Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Case for Keeping Seldom-Worn Items

For this outfit I wanted to take this ruffled skirt in a different and less steampunk direction. As you can see I also wore my new Cydwoqs for the second day in a row, apparently in an attempt to rapidly drive down the price-per-wear. The gold finish of the shoes was just perfect for picking up the orange tones in the cropped cardigan, and the multitude of other colors in the cardigan made it possible to throw a teal tank top into the mix.

There's something about the proportions of this cardigan that make it tricky to wear, which is why I don't wear it very often. I've thought about altering in in some way, but I could never quite work out exactly what I would change. Eventually I decided to just let it be one of those seldom-worn items in my wardrobe that is nevertheless valuable to have on hand because of its ability to bring several different colors together. I don't like to have too many seldom-worn items in my closet, but the ones that I hang onto tend to have at least one of the following characteristics:

1. An unusual color mix. Just like with this cardigan, there are a few items I own that have such a unique blend of colors that I'll keep them around even though I don't wear them very often. When I do make use of one of my oddly-colored items, you can bet it'll be the one thing in the outfit on which everything else hinges. My long, zig-zag patterned top is another such item, and I also have some scarves that fall into this category.

2. A one-of-a-kind quality. There are a few things I own that are so distinctive that I don't need to wear them very often in order for them to have a big impact. Things like my patchwork boots or my vintage 60's dress come to mind. These are items that are fairly self-limiting because everyone remembers when you wear them, but if they're truly one-of-a-kind then they'll endure for years to come.

3. Filling a very specific niche. There are a couple of times when I thought, "I need something that's (specific color) and (specific length) and (specific other property). And man, that's a tall order when you've only got your own closet to browse through, isn't it? Any item I own that has ever fit the bill in that situation gets a free pass to stay around as long as it likes, even if it might only be those specific situations in which I wear it. A notable example is my brown tunic, which turned out to be exactly what I was looking for when I knew I wanted something brown, minidress-length, and drop-waist.

Do you have any other criteria for keeping those seldom-worn items?

Tank: Old Navy
Skirt: Skin Graft
Shoes: Cydwoq


WendyB said...

I'm always encouraging people to keep seldom-worn items, as long as they feel attractive in them. So what if you only wear something once a year, and you keep it for 10 years? I have lots of pieces like that. Not all clothing items are for every day. You wouldn't vacuum your house in a ballgown but if you have a beautiful ballgown, hang on to it for those non-vacuuming days.

eednic said...

that's a beautiful cardigan indeed! i have things in my closet that i've owned since high school (some worn more regularly than others) that I simply refuse to part with. as long as i have a place to keep my well-loved if not well-worn items, in my closet they remain!

i must confess i also have some "memory shoes" i store in a trunk. they probably couldn't be worn but they were so funky/cool/awesome i couldn't bare to send them to a dumpster. some might say i'm a packrat! i'm just a little sentimenal is all! hahaha!

Anonymous said...

You hit on my main reasons for hanging onto seldom-worn items, but I also keep 'em around if they have that magical ability to bridge seasons. I know that seems like an odd reason to keep something that doesn't get a lot of use, but often those items are unusual accents and if they can be unusual accents year-round I feel that contributes to their value!

Nana Erin said...

Oh I love this WHOLE look.

WickedThrifty said...

i'll take one-of-a-kind-quality to a different place: i keep things that are of absolutely divine fabric, even if they're not something i wear often... silk velvet, for example, i could never give away. ooh, la la.

Welcome to my headspace. said...

I love this look and I adore the shoes! As for one of a kinds, agree 100% - not everything in my closet has to be useful and practical. You need the flights of fancy!

Mervat said...

Stunning cardigan and I just love that skirt. I think I say this everytime you wear it!

Marie said...

The one of a kind quality is just what that implies- how will you find anything to replace it? So I don't need the satin vintage green coat everyday- as you pointed out people notice when I wear that sort of thing, so I do it judiciously. But if I ever let it go I know that I won't find something that shade of delicious green with such a bold cute and fabric (possibly that is a hint that I am not listening to). I admire your standards, mine should be a little firmer and I'd have more space in the coat closet.

Eyeliah said...

Oh yes, I agree very much with your reasons, especially the niche. I keep things for those once in a while over the top moments too, like a wild psycadelic jacket only worn twice so far ever in 5 years! but the things I seldom wear, I am always trying to wear more often.