The Wardrobe Detox

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 3.34.42 PMI’ve noticed that recently I’ve started doing that clichéd thing where I stand in front of my wardrobe and scream “I have nothing to wear!!!” in the most dramatic way possible.    I’ve gotten into the bad habit of not “shopping smart”.  By this I mean that I’ve had no real structure or purpose to when I do go shopping, and therefore I end up with one-off pieces which have not been well considered and kind of sit alone with no friends in my closet.

So I thought the new year would be the perfect reason to start being a bit more clever about the things I do purchase.  The quote “Buy less, choose well, make it last” by Vivienne Westwood has been playing over and over in my head, and so I am now on a mission to build a wardrobe which is flattering, versatile, and reliable in 2015.

But in order to even begin thinking of investing my hard earned cash into pretty (and of course functional) clothes, I really need to take a look at what I currently have. What’s working, what’s not working, and what I’m missing, that will fill in the gaps.  And so a massive wardrobe detox was in order.

During the holiday’s I searched the internet, and set aside 2 hours of my time to clear out my closet. If you are also in need of a wardrobe detox, here is what I learned.

You will need:

  1. At least 2 hours of your time – If you’re committed to doing this properly, give yourself the time to completely clean out your wardrobe, try things on and pack it all up at the end.
  2. Some upbeat music  –  I found this helpful in getting me into the spirit of things and keeping me working at a faster tempo
  3. Some paper and pen to make labels for your piles of clothes, as well as some rubbish bags or boxes to discard of all your unwanted items.
  4. A trustworthy friend who you can rely on for honest advice – I’m prettily ruthless when it comes to clean outs, I find it very therapeutic to chuck stuff out but I still found my self questioning a couple of items, so having someone else’s advice can get you over the line if you’re being indecisive.
  5. A good mirror, full length where possible.
  6. Yourself looking fine – This is optional, but you know when you go shopping, but you feel like you look a bit crap, and therefore you think everything looks a bit crap on you…well this avoids that.
  7. Depending on what time of the day it is,  a glass of wine or a beer can only help the process

 Ok so now you’re ready to roll:

Step One: Prep – Time to take a deep breath, crank up the music and get going.

  • Grab your pen and paper and make 5 labels – KEEP, MAYBE, MEND, SELL, DONATE, THROW OUT, and then dedicate some space/boxes/bags for each label.
  • Pull out EVERYTHING in your closet, undies, socks and all!, and arrange them into piles keeping similar items together (i.e. dresses together, skirts together etc) – this will help you see what types of items you have the most of, and what type of items you need more of.

Step Two: Sorting out the items – Now it’s time to start going through your clothes and popping them into their respective groups, which are pretty self-explanatory but should go as follows:

  • KEEP – These are the items that you love and currently wear. They should fit you perfectly and be in tip-top condition with no faults.
  • MEND – These are items which you love, and fit you well but have faults and need a bit of a fix.
  • SELL – These are usually designer or pricey items which are in great condition but you no longer wear.
  • DONATE – This is anything that you no longer wear, but is still in good condition and can go to a better home instead of taking up valuable space in your closet. You can donate to charity or to friends and family.
  • THROW OUT- Anything that is falling apart, faded, ripped or stained beyond repair and not wearable should go straight in the bin.
  • MAYBE – This is anything you’re not too sure about initially. I left this one for last because this one is really the hardest pile. This is where step 3, and your trustworthy friend comes in.

Step Three: What to keep and what to discard – It’s now time to go through your maybe pile and really figure out whether to keep or discard any of these items. When going through this process ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you worn this in the last 12 months? – If not, then there is a big chance you probably won’t wear it in the next 12 months either – DONATE
  • Do you have duplicates of this item? – Sometimes we tend to buy a different version of the same thing – for example I had 4 different mustard coloured dresses (I know, I love that colour), but I don’t wear 2 of my old ones any more as the new ones have taken the forefront, so 2 of them went into the DONATE pile.
  • Does it fit you now? – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve kept a dress that doesn’t fit me “just incase” in the past. If it doesn’t fit me now, it probably won’t fit me by the time it’s still in style… if that ever happens…which it probably won’t. DONATE.
  • Will you really get it fixed? – Another trap is the “just needs a bit of fixing” tale. unless you really love the item, you probably won’t get it fixed. Donate it to someone who will care to fix it, or if it ain’t fixable pop it in the THROW OUT pile.
  • Items of sentimental value – In the past I’ve kept a few dresses that I thought had sentimental value for me. They are dresses that are sooooo out of style and I wore when I was 20. I will never wear them again. I am 30, no-one wants to see me in a short, glittery Sass & Bide dress. I got rid of a few “sentimental” dresses a few years back, and really, I don’t miss them one little bit.  By all means keep your wedding dress, or anything that you truly, truly cannot part with, but limit yourself to a few special pieces, and place them somewhere separate where they aren’t getting in the way of your functional every day wardrobe.
  • If you are unsure of any of the items, pop them on. Does the colour and style suit you? Ask trustworthy friend to give you his/her honest advice. If still in doubt take a quick pic on your mobile and see if you like what you see – It’s incredible how honest cameras can be.

I just want to point out that after I completed this step, I gave myself a day and went back to do the whole thing again with everything in my KEEP pile. This meant that a few pieces which I kept due to a fake sense of “I will totally get that fixed”, went from the keep pile to the DONATE pile quick smart. Something I am quite proud of.

Be honest with yourself. No-one is going to benefit from having a clean wardrobe but you. So just take the time and think about all the free space you are making for your new, versatile and functional clothes.

Step 4: Saying goodbye – Now it’s time to say goodbye to all your unwanted items

  • Get rid of your DONATE items straight away otherwise they may sneakily make their way back into your closet.
  • Anything that you want to keep and needs fixing should go straight to the tailor or they will never get repaired, in which case you may as well pop them in the “donate” or “throw out” pile right now.
  • Organise anything that you want to sell ASAP. Wether it be Ebay or a market stall. Do it straight away. Otherwise it will sit in your wardrobe for another year (I am guilty of this) – I have learned that I am no good at the selling part, so my stuff now goes straight to donate, be it friends or charity. Either way, just get rid of it.

Step 5: Congratulations – Pour another wine/beer for yourself and trustworthy friend, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you are now ready to refresh your wardrobe! How good does it feel? So good!

 I hope you guys found this helpful! In the coming months I will be looking at how to do a bit more “smart shopping” and focusing more on the building blocks of a functional wardrobe! Hope you will come along on my journey to building a better wardrobe this year!

Now tell me are any of you going to do a wardrobe detox? If you have already, how did you go?

  • I have to say this looks like a really worthwhile process. Someone gave me the tip that if you are attached sentimentally to something but don’t wear it, take a photo of it so you have the memory. It makes it easier to throw out.

    Accidental Icon

    • Luciana

      I love this advice!
      Usually it’s the memories we love more than the clothes themselves…so I love the idea of having the momento without taking up all your closet space!

      x Luciana

  • I totally need to do this. I deceive myself a bit with when I last wore an item so a friend told me to turn all my hangers around on the rail at the beginning of the season. After the items been laundered and goes back in the wardrobe hang it the right way. At the end of the season you’ll easily see what you didn’t wear. It kills the opportunity for denial but it does work.

    • Luciana

      I’ve never heard this before!
      What great advice! I will definitely be trying this out!
      I’m sure i’m a bit in denial too!

      x Luciana

  • I LOVE a good wardrobe detox. I try to follow the “bring something in/take something out” mantra. Easier in theory than in execution.

    • Luciana

      Yes definitely good advice!
      I’m going to try my hardest to follow this rule once i’ve built up my basics!

      x Luciana

  • What I do as a (fledgling) personal stylist is exactly this.

    Another thing I’d suggest is to team up with a friend – they can help you in return for you helping them.

    Don’t choose an indecisive friend though!

    The other thing I do is put all the charity stuff straight into my car so I can take it there on my next trip out.

    • Luciana

      Hey Kimba,

      Yes I think popping it straight in the car is smart advice. It’s so easy to put these kinds of things off!

      And playing with a friend is always more fun 😛

      x Luciana

  • Brilliant advice! I am a really bad shopper, buying stuff in the sales and then realising that nothing goes with anything!

    • Luciana

      Hey Candy,

      I’m all over the place with my shopping lately!
      So for the next few months I’m going to concentrate on building a functional, versatile wardrobe while documenting it here on the blog!

      Would love it if you read along. I might even start a LiLT blog challenge for my readers if you want to play along!

      x Luciana

  • I read a quote the other day that rings true with your article! “Suffering from stuffocation? Think of your wardrobe as an exclusive club and apply a strict entry policy!”
    Great tips Luci – especially on looking nice and donating straight away! I’m definitely using them! x

    • Luciana

      Hi Andrea!
      How are you lovely?
      I love this tip! This is exactly how I aim to tray my wardrobe this year!!!

      xo Luci

  • polly

    Excellent advice…thanks Luci, now for part 2 – not just succumbing to rash purchases!!!

    • Luciana

      Hey Polly! Thanks for your comment xx

      Yes that’s definitely the next step. I’m going to be documenting my journey to building a better more versatile wardrobe over the next few months! So make sure you come back to read my weekly posts if you want to play along 🙂

      x Luci

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