Monday, November 30, 2009

How-To: Refresh Your Wardrobe

Nearly everyone's clothes wardrobe needs a clean-out about twice a year, or once at the start of every summer and winter. In my opinion, however, too many guidelines make the assumption that everyone's wardrobes are crammed full with impulse purchases that we never wear, and simply concentrate on clearing out the wardrobe to make room for new season purchases. I'd like to focus on some additional areas, that are applicable even if your wardrobe isn't bursting at the seams, in particular making use of what you currently have.

Start by taking all of your items out of your wardrobe and drawers. Go through everything one-by-one. Do you wear the item? Some items, particularly formal clothing, is only rarely worn, but with most other items if you haven't worn it during the last year, there is probably no point in keeping it. Be truthful with yourself. A good question to ask is, do I feel good wearing this item?

Before putting aside an item that you no longer wear (whether to swap with friends, sell on eBay or give away to charity), next ask yourself whether you can make any alternations to it so that you would wear. (For example, adjusting the fit, shortening the skirt, changing the buttons.) If the answer is yes, put it into a pile to be altered, whether by yourself or professionally at an alternations shop. It is much cheaper to alter something you already own than buy new, quality clothing.

The next check you should make with the item is to inspect whether it is damaged. (Make sure you in particular carefully check pantyhose.) If the item is not repairable, it should go in a pile to go in the bin or be turned into rags. If it is repairable, put it into a pile to be mended, either by yourself or at an alternations shop. Similarly, if it is stained, put it in a pile to be soaked or treated with stain removal. (And if after treatment the stain persists, it should then go into the bin or be used as a rag, rather than going back into your wardrobe, unless you have a special place for old clothes to wear when doing painting or grubby work.)

Finally, check whether there are any dry-clean only items that are due to be taken to the
drycleaners, or whether anything (particularly white items) could do with a bulk soak. With your shoes, it is time that they had a polish or do the heels need replacing on any stilettos?

When putting all the items back into the wardrobe, organise
everything in the way that you prefer, whether by type of clothing or where you wear the item. Try to put everything on nice coathangers that will not damage your clothing (not the thin wire ones from drycleaners) and neatly fold everything. Look into buying shoe racks (Ikea always have cheap ones) or clear boxes for your shoes, if you don't already have any, and neatly arrange accessories in hat boxes or from hangers. A neat wardrobe should make it a pleasure for you to decide what to wear.

(images: real living & Ikea)

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