The weather has been so crazy here in Melbourne it has been difficult to call when to store away the summer wardrobe and bring in the Autumn/Winter looks and colours.
Many of our Style With Cindy enquiries lately have been in relation to stressful, overflowing wardrobes.
Women are feeling frustrated and anxious every morning when they can’t seem to put an outfit together they love even though their wardrobe is full.
Despite having wall to wall options, they feel like they have nothing to wear!
One of the common next steps for women is to adopt the popular Marie Kondo method of getting rid of everything in the wardrobe that ‘doesn’t spark joy’. The problem is they throw everything out and then find themselves wondering how on earth they are going to afford to buy a whole new wardrobe, and what in fact does spark joy for me?
How many times has your significant other’s jaw dropped when you say “I have nothing to wear”, the resulting reply “Your wardrobe is full of clothes” or worse “You spend a fortune on clothes how can you have nothing to wear?” How cringeworthy… but totally relatable.
It affects us in so many ways.
We are late to work and feel uncomfortable, on weekends we run out the door in our trackies or something we hope won’t be seen in, donning your sunnies eyes down!
We don’t really know what is in our wardrobes so we spend far too much money on the wrong pieces and don’t consider the cost per wear of an item.
We neglect to purchase essential basics, in favour of cheap in the moment purchases, and sometimes bring pieces home only to realise you have something very similar already or don’t have any shoes that would work and never end up wearing it!
The most upsetting but real scenario for women and this applies to teenagers as well, that you start to withdraw, you don’t want to go out anywhere.
You just can’t seem to get it together and feel unorganised and stressed, time disappearing every morning and the end result does not make you feel great about yourself.
The answer is to only have pieces that fit you perfectly, are versatile and easily mixed and matched and organised in a way in which is easy for you to refer to and ensure you are on time, looking fantastic, feeling confident and in control.
I believe a wardrobe should be audited twice a year at the beginning of Spring and again in Autumn.
Depending on the amount of wardrobe space you have in your home, will change how you manage the seasons.
If you have a small main wardrobe, store away your out of season clothes in alternative wardrobes or in under bed storage bags.
Vacuum bags are a popular option but can erode natural fibres as they don’t allow them to breathe, so look for airtight plastic containers instead.
Make sure your items have been laundered prior to storage!
I have done a previous blog post on Wardrobe Revamping for how to store your clothing and how to effectively organise your items on display.
Decide on your style.
One of the first steps is to ensure that all pieces are congruent with your personal style.
Do your research and visualise what you want to achieve in your everyday look.
Head to Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration and then into stores to do your homework.
Step 2. Recon
Look at what is in store, collect their catalogues and lookbooks and try on pieces to ensure the cuts you like really do suit your body shape.
It is also a good time to figure out how far your budget will stretch, and how many pieces you will realistically be able to purchase for your wardrobe makeover. This will indicate how ruthless you can be when culling in the wardrobe.
Note: Step 1 and Step 2 are harder than they seem!
It can be difficult for women to translate a style into a look that works with their body shape, lifestyle, age, colours and budget.
I highly recommend a Define Your Style Session to really have the strong direction you need to proceed.
Step 3. – The Clearout!
I swear by getting in the mood with some music, comfortable clothes and having your keep, cull, store, alter boxes or bags ready to sort!
Cull- items that don’t suit your body shape, colours, personal style are pilling, have holed or are faded.
Keep – Style success! These are items that will work well with your new wardrobe and are in excellent condition and don’t require alterations.
Store- items that will make a fashion comeback! They are pieces that are in good condition, suit your body shape and colours, don’t need alterations and will work for your personal style next season.
Alter – yes, alterations can be expensive, but when you consider you can’t wear the item in its current state, what a waste of investment! Sometimes you can breathe new life into an item that you never expected.
Note: It can be very difficult to separate your emotional ties to an item in the wardrobe, and similarly to understand the best cuts and styles for you. Having someone else make the hard decisions for you is much easier. I recommend booking a Wardrobe Audit if you are finding this process stressful!
Step 4 The send-off
Here is where you can make a difference in the lives of others!
Please be considerate of what you donate – is this a donation, or are you simply looking for an easy way of disposing?
There is a tremendous amount of unsuitable clothing donated to charities across Australia at great cost to these organisations.
Ask yourself, is this a quality donation? Would I feel comfortable giving this to a friend in need?
You must launder as they do not have the facilities to clean and please, do not donate ripped or clothing with holes and stains.
It can be emotional letting go of clothes for many reasons.
A great option is to organise a clothes swapping day with girlfriends or school mums or sell via a garage sale or online via buy/sell/swap pages.
Donate to a cause you are passionate about.
Do your online research and find a local charity you would love to support.
Some inspiration includes, Dress for Success and Fitted For Work which are fabulous organisations that assist women in looking and feeling fantastic for job interviews.
Don’t forget your accessories and bathroom items!
Who has handbags they don’t love and hundreds of toiletries collected from hotels, samples from brands that are wasting space in your wardrobe?
Companies like Share The Dignity and Pinchapoo, run drives where you fill a handbag with toiletries, sanitary items and things women need when homeless St Kilda Mums are currently running a charity drive with Epworth Maternity to fill a toiletries bag with things new mums need for themselves just search #OneMotherToAnother
Step 5 Work out your lifestyle and what you need!
Lifestyle is important!
For example how many days of work per week, days you are at home, days you go out and needs smart casual looks, do you need a lot of going out looks? Use my handy template for more info! www.stylewithcindy.com.au/wardrobe_worksheet.pdf
Now, list the clothes you already have in the lifestyle spot and using all your recon work you have done in stores look where you can place these items to fill the gaps!
Now time to shop for your new items, buy your storage boxes or hangers you require, get your alterations pile to you tailor and dirty items to the dry cleaner and you will feel so much more organised!
Let me know how you have gone with your wardrobe clear out!