By Helen Venables, MD of House of Colour
Hands up who has a disorganised, over flowing wardrobe that is so packed that you’re not actually sure what’s in there anymore, although you suspect an old favourite may be buried deep at the back amongst the outfits you have never worn, and never will? Spring is the perfect time to have a serious wardrobe sort out and clear out. It has also never been more important to be environmentally conscious about fast fashion and how to take care of our clothes.
We asked Helen Venables, from colour and style experts House of Colour, to share her top tips of how to have a stylish capsule wardrobe and re-work some of the clothes you already have.
- Know your colours and styles – Ok I would say this but by knowing your seasonal colour palette, what colours truly suit you, and then the styles that work with your body architecture and personality, all of your clothes should work well with each other. It is a waste of money and bad for the environment to have a wardrobe full of colours and styles that you never wear because they feel wrong somehow.
- Have a clear out, before you go shopping for something new. This means embracing a mindset which appreciates the clothes you already have and only buying key pieces that are missing. You might even want to log exactly how many pieces you have because there is nothing like knowing you have 25 skirts to show you that you probably don’t need another. Think about making your wardrobe feel inviting and organised, not troubled and cluttered! If you haven’t worn something for a year, rehome or recycle. It really is that simple. You need to be a bit ruthless to free up the space for the gorgeous clothes that you do wear and let someone else treasure the clothes that don’t make you look or feel amazing.
- Create a capsule wardrobe. This doesn’t mean having only ten items of clothing on rotation. It means being conscious of every purchase you make and having clothes that coordinate well and can be worn with different separates for different occasions, rather than for example a top only working with one pair of trousers and subsequently only seeing the light of day once a year. A capsule wardrobe is flexible, with every item fitting and suiting you, which ultimately is both time and money saving and makes choosing what to wear a breeze.
- Only buy clothes that you really need or you can’t live without. If you need it, AND love it, it makes you feel incredible and you can re-wear it to make a satisfactory cost per wear then buy it! Also only buy it in the sale if you would have bought it at its original price because you love it that much!
- Between seasons, store transitional items. Spring and autumn times are the times to store away your previous season’s clothes to free up space in your wardrobe for the next season’s clothes, but spend time making sure they are clean before being put away and packing them well, so they don’t crease or get ruined.
- Get Organised. Store coats in a separate area as they can be bulky and heavy. Use specialist hangers for belts, ties and scarves and recycle any you aren’t going to wear or if you have too many similar ones. If you have room keep similar coloured or type of shoes together so you can make quick choices. Keep dust-bags in special handbags in particular so they keep their shape.
- Host a swap party. Organise a party with your friends to swap clothes, scarves and necklaces that you just don’t wear for whatever reason. Make sure the heating is turned up so people are comfortable to try clothes on, have some delicious bites to eat and some chilled wine and hopefully you too will enjoy picking up a few new pieces for free.
- Find a tailor! So the colour is right, and the fit seems right but for some reason you never wear that pair of trousers or that dress. Sometimes a piece may just need a small alteration to make them perfect for you such as the length of a hemline, sleeve or neckline. It really can make all the difference and give a lease of life to something you always wanted to wear.
- Dye clothes and shoes. Dyeing shoes is much easier than it might seem. Canvas and silk type shoes dye particularly well but search online to see if those brown boots can actually be made into lizard grey or whatever suits your colour palette. Just make sure they are as clean as possible before you dye them, so you don’t dye any obvious stains or marks.
- Buy matching, wooden hangers so your clothes hang evenly, and it will be easier to move around and therefore see what you have. Hang your trousers full-length from the hem if you have the vertical space using hanger clamps. Keep knitwear folded on shelves, never hang on hangers to avoid the horrible little stretched triangles they can create.