• Lyn Cowie

Purging sentimental clothing pieces


Marie Kondo, the tidying up guru, suggests tackling one’s wardrobe first, in a household of too much stuff. “Begin with the easiest grouping of possessions, your wardrobe,” she says.


Goodness, she is so wrong – for some of us anyway!


Some of my break ups were particularly difficult. I’ve broken up over 500 times in the past 5 years, and some splits are more difficult than others.


Let me explain; I sent my Giorgio Armani pants in for reselling, as part of my journey towards a more minimal wardrobe. At the time, these whimsical pants were, no doubt, the hardest item I’d had to let go of.


My 30-year obsession with this designer’s fluidly classical designs doesn’t help matters!


Although I have fond memories of a holiday friendship when I bought these glorious light weight, sea-foam green, wide legged pants, that’s also not what made it so hard to part with them. I was lucky enough to visit the Armani factory outlet in Lake Como, Italy so I could even overcome the common obstacle of too-pricey-to-part-with. I’d had them for 9 years, so they’ve also had a good wearing innings. Granted, they had been uncomfortably tight in the waist for a while, yet I'd still clung on so tightly!


So let me tell you what has made it so darn difficult to let go of them.


It’s because they represent ‘my wishful self-image’. The look you dream of yourself wearing, but never really get around to pulling it off in your real life experiences.


I call these pieces wishful-self items. We love them but know they’re not a good match for our actual lifestyle. So what happens is this piece goes back into our closet, only to be our daily reminders of a failed fantasy self-image, or a slimmer body, or a guilt of money spent, or whatever the achilles heal is that prevents us from parting ways.


And that my readers, is the dichotomy of breaking up!


Thankfully, once we can see why we’re clinging on so tightly, we can often overcome our attachments.


So here are just a handful of reasons why breaking up is so hard to do:

  • Wishful-self pieces – These items of clothing or accessories are divine to love, touch, hold or admire but not as easy, or comfortable, to wear or simply don’t represent your authentic style

  • Orphan items – Unlike the above piece, these pieces fit and are pleasing to wear, but simply don’t have partners to team up with. So either find something to wear with them or let them go

  • Sentimental attachments – Remember that memories aren’t woven into the fibre of the clothing, these memories are inside you. So take a pic and let it go

  • Great quality items – Other people also recognise and appreciated good quality, so stop being too precious about your never-worn item just because it’s great quality. Share by reselling or donating them

  • Size – if it doesn’t fit today, alter it or discard of it. Be good to yourself by accepting where you are today (pregnancy aside).

Among Marie Kondo’s better suggestions is that we thank our clothing for their wear, before letting them go. This practise makes much sense and is certainly a way to honour their service.


As for my Armani pants; the hard part was over, and two hours later and I had to wonder what all the fuss was about!



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© 2019 by Lyn Cowie. Bringing Consciousness Back into Style

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