your wardrobe gaps and shop specifically for the items you need.
Or perhaps you bought an item on sale without really thinking about how it would work for your lifestyle or fit with the rest of your wardrobe. This piece can serve as a cautionary tale -- just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's a wise way to spend your money. But if you like buying clothing at this price point, that's good to know too. You just need to focus on the pieces you need that are in that price range.
Lesson #5. Buying something "on sale" doesn't always save you money.
Does the item represent your past or future rather than your present? Are you holding on to items that are too small in the hopes of losing weight in the future? Or do you have items that are linked to an old job, a former lifestyle? Take a realistic look at these items and ask yourself if they are truly linked to your present wardrobe needs.
Lesson #6. A working wardrobe needs to support your current lifestyle, not your past or your future.
And finally, you may have some great clothing pieces/accessories but you aren't quite sure how to style them. This is an indication that you would really benefit from a personal stylist to help you make the most of what you already own.
Lesson #7. It's okay to ask for help to maximize your wardrobe and to look and feel great in your clothes.
So take a good look at those unworn pieces in your closet and ask yourself the one key question, "Why am I not wearing this?" I'd love to hear what wardrobe lessons your unworn clothing teach you.