Consider Your Lifestyle
Now that you've got to know your fashionable self it’s time to cast your focus to your wardrobe….
Before reviewing your current wardrobe let’s first consider your lifestyle. Think about what percentage of your time you spend on different activities. Focus on these 4 possible aspects of your lifestyle:
- Family - time spent at home with loved ones.
- Professional - time spent in a work or volunteer environment.
- Active - time spent doing outdoor physical activity, exercising or playing sport.
- Social - time spent out with friends or at special events.
Your lifestyle will directly correlate to your wardrobe needs, a wardrobe that consists mostly of casuals is no good to you if you work in a corporate environment and vice versa. Fill in the lifestyle pie chart in your Stylebook and keep this in mind when reviewing your wardrobe and it's contents.
Example Lifestyle Charts:
Review Your Wardrobe
It’s time to approach your current wardrobe with all of your stylebook knowledge on hand! This process requires a commitment as big as the size of your wardrobe, so be prepared if yours is overflowing. But know it will definitely be time well spent, think of it as a substitute for a shopping trip and instead shop your own wardrobe. You may prefer to break down your wardrobe and tackle the review in stages which can be less overwhelming. Focus on one season at a time, either spring/summer or autumn/winter, depending on the season you are currently in or the season you are about to enter.
First start by pulling everything out, you want to have a clean slate to build your perfect wardrobe from. Make sure you’ve done your hair, have your most versatile underwear on and you’re feeling amazing...you will be trying on!
Group items by garment type and then subcategories, for example pants grouped together which may then be broken down into jeans and formal pants groupings. This will make it easier to assess where you may have gaps or overflow in your wardrobe. Keep in mind your lifestyle chart here and how your wardrobe is currently balanced in relation to this.
Yes Pile - Start with any items that definitely meet all of your criteria, these will be items you absolutely love and wear frequently. Ensure you’re being completely honest with yourself with this step when it comes to the definition of the words love and frequent! Make sure each item is a definite yes to all of the questions below to make sure you're on the right track.
No Pile - Next tackle the definite no's which we all tend to have hanging around. These will be items you’ve been meaning to clear out, ones that are beyond repair or don’t fit your personal style or body shape. Put these aside to come back to later.
Maybe - With everything else it’s time to try on...and time to be really honest with yourself. Use these questions to guide your decision as to which pile each item will end up in, and did I mention be honest! Each item should be added to your current yes or no piles or placed in a new alterations needed pile.
- When was the last time I wore this?
- Is the style flattering for my body shape and achieving my body shape goal?
- Does the colour suit my undertone and work with my colour palette?
- Does it work back with other items in my wardrobe to create outfits easily?
- Can alterations be made to improve the fit, colour or style?
- Does it make me feel amazing and 100% me?
If you're really having trouble choosing a pile for any items then store them away for now and come back to them in a few months time. You’ll either have gone hunting for it in the mean time, be happy to see it again in a fresh light or realise you didn’t need it after all.
Organise Your Wardrobe
Now that you have your wardrobe grouped into various piles it's important to take responsible action when it comes to how you treat each group. Follow these guidelines to ensure you get the most out of what you have, even if it's life in your wardrobe has come to an end!
The No Pile
Most importantly when tackling the no pile is not to use the rubbish bin. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, items that are too well worn or used undergarments. Just remember, fabric is non biodegradable so do the best you can to avoid simply throwing out unwanted garments.
Instead consider these options depending on the condition and quality of each piece:
- Use as a rag for household cleaning
- Donate to a charity
- Sell to a used clothing store
- Sell through online outlets or second hand market events
- Host a clothing swap with friends
All are much more rewarding and positive outcomes for you and the planet. Who doesn't want that feel good factor, the chance to make some extra cash or the opportunity to have fun with friends...plus a curated wardrobe!
Breathing new life into pieces that may not perfectly fit into your wardrobe can be easier than you think. Given a little care and some minor changes, a shorter hem, more fitted silhouette, new buttons or a new colour can mean an unwanted piece is loved again.
Think about how an item could be changed to make it more flattering to your silhouette. If it's not the fit that's bothering you consider how the style could be updated. With a bit of effort and creativity you might find you have more options in your wardrobe than you originally thought.
Seek out your local tailor who will be able to help you understand what alterations can be made, and use their expertise to ensure you get the desired outcome. For simple alterations you might want to brush up on those sewing skills and get to work yourself!
Remember, think outside the box, yes it may be easier to simply move an item to the no pile, but there is no point doing this if a similar piece ends up on your shopping list in future.
The Yes Pile
Now that you’ve curated your wardrobe to only the pieces you love and enjoy wearing it’s a good idea to do a little outfit creating. Look at each item and figure out how many different ways you could wear it. Think about these things to make the most of your wardrobe:
- What lifestyle activities does this piece work for?
- Can I layer another piece on top of or underneath this one?
- What colour combinations work well with this piece?
- How can I use accessories to change the look of this piece?
- Is it possible to tuck, knot or layer this piece to give it a different feel?
You may want to document your outfit combinations and keep a folder of images on your phone for future reference or write them down in your stylebook. This process will also likely highlight the items missing from your wardrobe or that need replacing after your review. Note these down in your stylebook to come back to when you’re becoming a conscious consumer which is up next.
Having an organised wardrobe with everything visible and easy to find is key to your ongoing relationship with getting dressed. Arrange your wardrobe in a way that makes sense to you depending on how you put outfits together. Your wardrobe could be arranged by garment type, colour group or even by outfit combinations. I find organising by garment type, and within each garment type by colour, an easy to navigate approach. Whichever way suits you it will be key to combatting those I have nothing to wear days.
Ensure each item is hung correctly on it’s hanger or folded neatly and invest in wooden hangers for items that need it like sweaters and heavy jackets. Make sure you can easily view and access all of your shoes and accessories as well, these are key to finishing an outfit...and most importantly have a full length mirror available!
Taking care of your clothing can result in so many extra wears out of each item, and clothing that is loved should be treated as such. Clothing and accessories should be considered important purchases no matter what amount we choose to spend per piece, they are definitely not disposable.
Although it can sometimes be easier to throw things in the laundry basket, you should only wash your clothing when it needs it. With each wash the life of your clothing is slightly reduced, colours fade, stitching weakens. Follow care instructions, they are there for a reason, and use the delicate cycle as often as possible which will also reduce the need to iron certain pieces! Dry cleaning is also damaging to the life of your clothes so for your special pieces keep this to a minimum.
Repair any wear and tear to your clothing and undergarments straight away to avoid damage worsening. Get handy with that needle and thread, we should all know how to hand stitch a hole and sew on a button! Have a fabric pill remover brush on hand to save your sweaters and always ensure deodorants, perfumes and lotions are dry before getting dressed.
Care for your footwear is also of high importance as shoes see the most wear and tear and often require the biggest investment, so it's worth looking after them. Protect your leather before wear with waterproofer and use a spot cleaner or suede brush for ongoing care. Find your local cobbler to ensure you get shoes re-heeled as soon as required and have TOPY soles applied to any leather soled shoes or footwear that is susceptible to greater damage like boots.