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Cleaning Out Your Vintage Wardrobe

January 20, 2016

Time to clean out your wardrobe

One of my very favourite things about wearing vintage, is the constant search for new (old) things. Most people who wear real vintage will be used to trailing vintage shops, charity shops and online to find that gorgeous unicorn piece in just the right measurements. I have never met a vintage collector who feels that their collection is complete.

I don’t think I’ll ever look at my wardrobe and decide that I don’t need to buy anymore clothes. One thing I am very aware of, is never letting my possessions become a burden. So as someone who is constantly looking out for my next amazing piece, so I must edit and curate what I already have. I never want to become overwhelmed by too many dresses, or have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing wear.

To Keep or not to keep
Every now and then it’s time to have a cull. I thought today I’d share with you some of my rules that I use to keep on top of my vintage collection.

Does it fit?

This to me is hugely important. I have to be very honest with myself, should I keep something that is too small with the hope that I might lose weight and it will fit in the future? Personally I don’t think so, if and when I do lose weight I will reward myself with something new, until them someone else could be enjoying the garment and I could use the space for something that I can enjoy now. The same applies for items that are too big, will I ever get round to having it altered? Probably not, so again it has to go.

Do I really Love it? 

I am definitely guilty of having a few gap fillers in my wardrobe. Things which I’ve bought because they fit and because they were a bargain. But I always seen to pass them by for my favourite dresses. Again they are just wasting space and for the one time I might potentially wear them, they’re not worth keeping. If I don’t love them they have to go.

Is it valuable?

It is very true that with the increasing rarity of vintage and the ever-increasing prices, certain pieces are both collectible and valuable. But keeping things because one day you might sell them, might not be worth the space. From a personal point of view I collect vintage to wear and I will often pass on investment pieces so that I can buy something new that I will wear more.

Vintage Dresses
Have you Worn it too many times?

I have been known to rid myself of some of my favourite dresses because I feel our relationship has come to an end. I have so many dresses that once I have worn something, enjoyed it and photographed it, I feel it is time to set it free. The best thing about vintage is that you can easily sell it and replace it with something new without having lost any money. I love the possibilities of constantly updating my clothes and letting them pay for themselves.

Am I Wearing it at all?

This is definitely the most important thing to consider and culminates all of the above. I feel very affectionately towards my real vintage dresses, not only are they beautiful, but they are also steeped in the history of the women who wore them before me. I hate thinking of them hidden away unworn and I would prefer to find them a new home where they can be enjoyed rather than shut away out of sight.

There are serious vintage collectors who create archives of fashion and it is different. But from my point of view my wardrobe is not so much a collection, but more a place where I want to store clothes that I actually wear.

What to do with your unwanted vintage
So once you’ve pulled all the unworn pieces from your closet what should you do with them? Again there are loads of options and I do a combination of the following…

Sell them:

I often sell my better items on eBay, add them to my Etsy shop or take them to a fair or car boot sale. There are also some fantastic Facebook groups for selling on your vintage pieces. I have a great memory or where I bought my clothes and exactly how much they cost and I always try to sell them for what I paid for them or a little bit more where possible. This means I can get new things with the money.

I find eBay the quickest and easiest way to sell vintage and still get good money. Etsy is great, but can be very slow-moving, as it really is very full of vintage now. I only take items that I don’t mind getting a very small amount for to car boots sales, as everybody is looking for a bargain there too.

Useful links from the blog:

My Ebay Selling Dos and Dont’s. 

My Tips for Selling at Vintage Fairs

So you Want to Start a Vintage Business

Donate them:

I get a lot of my vintage bits in charity shops, every year it seems to become harder and harder to find good vintage though. I really believe in returning some vintage to the charity shops every year so that someone else can enjoy a bargain too. It’s also a great way to support a good cause and give a little back to the world.

Vintage Clothes
Don’t Let Anything Slip Through The Net:

My final tip would be to make sure you remove absolutely every item from your wardrobe before you begin. This is mostly so that each and every item gets seen and no unwanted items stay hidden amongst the keepers. Another good reason to get everything out is to give the wardrobe itself a good clean. Moths and other pests like dusty corners and a clean organised wardrobe can help to keep them at bay.

Only put the items you want to keep back in your wardrobe and as you put them in, make sure you check them over for any damage. As they say “A stitch in time, saves nine”.

What tips do you have for sorting through your vintage, are you a hoarder or are you strict with yourself about limiting  your vintage clothing collection? Have you ever thrown out something and regretted it later? Let me know in the comments.

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  • Reply
    Mim McDonald (@crinolinerobot)
    January 21, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I did take a couple of 40s dresses to a chazza last year – I thought I’d miss them, but they didn’t fit, weren’t my style, and I haven’t regretted it in the least.

    I don’t have that many clothes – I suspect I have far fewer than most bloggers – owing to limited wardrobe space, so I’m trying to be more ruthless with what I buy. No more party frocks, it’s daywear all the way… Stull I’ll actually wear.

  • Reply
    Jessica Cangiano
    January 23, 2016 at 1:32 am

    Lovely post! I believe in doing that, too (returning vintage back to the wild, so to speak), and try to make a point to donate at least one mid-century item (be it a garment, accessory, or household related piece) as often as possible when taking things to the local charity shops.

    Have a splendid weekend,
    ♥ Jessica

  • Reply
    Randi C
    January 23, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I keep thinking that it’s time to cull my wardrobe but get so overwhelmed by the thought of deciding who stays and who goes. This is such an immensely helpful post, thank you!

  • Reply
    July 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Such helpful tips eapecially when my vintage wardrobe is a bit out of hand these days! 🙂


  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    I am trying to sort my wardrobe at the moment I have found your tips really helpful
    I really enjoyed reading your post

    • Reply
      March 28, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you! I really need to do mine again soon. Xxx

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