5 Crazy Reasons We Save (and Never Wear) Our Clothes

White Dress Never WornForget psychotherapy, Transcendental Meditation, or any other practice designed to give us insight into our hearts and souls and minds. The clues to a woman’s psyche are hanging inside her closet.

Here’s what I mean, and it has happened to all of us. You go out shopping and buy something absolutely wonderful, then you hang it in your closet and you never, ever wear it.

It’s left sitting there price tag and all waiting, waiting until one day it finally goes out of style and you end up giving it away.

Why do we SAVE our clothes instead of wearing and enjoying them? There are lots of crazy reasons:

We Buy Clothes for the Life we Want, Not the Life we Have

Have you ever fallen in love with an edgy and expensive pair of sky-high, studded boots that speak to your inner rocker chick and you just have to have them? But when you get them home, you realize that your corporate job affords very few if any opportunities to wear your beloved boots. You are buying for the dream instead of the reality.

It takes a lot of discipline to buy clothes you really need, instead of fantasy clothes that hang in your closet like pieces of art. Just knowing you why you are buying these clothes in the first place makes it easier to break this costly habit.

We are Waiting to Lose 10 pounds

Be honest, do you have a pair of pants sitting in your closet that are a little (or a lot) too tight but you keep holding on to them until some unspecified day in the future when you’ll be able to fit into them? Have you convinced yourself they will look perfect soon, once you finally get rid of that tummy bulge?

We’ve all been there, particularly as we age and it gets too darn easy for the pounds to add up. But ladies, let’s be honest with ourselves, that “someday” when you lose weight may be a long way – maybe a long, long way – off. Life is too short to wait for “someday”. Instead of saving clothes for something that may or may not ever happen, let’s embrace who we are today, take a deep breath and toss what doesn’t fit.

We feel Guilty for buying clothes

There are also darker reasons some of us don’t wear what we buy.  Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner author of, You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal About You, suggests that some women who are  compulsive spenders buy clothes, feel guilty, and don’t wear them as a form of self-punishment. Then there’s the saddest reason of all,  you feel you are getting older and you don’t  feel you are pretty enough or youthful enough to wear beautiful things. If this rings a bell with you, I’m here to tell you that you do deserve to look and feel fantastic and that you truly can be fabulous after 40 or 50 or at any age.

We Dont Want to Muck Up Our Special Clothes

A final reason we save clothes reminds me of the same excuse we use when it comes to never using our china dishes or best silverware; they’re so pretty that we don’t want to muck them up. Instead, we go around wearing (or using) the same old boring clothes every day, waiting for a special occasion to put on something pretty.

If you can relate and have been saving your nice clothes out of habit or fear of mucking them up, I say it’s time to break that habit. Train yourself to live in beauty every day. Eat off your best china, buy flowers and have them around the house, and wear your lovely clothes. Style is not about the way you dress, it’s about the way you live.

Do you have clothes in your closet that you are saving? Then I challenge you to live in the moment and wear them. Send me a photo of yourself wearing something you have been saving and I will post it.

Join the Conversation

27 thoughts on “5 Crazy Reasons We Save (and Never Wear) Our Clothes

  1. I am on a spending spree – you know, the things I can’t normally afford. I love natural fabrics, silk, cashmere, wool, linen, etc. I love clothes to last and am going away for 3 months. They are all in my suitcase with the tags on – they fit, they co-ordinate are stylish and most of them a bargain because of the pandemic and the sales. My daughter and I are going to the very loveliest hotel for 5 nights, and I can’t wait to wear them. After that, we are going to rent somewhere warmer through the winter. I have to go as I will not have my own place until the Spring. I am a 73-year-old woman who has always loved clothes, but I saved some of them for the best like everyone else. I know that I will look fantastic in them. A couple of years ago whilst in London, a group of people came up to me and said they thought I looked great. That doesn’t happen when I wear the same old clothes every day. I felt a million dollars when they said that to me. Call me shallow, but I love a compliment. I think we all do.

  2. Oh yeah, I have clothes I don’t wear. I did not start this practice until my mid 20’s, but If I buy something that I really like I won’t even take the tags off of it. I just like collecting nice clothes- lol I’d rather not see these ruined with my other boring clothes.

  3. I have just started following your blog and find it so helpful . when I read this I couldn’t believe that I’m not the only one to save things for ‘best’ yet I rarely go any where other than work and then when I do have a special occasion to attend I go out and buy something new!
    I need someone to tell me to wear all of my clothes and not just the same jeans and sweatshirt that I wear at home, my first job of the day is to walk my dogs and then I seem to just stay in those clothes unless I’m going to work, help!!!

  4. I’m really late to the party here, but I’m a 40 year old guy and this is me. I see something, I may or may not think it over, regardless, I buy it. Usually athletic wear, like under armour or nike. And I love it. But it hangs in the closet unworn and I feel nauseous and panicky and end up giving it to Goodwill. Or returning if time permits. I just wish I could own the stuff and be like ‘I’ll wear it when I wear it. ” I mean, it’s only clothes. Shoot, if this is my biggest problem, I’m doing alright.

  5. I worked at a retirement home and one of the things I heard so many times was I wish I wouldn’t have saved the good stuff. China, linens,clothing and jewelry that belonged to someone dear. I heard this so often that I now use my china daily and my fine linens for my friends and family ( i will say me and my husband don’t use that daily, but that’s because were kinda pigs.) Use it,enjoy it,break it ,make memories…

  6. One problem I rarely see addressed is how to look stylish in the winter in Florida! In Orlando, it’s still too hot to wear a jacket or even a sweater. I tried wering a scarf the other day and had to take it off too. Unless you have a job in an air conditioned office, it is hard to find what to wear when the calendar changes but not necessarily the weather. Help!

  7. Thank you for this post. I especially liked the sentence “Train yourself to live in beauty every day.” I work from home and jeans and sweatshirts are too easy. It’s time to clean out the closet and dresser drawers!

  8. Thank you for this! I am so guilty of saving my favorite clothes for…..???? And I never end up wearing them but one or two times. For me, I think it is about my fear of losing something I love. Isn’t that one of the most difficult parts about life. Losing things and people we love. So, I think I buy clothes I LOVE and then save them so I will always have them….sitting in my closet…ugggg… no more! I am going to take the challenge and live life in the clothes I love! Thank you so much for t his.

  9. I love your website, and love the way you encourage us older girls to make the best of ourselves! Do you think you could come here to New Zealand one day?

  10. I am late with this comment, but I, too, used to do this all the time. My daughters kept after me to wear my good clothes on a daily basis and to stop saving them. I have simply gotten into the habit of dressing as though I am meeting my daughters for lunch. I would never want to embarrass them by showing up anywhere in a t-shirt and sneakers.

  11. Yes, I am a 23 year old female who has a closet over-flowing with pure classic cashmere and silk items that I my mother buys for me (she’s french, and I love her classic taste as I can make it sexy by wearing heels or not wearing another top underneath). I am a medical student doing post-grad studies and I just can not afford to buy such lovely clothes for myself, but I can have them by not wearing them out. My mother says to me, “if you wear your clothes out then what will you have for that special occasion?” as she’s seen me dress up and walk to the local supermarket. On these “normal” kind of days I prefer no cosmetics, plain jeans, I nice bag and a well fitted t-shirt. SAVE YOUR CLOTHES! YOU MAY NOT HAVE THE $ TO REPLACE THEM, OR BE ABLE TO FIND THAT STYLE AGAIN

    1. Hi Lena,
      There really is a balance to all this. What we have seen is that many women just have waaaaay too many clothes and they never have a chance to wear them out. This article speaks to that. We see hundreds of women out shopping, bringing home bags and bags of clothes but yet we never see them out in the clothes. We want to encourage you to wear and enjoy your clothes and yes, maybe even wear them out so you can then buy updated ones. By less, wear them more!

  12. I, like many of us, have to switch out my clothes for the seasons. This summer as I was pulling out all these lovely, almost unworn items, I had that very thought: WHY DON’T I WEAR THESE!! What exactly am I waiting for. So I made a goal right then to wear each and every single item. I had so much fun. I wore sun dresses whenever for whatever. I played with new color combos, and worn things together that I had never considered before. It felt like I had been on a huge shopping spree without the pocketbook hangover. And the best part….I got compliments all the time!

    I was feeling so great I started adding in more accessories: jewelry, belts and of course SHOES… I also had lots of loved, but seldom worn, gorgeous shoes. And I wore each and every pair. It felt decadent.

    Every now and then I came across an item that when worn, I remembered why I wasn’t wearing it, and it went into the giveaway bag.

    I am about to move things around for the next season change, and I will be doing the exact same thing. I can”t wait.

    1. Hi Paula,
      I am standing up and cheering right now!!! YEAAAAAH!! Good for you for taking action! Thanks for sharing your story. It really helps to drives home the point that we need to wear and enjoy these things in our closet! Hugs to you from Deb

  13. I have a Jones New York flowered dress that is flattering, pretty and bright. I got it at Gottschalks in Fresno before the store closed – it was $100 and a very different color and style for me. I usually wore it to church, but a couple of weeks ago I saw it in my closet and thought, it’s August, why not wear it.

    So the next work day, I put it on and added a white short sleeve jacket and white high heeled shoes. I had so many compliments that I wondered why I had waited so long to wear it! I won’t wait so long to wear it again (we can wear summery clothes well into November in Phoenix). So this is great advice. I’d love to see our business women step it up, if they can afford it (and with the awesome second-hand stores in Phoenix, you probably can!).

    1. HI Vicki!
      YEAH!!! Good for you for stepping it up. It really just takes one person to get the ball rolling and you can be that girl! Nothing like trying to look nice and then getting complements to make your day!

  14. This topic is near and dear to my heart. I am guilty as charged of wearing my less than best most of the time and saving my “better” clothes for an occasion. As a p/t sales associate in a better NYC store, I notice the same way of dressing on many if not most of the customers. They are always looking for and even buying attractive clothes, yet when I see them they are usually dressed in badly fitted, too short pants, sneakers and t-shirts.
    I think this is a great topic for you to explore deeply. Is it that, as mature women, we feel it is a waste to dress attractively?

    In one of my favorite blogs “Advanced Style”, what really impresses me is the beautiful and mature women elevating the art of dressing to one of creativity and self-expression even into their 90’s.

  15. Kelly I do the same thing, I buy 2 incase I wear one out and want another one, except I never wear out the first one!

  16. Me too.I may not keep the items new, but I won’t wear them often for the same reason (I want to keep them in good shape). I even save things that weren’t that expensive because they were hard to find or I want them to feel special when I DO wear them. It’s ridiculous. Sometimes if I really love something (and it’s affordable) I’ll buy 2 just to keep myself from worrying about ruining one. Not even sure I should admit that – ha!

  17. I am also so guiltily of this crime! I think it goes back to my dear mum, who always saved her best nightie for the hospital and came home from church and quickly changed into her ‘house clothes’!

  18. I’m so guilty of doing this. I have so many lovely pieces that I keep in the wardrobe and don’t get as much wear out of – so the less lovely things are the ones that I’m most often seen in.

    I shall make an effort to look at the things that deserve to be let out more!

  19. Since I find it so difficult to find clothes that are comfortable, reasonable and age appropriate I save my nice clothes for those special occasions.

  20. Sometimes she may not be sure how to style the item or like Savvy Working Gal, she’s saving for a meeting or a special event. I believe you should ALWAYS wear what you love and what loves you back. I work for Girls Best Friend and Co, we develop personalized wardrobes for our cleints. We encourage our clients to look fabulous every single day of her life.

  21. I’m glad I’m not the only one who does this!
    Every time I clean out my closet, I find something I’ve never worn, and now it’s outdated. So sad!

  22. I save my good clothes for a day I have a lunch meeting or someone important is visiting the office. I am afraid I will spill something on them then I will have nothing good to wear when needed. The problem is I usually have spent alot of money on these clothes and before I know it they no longer fit or are no longer in style. I did buy few nicer things on clearance that will be perfect for fall. I agree with you it is time I dress a little nicer on a daily basis.

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