Editing your wardrobe


This week on Our Edit we are having a good old January clear out. From our health to our make-up bags, January is a great time to hit refresh and get rid of any unwanted baggage that we no longer need in preparation for the year ahead.

Given the old adage that most women wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time, the clothes we love, buy and hang on to  seemed like a good place to start the detox. Today, Rowan shares her thoughts on how to edit your wardrobe, ensuring you wear what you love and love what you wear, making use of the items you already own without endlessly buying clothes that you don’t want or need. Edited properly, your wardrobe holds the key to killer outfits and your effortless signature style, and ensures you will never have a ‘nothing to wear’ moment again.

The clear out

There is no way around it. The wardrobe edit simply must start with a really good clear out. I suggest pulling absolutely everything out and going through every item piece by piece. Be ruthless – if you haven’t worn it for a whole season, it no longer fits and isn’t likely to again, or even worse, you have never cut the tag off, then it must go. There is almost always a reason that certain items linger in the back of our cupboards. Maybe they have sentimental value, maybe you hope to slim in to them, maybe it was the most amazing sale bargain and you simply can’t admit defeat. What ever the reason – let go. It is cathartic and it will free up space for much more useful items. If you can’t be ruthless alone, get your friend or sister round to tell you straight when you insist on hoarding that mini from 2007 or the out dated dress you wore to 6 weddings. And if that sale item happens to be a ridiculously expensive pair of Louboutins that are simply unwearable (can’t imagine who would make such an error) then stick them on Ebay or Vestaire Collective, let someone else have the joy of not wearing them, and put the money towards your next shopping trip. Its a win win!!!!

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Once you have established what is staying and what is going its time to get organised. If you have to wade through your winter woolies to fish out a summer dress at 6.30 am, then the chances are you will end up forgetting what you own and relying on a few well-worn favourites. Instead, sort your wardrobe by type and season. I have drawers and shelves for knitwear, summer tops, thermals and so on, while I hang trousers and jeans in order of colour and type. Keep long and formal dresses in a full length cupboard again sorted by season, occasion and colour. If you need an LBD you want to know where to find it. Keeping your wardrobe in check like this ensures you have items to hand, knowing what is clean and wearable at any time.

Establish your go-to uniform

While organisation is the key, even the most encyclopaedic wardrobe system can seem daunting when you are in a rush in the morning, packing for a last-minute trip or selecting a week’s worth of outfits. Instead I like to plan ahead. I keep one small section of my wardrobe for my go to uniform or outfits for the week. Every Sunday evening I look at the diary and pick out looks that will work for what I’ve got going on. This way I don’t double up on outfits, or end up pulling on my play date jeans for a client meeting. My ‘wearing it this week’ section is usually a mix of jeans, leather leggings, denim shirts and blazers, with a selection of trainers, pumps and heels. My go-to uniform for almost anything. As all working mummies know things have to run like clock work and this method at least avoids wardrobe meltdowns in the morning.

Keep it visual

Your wardrobe should be need and tidy and accessible, you need to see your clothes, shoes and accessories clearly in order to work them in to your outfits and get full use out of them. I order my clothes as above and keep all my shoes in clear plastic shoe boxes. Stacked just one deep, so I can see my options at a glance. I have two box shelves for bags – one for day bags and totes, one for evening clutches. Again, at the start of each season I rotate theses to ensure the most appropriate and usable bags are in easy reach. It sounds like dressing by numbers but it keeps my look fresh and my bags in business!

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Once you have you’re day-to-day wardrobe sorted and uncluttered, its important to check in regularly with anything you haven’t worn in a while, to see if there is a way you could incorporate it in your look. You might have a fab sequin skirt that languishes in the wardrobe from Christmas to Christmas, that could look amazing with a cashmere sweater and some pumps in Spring. Or maybe you’re favourite party heels could work with boyfriend jeans for a dressed down look. Playing dress up with your own clothes is so much more rewarding than bingeing on fast fashion that will be on the charity pile within 6 months. Reusing and loving old favourites also speaks volumes about your sense of style and will allow you to establish your own unique look.

Fill the gaps

Even the most well-loved and organised wardrobe will have gaps. Clearing out the clutter and constructing looks that are true to your style will allow you to spot any gaps that need to be filled. Maybe your leather leggings are unworn as you don’t have the perfect flats to make them work appropriate (I would suggest a leopard print slipper or a coloured suede pump), or maybe your white shirts are all looking a little tired and you need something fresh and crisp to update your weekend look. By seeing your wardrobe in the whole and shopping in a logical way, you will be sure to buy good quality investment items you will love and get great use out of. Saving you time and money, not to mention cutting down on fast fashion landfill.

Of course, we know, there is more to life than clothes, but as it is frowned upon to go out naked we take the view that you might as well enjoy what you wear, and that enjoyment will be all the easier if you wardrobe is an ordered, clutter free place.

Happy editing, and more to the point, happy dressing!!!!

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