The 20/80 Syndrome

I'm in a wardrobe dilemma.

I have a beautiful wardrobe of clothes that is suffering from the 20/80 Syndrome. This precise syndrome entails wearing 20% of my wardrobe 80% of the time.

I love thrifting, I think you all know that by now!! I love the thrill of obtaining a quality piece, be it a dress, jeans, jacket, boots, bag or accessory at a very low price and its a double bonus if its designer or in trend.

I also love blogging and showing my new purchases-some of them get worn regularly, a lot of them come out for a photo shoot and don't get worn again.

As it comes to winter, I'm in my usual uniform of woollies and jeans or leggings, with the jacket of the day chucked over the top. Unfortunately, my current lifestyle doesn't allow regular outings of my lovely dresses, mores the pity. I wear a uniform for work, sort the kids out after school, do food shopping and housework and at the weekends I generally chill out, go to boot sales and/or charity shops and catch up with remaining housework.

Summer is great for my vintage summer dresses as this is when I do go out and about to different places-but I have ample that I've worn and a lot of gorgeous 'collection' dresses that I haven't!

My Ossie Clarks, Celia Birtwells, Jean Muir, Leonard, etc all hang patiently waiting in the wardrobe. Waiting and waiting.

Its leaving me perplexed I must admit. I do sometimes wish I had a different lifestyle to show off these pieces, but I will say it won't change anytime soon as I don't intend changing my job. I really like what I do and am happy enough. I don't yearn for a career in fashion, nor do I really enjoy selling clothes. I had a stint of it on Ebay and I would do it as a one off, but I can't see myself as a vintage clothes seller.

So, this is my dilemma. I love all my stuff, but its not being worn. What to do then?

Well, I'm certainly only going to buy in future what I need. This isn't a 'credit crunch' post, as I'm not looking to cash in on my designer collection for the money-I'm not desperate to raise funds at all. Its about me being perplexed with having a wonderful wardrobe that is suffering from the 20/80 syndrome.

I have enough storage for my things, so that makes me say hold on to my clothes, but on the other hand is it worth keeping if I know realistically I won't be wearing the majority of it anytime soon.

I'd be so interested on your thoughts on my situation-do you also have a similiar situation?

Also, this dilemma doesn't stop my passion for thrifting. The boot sale season is near on finished now, so I've a few months to ponder on this. I think I need to stop going to boot sales, but I love them, LOL!

I visited a lovely new blogger today and her post really struck a cord. She asked' What is it about shopping and obtaining that satisfies me, and if thats even of real value to my Life? A question indeed!!


Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

hmm very interesting points you bring up here. a lot of times i find myself shopping just to shop without actually needing anything new. on one hand, i completely understand your passion for vintage clothing and in that sense, you can't really pass things up since you won't be seeing them again. i would suggest trying to wear some of the more fancy pieces you have by wearing them in slightly different ways. perhaps you can dress down a fancy dress by pairing it with an edgy belt, some worn in boots and a sweater. this way, you can still wear your fancy things without parting ways!

Make Do Style said...

Actually wear your fab dresses to the supermarket go glam! Be bold and enjoy it. Ditch the easy and obvious and stand out without a care in the world - you'll be great!

Reena Rai said...

Me too, I have a wardrobe full of clothes and I only seem to wear the same things over and over. I think that my wardrobe is too small though, so I can't see everything clearly and I manage to convince myself that when I have a walk-in, it'll be fine!

Sharon S said...

Hi Emily-thanks for your great comment-its certainly food for thought about just wearing my designer pieces anytime and in different ways too.

Hi kate-thanks so much for your advice earlier and this comment reminds me of Lulu Guinness-she apparently gets dressed up to the nines for shopping in M&S, LOL!! I need to be brave and bold-isn't it easier though in a hoodie and jeans!! LOL, only kidding-I'm gonna try, I promise!!

Hi fashion dreamer-LOL, a walk in wardrobe to some gals is the spare room!!

Shes Dressing Up said...

As far as your dilemma is concerned I can totally relate.

However, my problem is that when I buy something new I feel like I cant wear it until the "right" occasion (which never arrives) and so it sits in my closet for months and months.
Quite often I will look at it and WANT to wear it, or even get to the stage that I put it on, but if it looks really nice I get scared that I'm "wasting" it and take it off!!

I think there may be something deep and psychologically wrong with me haha!

Sharon S said...

Hi Nic-Ditto for me, exactly!! I am soo the same, I can't believe someone else is like this too, LOL!! And, the newer the item, the worse I am-in my mind, it has to be the 'right time'. I agree, its definitely psychological (not bad!!) in that we are looking at the clothes in the 'wrong' way? I think I need to stop treating 'new', 'designer' and 'collection' things with such reverence and just wear them-end of story. How about that then, haha!!

Anonymous said...

I sympathise, sometimes you can get too much of a good thing! My wardrobe is also stuffed to the gilders.. I probably have a 60/40 ratio.. but there are some dresses which I deem too special to wear just to the office.. which is why I became a vintage seller.. however now I'm taking a break from that I'm hoping to curb my buying and spending and just concentrate of getting fitter and enjoying what I have instead of constantly wanting more!

You will just have to plan more days out to showcase some of your fab outfits :)

Vain and Vapid said...

I have the same problem. Now that I am moving I have decided that whatever I haven't worn in over 2 years goes.... That's when eBay comes in, it is a god sent...

Tricia said...

I understand that ^^ problem, I used to do this and then I'd finally wear it and immediately spill something on it! like a curse, serious, so I decided just to wear right away and so what if it gets stained!
But it sounds to me with your vintage pieces you have a collector's spirit, and there's not a thing wrong w/collecting!

Dana (MODAna) said...

don't hold on to anything
at MOST you will miss 1 piece of every 10 you give to charity/sell
I'm speaking from experience

Fashion_Loving_Stylist said...

Hey Sharon, I have an idea, I think you should put your pieces together the way you did for your "A Look A Decade" bit and put together an exhibition. I love your various styles and I think a lot of people would go to the exhibition. I would actually fly to England if you do it. Let me know if you want help with the idea. I'm currently working on a photographic exhibition and I've learned a few things. Good luck.


Anny said...

20/80 here too - but my poison are sample sales. I end up with a lot of clothes I couldn't "afford" to pass up but never get worn. I was thinking about it today while looking at my skirts.

I sold a lot of things this summer at garage (boot) sales but have so much left and eBaying vintage or lesser known brands isn't really worth the hassle for me.

WendyB said...

Girl, you've just got to make an effort and wear that stuff for no reason!

Anonymous said...

Great post!
I find myself cleaning out my closet every month. the good news is I am getting rid of stuff I don't wear, but it makes me question my shopping habits. And I came to a conclusion.

I need to stop buying cheap and start buying items that will last so I don't need to keep buying.

I buy vintage every week for my shop. So that definitely satisfies my shopping bug.
Now I just need to concentrate on filling my closet with quality clothing that I actually wear rather than crap I wear once.

Secretista said...

Get rid of the other 80% and buy more clothes!!!

Pamela Tan said...

oh my.. we have the SAME dilemma! :(

what im trying to do now (but fails once in a while) is committing myself to a "shopping ban"! i promised to wear all of my clothes first.. because i have those which was bought 2-3 years ago, but never ever been worn! and whats weird is, my style has changed over those years, so i dont think i would be wearing them EVER! i promised to sell most of them, but im darn too lazy right now, and people arent into buying 2nd hand here.. so i shove them into these huge luggage boxes,.. and from that, i realized, if i havent accumulated these unimportant things - i should've had more money to buy me a classic chanel.. *sigh*

Sharon S said...

Hi ladies who Lunch-a great answer and good advice too. I think I'll most probably go down the same route as you, which will involve no new spending.

Hi vain and vapid-I agree, Ebay reaches a worldwide audience and generally is so much better to use than anything else!

Hi fashion herald-a very interesting answer, I like the 'collecting' part! I'm also typically clumsy with stains too, just my luck I'll do this, LOL!!

Hi dana-thanks a lot my dear-I will bear this in mind!!

Hi lenya-what a fabulous comment and idea my dear!! I'm not sure my wardrobe could warrant a major exhibition but its soo nice someone thinks that way about my things!! I'm still inbetween making a decision to hold a lot of my stuff, though. If I do need any further help or advice, I be straight to you-much appreciated, thanks!

Hi anny-yup, sample sales are a killer-too good to pass on, but then you need to wear the things!!

Hi Wendy-your advice is the most common sense and right in my head to follow-I just need to do it!!

Hi sandra-thanks for stopping by with your lovely comment. Yep, like you, I need to stop buying. I already have a lot of quality stuff thats just not being worn.

Hi secretista-I might do the first part, but not the last...noo more shopping, LOL!!

Hi pam-I think the earlier you change your shopping habits the better! Just imagine, a classic Chanel on your arm rather than the storage boxes my dear.

Marian said...

hello darling!! i like this post so much as you mentioned something that affects a lot of women.
the solution is to wear you beloved ossies etc in the here and now.So after you get off work,even when you have no where particularly fancy wear a lovely dress perhaps over thick ribbed tights to keep you warm.Then with some fall/winter boots,a gilet,then a coat. So wear those fancy dresses as part of your regular day wear.Your lovely purchases are dying to be worn my lovely,so get to it ;o) An same piece can be made to look different and fit two seperate occasions depending on what its paired with. Uk is awfully cold so i just do tons of clever layering. Hope this helps hon!

Sharon S said...

Hi marian-another excellent idea-I will now have to invest in some lovely woolly thermal tights!! I really like the sound of doing this, thanks!


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