‘Scuse the pun…
As you know in the new year, I embarked upon a wardrobe detox. I had spied yet another article on this type of thing and it just sounded such a faff. I’ve tried various schools of thought over the years, so I decided, having not found one that worked for me yet, to create one! One that lasted for a time a number of years ago was the “one in, one out” school of thought but either it didn’t work, or I wasn’t strict enough with myself, I’m not sure but having got myself to this stage, it might be something I try to gently adopt going forwards.
So, I should warn you, this is not a 30 minute job! It’s broken into three sections and they really will need to be done in sections so see how you get on ….
Part 1: Donate or ditch
This part was really fun, oddly cathartic and rather freeing all at the same time. I think we hang on to some items in our wardrobe for reasons that don’t to us any good at all. Some of them because we spent money on a garment and we don’t feel we have worn it enough to have had our money’s worth however it turned out to be an impulse buy and actually not something we enjoy wearing or feel good in. The other one is often we hang on to pieces that we don’t fit into but we are planning on fitting into them at some stage. We justify it to ourselves by calling it our goal garment(s) however they have a remarkable ability to hang around for too long and make you feel rubbish about yourself and so I think they serve you better if they hit the donate pile, the money has been spent, just remember next time to spend on something you can feel good in rather than feel guilty in front of! Keep your goal garments in the store until you’re ready to go and treat yourself and THEN it feels amazing.
So here we go, part 1, donate or ditch the following:
- If it doesn’t fit properly either because of the cut not being flattering or that it just doesn’t fit, it washes terribly, takes forever to iron, never looks right and generally doesn’t cut the mustard.
- If it annoys you when you wear it, the zip feels cold on your neck, the fabric is scratchy, the lining travels, the legs ride up or twist, the bottom sags, the waistline turns – there are so many things that it could be, but whatever it is if it means that you don’t wear it donate it to someone else who might!
- It’s stained, got a thread pull, so well-worn that it’s hanging on by a thread, has a hole or some defect that prevents you from wearing it unless you are decorating. I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously guilty of hanging on to pieces I have worn to death, that have totally seen better days and have it in my mind that I will wear them when I’m decorating – the amount I had, you would think decorating was my day job!
- You can’t remember when you last wore it
- It’s new, still has tags on but it was an impulse buy that just isn’t you, it hangs in the wardrobe and you feel guilty every time you look at it – wave goodbye to that money (unless you have the inclination to re-sell it), release yourself from the guilt, get rid of it and try to avoid impulse buys like it next time around – we ALL do it!!
Confession: I freed 83 hangers at this stage! Nearly four big blue bags went to the charity shop (I know!) I was quite surprised too but it felt brilliant! If it helps the process, choose a great charity to donate to. I remember the days I could only afford to shop in charity shops and so I am always mindful of that and also raising money for a charity that is close to your heart is a plus, for me its mental health and children’s welfare but there are plenty out there for us all to be donating to, alternatively, you could arrange your own local bring and buy sale for a local charity or special cause – we all know that giving back feels way better than the getting!
Part 2: Divide and conquer
Now, I know not everyone was a fan of maths back in school (so bear with me) but this does need a little bit of jiggery-pokery as we don’t all lead the same lifestyles. We don’t have to be precise so don’t worry, no one is standing over you with a red pen!
I decided to create some type of equation to help me decide how many of which type of garment I should have. This was to help any further additions to Part 1, or alternatively to highlight any gaps in Part 3. So, basing our wardrobe (no matter of its size), on the entire year; taking two weeks out for holiday, we are essentially building our wardrobe on a 50-week calendar whilst breaking it up into areas that serve the different purposes within our lifestyles.
So, it doesn’t matter whether you have a tiny wardrobe or budget, or a huge dressing room and a generous budget, this should work for everyone because it is based on lifestyle. For example, if you’re a headmistress but your wardrobe is 90% sequins, you might find most mornings quite stressful when you’re trying to find the appropriate outfit for work!
DAY WEAR 50%: Monday – Friday, whether you’re in an office or at home, it is for you to decide what your daywear is. Based on 50 weeks in the year, this means that approximately 50% of your time and therefore 50% of your wardrobe should be suitable for whatever it is you do for the majority of the week.
RELAXING WEAR 20%: this is clothing for the end of the day, weekends and days off. You might spend more time relaxing, in which case, you will need to borrow from the daywear allocation, this is where this is just a guide.
DATE WEAR 15%: this is based on going out twice a week (lucky for some, not enough for others (I’ve opted for middle ground). This uses approx. 15% of your time and therefore 15% of your wardrobe should be suitable for going out for dinner, date night and doing something special. There is more than likely going to be crossover with other sections for this, that’s absolutely fine – and as it should be if you’re buying wisely!
PARTY WEAR 3%: the festive season is short, but at the same time there are parties and other occasions throughout the year, give 3% of your wardrobe allocation to this section.
FITNESS 5%: for me, this is mainly gear I wear down at the stables around my horse. For you it could be cycling, or dog walking, gym gear, yoga stuff – we are all different.
HOLIDAY 3%: this is based on going away for two weeks in the year, again for some that will be totally different so you’ll have to do a bit more jiggery-pokery if you think it won’t be enough.
GARDENING AND DIRTY WORK! 3%: ditto again, flexibility may be the order of the day!
SENTIMENTAL VALUE 1%: we all have a couple of pieces that we love and live in, despite their faults so let’s be realistic, a couple (literally, don’t abuse it!!) of special pieces that never get worn can slip through the net here!
It goes without saying that this is not a science (despite the use of my pie chart!) The idea is for it to be a guide and to figure out a way to have a wardrobe that serves us effectively and that is a joy, not a chore, to look into each morning. There will also be some of you that have pieces that are historical, we wouldn’t dream of wearing them right now but equally they aren’t going anywhere –don’t include them in your wardrobe, pop them in the loft (or wherever you have that you can store things) and focus this detox on clothes that you wear throughout the year.
Part 3: Mind the gaps
So now you’ve created your own tailor-made allocation, you can see where you might have some gaps. I found it hilarious that I owned about 25 dresses and yet can’t remember the last time I wore one. I have stacks of jeans, but then I live in them, so they get to stay. The same with jumpers – so its not as easy as just following an arbitrary rule, we need variety to suit the different aspects of our lives and if you are finding that your wardrobe is out of balance and doesn’t reflect your actual lifestyle, hopefully you’ve now got an idea of where to give it some attention and remember… invest! Spend as much as you can afford on each piece you buy because then your wardrobe will last longer, look better and you will most definitely feel more fabulous!
If you want to store any special items long term, of course we have some perfect solutions from the Camouflage Company for you or alternatively if you want to really protect some things and pop them in the loft or garage, taking all the air out with Pack Mate vacuum storage bags is a great idea too.
Whilst this has been quite a mammoth task, it will save money in the long run by hopefully helping you know where to spend and where not to spend. Equally, it will make getting dressed in the morning are far less stressful experience.
I hope this turns out to be helpful for you. Remember also to tune into my podcast which you can find through my social media platforms Facebook: /mePipaGordon, Instagram: @pipagordon, and Twitter: @Pipalive and my website. It’s called “Inside My Wardrobe” and I am sure we will dig into this at some stage as well as lots of other things that I hope you will enjoy.
Good luck with your wardrobe detox – I’d love to hear how you get on!!
Much love as always