When I help my clients edit their wardrobes, there are items that do not fit the current size and shape of their bodies. Items are ill-fitting for various reasons. For example, the size is right but the silhouette is a mismatch for the body type of the wearer. Or the size of the item is too big or small. Or laundering has caused an item to shrink or stretch out in the wrong places. Although I am an advocate for passing on clothes that do not fit, there are also reasons to keep them.

My clients and I discuss each ill-fitting item, and make a plan. Many are passed along. But more and more items that are in good condition are kept for the following reasons when clients really like the garment.

1. Alterations

Some items can be altered to create a good fit. Of course, alteration results are mixed and it’s a gamble. But if the alteration is fairly small, straightforward, and affordable, I vote give it a bash. It’s amazing how an item can be transformed to fit with a little nipping, tucking, and hemming.

2. Placeholders

Some clients continue to wear slightly ill-fitting garments because they are workhorses. They therefore serve as a placeholder until they find a better fitting version of the same item. Sometimes it takes a while to find the right item because of unavailability or budget constraints.

3. Weight Fluctuations

Some clients keep a range of sizes in items because their weight fluctuates regularly. This means that a size up or down will fit in the not too distant future. Other clients hold onto items that are several sizes too small because they are on a weight loss journey (especially post pregnancy). At the end of their journey, they refit the items they held onto, and reassess how they feel in them. If they fit and feel fab, great! They’ve successfully refreshed their wardrobe without spending a cent. If they don’t fit at this stage, or clients no longer like the items, they are passed on.

4. Held For Specific People

Some clients hold onto ill-fitting items so that they can be passed onto very specific people — like children, family members, or friends — when the time is right. If the items don’t end up fitting the recipient, they are passed on.

5. Sentimental Reasons

Items that no longer fit but represent a special moment or time in a client’s life can be kept for sentimental reasons. They decorate your wardrobe and make you smile each time you glance at them, or they can be stored somewhere else. For example, a client kept a stunning teal leather jacket she bought in Italy in the ’90s that is two sizes too big. But it’s pretty, her favourite colour, and might be passed onto a family member at some point. Another has kept an Aran jumper that she bought on a very fun Irish vacation decades ago. It’s too wide and too short, but it makes her happy seeing it with all her other gorgeous fab fitting pieces.

Over to you. Do you ever keep clothes that do not currently fit, and why?