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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

Why to let go of things that don't quite fit you (and when *not* to) [Style Series 3.2]

The Quote

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

Jim Elliot

The Analogy

Uncle Len used to dislike having reheated food. There was no way around it - good and fresh is how he liked to eat it, and that was how it needed to be. You may remember this very same Uncle Len, who previously featured on this blog offering such sage advice about life ("keep things simple, let love happen, know what you like"). Through his actions, there is so much we can learn.

Similarly, if you were to practice a Jain way of life, being present is paramount, especially when it comes to food. There are principles like keeping and cooking and eating only the food needed for that particular day, no more, no less. On a practical level, this means there is very little waste, but also, that the food eaten truly contains its peak of nourishing properties, while it is most fresh. I understand there are several other profound and spiritual reasons why this is practiced, but today, the concept of having what you need for the here and now is sufficient.

The Premise

What does all this talk of eating fresh food have to do with our clothes?

Some wardrobes are full of clothes that may be too big, too small, or are simply clothes that their owner doesn't particularly like (perhaps it was an unwanted gift?).

Regardless of the reason for holding on to them, the space these clothes that don't quite fit you well enough take can actually hold you back from changing at all. Waiting until you are able to fit into something before you can wear it can often keep you suspended in the past or longing for a future that is out of reach and hasn’t arrived yet.

To have a truly functional wardrobe of clothes that support you, it’s important that they meet you where you are now. That we wear clothes that are as 'fresh' as possible (taking the analogy of eating fresh food).

Even if you’re not happy with your current size, shape or style, change in sizes in general is progressive, so you are more than likely to be able to check back in a few months and see if you need to run an audit again.

Further, it can be a relief to have the space to live in the present, not reminded of the past nor pulled by a future that feels too far away.

But how do you actually decide what to keep and not keep? Let's explore some general philosophies and guidelines that might be helpful.

The Guidelines

For the record, I am not saying get rid of anything that doesn't fit you right now. There are absolutely some exceptions to clothes I won’t give away, even if I haven’t worn them in years or they no longer fit. Here are some of the circumstances:

  1. They make my heart flutter - I really enjoy them and want to keep them for emotional reasons. I have a pair of boots and a couple of outfits that are purely sentimental like that, even though I hardly wear them.

  2. I’m going to use them again soon, in the next couple of months or so. This might be the case if you are in a phase like pregnancy, breastfeeding etc.

  3. They could possibly be adjusted or altered to be more in line with my shape or style.

Here are some philosophies I’ve adopted about letting go of things that I felt worried that I might need or felt afraid of letting go of:

  • We are fortunate to live in a world where most things can be replaced. Even if not quite the same, when all is lost, all is not usually lost.

  • When I have set a clear line and let go of things that were just not a good fit or good material, (but that I loved), I always seem to find a spitting image of what I let go of, but in a version that fits me properly. It’s been quite spooky on occasions when this has happened. The energy around being present and having your wardrobe reflect this can be very powerful.

  • When something doesn’t fit, remember that you are not meant to fit into clothes: clothes are meant to fit onto you. It can be difficult to remember this when the world (or the voice in your head) is telling you that being a certain size is preferable and you must be 'that' size, not 'this' one.

  • The reality is that clothes were made for you! They are wholly functional objects. They help you. They cover you and protect you. You would probably not force a child to try and wear clothes that are a couple of sizes too big or too small: so why do it to yourself? Choosing the clothes that make you feel so comfortable and fit you well, without making you feel like you have to do all the work to fit into them will make your body feel happier too.

Of course, there are seasons where you may need certain clothes front and centre, while others in your ‘suite’ take a back seat.

If you know a certain period is temporary, keep the clothes you are bound to use again soon.

However, if you have tonnes of clothes that don’t quite fit, something drastic may need to happen to let go of what isn’t supporting you where you are now. It may be time during your clothes audit to apply some of the philosophies above, and take bold steps to have your clothes fit you as you are, instead of trying to fit into them or how you'd like them to be.


One of the nice things about keeping clothes that fit you as you are now, is that as you change, you are able to invest in new pieces that reflect the evolving ‘you’; so you’re not tied to styles that you purchased in a different phase of your life.

This wardrobe curating business really is an evolving journey.

Do you have any philosophies that help you know when to let go of or when to keep items in your wardrobe? Let them come to mind and guide you in this process.

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