Monday, November 8, 2010

Musings on a wardrobe

Twice a year I go through my wardrobe, ready for the change of seasons. It's a mysterious fact that once I've done this there are never enough coathangers available yet there were before I started and apparently a similar number of items get taken out and replaced with the next season's! :-)

I usually do the ready-for-summer gig on the first weekend in October, as it's typically warm enough by then to put the big woolies away. But this October was unseasonally wet and cool. I wore a heavy winter jumper a couple of days and we had the heater on at night - and even during the day last week. Bizarre. This is Sydney. October is usually in the mid 20s.

However the cool weather has gone for good I think, so, tempting fate and daring her to send another cold snap, I sorted my clothes this morning. A charity bag (which isn't really full enough), a washing/ironing pile and a hangup pile.

I'm a dreadful hoarder. What annoys me about me is that I can't even get rid of clothes I don't like any more. Take a camel-coloured pullover tunic I have. It looks like a sack of potatoes on me. I rarely wear it. But...the colour is good especially with black and cream, and it's pure new wool rather than an acrylic blend. So after much humming and hahhing I tossed it into the Wash and Keep pile. Don't worry, the charity bag hasn't left the house yet, I may still decide to chuck it in there at the last minute.

I have heavy cotton sweaters from the late 80s/early 90s which I might wear once a year. They are white, and a pig to wash as one of them has red satin embroidery and dye on it and runs like Phar Lap at the first sign of water. Yet I keep them, year after year. Once a year I might wear them out to a friend's house, as the style of the sweaters doesn't scream about their era. The one with red satin I bought in Paris so that has sentimental value, and they were both quite expensive so I hesitate to give them away.

And there are the jumpers my mum knitted me in the 80s. Very much a labour of love and even though I don't wear them any more I can't get rid of them. I just can't. I feel guilty at the thought. Mum spent hours on them, particularly one with a checkerboard pattern, green leaves and knitted roses sewn on the jumper. So they take up space, mothballed but sacred.

Am I alone in this? How many of you out there are ruthless? How many can say, "Pah! I didn't wear that top at all last year, or the year before. Into the charity bag with it"? If that's you, I envy you.

I have, though, finally decided to sell on eBay some clothes that on eBay. These are a couple of vintage gowns from the 1960s. The cheong-sam is a bit tight and I HATE the high collar I've decided; it chokes me. The white one with flowers is too big. And it's nylon so I boil in it. I've worn it once and felt glamorous, but in a meriingue-like way.

And finally there's this one below, which I didn't buy on eBay but paid, in retrospect, too much for in a boutique nearly ten years ago. I adore the colours but it doesn't fit me any more and while I am losing weight, I doubt whether I'll wear it again. If it sells, it sells. If it doesn't it'll go back into the wardrobe and I'll try it on again when more weight comes off. It zips up OK right now but I look six months' pregnant. Not a good look. I do adore the colours though.

One thing I AM turfing out is the cheap t-shirts and knitted cotton tops which collect little balls of pill on them. Made in China, they stretch out of shape in the first season. I used to buy cheap t-shirts because they were, well, cheap. And I can't reason paying $50+ for a cotton t-shirt just 'cos it's made by Esprit or Gap or some other label.

I discovered Icebreaker clothing last year. Beautiful, beautiful fine merino wool. And it's spoiled me forever for cheap t-shirts. I bought one Icebreaker tshirt and was so impressed by it that when I have a good month financially and there's something suitable on special I buy another Icebreaker piece. They are well made, and well-designed enough to wear under business suits (I'm not a blouse or shirt person). I live in them. I buy mine from a website in NZ (which means they are relatively cheap as the NZ dollar is even weaker than ours, and postage over the Tasman is pretty cheap too). They are cooler in summer than cotton tees and dry much quicker on the line. They hold their shape. They don't pill. They don't need ironing, which is good 'cos I'm busy enough ironing kaftans in summer (see below).

Selling these frocks on eBay may give me the wherewithal for another Icebreaker t-shirt - well, that's the plan anyway. And there's an Icebreaker sale on right now at my usual Icebreaker website.

So while the charity bag isn't as full as it could be, there are plenty of tshirts in there. I have more in the wash pile to join them.

My other summer clothing love is kaftans. Not the full-on 1970s Demis Roussos versions, but lovely cotton hipskimmers from places like The Tie Rack, which has stores in Australia. Last summer was so abysmally hot and humid I ended up buying half a dozen cotton kaftans in beautiful colours and patterns. Rich purples, lime greens, cool aquas and whites. The long sleeves protect your arms from the harsh Aussie sun, and the loose fit allows air to circulate. They are brilliant for cycling in. 

And finally - I sorted out my makeup as well this morning. All those lipsticks, blushes, eye makeup and foundation I don't use anymore as the colour looks naff on me. The winner was a mauve lipstick from 1985. Yes, 1985. I'd kept it to wear with purple stuff in summer but realistically hadn't used it in ten years. Behold:

Wave it goodbye - the garbage collection is Wednesday morning. 


  1. I love Icebreaker! Do you mind telling me the site in NZ you use?

    Like you, I have clothes I cannot part with, and usually for sentimental reasons. My sisters don't have that problem, so I must have some gene expressing that they don't. And then I accidentally give away something, and then look for it and miss it forever. Not very good at enforcing the give-away habit. Good luck!

  2. Hi Sox, I go to and they have a sale on right now!!! There's another site I've used - - and they have pretty good prices but the cost of postage from North America has gone through the roof in the last twelve months.

    Yes, I've given away things I've really regretted too after telling myself to be stern and toss it away. My mother is a hopeless hoarder too; I think she's worse than I am.

    Well, the Charity Bag is packed now as today was bright and sunny and I washed all the clothes that are going to charity. No turning back :-)