As a Certified Image Consultant, I have been in untold numbers of closets, sometimes revealing small boutique of new clothes bearing tags from present and past seasons. My clients and friends seem to fall into different categories as to “why?”
The Clueless person has no understanding of which colors and styles looks best on her. So when she see a new style or color trend, she impulsively buy it without giving thought to how it will look on her. Then you add the allure of finding something at a deep discounted sale price and it becomes impossible to think clearly. Of course, that great price also includes a “No Return” tag. Just because it is a size 14 and you wear a 10 is not important at the time until you discover it will cost more than the original price to do the alterations necessary. This joins other such purchases hanging in the closet.
The Insecure shopper is the person who needs a friend to shop with her and help her make a decision. Most friends choose garments that work for them without recognizing that it won’t work for others. The shopper brings home the article chosen by her friend and recognizes upon a second try-on, that it doesn’t really work. Thus, the garment often is not returned and just hangs in the closet, new tags in tact.
The Hunter is typified by my daughter, Cyndi. She shops consignment boutiques, deep discounted stores and vintage stores. It is always a thrill when she finds something by a name designer. I remember how excited she was when she bought a brocade jacket by Jenny, a well-known Italian designer some twenty years ago. The brocade didn’t exactly match her spunky personality and penchant for wearing something slightly funky, but it was a Jenny jacket. Neither did the jacket exactly work for the one formal event she attended each year nor did she have anything with which to wear the jacket; but it was a Jenny jacket! Cyndi carried that jacket in the back of her car for probably three years, searching every consignment shop for something to go with it. I even got drawn into the process on more than one occasion. I don’t think she ever found anything with which to wear the jacket and I doubt that she has ever had it on her back but she undoubtedly got her money’s worth from the pleasure she had in having a reason to go on the hunt.
Then there is the Marinater. This process is most useful with husbands when you buy something that you absolutely love but feel guilty about the purchase. Out of guilt (or perhaps by design) it rests in the closet for a marinating period. It might even be pulled out to wear to a luncheon or ladies event where you can return it to the closet without your husband seeing it. At an appropriate time in the future, you put on the garment and your husband asks, “Is that new?” You can honestly say, “Why, no. I have had it for a long time.” It is even more convincing if he says, “I don’t remember seeing it” and you can respond, “Really? I know I’ve worn it before.” Being a recovering marinater, I can attest to the effectiveness of this technique.
There are no doubt additional reasons why women buy clothes they never wear but when that image consultant comes to help audit your closet, all of those clothes will be repurposed and there will be a Cyndi who will be thrilled to find such a treasure when on her thrift shop or consignment store shopping rounds.