That darned wardrobe!

That darned wardrobe!

It’s daunting.  Picture this…

Every morning, racing to keep up because the day is happening all around you. You need to get out the door, still in your pj’s but don’t know what to wear. The weather doesn’t help because it’s chilly right now, but it’s very likely to warm up – or could it snow? (after all, this is Hobart!).

You fling open your wardrobe doors and you’re instantly neck deep, arms flailing as you rummage through, impatiently pushing aside that gorgeous dress you’ll never wear again (how was my waist ever that small?), flicking past those red pants that aren’t ‘my colour’ anymore, and pausing momentarily to (guiltily) contemplate finally wearing that skirt you bought on a whim (it’s bound to go with something, surely….). Then, glancing at the clock, you curse under your breath as you frantically toss it across the floor. With an exasperated sigh, you resign yourself to chucking on that safe and comfortable favourite…again.

And, then, you’re off. But as you swipe up your keys, you swear to yourself that you WILL sort that wardrobe out this weekend and have done with the daily chaos of it all! That was me most days.

Sound familiar?

So, the weekend rolls around (much too fast this time) and your bulging wardrobe beckons (coat tails and scarves tauntingly sticking out door cracks, refusing to be tamed). 

But where to start? This is equally daunting. 

Here’s my quick and easy 7 step approach to taming your wardrobe.
Step 1 Delay tactics – make a cuppa.
Step 2 Stand staring at the open wardrobe, and whilst sipping on the cuppa, contemplate what’s in its deep dark depths
Step 3 Decide on your motivation
Mine was two-fold: to reduce the clutter and make some dollars to refresh my wardrobe (whilst recouping something on those spontaneous over-spends)
Step 4 Get serious.
Step 5 Do a quick first sweep (don’t be tempted to try anything on, just place in six piles)

Keep. Keep, with some alteration or mending. Maybe. Donate. Throw. Sell.

For many, even making these ‘cull’ decisions can be hard – and that’s a whole other conversation for another day.

Step 6 Have a break, maybe another cuppa (and a chocolate biscuit this time – for the energy to go on, you understand), or take the dog for a walk (oh, wait, I don’t have a dog…but, of course, you might), or go for a brisk walk on the local beach.
Step 7 Back at it – second sweep – revisit the piles in more detail, maybe trying on, but be ruthless!

Keep. Really, absolutely – I wear it often, it will be great for the upcoming dinner/meeting/Christmas party, or whatever … If it’s none of that – move it along to another pile. 

Keep, with some alteration or mending. Maybe…actually, I’ll never get around to it. Move it along. 

Maybe. Nope, I’ve said ‘maybe’ too many times. Move it along. 

Donate. Is it good enough to donate or is it pretty worn out/marked/damaged? Over it goes to the ‘throw’ pile. 

Throw. Pretty straightforward – but consider recycling first – can it be used as rags, etc.? 

Sell. Here’s where preloved clothing markets come in!

Gearing up (excuse the pun!) to sell your preloved clothing.

How I started was by selling some items on eBay – still do, and love it. It started off as time consuming and there’s a bit of setting up before it becomes a quick, easy and smooth operation. Mavis the mannequin comes in very handy for this exercise. I’ll present a quick and easy process in another conversation. But always consider, there’s bound to be something that you may want more for than you might get at a preloved market, and eBay can be just the place.

Over the years, I’d sold bits and pieces at markets and garage sales – usually alongside other household goods or knick-knacks. Most of us probably have. But now I wanted to seriously turn my ‘fash into cash’ .

So, one day I dusted down my two clothes racks and assembled them (after the obligatory rummaging around for all the necessary bits and bolts – I always think I’ll remember where I put ‘that thing’. But who am I kidding these days!). And, ready to go, I did a test run of hanging up all the items in my ‘sell’ pile.
(Stress-free prep for a preloved market stall? You guessed it, yet another conversation.)

Once the ‘sell’ items were hung on both racks, I found I had an amazing collection of clothes for sale! And after a few ‘oooh, that’s fab, maybe I will keep it’ false starts, I re-grounded myself (by revisited my motive) and looked up local preloved clothing markets. Then, before getting cold feet, I immediately signed up for a stall. As market day approached, I got washing, ironing and tagging. I thankfully had the terrific help of my very enthusiastic entrepreneurial teen daughter, who, amongst other things, volunteered to write up an extensive inventory! Ready to go…

Away we went. 

Recycling | Reusing | Reselling


Change It Up

Change It Up

Avoid becoming a weapon of mass consumption
Shop slow, and consider buying someone else’s former favourites first before rushing out to the high street stores.

Consider the clothes you’ve already got that give you joy (they’re your keepers)
On average, we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. If you have 100 garments averaging $50 each, then that’s around $5,000 worth of clothes and accessories that rarely get airplay. And that can be swished through the preloved fashion community to fund your new styles.

Recreate your wardrobe – think capsule
Nine pieces of co-ordinated garments will give you around 20 outfits, says Peta Stephenson of Dress Code. Add three more pieces and you can make 40 or more combinations. Thinking about your wardrobe in terms of the different capsules you can create has many advantages: it makes getting dressed in the morning easier, simplifies packing for a trip, and helps you build (or rebuild) your fab wardrobe within a reasonable budget.

Resist ad hoc buys that won’t go with anything
Before you buy, think of at least five other garments at home that your new additions will co-ordinate with.

Buy it slow. Wear it more. Can you rise to the challenge?

Buy it slow. Wear it more. Can you rise to the challenge?

I have to confess that I’m not quite at the point where I can come at near zero purchase of new clothes. But, the ratio of new to preloved is shifting steadily. Increasingly, my thinking includes a greater consideration of why I am buying, what I am buying, and how it fits with what I already have in my wardrobe.

Slow fashion, at it’s very simplest, is a deliberate choice to buy in a more considered way. So, how to slow it down? Here are a few questions I ask myself – with the caveat – the answers don’t entirely eliminate the frivolous, spontaneous or ‘you only live once’ kind of buys!

How often will I wear it? For the most part, only buy an item of clothing if you know you’ll wear it many times. In fact, Amanda Stavropoulos in the Rise and Rise of Slow Fashion in Australia says, at least thirty times.  I expect most of us have items we wear much less often than that, but some certainly get a really good run. Those ‘go to’, throw-on-and-know-you’ll-feel-good pieces. So, next time you’re standing at a rack of new clothes, slow down, and ask yourself, will you wear this item thirty or more times?

Do I need it? A straightforward question. But often hard to answer when that item is just begging to be owned! There are many days when we ‘need’ a gorgeous dress or a sensational pair of boots! Chocolate can be the cheaper option, but sometimes that doesn’t quite cut it! The answer is to get to know what’s in your wardrobe. And once you know what’s hanging there, you’ll know where the gaps are, and what ‘needs’ will enhance what you already own.

How do you get to know what’s in your wardrobe? You declutter, and reduce down to what you know you’ll wear. Then, add in a few pieces of ‘special’. It is said that the average woman wears just a third of what’s in her wardrobe.  I was certainly guilty of that. Then I discovered how much happier (and lighter) I was with the decluttered world of slow clothing – owning fewer, better-considered items, and reselling pieces to see them get a new lease of life in someone else’s wardrobe. That feels so good.

Will it bring me joy? Slow clothing is a philosophy says Jane Milburn of Textile Beat. A way of thinking about and choosing clothes to ensure they bring you joy. Everyone finds their own meaning of joy. For me this is, aka, feeling good and confident when wearing it. And, with particular pieces (especially the right footwear), it also means I feel like I can stride it out and ‘take on the world’!

It feels good to take charge of your wardrobe and/or dresser, and to know that when you wear any combination of your collection, it works for you and it brings out the very best in you. That it is uniquely you. Take up the challenge today and exclaim, ‘slow fashion; I can own it!’


Gearing up for market day (when you’re running out of time!)

Gearing up for market day (when you’re running out of time!)

Your chest of drawers is still bulging and you’re nowhere near closing in on a really serious clothing declutter. But market day is looming. Count down has begun…7 sleeps to go! Yikes!

Try a quick-fix approach to get started – do your declutter in bite-sized chunks. For this market, start small but specific.

Pick out 15-20 preloved items – clothing, handbags, shoes, hats, belts and the such like. Mostly choose pieces that are at the upper end of your quality preloved collection. Tag them from $15 to $30. (Next time, you can move onto your $5 and $10 items).


Is this you in the mornings?!

Call a friend. Persuade (cajole, beg) them to do the same. Maybe they call a friend (or you call a second). Now two or three of you have joining forces – and between you, you’ll have collected up at least 30 to 45 items = a decent start-up rack or table of goodies. And, if you share the cost of the $40 stall, the 4-hour market day is shaping up to be one of minimal outlay each for what promises to be a good little earner. And you’ll get to share the load, the experience and the fun with friends!


Stress Free Market Day

Stress Free Market Day

You’ve decided what items of clothing, shoes, accessories, and so on, to move on. Fantastic – that will feel quite cathartic. The next step is to ensure your transition to stall is smooth (aka stress-free), and doesn’t undo all the great feelings that come with having made some amazing progress.

Don’t spin out of control!

Over the years, I’ve observed stall holders arriving at market venues and setting up. I’ve also been that person myself on countless occasions. It’s fabulous to watch as stall holders create their space, their collections coming to life with colour, texture and frivolity. But it can also be painful to see some struggle, traipsing multiple times to and fro from their cars – weighed down with an eclectic mix of stuffed bags, random items, boxes, and bits and bobs piled high in their arms. No rhyme or reason to the whole affair. Why does it matter, one may ask? It can.

Whether it’s a smooth ‘bump in’ or a struggle-start can make a lot of difference to how you feel as the market doors open on the big day. If you’re exhausted and feeling under the pump before the day kicks off, or you feel like your stall’s not quite ready as the doors open, this invariably shows on your face.  It can also have you not coping with the small hiccups (realistically, there are bound to be a couple). And, this can then go on to affect your market day’s experience – which is a shame, as market day ought to be great fun!


So, how do you breeze through to market day setup like a pro?

It’s tempting to start off with the obvious and irritating first tip – BE PREPARED! But I won’t because this may mean very little, and can be equally stress-inducing if you don’t quite know where to begin.

One: Taming your pile of clothes

Hang as many clothes as possible. Choose hangers that won’t let your clothes slide off in transit. Displaying quality items on a rack is appreciated by shoppers who want to see what you’ve got at a glance.

If you are selling items at individual prices, label everything before the day. Your customers will be more comfortable knowing the price without needing to ask. Choose labels that are least likely to fall off or come unstuck in transit. Safety pins and jute through hole-punched cardboard work wonders.

If you’re hanging clothes in price brackets, tie grouped hangers together or place each group in the car so they’re easily identifiable at your destination. Make your signage at home.

Sort loose items into $2, $5, and $10 lots (or whatever price lots work for you). Prepare any and all signage at home.

Place these items into individual containers – ideally whatever you’re going to display them in on the day. Or, if they’re being displayed on a table, place them in individually marked containers ready to unpack efficiently.

Look cool, calm and collected (even if you don’t feel it)!

Two: Getting clothes from A to B

  • Clothes on hangers can be placed in a suitcase or simply laid in the back of a car (wrap in cloth such as a sheet to protect if necessary)
  • Place containers of other items in next, and to one side if possible.
  • Locate your rack, table and props in the car so they’re first out.

Three: The 30-minute Setup

Check in with the market organiser and find your spot.

Unload and set up your rack, table and props first. If you need to move a car away from the venue straightaway, set up racks as you bring them in and then hang all your clothes straight onto the racks (in price groupings if that’s how they’re sorted) as part of the unloading. This avoids double handling time. Finally bring in your boxes of accessories, etc. 

Then have some fun shifting your props around in your spot until you feel you’ve made the best use of your space whilst being mindful of, and even complementing, your neighbours’ display.

If accessories etc are in pre-labelled containers display them ready to go. If not, place containers to one side (such as under your table) for now.

If you are grouping your hung clothes into price brackets, do this now if you couldn’t earlier and attach your previously made signage, accordingly.

If all your hung clothes are labelled, they’re done and ready for market opening.

Now relax…you’re in control, and looking ready.


Make sure your money belt is on and full of some coinage. You want to be well ready to accept those sales!

The next bit can be done at your leisure and it won’t matter too much if the market opens and shoppers are looking because they have a fab rack of labelled items to check out already, and possibly self-explained containers on tables to rummage through.

Give yourself a mental high-five as you’re all set with change in your money belt and looking cool, calm and collected!

If you’re unpacking loose items do this now, and place related signage as you go.

Finally, have fun dressing your props (mannequin etc.) and laying out smaller items like jewellery, shoes, belts, bags and hats.

This can all take less that 30 minutes. Believe me, I’ve got it down to 20, tops!

Let your personality shine through.

Our stories – Cathy

Our stories – Cathy

Meet one of our regular stallholders, Cathy. How fortuitous for Tassie that Cathy made a lifestyle choice to move from Sydney mid-last year. Her sea change has meant we have an enormous selection of designer labels and other classy brands to choose from. Cathy’s shopping trips to the mainland make for an all-too-tempting collection. I have certainly succumbed to my fair share of temptation! If you’ve wandered her stalls you’re likely to have done so too.

Cathy’s relationship with clothes, and her love for preloved fashion, started when she was a young girl spending time around her father’s clothing business. Many afternoon’s after school were spent watching and learning until she commenced down the fashion retail path herself. Cathy ran a clothing business on the mainland for years until she decided to move to preloved fashion. Cathy’s Dress Up came to life as a little shop operating for several years in Hurlstone Park hidden around a corner, down an alley, and behind a café near a train station!  Shoppers found her though – any passionate preloved fashion hunter worth her (or his) salt knows how to unearth the good finds. And, this was coined the best little second-hand designer clothing shop you never heard of!

Now Cathy’s become a local in Southern Tasmania and joins our market regularly with her fab collections. You can’t miss her amazing stall of goodies. Be warned though…you’re bound to walk away with something!