Whilst working as a fashion stylist I often had private clients who needed a wardrobe make over before going on a shopping trip. Now that autumn and winter are just around the corner, it is the perfect opportunity to check your closet, give it some well-deserved love and make space for some new favourite fashion items. Here are some helpful tips on how to choose what to sort out, and how to organise your wardrobe easily.
1. Keep it or not?!
When visiting customers for a wardrobe check or helping friends to sort out their overfilled wardrobes, I often hear the same thing: ‘I’m not sure what to keep and what to give away!’ Here are some scenarios and answers, that’ll help you decide.
Situation A: ‘I can’t remember the last time I wore it, but it looks kind of nice and it wasn’t cheap either… Maybe I should keep it, just in case…’
Try it on, now. Don’t put it away in the closet again! You are not quite sure about the colour or cut? Get rid of it immediately. You’ll never feel good in it! Do you like it without buts? Then put it on an extra pile. If you haven’t worn it with confidence within the next four weeks, you’ll never wear it and you should throw it out of your closet. No matter how expensive it once was!
Situation B: ‘Oh yeah, that is a nice piece! I just need to get a suitable top for it/ trim it a bit shorter/ loose a few pounds…’
Let’s be honest: We’ll never find the right top, we are way too lazy to get it tailored and let’s not even start with the weight. If you are not on a crash diet (which you shouldn’t) the weight you have now is probably the same one you’ll have in a few weeks or months. So why do you want to make yourself feel bad every time you look at the skirt you once fit in? Get rid of it and spoil yourself with something new instead!
2. ‘I’ve got nothing to wear!’
Every woman (and every man with a bit of a fashion sense) knows what I’m talking about: you open the wardrobe, it is full with many clothes, but nothing fits the occasion and you start to fear you might have to go naked to the event! Here are some simple tricks that’ll need some preparation, but help you safe time when you need it most.
Tip A: Plan a styling day with a good friend who you believe has a good sense of style. Think about three occasions where you might need to create an outfit in a hurry or always seem to struggle find something suitable. This could be going to a fancy night out, getting up late in the morning for work, visiting a friend’s celebration party, such as a wedding etc. Try on all your potential outfits and make notes what’ll work best.
Tip B: Be brave and try combinations you would usually not dare to combine. Have a look at fashion magazines to get inspired. Also let your friend pick out some combinations for you. Try them on and see where you feel comfortable in. If you found a combination you like, have a look for accessories to finish the look. Often people forget that the right shoes, handbag and jewellery are as important as the rest of the outfit.
Tip C: Once you found your outfits, make pictures of them, print them out and place them on the inside door of your wardrobe. I know it sounds daft, but this is an absolute time (and sometimes life) safer: If you are in a hurry, you won’t remember all these lovely outfits you created. And before the next panic attack strikes, you can simply take a look at the pictures and pick out your favourite look for the day.
3. ‘Hmmm… I know I had a lovely patterned skirt, it is there somewhere…!’
Now that you created those lovely outfits, you want to be able to find the matching parts for it. There is nothing more annoying than KNOWING what to wear, but not finding it. That’s why with a bit of tidying up and reorganisation, you’ll love your wardrobe again and never have the trouble of missing clothes.
Tip A: Organise your clothes first into categories: trousers, skirts, t-shirts, long sleeves… and then into colours. It’ll not only help you to find things quicker, but you’ll also get a great overview about the dominating colours and the ones that are missing in your wardrobe.
And let me guess, there is a lot of black, grey and other dark colours? About ninety percent of all the clients I visit have mostly darker shades for their clothing. It seems easy to combine, it is said to make you look skinnier and you don’t stand out in a negative way. Well, think again. What many people do not know is that black, for instance, is the colour that looks good on only a very small percentage of people. Most of the times it’ll make your skin look pale and grey, and the whole appearance dull and boring. Also, black is not a guarantee for a slimmer look. There are other tricks (cut, fabric and pattern mix…) that’ll work better.
Tip B: If you have the space, get a summer and winter closet. I have a small wardrobe in the guest room for instance, where I keep those clothes that are not in season and swap them over every spring and autumn. You’ll have more space in your main wardrobe for the things you currently need and it is a bit like shopping new clothes, when you’ll exchange your summer for the winter clothes. There is always a little something you totally forgot about and totally get excited to wear again.
Tip C: Tidy up worn or washed clothes directly. There is nothing more horrifying than fighting with a huge pile of clothes in the morning. Make it a ritual to do so once a day and you won’t even recognise it as work anymore.
4. For the Spießer(*) in you
Tip A: Get a set of wooden hangers in the same colour. It’ll make your wardrobe look more organised and gives a bit of a glam factor. Also use old shoe boxes, glue some gift wrap around it (decoupage is also a nice way of decorating them!) and fill it with socks, tights, underwear etc. Your wardrobe will look much tidier.
Tip B: Get yourself some lavender or cedar sachet and place them in your wardrobe. It’ll help you to avoid moths.
Tip C: You are a bit of a shoe addict and need to find somewhere to store them? Why not keep them in the boxes where they are safe from sunlight and dust. To avoid opening all boxes when looking for a certain shoe, make pictures of each pair and stick them on the front of the box.
(*) A German term for a person who needs everything to be perfect and is quite pedantic and conservative about certain things (measuring the lawn for its right height, things need to be done in a particular way…). No worries, there is a Spießer in all of us! 😉
5. ‘What shall I do with the clothes I chose to get rid of?’
Hooray, you realized and accepted that this fashion piece is not and never will be in fashion again. But the question now is what to do with it.
Scenario A: The fabric has seen its best times, it is holy or totally out of shape? Get rid of it at shops like H&M and get a voucher in exchange.
Scenario B: It just doesn’t suit you anymore, but might look good someone else? Donate it or join a swap party where you could make someone else happy and might even find something for yourself. Or try to make a bit profit with selling them on a boot sale or online on platforms such as ebay or vinted.
Scenario C: You are aware that you’ll most likely never ever wear this item again, but can’t give it away as it reminds you of something personal? If it is the pullover you wore when he proposed, the dress you got married in, the T-Shirt you loved as a teenager- keep it! There are certain things in life where you need an air-tight box with mothproofing agents and a place in the loft to store it.