I’m sure you have experienced this situation. You wore an item very frequently last season, yet you hardly wear it this season, if at all. The item fits well, is comfortable and is in good shape. You still like the style, the colour, and the way it makes you feel when you wear it. So why has it gone from workhorse to orphan in a single year? 

When this happens to one of my wardrobe workhorses I can usually attribute the change in status to one or more of the following three reasons: 

  1. Something better came along: I’ve found other items that make me feel more fabulous than last year’s wardrobe workhorse, so I reach for those instead. The metallic tweed jacket that I wore all Spring and Summer last year, has barely come out to play this year because I reached for my citron blazer over and over again. Wearing citron made me feel happier than metallic grey.
  2. Too much of a good thing: I wore this item to death last year, so although I still like it, part of me is also sick of it. I wore my Fiji Mary Janes SO MUCH last year and the year before, that I was a little sick of them this year. 
  3. It’s not you, it’s me: My changing style preferences have created a new set of wardrobe workhorses. My floral body con midi dress has been waiting for an outing, but my new trouser-crazy self who prefers looser fits has been ignoring it all year.

The big question is whether to pass these items on since they haven’t had much style action in the last year. For someone who follows a strict one-in-one-out wardrobe principle, passing them on would create wardrobe space for new items. But I’m not parting with these items just yet because I still like them enough to hope that I’m going to wear them again next year. If they go through another year of being unworn, I’ll probably pass on the jacket and the shoes, but not the frock because it’s timeless and sentimental.  

Have you worn something with high frequency in one year, only to see it orphaned the next? Do my reasons for this shift resonate with you? Do you hold onto items that you haven’t worn for a year, or do you pass them on no matter what?