Why Why So Many Clothes?

I’m wearing every single one of my clothes once and only once until I have none left to wear, to find out why I have so many of them. When I do all my laundry, I don’t have enough space to put it away. ‘Wardrobe’ actually means a cupboard, a chest of drawers and some boxes and bags, some stuff on the floor, hanging from door knobs and also from bookshelves. The communal coat stand looks like a monster thanks to all my coats. I have clothes I’ve been wearing since I was a teenager, and I’m going to be 30 any day now.

Having to wear something once and not again – for an eeriely unknown number of months – makes me remember what I have and why I value it enough to keep it. It’s about a relationship with clothes and perspectives on value. At the end of each day, each item is designated for one of two boxes: Keep or Not Keep. I don’t know how many clothes I have so I can’t do the maths to work out how long this will take. I’m leaving that as a mystery to help answer the question… Why do I have so many clothes? Thanks for joining me.

Exceptions are, of course, essentials that I’ll genuinely have to wear more than once: shoes and coats, tights and leggings (as well as anything compulsory that comes up, like a uniform or hospital clothing). But I’m wearing every single coat, pair of shoes, tights and leggings at least once, to make sure they don’t get away with it – some end up in the Not Keep box.

 

Sara Nesbitt Gibbons