It’s time to get ready for summer. It’s almost here and now’s a great time, before the Christmas rush, to sort out your wardrobe and get it ready for the sunny days ahead.
While you’ve probably heard that you should clear out your wardrobe regularly, chances are that you haven’t done it. Why? Because clearing out your wardrobe isn’t as simple as just putting clothes into piles. The real skill is in knowing what needs to go and what should stay. How do you know what really works on you?
Usually before I sort through someone’s wardrobe, I like to spend some time figuring out what colours suit them, what works on their body-shape, what their lifestyle is like, and also what their style personality is. To successfully sort out and plan a workable wardrobe, you really need to know these things. You may know all this about yourself already, or you might need some help to figure it out. Once we’ve got that sorted, we can start on the wardrobe…
1. Decide how to sort your clothes
Decide what piles you are going to sort your clothes into and where you’re going to put each one.
I suggest the following piles:
a) Keepers: Clothes that go back into your closet because they look great, they are ready-to-wear, and get plenty of use.
b) Storage: Clothes that are basically keepers, but don’t get worn very often (or are out of season right now) so they can be stored elsewhere to free up valuable space in your closet.
c) Repairs: Clothing that need mending, cleaning or tailoring, but would otherwise be keepers.
d) Returns: Clothes that still have tags attached because you’ve never worn them!
e) Giveaway or sell: Nice clothing that’s just not flattering on you but would be great for someone else.
f) Throwaways: Items that shouldn’t be worn by anyone — things that are worn out, badly stained or otherwise unwearable.
You can also make the piles anywhere you want, but having boxes ready for the giveaways and throwaways is a good way to keep them separate, so you don’t accidentally put a keeper in those piles.
2. Sort your clothing
Now you’re going to go through the big stack of clothing on your bed piece-by-piece and move every item to one of the other piles.
Take your time, and don’t put anything back into your closet unless you’re absolutely sure that it’s a keeper.
To be sure that a garment is a keeper, ask yourself the following questions — and don’t forget to answer really honestly! An item isn’t a keeper unless you can answer all these questions with a firm “yes”.
Question 1: Is it free of stains, fading and tears?
Stained, torn or badly faded clothes should not be part of your everyday wardrobe.
You might be able to salvage clothing that’s stained but otherwise fine if you take your clothes to a professional cleaner. Likewise, some tears can be repaired by a professional, but most will mean a garment can no longer be worn.
Question 2: Does it fit perfectly?
Perfect fit is the key to looking like a million bucks even in bargain clothes. Poorly fitting clothes look cheap no matter what they cost.
If an item doesn’t fit properly now, but would be fantastic if it did, consider having it tailored. While not everything will be fixable, a good tailor can work wonders. They can alter the size, length and fit of garments and even make major alterations like removing sleeves or turning a dress into a top or skirt.
If your weight fluctuates, you might keep “skinny clothes” or items that are a little big, in case your weight changes again. It’s fine to keep these if you can reasonably expect to fit into them again, but don’t clog your closet with them. Keep them in storage instead so that everything in front of you each morning fits perfectly and you’re not tempted to wear clothes that pinch and pucker.
Question 3: Does it look great on you?
It’s a gorgeous colour, a fabulous style… but when you wear it, you look dreadful. Don’t keep it; pass it along so someone else can enjoy it.
Can’t tell if it’s flattering? Get some help to determine what actually works for your body shape and what to steer clear of. We offer a Body-shape Analysis to help you here.
You might find that you have lots of unflattering garments because your favourite colour looks terrible on you. If this is the case, try wearing small doses away from your face, in the form of shoes or a bag. Alternatively, look for different shades because a variation on your favourite colour might look a lot better. We also offer Colour Consultations to show you the colours that suit you best.
Question 4: Does it suit your lifestyle?
Clothing you don’t wear every day — like formal wear and out of season items — should be stored away from your everyday clothes.
Question 5: Does it work with your other clothes?
You may have heard me talk about “closet orphans” before. These are the items of clothing that have no family or outfit to be worn with. Every item in your closet should be part of at least one complete, practical, flattering outfit. Otherwise you’ll open your overflowing wardrobe some days and find that you have literally nothing to wear.
To see if a garment can make a great outfit, first look in your closet for things that work with it. If you don’t find anything suitable, make a list of the pieces you need and shop for them.
To save yourself from this hassle, always shop by this rule: only buy something if it will go with 3 other items you already have at home.
3. Do something with all your piles of clothing
You’ve gone through your closet and should have several piles of clothes. Now it’s time to do something with them.
First, deal with the obvious piles. Put the keepers back into your closet; find a new home for the storage pile; take the repairs pile to your tailor or shoe repairer; and put your throwaway pile in the trash. The rest you can either sell to a 2nd hand boutique, or on TradeMe. Otherwise you can give it way to an Opportunity Shop or have a fun clothes swap night with your friends.
Once all this is done, try out some new outfit combinations with your keepers. You may be surprised at some great new looks you can come up with. Get creative with accessories. Take some digital camera shots of your new outfit ideas, so you have inspiration on those days when you can’t find anything to wear.
If you want an unbiased opinion on what really suits you, help in sorting out your wardrobe, or a makeover for Christmas just contact us. We have Christmas gift vouchers available, so start dropping the hints to your family now!
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