The skeletons (and lobster prints) in our man's closet.
I'm about to move house and have, rather lazily, hired the removal men to pack as well as to shift. The only area I insisted on doing myself is the wardrobe. Who would have guessed? This is partly because the idea of a whole load of strangers manhandling my undies makes me slightly uncomfortable, but it was also a good chance to see what's actually in there: newer items tend to get plonked near the front and others disappear into the dark recesses of the cupboards never to be seen for seasons on end.
It's always a concern to uncover a number of items that have never been worn, and a number that should never have been worn. The latter seems to be the bigger pile. In hindsight, as you unfurl a denim double-breasted suit or a cream silk shirt with a giant Schiaparelli lobster print on it, you can't help but wonder WTF was I thinking.
There are two occasions each season when the chances of buying a PP (Plonker Purchase) are at their highest. Hopefully, you will already have made it through the first one unscathed — if you're not sure check all the items you bought during the month of February. February is when all the new spring/summer clothes — the ones you may have seen pictured on the catwalks six months before — first land in the stores. It's dark and cold, your sweaters have started to go all bobbly, the baked bean stains on your onesie won't come off, and you've just discovered that Joey Essex has the same hairstyle as you. The simple solution to all these worries is surely a shopping spree: that deep-V T-shirt will definitely make the weather perk up, those green python loafers that looked so good in the Observer fashion special will be the envy of all your friends, that patchwork sleeveless blazer by the cool Japanese designer with the unpronounceable name will instantly update your wardrobe. Yay.
Nay. Be aware that in February, you are likely suffering from SAD (possibly still the case in April with this year's weather); it's dark for most of the day, and your eyes, like a slightly furious mole's, will be unsuited to the unnaturally bright lights of the department store. I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy things in those dark, desolate months; just that you have to make sure your eyes are open and your optimism in check. Basically, you are vulnerable.
The second occasion you are likely to make a PP purchase in the year is around now: sales time. Naturally, 30 to 50 per cent off is a tempting prospect and maybe the items you've been craving for months but were financially out-of-reach are now within your grasp. But just maybe they're in the sale because they're horrid, over-priced and, clearly, nobody else wanted them. I have a friend who cannot resist a bargain despite being relatively well off. He's not Scottish, but went to Edinburgh University. Come the sales, he huffs and puffs around Oxford and Bond Street, his little trotters going as fast as they can, picking up pieces of mismatched crockery, end-of-line vacuum cleaners and items of summer clothing he likes to describe as "fun"; items of clothing that a few months later will be shoved, unworn, at the back of his closet (hopefully) — much like some of the items I'm pulling out from the back of mine right now as I prepare to move.
In my new home, I will, for the first time in my life, have a dressing room with purpose-built, wall-to-wall wardrobes and shoe racks (in case I sound like a Mittal or an Ecclestone, I should point out that they're all from Ikea not California Closets). I have been planning the design and colour scheme of my dressing room for months. I even went to the Sotheby's auction of the late Mark Birley's estate (the rather debonair founder of Annabel's) in the hope of buying the campaign chest and table mirror from his dressing room. I was sadly outbid — by a member of the Mittal family, as it happens. But this new open-plan, door-less, walk-in dressing room will mean that everything I own will be visible 24/7. Editing now, as I move, is essential.
I wisely won't list here the items, or Plonker Purchases, that I've uncovered and put in the pile for the local charity shop, but if you happen to be passing through Primrose Hill and see someone unexpectedly wearing a loud checked blazer that looks as if it was worn by Toad of Toad Hall, or a long white parka that might have belonged to Nanook of the North, or even a pair of raffia-soled, multi-hued Prada brogues that could have belonged to a Spice Girl, well, I, er, couldn't possibly comment...