Detox Your Wardrobe
by Nicola Cupples
Having an organised, visually appealing and cost-effective wardrobe can really supercharge your life. Can you imagine how liberating it would be not to get bogged down each morning with the fact that you seem to have a lot of clothes but nothing to wear! Can you imagine how much time, money and stress you could save yourself if you bought only the things that you really liked and then got lots of wear out of every item?
The key to strong personal style and a stress free, cost-effective wardrobe is achieving a capsule wardrobe tailored to the needs and wants of your own life and personality. The main idea of a capsule wardrobe is that it contains everything you need for every-day use to kit you out with the outfits you require for every possible occasion.
Here I will give you some tips on how to start on the journey of achieving your perfect wardrobe. All you need to do is dedicate some time to yourself. Even if you are a busy career girl or stressed out mum, the time you put in to building a strong capsule wardrobe will allow you spend less time worrying about what you look like and more time enjoying life.
The process of this wardrobe detox is really therapeutic and can help to free up your house of needless clutter which will not only help you to look more polished, but will also free up more time every day when getting ready, save you from making potentially expensive mistakes in the future on ‘one hit wonders’ and can mentally refresh and refocus your mind. Plus a good wardrobe detox can help you to get the buzz of having new clothes without actually spending a penny. Bonus!
Now, by the end of this, we only want clothes that you can wear today left in your wardrobe. There is no point confusing yourself and cramming up space with clothes that you can’t wear now. Where’s the fun in that?
Firstly you need to rummage through your wardrobe and make a pile of clothes for each of the following categories (if they apply to you)…
Clothes too small or too big? This is a common problem in many women’s wardrobes! Usually a case of wishful thinking or just the age old notion of “you never know I might need it.” Well yes you may need it in future, but if it doesn’t fit you today, then you’re not going to wear it, so take it out of your day-to-day wardrobe and store away.
Apart from just being impractical, having clothes that don’t fit can be psychologically damaging. By looking at clothes that are too small it is a daily taunt telling you that you’re not yet your ‘perfect’ size because you can’t fit in to your ‘thin jeans’ yet. You probably beat yourself up enough already so you don’t need to torment yourself further with this sort of self-abuse. Similarly if you have recently lost weight and still have your old larger clothes looking at you every day, this could drastically sabotage your weight loss results as subconsciously each day, those clothes are whispering in your ear that “you will need me in future because you are going to put the weight back on.” If you’re serious about keeping the weight off, why would you still need these clothes? Get rid of them today!
Thinking only of what you can wear today, free up space in your wardrobe by pulling out clothes that are currently out of season. This should be done twice a year when the weather starts to turn. For example as it gets into autumn, clear out your flip flops and summer skirts and store them away until next year. Do the same with your winter wardrobe when the weather starts to get milder.
This way, you’ll have less clutter in your wardrobe for the next six months and when you do your next season changeover it will feel like you have new clothes hanging in your wardrobe! You will be keen to revive these clothes as you haven’t been staring at them for the last six months so you will feel less inclined to spend on a fashion fix.
Store out of season clothing in suitcases, storage boxes and bags and pop them under the bed or in the loft. Line the suitcase or box with acid free tissue paper to prevent dis-colouration. Especially important if the garments are white. PH neutral tissue paper will keep everything looking white were as extra delicate whites can be wrapped in white then blue tissue which will prevent yellowing.
Also pop in some cedar wood or moth balls to prevent those little blighters from snacking on your fashion favourites! Moths have very expensive taste so be especially careful to protect cashmeres and silks. Finally, label your storage suitcases or boxes clearly so you know exactly what you have in each box. Don’t you feel better already?!
Adjustments and TLC
Do you ever come to your wardrobe and pick out your favourite white shirt only to remember that you still haven’t sewn on that button? Or lovingly admire your ‘new’ trousers that you bought last year yet still haven’t shown off because they need taking up slightly? If this sounds familiar, pull out any garments that need a bit of attention e.g. dry cleaning, sewing, hemming, tailoring to fit you better, stained etc.
Then make it your mission to get each item back in your wardrobe within the next two weeks. So for example, take all your clothes that need alterations to a tailor for adjustments and put a pile of clothes that need sewing or mending by your sofa and do one item each night whilst watching your favourite soap. Pop any dry cleaning in your car now or shoes that need re-healing with a post-it on the dash board to remind you to take them to the dry-cleaners or cobblers in your lunch hour. Before you know it you’ll have those garments looking good as new and you’ll be feeling like you already have lots more outfit options each morning.
Any garments that cannot be saved or revived will have to be binned or alternatively, save them as dusters for your house or give the cat a new blanket!
The Fit of Clothes
Having clothes that fit your body well is essential. Wearing clothes that are too tight or too baggy will always make you look bigger than you actually are. Unfortunately though, many women struggle to find well fitting clothes on the high street, e.g. pear shaped ladies find it difficult to get trousers that fit their waist and thighs, apple shapes with generous busts scour the shops for blouses and shirts that don’t gape etc.
However there is a solution that is not used as often as it should be, and that is establishing a good relationship with a tailor. They can help you nip and tuck your clothes to flatter your figure and at a very reasonable cost. It is well worth waiting a couple of days and adding a couple of extra pounds to the price when the result is something you love, feels comfortable and you are then able to get lots of wear out of it.
Get into the habit of taking ill-fitting items to the tailor as soon as you get them home otherwise they will just end up hanging in your wardrobe, never to see the light of day again. A style crime!
Tailors can also help you when it comes to reviving and updating old clothes which you still like, but that are looking a little dated. Trousers can be cut into new and more fashionable shapes, tops can have new buttons or details added to achieve the latest trends and jackets can be nipped and tucked to copy runway looks.
This can hugely extend the life of your wardrobe and gets your creative juices flowing! Not only that, but the result will be a unique piece that nobody else will have and a great talking point amongst your friends.
Fashion Faux Pas
As you’re ploughing through the last ten years of your fashion life (eek!) you may come across items that you no longer like. Your style will evolve with you over time and you may find garments that just ‘aren’t you’ anymore, so make a pile for the charity shop or store them away if you like to indulge on a bit of nostalgia now and again.
The Left Over’s
There will be a few items that you are unsure about. You still really like them but you’ve never really had your wear out of them and you’re not sure why. They fit you, you like the style but every time you try to incorporate it into your look, you end up trying it on and then whipping it off at the last minute in favour of one of your old favourites.
From my experience working with people’s wardrobes, these are the items that suit your personality but don’t flatter your figure. They probably make you look larger than you actually are or highlight a particular area of the body that you are already a little insecure about, however you will not be conscious of this at the time. You will just put it down to “it doesn’t look right today” and hope that magically, by next week, you might have transformed into Gisele and it will look amazing on you.
The only way to start incorporating these unworn garments back into your day to day wardrobe is to understand why they don’t suit you the way you are currently wearing them, and then work out how to adapt them to suit your body. It’s not after all what you wear, but the way you wear it which matters. This doesn’t necessarily mean getting all ‘creative’ with a pair of scissors! You can easily adapt clothes to suit you with a carefully places accessory or clever layering. This is usually how I add most value to women’s wardrobes as by teaching them how to wear certain styles and helping them understand what shapes suit their figure, they can start to revive clothes that have been worn and more importantly, stop making expensive mistakes buying new garments that don’t suit them and therefore that they never wear!
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Now you should have quite a bit more space in your wardrobes so this is where you should swap any of the culled garments that you aren’t currently using for clothing stored away in drawers and cupboards because out of sight, out of mind. You might be surprised at some of the little gems you find in your drawers when doing this exercise!
I always show my clients that if they can hang up the majority of their clothes, then they will be more likely to use them, so my advice is to use drawers for underwear, nightwear, lounging around and sports clothing, and garments that are out of season. That way you will have plenty of space to hang everything that you can wear today and will have more choice in your daily wardrobe.
A Whole New Wardrobe!
You should now be left with a wardrobe full of clothes that you can make lots of outfits with TODAY! It’s already like you have a whole new wardrobe without spending a penny! Bonus! However don’t stop there. Give your wardrobe the respect it deserves and add (psychological) value to your clothing by organising it beautifully with nice hangers, shoulder covers on jackets and labelled shoe boxes.
You should now have a few different piles of clothes. Give unwanted items to charity, have a swish party, give them to friends or family or sell them on eBay.