The short answer is NOW! However, I do know that life is rarely that simple. Conversations around the way that I, and many other stylists, work so often begin with either curiosity or the statement “I have far too many clothes”. Sometimes this is said in the fear that I will lure them into an expensive shopping trip. I would love to dispel that myth straight away.
A wardrobe edit done efficiently and with joy will help you reveal the hidden gems that you have either forgotten or been dismissing. Streamlining the clothes you keep so that what you have can be worn multiple ways or simply that you have only pieces you love and will wear. It’s an opportunity to be experimental and to challenge yourself. Items of clothing that just take up space might be a thing of beauty to someone else. In your wardrobe these can make you feel guilty, remind you of times you would rather forget or zap your energy in multiple other ways.
Of course it is perfectly possible to do your own wardrobe edit and maybe enlist the help of a supportive friend. Check out the multiple blogs of how to do this and be sure to watch Marie Kondo on Netflix. If you would prefer a slightly less perfect approach to decluttering then please check out my friend Mariette Jansen’s course on Udemy. Fly Lady is another option, like Marie Kondo it’s pretty all encompassing, however you can pick and choose from her ideas.
If you bring in a professional, expect a thorough overhaul. You are paying for a service so you need to get your money’s worth. However, I am not going to come in and bin all your clothes. This is a joint project where we work together to re/discover your personal style and bring together outfits that suit you and all the different facets of your life. Sometimes it is possible to do this exclusively with what you already have, even after some decluttering. However, there are occasionally gaps in your wardrobe and we can discuss this. I am always happy to make recommendations.
The next step may be a shopping trip and this can happen however you want it to. I may simply put a list of suggestions with a few retailers to check out and then follow up a while later to see how you got on. You may like to go for the full personal shopping experience. It is also possible to have a virtual personal shopper – I can provide contact details of retailers who do this as well as providing a more bespoke service myself. As I have a particular interest in sustainability we could limit the retailers we visit to those providing ethical goods or maybe just hit the charity shops!
As our lives have changed so fast in recent years, even the options available from personal stylists can be quite overwhelming. That’s where building a relationship with a professional, getting help refining your look puts you back in control. No more staring into the wardrobe in panic, thinking “I haven’t got a thing to wear”
Once you have everything in order there is an excellent way of managing your wardrobe long term. The “one in, one out” philosophy is sound. You have carefully curated your clothes so are aware how many outfits for each of your regular activities are necessary and how much variety you need to satisfy your creative side. Any more than this sets you right back to a crammed wardrobe with you only wearing about 20% of what is in there. It can become a vicious circle and undo all your good work.
Embracing the idea of sharing your pre-loved items is a win-win strategy. Recycling damaged items can either feed the growing business of textile recycling or provide raw material for a creative seamstress. Pieces that are still wearable are the life blood of the charity shops. There may also be treasures that just no longer work for you which can be sold on through dress agencies, pre-loved on-line sites or vintage stores.
As you can see deciding to declutter your wardrobe is just the beginning. It’s a process that can be fun, liberating and creative but I would be wrong to ignore the emotional side of this. I would love to hear your comments and there will be more posts on this subject.