Every once in a while, when frustration grabs me, I decide to clear out the wardrobe. Any house organisational blog (of which there are thousands) will tell you that you should do this regularly. I’ve done it a couple of times in the last 18 months. I did it again today.
One of the trials of this exercise is the section of the wardrobe given to “those clothes”. The ones someone gave you, either as a present, or because “this would look terrific on you”.
These are clothes that almost without exception, I never, ever wear. By all rules like “if you haven’t worn this since the last time you did a clear out” or “if you only wear this when times are desperate and you wouldn’t be seen alive and outside in it”, they should go. But because they were, basically, presents, they are hard to throw out. I dislike tossing out the milk of human kindness. The problem is, very often, these clothes are clothes which you are getting because someone else is passing on to you stuff which they really should be clearing out in their own right. In certain respects, by taking clothes when they don’t want; you are doing them a kindness, but when you hit the point that they need to go from your wardrobe, 3 years later, they are still coloured by “oh X gave me that, she said it would look wonderful on me”.
What X in fact did, was gave you that, because “it’s too good to throw away”.
The conversations are embarrassing as well as you frantically try to find a diplomatic way to say no to someone who is not listening. Giving people clothes which they do not want is not a kindness, it is an obligation.
Dressing yourself is a deeply personal thing. There are colours I would not, in one million years, want to buy. There are fabrics which I hate because of the way they make my skin feel. There are shapes which do nothing to accentuate my good points. I have, very painfully, over many years, learned to identify the things I like and don’t like. Other people foisting their stuff on me messes up a carefully built system of knowing that absolutely EVERYTHING in my wardrobe suits me.
It’s not a kindness. Please don’t give me clothes that I didn’t explicitly choose myself.