By Boma Benjy Iwuoha

One of my favourite dramedy series of the late 2000s was Lipstick Jungle – I wept when it was canceled. The series revolved around three Alpha female characters, (Fashion Editor – Nico, Movie Executive – Wendy and Fashion Designer – Victory) based in Manhattan, who forged a friendship bond that went beyond their professional lives.

The series was so fresh, I memorized every episode. You could literarily ask me “who said this” out of the blues, and I would give you a run-down of the scene. My main attraction to the series was the wardrobe; the fashion was out of this world, and that’s the reason I wasn’t quite surprised to see a story break out few weeks after the series was canceled, about a stage manager who was being charged for stealing almost $30,000 worth of designer fashion items from the show.

Victory Ford (Played by Lindsay Price), a fashion designer and the youngest of the three main characters was my favorite character in the series. In one episode when she felt she was losing her value and relevance as a renowned fashion designer, Victory went down the streets of Brooklyn, chasing down an old head warmer, that she had created as one of her debut designs, which had somehow ended up in the hands of a homeless person. She offered as much as $500 to the new owner when she eventually found it, in order to have it back but; of course, the homeless person who needed the head warmer to keep warm had declined the offer.

Why did I recall this episode? Many who saw that scene may have wondered why she was so attached to an old faded head warmer which probably had no much value in the fashion world, but we should all ask ourselves the same question. What is that item in your wardrobe, which you know you’ll probably never get to wear, but you find yourself keeping it anyway? And don’t give me that look, because I know you’ve got a few.

Today we are looking at those sentimental items, (which is what we prefer to call them, seeing that some of them have lost their value) that you have in your wardrobe and how long you intend to keep them. Let me start by saying, our attachments to these items could stem from a whole lot of things; it could be a pair of shoes handed down to you by a dear friend, or a brooch from your grandmother, a ring from your late husband, the first present from your daughter, or it could be a valuable family heirloom which is so long out of fashion and would be more valuable if remodelled, but you just would not hear of touching at stitch on it.

You probably have friends coming in and asking; why do you still have this item, or why do you keep this ratty purse? Go check out their wardrobe sometimes, you are sure to find the same. Let’s find five good reasons we all hang on to these items.

Every woman’s wardrobe is part active and part inactive. We have clothing items that we wear, and those that we barely or have never worn. These unworn items usually lie dormant in our wardrobe, hoping that someday, they will come into use; alas this rarely and most often never happens.

We usually tell ourselves that we are sentimentally attached to these items, I do not think this is correct, and YES, there’s another name for it; “hoarder”. Here are some of the reasons we keep hanging onto these items:

  • You got them at a crazily expensive price and you just cannot let it go – so you find yourself trying to convince everyone that you are attached to it. – I say let it go.
  • You loved it so much on the mannequin and even though you tried it on and it didn’t quite fit, you bought it anyway, after carefully thinking out our new weight loss regimen. 30 months on and you’ve added a few more pounds but would not let go of the item even though it will probably never fit. – I say don’t be a hoarder, if you love it so much, get one in your right size.
  • You suddenly realized that the obscure corset, hanging in your great grandmother’s closet was gifted to her by the 1st queen of Estonia, and it’s suddenly got sentimental value, you keep it in the hopes that it may sell at a good price someday – Girl; I say lend it to a museum and ask them to hang it up for you. At least others would get to hear about it right?
  • You just got home from an island vacation and suddenly realized that you were ripped off on a supposedly good deal you thought you got on the purchase of the latest a Hermes bag, and you have it hanging in the wardrobe for the next four years because “no one will understand”. Let it go Girl; I understand the concept of thinking that these fashion items are an investment, but even in business, we do make wrong investments choices sometimes. Let it go.
  • You snatched an amazing Christian Sirano Fur Jacket of the runway at the London Fashion week, and 4 years on, you are yet to find the right occasion for it… Girl you just got served – Let it go.
  • Well, I’m not always all cynical; there are some actual sentimental reasons for holding on. However, try to keep it on the low; one or two items are enough, when you have an entire arm of your closet dedicated to “sentimental” items, you’ve got to face it girl, you are hoarding. Let them go. Fashion revolves, and you will get another one.

Some of these items are a burden – wasting valuable wardrobe space – or on rare occasions could even be hazardous to our health. In 2009, spinster Joan Cunnane, who obsessively hoarded clothes died in her home after a mountain of suitcases fell on her, burying her alive. Now I’m not saying this is you, or me of course (I hoard some too), but keep it simple. Sometimes hoarding is a complex issue, you are not comfortable with your body size, so you hang on to the small size dresses from your past to keep reminding yourself of the days when you were the same size as Naomi Campbell… Deal with it girl, you are now a mother of 3 and you are gloriously beautiful. The validation of your beauty is not in those dress sizes. So get over it.

I realize it may be a bit hard to discard stuff like this, so if you really want to clear out the wardrobe and discard that beautiful jacket that is just a little too tight, you have to “remove the meaning from the garment”, by this I mean, see it for what it is, a jacket that does not fit anymore, and not a $1350 Mui Mui jacket, only then might we learn to live without the reassurance of its presence.

Now, Now, I’m not all bad, please, do – hold on to one or two items that you hold most close to your heart, I’m not asking you to donate your family heirloom to charity yet.

And as usual, I will leave you with a quote to reflect upon. Basil the Great, also known as Basil of Caesarea. The Greek bishop of Caesarea Mazaca in Cappadocia, once said; “When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”
You say it’s sentimental, I say you are a hoarder. Get into that closet and get rid of the junk.

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