Clothes tsundoku

In japanese, tsundoku means creating piles of book you won’t read.

After years of visiting women’s closets I can testify women do the same with their clothes.

How many times have I seen wardrobe full of wonderful high heeled shoes whilst the only everyday pair of boots was worn to death.

How many tops with the label on, still waiting for their maybe-maybe-not owner to decide whether they shall be adopted or returned to the shop (even though the 30 days limit was long expired, but oh well, maybe I can resell them better with the label on isn’t it?).

How many dresses for when I will drop the pounds?

Some tsundokus can be explained: you bought clothes for a dream life instead of your real one…
But what about the ones you do not even understand?

What is this about this top that makes it so unwearable? Is it the color? The shape? The boring ironing that has to be done?

Sometimes, someone will talk about this book that had been lingering on your shelf and make you want to read it for real. You will blow the dust and get it out of the tsundoku zone. But most will keep lingering.

Same for clothes. It may happen that you encounter a beautiful woman, sporting a corduroy jacket like the one you have never worn in a way that makes you want to copy it. Then you try and boom, the jacket it out of the tsundoku limbo.

But sometimes you get home, you try, and… still doesn’t work. Well the simple answer may be it’s not your style. You may love it on someone else and not be comfortable wearing it yourself. Thats’ ok.

One of the purpose of my job here as a writer and as a wardrobe stylist is to make the most out of the clothes you own. Also meaning finding purposes for the ones you never wear. Maybe by styling down a gown with a jumper or finding the color match you were lacking.

But sometimes there is nothing you can do and it’s time to let the clothes go. If you do not feel comfortable in the red beret your sister gave you then… you won’t feel good in it no matter how I style it.

In my own bookshelf tsundoku I notice a lot of books that were offered to me.

This also works in closet tsundokus.

Sometimes it’s just our big ambitions that get toned down once at home. Finally reading Ulysses James Joyces seems like a grand project when in the bookstore but once home there’s always better to do. Likewise, getting this timeless trench coat sounds great but once home it doesn’t feel like it belongs to you.

Buy clothes for the person you are and the life you live. Sure a pair of Louboutins is great, but wouldn’t it be even better if your everyday shoes were just as stunning?

As a personal stylist, I am quite wise in my own clothes purchase and never do tsundokus. But is wearing something once enough to not be a tsundoku? After all it’s like reading just the first pages of a book.

I must confess that I own a pair of glamourous high heeled pumps that I wore only once. The high end Pigalle shop and expertly crafted shoes sold me dream. They were on sales. I for the dream home and now the dream is sitting on the shelf.

Sometimes you like the idea of a book or a piece of clothing… but the thing itself is not meant for you to use.

And you? Tell me about those clothes you bought but never wore in the comments.

If you like to discuss, follow me on Instagram where I have a lot going on in the stories.  

Cover collage: Marvelous shoes from Louise Paris, Tsundoku of Augustin Trapenard

22 Responses to “Clothes tsundoku”
  1. Marjolaine AUDOUX says:

    Bonjour Aloïs!

    je ne fais plus trop cela grâce à un long travail sur moi-même, à des lectures et à votre visite de penderie!

    J’avais été assez étonnée de découvrir ma propre collection de bottines toutes pareilles…Je suppose que cela repose sur la peur de manquer alors qu’une seule paire de ce genre suffit et qu’elles durent longtemps 🙂

  2. Hazeltex says:

    This could be a one time arrangement or an ongoing enjoyment. Why does your neighbor have more sex partners than you? Life is busy and complicated but intimacy and sexual satisfaction don’t need to be.

    There would be times where he would just go crazy. There is nothing to suggest the man is doing anything illegal. I’m not going to sleep with someone to get back with a man.

  3. Carol says:

    Hi Alois:

    I think that actual situation has changed everything in all levels…. Before and after…I love high heels, I used to wear them a lot to the office, but now working at home I feel that all my clothes are “useless”, that’s really sad, so what I’m doing now is trying to create different outfits for different occasions even for the
    supermarket and leaving high heels for when I don’t have to walk a lot ( there’s always a way for girls right?). Anyways doing this I found of course clothes and shoes that I haven’t wear for ages, time to give them away no matter how hard is that

  4. Lise says:

    Alois, I love your insight, you are so wise.

  5. Sue says:

    I used to buy clothes for a corporate work place and now it’s changed to smart casual and I realised I don’t actually like any of those corporate clothes. I was only wearing them because they were acceptable. I am going to donate them to charity and start again, this time hopefully with more care in my selection. My problem is, I will try on that jacket or shoes in the shop and it looks great, but then when I wear it in real life, I can’t lift my arms because the jacket is cut wrong, the shoes are not comfortable to walk any distance in etc and I end up in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers.

  6. Manderley says:

    Bonjour Aloïs et bonne année ! (Un peu en retard mais c’est maintenant ou jamais)

    J’emploie exactement la même expression que vous “une vie rêvée” pour certaines choses (vêtements trop chichiteux dans le style ou leur entretien, chaussures trop hautes ou trop délicates…). L’expérience m’a appris à essayer, admirer et puis reposer toutes ces choses.

    A propos de livres, j’ai fait un tri, il y a 3 ans déjà et j’ai donné à la bibliothèque 5 mètres linéaires de bouquins, c’est un exercice difficile pour moi parce qu’ils me parlent.

    Enfin, çà fait un certain temps que j’ai une règle: 1 objet rentre donc 1 autre doit sortir. Je l’ai fait savoir autour de moi donc on ne m’offre plus que des choses éphémères et çà me convient tout à fait parce que le chaos (même bien rangé) me donne des semelles de plomb et je préfère les semelles de vent.

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Oh que c’est joliment dit!
      Pour les livres je me pose vraiment la question soit de l’utilité soit du “spark de joy” à la Mari Kondo. Pour ne peupler ma bibliothèque que de livres que j’aime.
      Je ne pratique pas le “un rentre un sort” pour les vêtements car je trouve ça trop systématique à mon goût mais je comprend l’idée de la liberté!

  7. Caught a glimpse of this in your IG stories, but thanks for fleshing it out here. This is such a problem for me; I have often been inspired by someone else’s style, and acquired a few pieces, and then wondered why they were dreadful on me (droopy tie-dye pieces, I’m looking at you!). I try hard to style them, but they’re just never right. I would love a follow-up on this with some more rules/guidelines. Also, I should probably just keep booking appointments with you forever, and let you do it for me!

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Yes! It has to be YOUR vibe (and also suit your body). Since I know you well now, I indeed do not picture you in droppy tye dye pieces. But you have the happy colorful vibe that’s why you are attracted to them, but on you it is less “casual boho”.

      Always happy to do appointments with you <3

  8. Laura says:

    Great post. I always think other people look great in dressed down blazers and have two expensive tailored ones that I never wear. I have clothes for “going out” that are too dressy for anywhere I ever go (before Covid). I also have a whole collection of skirts I hardly wear. Now that I know I’ll be permanently working from home, my whole work wardrobe is going to be on the shelf too. How much time has to go by before you admit you’ll never wear a piece? Or is it more of a feeling?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Yes, clothes that we like on others are not always the ones that look good on us! They are soooo many things I like on others that I would not wear myself.
      On a related topic I was in a perfume shop yesterday and was smelling scents. And there was one I looooved. Like really. But just wanted to spray on someone else and then enjoy the company haha.
      Maybe there is a way to style those skirts?
      For the going out clothes it is usually more difficult but the fancy tops can be styled with jeans/ pants and the dresses topped with knitwear and worn with flats.
      I can help with this through distance styling if you want.
      Regarding the work wardrobe, there is also maybe a way to style pieces into casual wear.

  9. Sophie B says:

    On pourrait remplir une armoire avec mes tsundokus! 😉

    Ce sont souvent des vêtements ultra-féminins (jupe, robe, talons vertigineux) qui correspondent à la femme que j’aimerais être, mais qui ne sont définitivement pas adaptés à mon quotidien ou à ma morphologie (bonjour les chaussures fines pour mes pieds larges!).

    Il y a aussi ces vêtements que j’achète, que je ne porte finalement pas, puis que je ressors un ou deux ans plus tard pour les mettre quasi-quotidiennement. Dernièrement c’est une chemise bleue pâle qui a fait son grand come-back dans ma garde-robe. Autant je m’explique le phénomène pour les vêtements que je ne porterai jamais, autant le mystère demeure entier pour les vêtements qui reviennent en grâce dans ma garde-robe…

    Bravo en tout cas pour ton blog que je suis depuis plusieurs mois maintenant et qui est une mine d’infos!

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Ah oui dans mon dernier livre je parle des vêtements “pour une vie rêvée”

      Je pense que certains vêtements font leur come back car le problème n’était pas qu’ils ne vous allaient pas mais que vous n’aviez pas encore trouvé la manière dont vous alliez les porter.
      Et c’est cela le déclic dont je parle.

      Merci d’avoir commenté! Je suis toujours contente de “rencontrer” mes nouvelles lectrices et ça m’encourage à écrire de vous lire ici.

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