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Why Women Keep Clothes They Don’t Wear—and Leave the Price Tags On

Many a clogged closet harbors unworn garments still bearing price tags—dubbed “virgin” clothes by efficiency pros. Here, why six women held on to them.


By

Alev Aktar

Mary Helen Bowers

Founder of New York fitness and lifestyle firm Ballet Beautiful

Still Tagged A black spaghetti-strap Mayle gown

Why I’ll buy a special occasion dress even if I don’t know when or where I’ll wear it. If you fall in love, the details can be worked out later.

Resolution Keep. A suitable party better come along next spring.

Valerie Macaulay

Co-founder of e-commerce site La Ligne

Still Tagged An Attico sequin minidress I got six or so months ago when pregnant.

Why It’s easy to think you’ll lose weight when you’re gloriously basking in the third trimester; post-baby, it’s infinitely harder to achieve your target.

Resolution Keep, since I love it. Otherwise I follow Marie Kondo’s decluttering dictate: If a garment doesn’t bring me ecstatic joy, it’s out.

Lisa Adams

Founder and head designer of LA Closet Design, a Los Angeles-based luxury closet design company

Still Tagged Nothing, but I wish my Chloé navy-blue harem pants were still tagged so I could return them.

Why I thought I would look super cute in them, but harem pants don’t fit into my reality. I wore them once and people called them clown pants.

Resolution Donate. I have an editing process I use when people hire me to declutter a closet. I ask them the following questions about each item: “Do you need it? Do you wear it? Can you make five outfits from it?” Next year, my harem pants are going.

Marcella Lifsec

New York City schoolteacher

Still Tagged I have two size-four “goal” dresses I bought that were much too small.

Why I was convinced I would lose weight for them. That ship has sailed.

Resolution When I move, I’ll get rid of them, along with my other 25 pairs of wishful-thinking pants.

Jessica de Ruiter

Los Angeles fashion stylist

Still Tagged I left the tag on a Céline cotton blouse I bought last spring for months.

Why I’m a careful shopper, even overly analytical, so I don’t know why I didn’t untag it. I was shocked when I pulled it out recently and saw I hadn’t worn it.

Resolution Keep. I’m reorganizing my closet by designer, so it will hang alongside other Céline stuff. That approach, as opposed to categories like “blouses,” lets you look with fresh eyes and shop your own closet.

Lisa Nation

Chicago-based co-founder of the LISA, an on-demand beauty services app

Still Tagged Nothing. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have lots of clothes I’ve never worn.

Why I must secretly enjoy chaos. Plus I can never find the receipt to return anything.

Resolution Have my mom come visit and organize my closet for me. She’s the most organized person I know and apparently the organizing gene skipped a generation.

—Edited from interviews by Alev Aktar

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