Be it the tightrope twang of budgetary constraints, the challenge of ethical ideals or simply avoiding change rooms and their garish lighting (and a peek-a-boo toddler), my wardrobe hasn't had any spark injected into for quite a while. Rather than spurring on a mammoth online shopping session, this making do or simply going without has been food for thought when it comes to how many clothes I really need.
My "before babies" self would reel at such a statement as each and every issue of Harpers Bazzar, Vogue and the like were tossed religiously into the weekly shopping trolley. Key looks were scrutinised and favourites were scrapbooked (before the age of pinterest!), and not a thought was given to whiling away entire days shopping for clothes; spending ridiculous amounts of money on faddish pieces in ghastly fabrics. How times have changed.
Although my ideals have altered significantly I still adore beautiful clothing and have been rather uninspired by my wardrobe of late. I thought a cathartic purge and good old rearrange might be the antidote to my seemingly lack lustre wardrobe. The results were quite illuminating; there were many treasures hidden beneath the clutter. This is how I tackled it:
- Make it manageable by dividing your wardrobe up into categories and tackle one at a time. Perhaps shoes on Saturday morning and skirts and pants in the evening. As a Mumma to little people I rarely have big stretches of time to devote to such a task. Breaking it up means I achieve something in a small amount of time and I'm motivated to keep going. A major overhaul can be too overwhelming.
- Line up four large baskets. One for clothes to sell, one to donate, one for mending and one for clothes past their use by date to be turned into rags (old t-shirts make the best cleaning rags for windows and mirrors). Things that you're keeping should go back on a hanger on the rail. This avoids an interrupted wardrobe purge turning into bedroom chaos.
- Try everything on. I was quite ruthless here and asked myself with each garment, "Does it fit me today, does it suit my body shape and lifestyle, is it comfortable, can I alter it, do I like it?" I cleared out quite a few structured pants and tops from my teaching days that have not been worn for years. They simple don't suit me or my way of living anymore. Sorting through everything helped me to see what I am drawn to and for the first time I feel I have found my style.
- Try to restrict yourself to just a few sentimental pieces. Clothes are not memories. I have however, a vintage sequined butterfly top that I simply can't part with as well as the tiny yellow miniskirt I wore the night I met my beloved. These have been squirrelled away in space bags in the garage to pull out on a nostalgic afternoon for giggles and a trip down memory lane. Pregnancy pieces were also stored away.
- Make a list of basics you might need to make a languishing piece more wearable. The purchase of a simple beige slip has turned two very sheer and hence unworn maxi skirts into my absolute favourites. Trying things on and thinking about what I would wear them with highlighted my avoidance for buying basics. I added simple short and long sleeved tees and singlets in black, white and grey to my list as well as a nude coloured bra.
- Empty shelves can be wiped over with a mixture of warm water, vinegar and lavender oil and then dried off with an old towel. Lavender's antifungal qualities will help to keep mould at bay.
- When everything has been sorted, group things into like items and rearrange by shape then colour. It is quite clear that I have a weakness for floaty white blouses.
- Bag up the donation clothes straight away and put them on the passenger seat of the car. The very next time you're in the car, find the nearest bin and pass it on.
- Small squares of muslin can be filled with dried lavender, thyme, mint, rosemary, cinnamon sticks and cloves and tied up with string. These little parcels can be popped amongst the socks and tied around hangers here and there to ward off moths and mould.