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How to sort out your wardrobe? More importantly, why?
Well, do you feel the need to exert a little extra control in these chaotic, lockdown times?
Me too. Sorting out your wardrobe is the ideal project for days like these, when you are staying in, working from home.
In times of crisis, we turn to the wisdom and comfort, often found in classic movies such as ‘Clueless’, a 1995 film starring Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz.
“Cher’s main thrill in life is a makeover,” her best friend observes.
“It gives her a sense of control in a world full of chaos.“
We all could do with something like that right now. We are in our homes, yet in entirely unfamiliar territory.
It helps a little bit, I think, to take control of that home environment in a more positive way by engaging in a ‘Sort Out Your Wardrobe’ task.
That’s why, over the next three weeks, you should start this new activity as a pitch-perfect distraction.
For once, it is absorbing enough to keep your mind from spinning out on the centrifugal forces of existential angst.
Then, you can purge what you don’t wear. Finally, realign the clothes you like into outfits you want to wear when wearing outfits is a thing again.
But remember, for the ‘Sort Out Your Wardrobe’ to succeed, it is essential to focus on the clothes you love wearing and build a wardrobe around them.
The revamp plan below is a six-stage process of bite-size chunks:
Step 1: Take It Easy
Some people will tell you to start a wardrobe revamp by getting everything out of your closet and dividing it into piles on the floor.
Those people are mad.
Those people do not have teenage children who will announce the need for a new printer cartridge that must be purchased and installed before a live maths lesson that starts in the next five minutes!
Or, a partner asking if the lunch is ready, or where are the snacks.
We are all a little overwhelmed right now, and I don’t think turning our bedrooms into a giant fabric tangle is what anyone needs.
Instead, start small. Empty your sock drawer, throw away odd socks.
Then, find and remove any ripped tights that you have.
More importantly, take it easy. Just do one drawer, then make yourself a cup of tea.
Next, do this with your underwear. Tea break again. Then, your pyjamas, and break again.
Then, your sports gear and so on, bit by bit. Just take it easy, step by step.
Step 2: Sort Out Your Wardrobe According To The Current Times
It would help if you had different clothes right now, so let’s start with that.
Being cosy and comfortable is one of the few positives of working from home right now, so take full advantage. Yet, keep it civilised.
If you are working from home, then, yes, you can get away with conducting Zoom meetings in a crisply ironed silk blouse while wearing jam-smeared joggers on your bottom half. Nobody can see that, right?
True, but that doesn’t mean it is a great idea, as it has a long term impact on your habits and your approach to work and life.
At the same time, you don’t have to sit at your kitchen table in a tailored skirt suit.
A pair of smart tracksuit bottoms and a crew-neck sweater is ideal for maximum comfort while still looking presentable.
Pull out all your comfortable-but-not-scruffy trousers, then find a top half to match each: a silk T-shirt with a cardigan, perhaps, or a buttoned-up polo shirt.
If working from home is new for you, consider hanging up an outfit for each working day, even if you’re not the type that prepares outfits in advance.
Step 3: Solid Foundation
Filter the trousers and jeans that fit and suit you from those that can go to the charity shop.
Get half-dressed in a white or black T-shirt and knickers.
Make a pile of every pair of jeans or trousers you own, then try on each one in front of a full-length mirror.
Compare, and contrast is the only way to work out which jeans and trousers fit and suit you. Be ruthless.
Which clothes are you excited to wear when you start going out again/ The rest can go.
Now may not be the time to be making unnecessary trips to charity shops.
Although most are still accepting donations, with precautions including leaving them for 72 hours after drop-off, you can bag them up and stash them out of the way.
Step 4: The Staples Of Your Wardrobe
The quickest route to a style revamp is to focus on the clothes you love wearing and sort out your wardrobe around them.
This approach is much smarter than weeding around the edges of your wardrobe.
If you do that, it’ll take you ages with little change, if any at all.
All you are doing then is physically getting rid of the low-hanging fruit that your brain relegated months ago.
Pull out the ten pieces in your wardrobe that you wear time and time again and would be devastated to lose.
Whether they are Stella McCartney or H&M does not matter – those are your staples.
Imagine those as the centre of gravity of your wardrobe. Then pull out pieces that work with them.
If you have a silk blouse in your list of staples, find the bottoms that work best with them and hang them together.
If it is a summer dress, see if you have a blazer or a chunky cardigan that could make the dress work as a cool-weather outfit also.
Catalogues these staple pieces together. Are there themes you can spot?
Colours that you like wearing best, a skirt length that works best?
If so, log those for future shopping reference.
Step 5: The Outliers
Whoever came up with that thing of having a ‘summer wardrobe’ and a ‘winter one’ and then flipped the two around, had never lived in the UK.
It just does not work.
A workplace in January can require fewer layers than a beach in July.
But what is helpful is siphoning off the extremes so that they don’t clutter your wardrobe and your vision.
Heavy winter coats can go in a suitcase, along with snow boots and thick gloves.
Likewise, to sort out your holiday wardrobe – swimwear, beach cover-ups, etc, – you can pack them in a basket and stash somewhere.
Step 6: The final touches
You are nearly there! Next time you have got a chunk of time free, go through all of your dresses.
Pull out your five favourites, then your next five, as if you were picking a sports team.
Add in a couple of unexciting but ‘reliable dependables’. You can probably get rid of the rest.
Then do the same with your knitwear. Rinse and repeat until you have streamlined your wardrobe.
You can do this bit by bit – if it takes a few weeks, that is fine.
While the world is on pause, we have the time to do the things we never have time to do.
You won’t be in those tracksuit bottoms forever.
There will be an afterwards. And if that is not worth dressing up for, I don’t know what is.
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