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home » Fashion Tips » Sort Out Your Wardrobe
How To Sort Out Your Wardrobe

Having a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes but having nothing to wear is something most women suffer from. By getting rid of the clothes you don't wear you can see clearly what you do have and make much better use of your wardrobe. You'll be more likely to mix and match clothes together and be able to see what gaps you have that need filling - the perfect excuse to go shopping!

Set aside an afternoon for sorting through your wardrobe - as the last thing you want is to have to stop half way through - leaving piles of clothes strewn around your bedroom! If you find it hard to throw things away you might want to involve a friend/other half who will be firm with you and question whether you really should keep certain items.

Start by deciding whether you're tackling your whole wardrobe, or are leaving the summer/winter clothes that you may have boxed up in the spare room/loft until it's time to get them out. You should aim to sort through every item at least once every year, so you can either do them all together or in two lots. Work out what you're going to do with the clothes you're getting rid of - if you struggle to throw things away you'll find it easier if you know they're going to your sister to rummage through, or a charity shop. Get out plenty of bin bags.

In case you need to try items on make sure you're wearing sensible underwear that will look good under most of your clothes - eg smooth and flesh coloured . Now start pulling clothes out. If you've ever had your colours/style analysed, get out your colour swatch and style notes to help you remove what doesn't suit you.

Assess every item:

Have you worn it in the last couple of months? If so, then ask yourself if you feel good about yourself when you are wearing it - if yes, then it goes in the Yes pile, if not, then it's for the Nos.

If you haven't worn it recently here's where you need to get brutal. Is the item a seasonal one? Eg skiwear, evening wear that you only wear every year? If so then, did you wear it last year? Does it still fit? Do you still like it? If yes, then it goes in the Yes pile!

If it's not a seasonal item then look more carefully at it to work out if you are likely to wear it. Ask yourself: Do you like it? Does it fit? Does it go with anything in your wardrobe? Had you just forgotten about it because it was hiding under other clothes?

If the answer to all these is yes, then you might wear it. If you had any ‘no's then you really need to be brutal and get rid of it. One exception to this is if you haven't worn it because it needs mending/cleaning, then get that sorted. Give yourself a week to take it to the dry cleaner/sew on that button/get the hem taken up. If you have nothing to wear with it, then that suggests it's probably the wrong colour for you anyway. Unless it's a very expensive item that could be made wearable with an easy purchase, I'd be inclined to let it go.

Overall, if you're looking at a piece of clothing and saying ‘I might wear it', ‘it's a perfectly good suit/dress' then you have to be really firm with yourself and ask why you haven't worn it recently. Sometimes it's hard to accept we've made a mistake, but if you're not going to wear something then it may as well be in a charity shop where it has a chance of giving someone else pleasure.

If you really struggle to see whether clothes suit you or not you might want to get some help, either with colour and style analysis to work out what suits you, or with the actual wardrobe sorting process. Image consultants will help you in your own home, with an unbiased expert eye.

When you've finished make sure you put everything back tidily, and think about a system that works for you. If you have very clearly defined work/home clothes you could separate these into different areas, or you might find it works better to split tops, skirts and trousers. Think about what you're hanging and what you're folding and make sure you can get to everything easily. If your shelves are a towering mess then you might want to insert extra shelves so there are fewer items on each one. Now you've got less clothes you should be able to hang just one item on each hanger. Throw out metal hangers as they aren't kind to clothes and if necessary buy a few cheap packs of plastic ones.

Once you've sorted through your wardrobe apply the same principles to your shoes/handbags/jewellery. Don't forget your coats and jackets and also make sure you go through your underwear and swimwear.

Miranda Leyton is a fully trained image consultant based in Leeds. She provides a range of services including colour analysis and full makeovers. If you struggle with shopping or a particular area of your life or wardrobe she can help - Miranda Leyton
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