As a fashion buyer for many years, I have learned some simple tips for keeping your wardrobe relevant and simple.
We all have those times in life where keeping our wardrobe organised is just impossible and clothes end up on at the bottom of our cupboard or sitting at top of your laundry basket.
During this pandemic, most of us are working from home, and the state of our house is a constant reminder of things we need to do on the domestic front. This can create stress and affect your quality of work.
Now with the extra time you probably have not traveling to work or going out meeting friends, it is the perfect time to do some of those jobs you have put off, like reviewing your wardrobe.
Here are some tips to getting started on organising your wardrobe:
1. Find your core items
These are the timeless clothing pieces that underpin your outfits. Those favourite jeans, those well-cut black pants, that shapely pencil skirt, that turtleneck jumper, that cherished well fitted T-shirt. Once you identify these, cull these down to a minimum. We often over buy some things, such as blue jeans, as we are eternally looking for those magic jeans that will make us look like a supermodel. Try to choose the best of these and give away those items that are just duplicates. If you have bought 2 of the same to make sure you have a replacement, store the extra ones carefully in the top of your cupboard or in the attic.
2. Identify your signature style
There are pieces that are uniquely you and have that timeless quality about them. They usually make you feel great when you wear them. These should be cherished and looked after. They might be a favourite signature belt, a vintage scarf, a leather jacket or that print silk dress that you had on when you met the love of your life. If you don’t have a large cupboard to display these items easily, you can photograph them and put the photo where you can be reminded of them as you dress.
3. If you don’t use it, loose it
We all have items that have survived a few culls because you think that one day it will be perfect for your outfit, but then you end up never wearing it. Perhaps if you had a large walk-in wardrobe, you could have the luxury to keep such items. But if you want to simplify your wardrobe these items should go. If you enjoyed wearing this item, you would have kept wearing it. So loose it. Give it to someone for whom it may suit better. There may also be items that you have kept in the sewing basket. Decide to repair what you can. Mending garments rather than throwing them away is a much better way to contribute to a sustainable economy.
4. Analyse your lifestyle
We all lead different lifestyles which reflect our work, our social lives, our family situation, and our stage in life. For example partywear will make up a large proportion of a young social butterfly’s wardrobe compared to a mother of 3 young children, or a health conscious, yoga loving grandmother. Think about your own lifestyle. How do you spend most of your time during a typical week?
Of course, at present the pandemic has made us all avid exercisers and lounge lizards, but what do you normally need your clothes for?
In fashion industry circles we would ask: what is their end-use? Some end use categories include everyday shopping with friends, expeditions, office wear, dinner parties, weekend BBQ’s, active wear, social lunching & coffee meetups, industry networking seminars, romantic dinners, local music shows, occasion wear (cocktail parties, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, award nights etc). Try to work out in priority order, which categories form the main activities for your lifestyle. Once you do this, try to see if your lifestyle categories are reflected with the same priority as in your current wardrobe. For example, you may have half your wardrobe in formal occasion wear, while you only attend a couple these events a year. This will help you to identify which categories may need further culling. Of course, sometimes, you know that the present situation is temporary, and you will need those party dresses in the future, for example pregnancy, and being a mother of young children can alter your lifestyle for a few years – so don’t give away that favourite party dress just yet!
5. What are your favourite colours?
We are usually attracted to certain colours when we are shopping. Sometimes they suit us, sometimes they do not. Over time we get to understand what suits us and how they form part of our distinctive style. Many of us use core neutral colours as our outfit base, for example, black, grey, browns, khaki, camel, stone, white, cream, navy, and ink, and then add highlight colours and/or prints to this. Look at your wardrobe and determine what has been your base colour palette and what are your most loved highlight colours.
For most of us, this is an evolving story, and so you may have colours from the distant past you love, and newer ones which reflect recent trends in colour. Some colours like camel, tobacco and yellow come in cycles of popularity. If this is a colour that suits you, you are lucky right now as it is available in most brands as a key colour. This exercise can help you identify duplication in your wardrobe. For example, do you need 15 black T-Shirts? Do you need 5 camel trenches? Some may say yes!! But it is worth reviewing. It is also worth having these colour pieces available easily so you don’t miss those great co-ordination opportunities – where a pop of colour, or contrast of colour can make a great difference to your outfit.
6. Have fun
Once you have culled your wardrobe and put them into meaningful categories in your cupboards, then you can have fun everyday making up your outfit. This could be putting your clothes into different groups such as pants, jackets, and shirts etc. Some may prefer to put them in end use groups, such as activewear, partywear, office wear, and weekend wear etc. Taking photos of outfit ideas when you are rushed can be helpful. However, it is also great to let the mood on the day dictate what you wear. Regardless of how you like to put your outfit together, making sure that you have arranged your clothes and accessories in an ordered way, will make getting dressed a fun experience.
By refining and editing down your wardrobe, you have made selecting your outfits a great opportunity to further develop your skills at co-ordination and putting together your own style. It will also ensure that any future purchases are thoughtful and useful.
If you need help creating a stylish wardrobe you can contact MRS V.