Monday, December 5, 2011

a little wardrobe guide

In the end of October I organised a clothes swap party (what fun it was, note to self: must do again) and wrote a little guide for sorting out your wardrobe. The lovely illustration on the flier is by Lisa Perrin, borrowed from her blog.

Spring clean

A donate, swap & sell party

Too small? Doesn’t fit? Wrong colour?
Simply not your style anymore?

Clean out your wardrobes and donate, swap or sell your stash in good company.

Children’s clothes all sizes as well as adults.
Make sure everything is clean and in good repair.
Kids clothes with minor stains could still be useful for messy play.

Bring a friend, a nibble and a glass of bubbly.
Go home with a fresh new look!

Spring clean

- a little wardrobe guide.

Usually around the time the temperature signals a change in season, I do a big wardrobe clean out, where I go through my entire stash of wearables. This takes at least half a day, and results in newfound ways to put outfits together, a shopping list of missing pieces, an out-of season pile that gets stored out of sight and items to throw away, donate and sell.

It’s easy to end up with another pile: a collection of odd ones that are too nice to get rid of, but just never get worn. Beware! These are the evil items that make your wardrobe into the source of nothing to wear. Only a firm action plan will keep this junk from taking over.

Start by emptying your whole wardrobe, drawers, boxes and other hideaways you have. Your bed is the likely resting place, but leave space for laying out complete outfits.

Start by sorting out the state of your capsule wardrobe. What? Never heard of such a thing? This is a set of clothes carefully planned to be worn for a maximum number of outfits with a minimal number of pieces, ultimately say up to 24 well cut, good quality garments in harmonious colours.

Putting together a large group of coordinated basic garments takes a bit of planning. If that feels too bewildering it’s very easy to get under way with this shortcut: make sure you have at least one complete set of 6-7 basic essentials ALL IN ONE COLOUR. Having a core wardrobe in a single colour may sound dull, but it magically makes many of the forgotten odds and ends wearable.  Creating a black/grey base for my winter wardrobe and off-white/light beige for summer has streamlined my mornings considerably.

Most people would function best with a neutral base colour, but there’s nothing stopping you choosing red, purple or whatever takes your fancy, if you actually prefer being clad more brightly. Think which base colour rhymes with shades that complement the colour of your eyes, skin and hair and what you are drawn to wear already. See how close you are to having

v      a pair of well cut trousers

v      a perfect skirt for your body

v      tank top(s)

v      t-shirts with short and long sleeves for layering

v      fitted shirt

v      cardigan or a fitted jacket or both

all in one colour. This could mean having a few different shades of the same colour as long as all the tops go with all the bottoms. Pay attention to the fit and quality, as these garments are trans-seasonal and timeless and so get a lot of wear. I would also include

v      a dress

as part of the core wardrobe and few people could live without

v      a pair of great fitting jeans.

Any gaps on this list should go straight on your shopping list.

Now we’re into the real cull: what to keep, what needs to go?

Ripped, stained, washed out, too tight, too short – goodbye! If something gives you the sinking feeling, it’s time to let go, no matter how much you spent on it. Getting dressed should make you feel GOOD.

Ask yourself: Have I worn it in the past year, two years? Does it go with anything else? What are the missing pieces that can make the misfits wearable? Do I want to be seen in public in this? Is it age appropriate? Can it be altered or mended? Do I really need it?

Let go of who you used to be. Your style has changed over the years and so has your body.  Some genuine self love is needed here. You deserve to get dressed in clothes that suit your size and shape. Taking photos of yourself wearing a variety of outfits speaks volumes. Camera tells the truth better than a mirror. Through its unsentimental eye you can learn what really works for you.

As you do your sorting, try to put together complete outfits. Make note of garments that go with a variety of others. Snap a photo if you discover new combinations, as you’re likely to forget these when old habits take over.

When you have gone through your whole stash, including underwear and footwear, you should deal to the outcasts without delay. And then, with fresh understanding of haves and have nots, it’s time to go SHOPPING! And that’s another story.


  1. loving this plan - so sane and simple and totally unsentimental. Tnx xx

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. Now I'm all abuzz about one's personal colours (as if that was something new) after reading an interesting book about the topic and crafting a colour scheme for myself... Watch this space - there's a post to be written!


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