How to Detox Your Wardrobe
Everywhere you turn, there is a new detox on the market that will help you drop a dress size in a week, sleep better, make your skin brighter and add seven years onto your life expectancy etc, etc. But today I'm talking about a detoxing your closet of all the things you no longer wear, a wardrobe detox if you will.
According to definition, a detox is "a process in which one rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances." For some people this means alcohol, drugs or sugar; for others this means a wardrobe full of clothes but yet a toxic relationship with getting dressed each day.
It sounds overly-dramatic but, as a personal stylist, I've worked with hundreds of clients over the years who have had an extremely 'unhealthy' relationship with their wardrobe. They've told me that they've cancelled countless social engagements, not gone on dates or to weddings or even gone for promotions at work because they didn't think they had anything they could possibly wear for an interview.
To make matters worse, they also tell me that they're drowning in clothes that they've spent THOUSANDS of pounds on which do nothing but serve as a daily reminder of their hastiness at throwing money at the problem in the hope that the it will fix itself. Quick heads up - it won't. In fact, it just becomes a vicious circle of buying new items to avoid having to go into their wardrobes and just adding to the existing problem.
Reasons To Carry Out A Wardrobe Detox
These are just a few of the reasons clients contact me to help them with their Wardrobe Detox:
- They're fed up with all their outfits and want to go in a new direction style-wise but have no idea where to start.
- Their life circumstances have changed such as going back to work after maternity leave or a career change.
- They've lost weight and want to re-invent their style.
- They've lost sight of their style and identity and feel empowered to re-claim it.
- They've spent a fortune on clothes over the years but still don't know how to put outfits together.
- They hoard clothing and accessories and don't know what to let go of and what to keep.
- They've been wearing the same styles for years and want to freshen up their look.
Questions To Ask Yourself
In order to get to the source of the problem, you're going to have to take a (metaphorical) brave pill and delve into your wardrobe and be brutally honest with yourself about a few things such as:
- What fits you now - not ten years, three kids and two dress sizes ago, NOW?
- What is practical for your day-to-day life? If you spend your days doing the school run, walking the dogs or working from home then the 47 little black dresses you have collected over the past 30 years (but never wear) are taking up valuable room in your wardrobe and will distract you from what else is in there that you can wear on a day to day basis.
- What suits you and flatters your shape?
- What makes you feel good about yourself? Just because it has a designer label or is 'on-trend' doesn't mean that it will make you feel better about yourself.
When I work with individual Wardrobe Detox clients, we work together on all of those points to ensure that wardrobe meltdowns are a thing of the past and that they actually look forward to social occasions rather than dreading them.
If you book a wardrobe detox with me (see more details here), I pinky PROMISE it won't be anywhere near as torturous and painful as you've imagined clearing out your wardrobe will be. In fact, if I was a betting kinda gal, I'd bet my entire shoe collection on the fact that we would actually have quite good fun together going through everything. Clear-outs are actually quite cathartic, good for the soul.
However, if you don't live in Scotland or feel like you like you can tackle your wardrobe on your own then read on for my top tips for detoxing your wardrobe yourself.
DIY WARDROBE DETOX
1. TAKE EVERYTHING OUT
You're starting from scratch so you need to be able to see everything you own before deciding if it's going back into your wardrobe. Yes, this will temporarily create a mess so make sure you set aside at least half a day. More exhaustingly, I'm also going to ask you to try most of it on too, especially items you haven't worn in a while.
2. THINK BACK
Try and remember the last time you last wore the item. If it was more than six months ago, do you really need it?
3. THINK AHEAD
When you are likely to wear it again. If it isn't in the next month and wasn't in the last six months then it goes, deal?
4. WHAT CONDITION IS IT IN?
If it needs dry-cleaned, a pesky hem taken up or even re-heeled then it doesn't go back into your wardrobe until it's fixed. You want to create a wardrobe that you know you can open and wear every item in it straight away.
5. CAN'T DECIDE?
If you are really in two minds about certain items, put them in a suitcase and out of way for three to six months. If you haven't gone to get it out of the suitcase in that space of time you obviously wouldn't miss it - it goes! If you can't remember what's even in the suitcase - it definitely goes! A lot of the time people hang onto things for sentimental reasons but actually wouldn't even notice if it wasn't there anymore.
6. THINK LOGICALLY
Organise your wardrobe in a logical manner. It may seem like common sense but you would be amazed at how many people have absolutely no organisation in their wardrobes. It really doesn't need to be complicated, it can simply be all your tops, jeans, trousers, jackets, dresses, skirts etc all together. Some people prefer to have a work wardrobe, a weekend wardrobe and a going out/occasion wardrobe but I always discourage this as I think that most items you buy should work for work, weekend AND going out, you just need to be a bit more creative to work out how to dress items up and down for different occasions.
7. COLOUR BLOCK
Within these sections, I colour co-ordinate items so that if I'm looking for a white top to go with my black skirt, all my white tops are together and easy to find. Again, not complicated but really does save time.
8. UPGRADE YOUR HANGERS
Get rid of wire hangers! Over time, they can completely change the shape of tops (especially knitwear) and no item clothing deserves to be treated in such a way. I love these black flocking trouser hangers from Dunelm Mill, they're really cheap, look great and save a LOT of space.
9. FIND THREE WAYS TO WEAR
As you're putting your clothing that you are definitely keeping back into your wardrobe, try and find at least three ways to wear each item. For example, if you pick out a pink top, you know that it goes well with your white jeans and orange blazer, also tucked into your cream pencil skirt and worn with your mac and also with your floral print trousers and statement necklace. For some people, they find it easier to think of three different occasions to wear a particular item. For example, how they would wear a white floral pencil skirt for a work meeting, a ladies lunch and a trip to Marbella. Often it's just about being more creative with your accessories. I prefer to take photographs of the outfits that I have prepared before putting it back in the wardrobe so that I can refer to these photos if I'm having a day where I feel totally uninspired and can't put any looks together.
10. STOCK UP
Once you start putting outfits together, you may notice that you are repeating items such as white t-shirts, a particular pencil skirt or blazer for a lot of your outfits. Take a note of these items to add them to your shopping list as you will now only be buying pieces that you KNOW you will get wear from as you already have outfits in mind for them.
11. START A SHOPPING LIST
Take a note of items you wish you had that would work perfectly with an outfit but that you don't currently have. For example, perhaps there a few things in your wardrobe which are just crying out for a white oversized shirt or a black biker jacket. These items can be added to your shopping list as again, you'll only be buying items that you will get lots of wear from. It's not about buying MORE: it's about buying BETTER!
12. SAY NO TO 'COMFORT' BUYING
Take a note of particular items you definitely DO NOT need. You might notice that you have lots of one particular item, not basics like white or grey t-shirts or jeans etc but if you already have four yellow blouses, chances are you don't need another one. This is usually an indicator of someone who isn't confident shopping or in their style. For example, if they have worn a yellow blouse in the past and received a couple of compliments whilst wearing the blouse, this all of a sudden becomes their safety item so they buy really similar items over and over again. The vast majority of people aren't going to notice that it's a slightly different style of yellow blouse you had on the week before so it will just look like and feel like you're always wearing the same thing.
13. STYLE INSPIRATION
If there are items in your wardrobe that you've bought, love and that fit you perfectly but you have no idea how to wear it, then fear not as Pinterest is going to be your new best friend. I always recommend that my clients sign up to Pinterest as it is easily the best platform for sharing ideas and tips and getting some style inspiration from. For example, if you have a leather pencil skirt but you aren't exactly sure how to wear it, just type 'leather pencil skirt' into the search bar at the top on Pinterest... et voila! Literally hundreds of stylish ways to wear your skirt that you may never have considered before. You'll never be short of inspiration again.
14. DETOX WITH FRIENDS
If you can, invite a friend or family member over to help you with your wardrobe detox. They might have ideas about how you could wear a certain item or you could pass on items to them if it isn't your style or doesn't fit you anymore. It always makes people feel slightly less guilty about the money they spent on something that doesn't suit them if they see it go to a good home. Just make sure you offer to return the favour to help them with their Wardrobe Detox too. Oh, and although it's 'detox', the process is much more fun with friends and a bottle of fizz, just ask Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte...
When you place items back into your wardrobe, turn the hangers round to face the opposite direction. Once you have worn an item, turn the hanger around. When you decide to detox your wardrobe again somewhere down the line, it'll be so easy to see what items you haven't had on since your last Wardrobe Detox. It'll also make it easier to see what items you need some inspiration with outfit ideas with, again - Hello Pinterest! I know, the OCD in me isn't a big fan of this one either but it really helps you to see what you're wearing and, more importantly, what you're NOT wearing in your wardrobe.
And that's it. The not-so-secret formula to a fashionable, functional and FUN wardrobe that will making getting dressed in the morning a breeze.
I'm currently offering £50 off any Wardrobe Detox booked with me before the 11th June, all the details of which can be found here.
If you do try out a Wardrobe Detox on your own, please let me know how you get on and send me some snaps of the 'toss' pile.
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