Frequently worn wardrobe items can fall out of favour because newer items that tickle your fancy even more take their place. As a result, newer pieces become the wardrobe workhorses and older items go into hibernation. It isn’t that you dislike the items that are in hibernation. In fact, you probably still love them. That’s why you hold on to the darlings, allowing them to vacation in your closet while other stuff does the heavy lifting. 

A year or two goes by, and for a variety of reasons some of the hibernating items come back into rotation. The vacation is over, and it’s work, work, work. 

I’ve found this often happens when I can refresh the look of the hibernating item. For example, I barely wore my animal print booties in 2012 because I favoured two pairs of cream booties and wore them all the time. But I’ve worn the animal print booties a lot in 2013 because I like to pair them with new white boyfriend jeans that are rolled at the hems. In this way, they look refreshed and feel “new”. 

Similarly, I haven’t worn my bright gold satchel in years. But now I’m wearing it again because I like the way it matches my new gold pointy toe pumps. It’s nice to break up my daytime clutch style, and be all matchy-matchy for a change. 

Is it really a good idea to pass on wardrobe items that have gone unworn for a year? I’m not so sure and that’s why I don’t suggest a specific timeframe for letting things go. Some items do swing back into rotation after a good long while, and it would be a pity to lose them. Of course, there are some items that definitely should go if you haven’t worn them for a year. 

So how do you know when to keep and when to pass on a wardrobe item that you haven’t worn in a while? It’s tricky, but I usually suggest that if you still LOVE the piece despite not wearing it for a while — hang on to it if it fits, is in good shape, and isn’t overly dated. Chances are high that you will find a way to remix the look and wear it again.