Buried Treasure, Hidden Duds – What Lurks in Your Wardrobe?

Think of the clothes and accessories in your wardrobe. Chances are there’s at least one item that you probably shouldn’t have bought and will never wear again.

But chances are there is also a hidden treasure lurking at the back of a drawer or cupboard, or, in my case, at the bottom of a pile of clothes resting on a chair – something that you’ve forgotten exists or simply haven’t worn for a while that you could be mixing and matching with your other clothes for a whole new look.

The hidden dud

Most of us have bought duds at some time or another – something we buy to wear to a special event, or for everyday use, and realise belatedly is all wrong for us. No matter how much you try, a dud will never work in your wardrobe. It’s simply wrong, and it’s better to admit you have made a mistake and get rid of it – either by selling it, carting it off the op shop (thrift shop) or storing it in readiness for the next local government hard rubbish collection.

You could also swap it with a friend or take it to a clothes-swapping event such as those held by The Clothing Exchange.

Why do we hang onto duds for so long? Psychology researchers describe the reason as ‘the sunk cost fallacy’. When a project clearly fails, we humans are naturally concerned about the money and time we’ve already invested in it. Unfortunately, sometimes we’re so concerned about these costs that we use them to justify continuing on with the project, even though to do so just compounds the problem.

An item of clothing that we bought for the wrong reasons is a kind of project – getting rid of it would mean we’d have to admit to ourselves that buying it in the first place was a waste of money.

While the sunk cost fallacy may explain something as trivial as the alligator skin belt that’s tucked away in a bottom drawer in your spare room, its effects are often not so trivial – they explain, for example, why a nation might continue to pursue a war of occupation even though it has clearly failed.

Admitting you made a mistake, bringing your hidden dud to light and getting rid of it can be a huge relief – you’ll probably feel as if a weight has been lifted. Remember, something that’s a dud to you may well be a treasure to someone else, so passing it on to a good home can be an act of altruism!

The buried treasure

Fashion has changed out of all recognition in recent years. It’s no longer dictated from above, with one set of styles holding sway for one season and then disappearing for years at a time. Instead, different looks and styles are worn together, savvy street fashion is relayed across the globe on style blogs such as Facehunter, retro clothes combine with new ones, and it’s all mashed together in a gloriously anarchic way.

It’s very likely that there’s at least one item in your wardrobe that you think is out of date but may not be. An item that may have swung back into fashion, or one that could be given new life by a more recent item that you already have.

Whether it’s a belt, scarf, skirt, top, pair of pants, jacket, shoes or something else, this item may be waiting for you to rediscover and make use of it.

So, why not go to your wardrobe and see if you can find at least one example of a hidden dud and one example of buried treasure? You might be surprised at what’s lurking in there!

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