This post is all about the Wardrobe Edit. I'm sure all of us (me included!) could look into our wardrobes and despair. So many clothes but nothing to wear. Not enough space. Mish-mash of styles and looks. Sound familiar? If this is you then an Wardrobe Edit could be just the style medicine you need.
In this post I'm going to take you through a step by step guide on how to conduct your own wardrobe edit with some of my tips thrown in along the way. This isn't an easy task but if you're got a good eye for what suits you and a strong ability to edit what's not working, then give it a go!
Step 1 - Get It All Out!
You need to know exactly what you're working with so get all your clothes and accessories out where you can see them. If you're working in a small room then do this by category like I did. I started with coats then moved onto emptying the wardrobe and ended with my chest of drawers. Part of the process of editing is to do away with duplication and things that don't suit you. This is much easier if everything is laid bare and you can see that you have 12 pairs of black jeans!
Step 2 - Try On
Next thing to do is to try everything on. When doing this you need to first of all, check if it's good fit. If it's not a good fit but it was inexpensive then perhaps it's time to go to another home. Sometimes more expensive pieces are worth taking to an alternations specialist to see if they can do anything for you. This is naturally much easier if it's too big rather than too small. Secondly, think about how often you wear it. Likewise, if you don't wear it often (but it's not really a special or occasion wear piece) then it's time to say goodbye.
If you like it but it's not really working for you then try playing about with the styling. I really like this navy blue cashmere knit dress from Whistles but I've had it two years now and I'm not wearing it as much as I thought. I'm quite short and I don't feel it's very flattering. However I've played about and added a waist belt in a contrast colour and it's so much better. I'm now going to hang the belt with this dress so I remember to wear it that way in the future.
Sometimes there's a bit of a flaw in a piece that you've kept as special but since it's no longer perfect you need to see if there's other ways to wear it. That happened to me with this Maje maxi dress. I bought it for two weddings and loved it. However, I managed to catch it on a steam iron and created a small hole in the back. It's not noticeable but I can't really wear it in the same way anymore. I've had a bit of a play around and styled it with a waist belt, my Claudie Pierlot leather jacket and my Maje over the knee boots. I like this look but think I'll try and source a black or turquoise belt to bring the look in a bit sharper.
Finally, don't write things off before you give them a chance. I've had this dress aside to put out for ages but when I tried it on and played about with the styling I realised how much I liked it. I need to buy some boots that'll make it a bit edgier but I don't have many dresses like this so it's staying for now.
Step 3 - Make a Note to Shop
One of the best things about trying everything on is you can see what you're lacking to make up full outfits or have a complete capsule wardrobe. Next Tuesday's post is my take on the capsule wardrobe so I'll discuss that in more detail then. For now, I'd advise have a good look at what you're keeping and what you need to make those pieces 'sing'. For instance, I had a fabulous pair of slim trousers from Claudie Pierlot with a big black and white bow at the waist so I'm needing a slim monochrome top that I can tuck in to highlight that feature.
Step 4 - Put It Away
Once you start to decide what you are keeping, it's best to start to put it away again. Before you do this take the opportunity to give your wardrobe and chest of drawers a really good clean out. Vacuum clean them to get rid of any fibres then go over with a cloth and a appropriate cleaning product followed by a dry and an air. Ensure all surfaces are dry and aired before putting your clothes back in again.
Next step is to have a look at your hangers. I've spent a good amount of time researching different hangers and I think I've found the perfect ones. These velour ones are available from TK Maxx and are fantastic. They are slim enough to enough you can fit plenty into the wardrobe space you have and the velour coating means nothing will slip off. They are also a really good shape. I chose the pink ones (because I'm girly like that!) but they also have black, grey, mint green, blue and natural. They sell packs of 25 for about £8 which is good value. I like to have them all laid out ready to go. Ensure you recycle your old hangers. I tend to hand them into charity shops are they are always looking for hangers.
Now it's time to think about order and categorising. Everyone is different but the method I find best is to categorise by item then by colour. I start on the right hand side with coats/jackets followed by occasion wear then dresses (evening to day), knitwear, shirts, tops, skirts then trousers. I just find this works best in terms of outfit building too. Within each section I then flow (from right to left) from black to dark colours to light colours and finish with white. Again, it's good to easily pick outfits which saves lots of time when getting dressed.
A few more tips here - I have hung a couple of outfits together - tops and trousers or dresses and jackets that I intentionally bought together and work best worn this way. Sometimes I've even added jewellery (again) I've bought something specially for that look. Secondly, I like to hang my scarves. I ensure they are nicely ironed then hang them with my coats. It keeps them in better condition and it's easier to select them. If I've got a scarf that is perfect for a jacket I sometimes hang those together too so it's easy to grab and go. An added bonus is that grouping like this also saves space - win win! My final tip is for accessories. I like put my hats inside each other then put my bobble beanie and gloves inside those. It keeps them tidy and together but also saves space - perfect.
Step 5 - Tackling the Drawers
I tend to use chests of drawers to keep the essentials in. Underwear, hosiery, t-shirts, jumpers, jeans workout gear and pyjamas. I like to pull everything out and review what I have so I can decide what I need and want and what to give away or sell.
First of all I've tackled my jeans. I've been working hard to curate a good collection and I'm actually really happy with what I have. All of them fit really well and I've now got a good mix of classic good jeans and some more trend pieces.
The best way to look after your jeans is to wash them as little as possible. Sounds pretty horrid but try to avoid a machine wash for as long as you can and spot treat small stains and marks by hand. When you do wash them, ensure you turn them inside out which protects the dye. Finally, fold them as below if storing in a drawer. This will keep their natural shape but also make it easy to stack them and find the pair you are looking for. Put the ends to the crotch, then fold again to the waistband and turn.
I approach tops and knits in a similar way. My special and distinctive tops are kept on hangers in the wardrobe so it's just my basics and tees I keep folded in the drawers. I like to ensure I have all the basics and they are in good condition so can be worn with my dressy and casual pieces.
From looking at the top row from image below I have a good grey tank which I love and is in good condition but the two v neck basic tees are done and need replaced. On the middle row the H&M top to the left is fine and good for casual days as is the Cheap Monday one in the middle. The one on the right has lost its colouring but I'll not replace this with same black since I have two others that are pretty similar. I'll instead look to replace this with a classic navy and white version. On the bottom row I've got a print v-neck from Zoe Karssen which I love and a basic long sleeve Primark tee. The Primark one doesn't last long but I bought it to wear under a grey knit and will be quite happy if it lasts this Winter season.
My workout gear, pyjamas and knits were all quite well edited already. I'll review this again when I go to create my Spring wardrobe but I'm happy with all of them for now. I ensured they were nicely folded, ironed if necessary then grouped them by colour.
Step 7 - Repair and Clean
Doing a wardrobe edit is a great chance to pull things out that need repaired or cleaned. Check over everything and put a pile for machine washing, a pile for hand washing and a pile for dry cleaning. Also, check if anything needs repaired. My Claudie Pierlot leather shorts are needing the zip repaired so I've put them aside. I also discovered that the YSL gold toed pumps that I live in are needing resoled. I'll take both to my local alterations shop and cobbler tomorrow. I'm often asked if I can recommend tailors, seamstresses or cobblers. Whilst there are a few I'd go to with something tricky or special (M Sakhi on Great Titchfield Street, London are incredible) I tend to go local for everyday jobs. Most places nowadays are online so check their Google ratings.
Step 8 - Sell, Donate and Recycle
When conducting my edit I made a pile of things I no longer wanted. By the time I'd gone through shoes, accessories and clothes I had accumulated quite a large stack. I then went through everything splitting it into what I'd like sell (I use eBay as I've amassed a good seller's history but there's lots of great sites for this), what I'd like to donate (either to friends or charity) and then what I'll recycle. Recycling is generally for things that are really done that I don't think are in good enough condition to pass on. I'm quite discerning when selecting donations and want to ensure those items are in good and clean condition.
On the left of the image above is my eBay pile. Before uploading onto eBay I'll clean everything and ensure it's in it's best condition. I'll then take lots of photos, showing the pieces in both their best light but I also photograph any flaws so the buyer is fully aware of the condition. Not only does this prevent returns but it's a more honest way of selling and buyers respond positively to this. I take my time to write full descriptions, getting further information online if necessary. I tend use to the mobile app for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I like the ability to take photos and upload them straight away and secondly, it's easier to respond to buyer queries in a timely manner. Once I've sold everything I'll post it within 2 days, wait until the buyer confirms receipt and then calculate my net earnings after fees. This is then the budget I use to top up my wardrobe from the shopping list I made during the edit.
Step 9 - Enjoy!
At the end of the wardrobe edit you should fine that not only are your clothes and accessories tidy, organised and in great condition ut you'll now save time and enjoy getting dressed. I'm excited looking at my wardrobe afterwards as I can now see everything more clearly and, through the trying on session, may have discovered some new outfit combinations. My advice is to stand back and really look at what you have as it'll tell you a lot about your and your relationship with your clothes. Look at what brands you have and how much of each brand - this will show you what suits you and where to shop. Also look at the colour palettes - if your try on was done well, you'll see a pattern of key colours that suit you and know what to go for in the future. Finally, have a look at the styling - if you weren't sure how to categorise your personal style before, you will be now.