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, souls, and minds. The clues to a woman’s psyche are hanging inside her closet.

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

It’s left sitting at their price tag and all waiting until it finally goes out of style one day, 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, expensive pair of sky-high, studded boots that speak to your inner rocker chick and have to have them? But when you get them home, you realize that your corporate job offers very few 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 need, instead of fantasy clothes that hang in your closet like pieces of art. Knowing why you accept these clothes first makes it easier to break this costly habit.

We are Waiting to Lose 10 pounds

To be honest, do you have a pair of pants in your closet that is 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: “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 about 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: you think you are getting older and don’t feel you are pretty or youthful enough to wear beautiful things. If this rings a bell with you, I’m here to tell you that you deserve to look and feel fantastic and that you can be fabulous after 40 or 50 or at any age.

We Don’t Want to Muck Up Our Special Clothes

A final reason we save clothes reminds me of the same excuse we use when it comes never to using our china dishes or best silverware; they’re so pretty that we don’t want to muck them up. Instead, we wear (or use) 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 how you dress; it’s about how 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.

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

  1. I am on a spending spree – the things I can’t usually afford. I love natural fabrics, silk, cashmere, wool, linen, etc. I love clothes to last and am going away for three months. They are all in my suitcase with the tags on – they fit, they co-ordinate are stylish, and most were bargained because of the pandemic and the sales. My daughter and I are going to the loveliest hotel for five 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 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, while in London, a group of people came 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 like, I won’t even take the tags off 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 the ‘best’ yet I rarely go anywhere 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 my clothes and not just the same jeans and sweatshirt I wear at home. My first job of the day is to walk my dogs, and then I seem to stay in those clothes unless I’m going to work; help!!!

  4. I’m 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 armor 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 it if time permits. I 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 save 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 we’re pigs.) Use it, enjoy it, break t, 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 wearing 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. I think it is about my fear of losing something I love. Isn’t that one of the most challenging parts of 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 will take the challenge and live life in the clothes I love! Thank you so much for this.

  9. I love your website and how 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 used to do this all the time. My daughters kept after me to wear my good clothes daily and to stop saving them. I have dressed 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 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 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, what will you have for that special occasion?” as she’s seen me dress up and walk to the local supermarket. On these “normal” days, I prefer no cosmetics, plain jeans, a 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 is a balance to all this. We have seen that many women have waaaaay too many clothes and never have a chance to wear them out. This article speaks to that. We see hundreds of women out shopping, bringing home bags and clothes, yet we never see them in the clothes. We want to encourage you to wear and enjoy your clothes and maybe even wear them out so you can buy updated ones. By less, wear them more!

  12. Like many of us, I have to switch out my clothes for the seasons. As I pulled out all these lovely, almost unworn items this summer, I thought: WHY DON’T I WEAR THESE!! What exactly am I waiting for? So I made a goal right then to wear every single item. I had so much fun. I wore sun dresses whenever for whatever. I played with new color combos and wore things together that I had never considered before. It felt like I had been on a massive 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 every pair. It felt decadent.

    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 following season change, and I will do the same. 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 helps to drive home the point that we need to wear and enjoy these things in our closets! 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 excellent advice. I’d love to see our businesswomen step it up if they can afford it (and with the fantastic second-hand stores in Phoenix, you probably can!).

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

  14. This topic is near and dear to my heart. I am guilty 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, customers. They are always looking for and even buying attractive clothes, yet when I see them, they are usually dressed in poorly fitted, too short pants, sneakers, and t-shirts.
    I think this is an excellent topic for you to explore deeply. Is it that, as mature women, we feel it is a waste to dress attractively?

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

  15. Kelly, I do the same thing. I buy 2 in case 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 expensive because they were hard to find or I want them to feel special when I wear them. It’s ridiculous. Sometimes if I love something (and it’s affordable), I’ll buy two 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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