Recent studies undertaken by Marks and Spencer in association with Oxfam found that we're really good at buying clothes, but not so great at wearing them. In fact, there are an awful lot of items in British wardrobes that are purchased, then never worn at all. 44%, in fact. That's pretty un-nerving, if the nation's wardrobes are as overstuffed as mine.
Andrew Soar, campaign manager for the M&S/Oxfam joint venture Shwopping aims to get those clothes back into circulation. For one thing, there's a lot of money tucked away doing nothing. He estimates that we have £2.7bn worth of garments hanging dormant. The simple conclusion? All of us could do with a bit of an audit.
So where do you start? Chitra lays out the simple steps to releasing space in her wardrobe:
In an attempt to “release the power” of my threads, I begin by counting clothes, which is surprisingly fun. I have 164 items – more than I expected. On average, each wardrobe in the UK contains 152 items, of which 57 are never worn or haven’t been worn in the past year. I more or less stopped buying clothes three years ago when I had a baby and took voluntary redundancy. Since then, my clothes have come from charity shops – with the odd Uniqlo splurge. I soon discover that there is something particularly sad about an unworn item of clothing originating from a charity shop. Twice as rejected, twice as pointless.We're all guilty to some extent of falling in and quickly out of love with a garment. The trick is to realise that the affair is over and it's time to move on. You could find some items are worth more than you think–Soar estimated Chitra's rejected items having a resale value of over £600. There's no need to fire up your EBay app, either. If you donate M&S clothes to Oxfam, you'll get money-off vouchers for new items in store as part of the Shwopping initiative.
A twice-yearly edit of the items in your wardrobe can make all the difference, and stop you feeling as if you're drowning in clothes. A good rule of thumb: if you haven't worn it in a year, you probably won't ever again. Set it free, and let someone else love it.
All of this gives me an excuse to post a video, and air out my prog rock tendencies, for which I make no apologies. Use it as a soundtrack for your own wardrobe exploration. You know what you like.