Since I started my new Etsy Vintage By Suzanne Shop it has given me an excuse to buy and hoard even more great vintage pieces. Like I needed more help in that area!
I have to keep reminding myself the reason I created an Etsy shop is not to hoard more for myself but to share my vintage obsession with the world! I need to sell the majority of the pieces I buy.
Sell the majority of the pieces I buy.
Sell the majority of the pieces I buy.
That is my mantra to keep reminding myself of that small but very important detail of being a vintage reseller.
A great example of me debating how to choose what to keep in my wardrobe and what to sell is this lovely black suede dress…I would LOVE to keep this baby.
It fits like a dream and would be easy to layer with some pussy bow blouses or turtlenecks for winter. Every time I look at this in my shop I wonder if I should delist it and simply add it to my already bursting closet. When I get that urge I force myself to move onto something else and stop obsessing about it. We’ll see though…the more I look at this the more I think it would look great styled over a dress as a long vest. Oh yeah!
How to choose what to keep in your wardrobe…
- Do you LOVE it?
- Do you own anything else like it?
- Will you be able to wear it with other items in your closet?
- Is the fit and material practical for your lifestyle?
- Do you think you can do better?
- Will you regret it if you don’t buy/keep it?
- Does this improve your life?
- Is this a one-of-a-kind piece?
- Does it communicate what you want to say to the world about yourself?
- Do you see yourself in the mirror or someone else staring back at you?
Do you love it?
This is a broad question since I have a big heart when it comes to fashion and what I love. This question isn’t a huge help to me normally but often times if I try to shop retail rather than vintage I find I don’t really love the piece. I want it, but I don’t love it. It is like trying to recognize the difference between lust and love. One of them is shallow and fleeting, the other deep and enduring.
Do you own anything else like it?
I can get caught up easily in this question. Often times I will have “similar” pieces but not exactly the same and I justify keeping one more item just because it is slightly different. I’m trying to put my foot down on this. It is a learning process ; )
Will you be able to wear it with other items in your closet?
Ha! Well when you have a closet as big as mine you can make almost anything work if you try. I do find however, that as far as colours go most of the colours in my closet are warm colours. When I’m considering keeping a cool colour piece I need to really think about how it’ll work with the rest of my wardrobe.
Often times I will simply create a minimum of four outfits with whatever I’m thinking about keeping. If it is dead easy to make outfits and be excited about how they make me feel, I’ll keep the piece. I also try to take photos of the outfits so I can remember them in the future.
Is the fit and material practical for your lifestyle?
This is a good one to consider. While I adore leather pieces as they are easily wiped clean, suede is another story. A person needs to be a bit more careful not to stain it.
Did you know you can often clean spots on suede by using a soft white eraser? It’s true! Just be careful to not rub too hard otherwise you may remove all of the nap of the suede. A person can also buy spray paint for suede pieces to make them look like new. You can buy it at shoes stores or a shoe cobbler.
Fit is also an important question to consider.
I love form fitting dresses, but I need to limit the amount I own since I also have fat days like everyone else where all I want to do is hide in layers of fabric. (As I get older I see this happening more. I am NOT embracing this part of aging.)
If the item doesn’t fit you properly you won’t want to wear it, no matter how cute it looks on the hanger.
Do you think you can do better?
I have a bad habit of buying things that are “almost” what I’m looking for but not quite. A “good-enough-for-now” strategy that amounts to items that aren’t 100% what I’m looking for. I’m trying to remind myself now that it is better to wait until the right one comes along rather than making due with an inferior version. This reminds me a bit of my youth and looking for the right guy! Ha ha! How many times did you suffer with an inferior version?
Will you regret it if you don’t buy it?
Leaving an item for a few days to think about it is always a good idea but not really practical when thrift shopping. As a thrift shopper you need to make up your mind right then and there. I’ve pre-shopped sales at thrift stores only to have the items I pre-shopped be long gone by the time I got there. If you like something when thrifting you need to buy it or be prepared to let it go when you walk away from it the first time.
Retail shopping allows you to think about a piece for a while before you need to commit. I will often go home and think about it, or if it is online I will keep the items in my cart and think about it for weeks or a month and then often I decide I don’t need it anymore. I call it cart shopping, similar to window shopping but with a bit more risk as it is easier to simply click a “buy now” button.
Don’t get caught up in the idea that you can buy it and take it back later. We all know how that ends up.
Does this improve your life?
This is a big one. How often can you say an item of clothing will improve your life? Not very often. I did buy some new lined leather gloves recently because my old ones had holes in the fingers and I know this will improve my life because my fingers won’t freeze. Same would be true for some lined boots I bought two years ago. These are often practical and what I would consider boring purchases but they are the basic backbones that make up a workable wardrobe.
Is this a one-of-a-kind piece?
As a thrifter and vintage shopper these are the kind of pieces I fall head over heels in love with. Items I know are truly unique make my heart beat just a little faster. My closet is made up of maybe 80% unique items. I would not recommend this strategy unless you really like to play with your clothes. One-of-a-kind pieces can be overwhelming for people to pair with other pieces. Statement pieces demand to be the focal point of an outfit. Too many and they compete with each other which can confuse the eyes. A better strategy might be 50-50 or 30-70 when just starting out. For me personally I thrive on the challenge and will often keep a piece because it is so unique.
Does it communicate accurately how you want to be perceived by others?
I’ve chosen my style statement ( you can do the same here) and it includes the words, artistic, unique, relevant, fun and strong. Those adjectives are what I want to communicate to the world about myself. If the item doesn’t meet one of those requirements, it doesn’t stay.
Do you see yourself in the mirror or someone else staring back at you?
I know this may seem obvious, but truly, you need to feel like yourself in your clothes. If not, they belong on someone else.
Here is an example of a similar skirt styled two ways…one using more conservative options and the other with one-of-a-kind pieces. You can see how it is a fun way to challenge yourself however it wouldn’t suit everyone’s personal style statement.
One thing I know as an avid thrifter is that although I must let some things go, there is always the thrill of hunting for and discovering something new. That is wherein the excitement lies…the chase.
As in life, the joy is in the journey, not the destination.
What questions do you ask yourself before you buy or decide to keep an article of clothing for your closet?
Do you find yourself buying “good-enough-for-now” pieces?
Linking up with Visible Monday, I Will Wear What I Like, Shoe and Tell, Turning Heads Tuesdays, My Whims Wednesday, What I Wore, Fun Fashion Fridays, Hat Attack
Veronica Cooke says
What excellent advice!
I have succumbed to ‘good enough’ and nearly always regretted it. I think it’s worth hanging on until you get what you want if it can be got. If not find an alternative!
I try very hard to remove pieces from my wardrobe when I bring in ‘new to me’ stuff. I learnt my lesson some years ago when I decided to count how many pairs of black trousers I had. I had 16. No one in the world needs 16 pairs of black trousers. Now, if I need to cull items from my wardrobe the first thing I do is count them; if there are too many I try to reduce them by rationalising why I need 4 white shirts, for example; or three black cardigans. Usually I manage to get rid of things this way…
The clothes I love are always things I’ve bought in charity shops. The things I most often cull from my wardrobe are things that I’ve bought retail. That’s why I buy almost everything I wear second hand!
Have a great weekend
In a way maybe the shop is the best thing ever. I have similar questions when I thrift (or op-shop as we Ozzies call it) – is it unique, is it one of a kind, does it suit my style. (I’m always a bit lax on the perfectly fitted when it’s particularly amazing, I have to admit!) It means I end up with too much wonderfulness and no out-going incentive. This way you get to have all this magnificence and not have it at the same time. If it goes onto etsy and sells, you are lightened. If it goes onto etsy and doesn’t sell, you still have it. And because it’s second hand already, doesn’t matter if you get a few wears in the mean time. Suddenly I think this is a brilliant idea! Trust you to have it. Magnificent post – thank you. Xx
This is a great list to narrow down what to keep or pass on. One of my biggest shopping/wardrobe problems is definitely settling for something that’s not exactly what I want. You’re right, most of the time it ends up being totally wrong instead of just slightly off! I’m trying to get better at delaying the gratification and waiting for the perfect pair of boots, jeans, whatever instead of settling for less!
Oh Suzanne, I need to bookmark this article!! I have such a hoarding habit, and unless I can clone myself I ain’t wearing it all!! That first dress though – keeper on you surely?! Xx
Great advice Suzanne. I thought I was the one one who asked the question, will it improve my life, when I buy something! Love the black suede number and the gorgeous mix you created from the paisley skirt and patterned blouse.
For what it is worth, the black suede is killer on you… maybe life improving…
Marilee Gramith says
I definitely think that suede jumper is a keeper.
1. It’s black suede!
2. It is incredibly versatile.
3. It fits you like it was made for you.
4. IT is timeless, classic, and funky all at. once.
5. It’s sexy in a subtle way.
6. Your husband likes it a lot (I just know this)
You did a very impressive job of tutoring us about how to whittle down our excessive wardrobes. I appreciate your critical thinking on this topic.!!!
I’ve only got one rule – if it doesn’t make you feel fabulous, chuck it out!
With our business we both accumulate a lot of clothing but as it’s all vintage it’s easy enough to stick it back on the rails when we’ve had our fun with it and sell it on – free clothing rocks!
I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything “good enough for now”. I’m happy to wait (even years) until the right thing turns up second hand…and it always does….clothes, shoes, books, cats, men! xxx
Love the sleek zipper dress and the explosion of color in that second outfit! Radness. Great advice, too. I find myself asking at least a few of those questions as I scan my closet periodically and try to think of ways to keep it lean.
Theresa Campbell says
The only time I buy something “Good enough” is when I’ve been trying to find a particular dress for a special event and I can’t find the exact color/style/size I need. You know how hard it is when you’re shopping OOAK vintage. By its nature, it is limited. So sometimes I end up compromising if I’m running out of time. But I’m never thrilled as I would have been if I found the perfect dress I was envisioning.
I just got through telling my husband that I’m not putting one more thing in my closet unless I take at least one thing out. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.
BTW, I would not be able to part with that black suede dress. It looks amazing on you 🙂
Ok. I would probably keep that black suede dress. Fit is awesome on you. I know, I can be an enabler! These are great tips and I have already thought about what is on my wish list and how it will go with what’s in my existing closet. I have a fair amount of fall clothes, so its a matter of asking some of these questions. Love the outfit you are wearing, I am going to try more pattern mixing. Those blue velvet booties are sweet too!
thanks for linking up with turning heads tuesday
All such good tips!
I really try not to buy “almost” good enough pieces because inevitably, I don’t end up wearing them and they make me uncomfortable/unhappy if I do (or sometimes just seeing them there in the closet). But I also think for vintage pieces you have to be a bit more open-minded too. But all the same things should still apply. It should fit, it should fit your life, it should be something you can wear/clean without worrying about it too much.
That said, being preggo, I’ve been more tempted with “almost” good enough because I get desperate for something to wear that fits and feels even vaguely good. Not the best way to spend money though….
When I was selling vintage on Ebay, I had a continual flow of pieces through my wardrobe – I’d buy something in a charity shop, road test it for a while, then if I didn’t LOVE it, I’d sell it on. Or sell something else to compensate. I had a massive cull before I moved and sold a lot of pieces – haven’t missed any of them yet. Well, maybe the velvet jumpsuit. Just a little…
As always, you look amazing in everything you wear, Suzanne – and yes, keep the suede dress, you know you want to! xxx
Señora Allnut says
Such great advice!!
I have to restrain myself from buying those “good-enough-for-now” pieces, it’s so easy to do it once more, but I’m determined to wait for that genuine pieces which tick all the boxes!.
I’m trying to buy only those pieces that make me feel better, that improve my life, or that make my heart beat faster!. And I’ve hardened my heart, so I’m not an impulsive buyer anymore! (’til next time! mwahah)
You must keep that black suede dress! It was made for you and you’ll know every time you put it on that you look fabulous! Follow the great advice you’ve given in this post and keep that dress. You’ll never regret hanging on to a classic. 🙂
No Fear of Fashion says
You are not selling the blue velvet boots are you? They are just in the picture to complete the outfit right? I still think it was very good of you to find them thrifting and then the next year they are a trend.
The black dress.. oh indeed so nice. It is a good thing I don’t have your size, otherwise a lot of your wardrobe might end up across the ocean.
I think all of your questions to clean up are worthless to me. Besides 1, 9 and 10. The rest I just discard (not ready for that yet).
This is such a great post, dear Suzanne! I agree with all you wrote! I understand what you mean, willing to keep the lovely black dress or other items 🙂 I loved the skirt, with the blue sweater or the peach blazer. You look very beautiful and the black boots are also nice! So, now… great questions. Will it improve our lives? Is it a unique piece? And joy should be remembered. So I was nearly buying two pieces today. But like you said, I also allow some days now, before I buy something. I am constantly buying or asking my carpenter to make new wardrobes or drawers. This is absurd. And I end up wearing 90% of my clothes just once. So I found it sick. I am glad that I didn’t press the buy button today and that I read your post. It helped me a lot! Hope you have a nice week, bisous!
I love dresses and I love black! Need I say more! I have a lot of, if I can’t get any better, clothes. It’s never a winner. The rest are all I just love!! 🙂 will you join my Fancy Friday link up?
This is a brilliant list, Suzanne. And I admit that I fail at following pretty much all of them :). I’m especially guilty of buying good enough for now pieces. And this probably won’t be helpful – but I think you should keep the black suede dress – it’s gorgeous on you!
I’m not a vintage seller, just a collector 😉 so these are great tips!
Also, you have such a great style- the last outfit of the paisley skirt and fuchsia top is brilliant!
Lynda Adams says
Thank you for this article! I am go through a purge in my closet and only keep items that work for me and that I like wearing. My husband says ” your getting rid of your clothes again?” But I do it anyway. My body size changes, styles change and how I want to be perceived changes too.