“Having a fresh eye to edit your wardrobe is pretty revealing,” admitted British Vogue’s Sarah Harris in a self-penned piece for the magazine. As someone who was sure that she managed her closet perfectly well herself – “I’m in there filing, editing and sorting on a fortnightly basis” – the Fashion Features Director was surprised to discover some sartorial home truths. Firstly, that she had amassed some 50 white shirts, secondly, that like most of us, she only wears about 10% of her wardrobe regularly, and thirdly, that many of her clothes still had their swing tags attached. However, what really hit home was that the whole process was far more enjoyable and much less exhausting when it was managed by someone else, than when she did it alone.
Editing a wardrobe is a time consuming task, and one that many of us will soon be attempting to tackle as part of the seasonal switchover. To really do it justice you need to take everything out of your closet, and empty cupboards and drawers too, and go through each item one by one to consider whether they are worthy enough to be put back into your ‘new’ space – it’s much easier to simply leave a questionable item on a rail or folded in a drawer than to put it back among an edited selection of your real favourites. And the reason why trying to edit on your own can be so exhausting, is that a wardrobe is not simply a storage space and clothes are much more than items which keep us on the right side of decency.
What we wear forms a crucial part of our identity. There are emotional and sentimental, as well as physical and practical factors that are tied up with our clothes, and these can loom large when we open our wardrobes. Trying to wrestle with these issues can turn a seemingly straightforward switchover into a herculean task, but as they can also be responsible for rendering our wardrobes unworkable, there’s good reason why they need to be addressed. And having someone on hand to help with the process can make it far less painful, as Sarah Harris discovered.
I’ve been helping clients manage their wardrobes for almost ten years now, and I routinely come across three main reasons that are the root cause of most switchover struggles.
Does your wardrobe really reflect who you are? / Photo: The Impression
Buying clothes for the person you’d like to be or the lifestyle you aspire to lead.
While this may result in an Insta-worthy wardrobe, practically it can leave you with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. And the same is true of trying to hold onto the person you perhaps once were, rather than accepting and dressing for your life as it is now.
Keeping clothes that are no longer wearable.
Opening your wardrobe doors should be a pleasure, rather than fill you with disappointment and dread. Clothes that don’t fit, are no longer flattering, are falling apart or have fallen out of fashion not only play to these feelings, but will be taking up valuable closet space too.
Refusing to acknowledge unwise purchases.
Choosing to keep an item that cost a small fortune but that you haven’t worn or has rarely been out of the closet, in the hope that it may prove to be a worthwhile investment in the future, is a worthless strategy. The money has already been spent, and the item will now simply be costing you peace of mind every time you set eyes on it.
Store keepsakes elsewhere.
While all this may seem to imply that clothes need to be worn regularly to ensure they are not consigned to charity, gifted to a friend or sold on to someone else, there are exceptions. Sentimental items that you know you won’t be wearing again but that remind you of a special event or were bought for you by a special person, should be stored as keepsakes rather than in your day-to-day wardrobe. And items that are rarely worn but are your go-to’s when the need arises fall into this category too – I wouldn’t be without my much-loved Gareth Pugh dress, even though it may only see the light of day once a year.
While discarding items that don’t make the grade can be difficult, it’s worth taking some extra time to consider the reasons behind your clothing choices, whether your wardrobe really reflects who you are and if it’s filled with clothes that are truly wearable. The alternative can result in style stagnation, which is a rather hefty price to pay.
If you’re planning your seasonal switchover and would like a helping hand then please do get in touch. You can reach me by phone on 07954 365320, via email at email@example.com or using the contact form here.
Author: Julie Hurst