Last time we looked at the first 2 steps to spending less and wearing more of your wardrobe: 1) Review and 2) Repair/Revamp (click here to read Part 1). Now we take a look at the last 2 steps, removing those items that no longer work for you and replacing them with those that do.
Before you can add new things you need to take a serious and unemotional look at your wardrobe. I can guarantee there will be items that need to go, and there’s now time like now to do it!
Typically never worn, never will be, irretrievably dated, deteriorated or stained beyond redemption, or you just don’t look or feel good in it (now is the time to be disciplined and brutally honest with yourself). Take action and retire it… you’ll feel relieved (and perhaps your friends/partner/family will thank you for it).
Options for retired clothes:
- If its corporate wear and in good condition and relatively new, consider donating it to Dress for Success, a non-profit organisation established to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women. Each Dress for Success client receives one suit when she has a job interview and additional apparel—up to a week’s worth of clothing—when she becomes employed. Visit Dress for Success for more information.
- If its just old but still in good condition, consider donating it to a local charity centre.
- If it’s beyond redemption, burn it, bin it or use it as a cleaning cloth. But whatever you do, remove it from your wardrobe immediately!
Now, it’s almost time to shop, but only after you’ve decided what to Retain, Repair, Revamp or Retire. Know which gaps you’re filling and why.
First you need to do a little homework:
- From your current clothes, see how many separate outfits you can create by mixing and matching coats/jackets/knitwear with different skirts/pants/dresses and shoes/bags/belts. Add jewellery and/or scarves to dress things up or down. Try the same outfit but different shoes eg heels, flats, boots.
- Make a list or those specific items you need to fill the gaps in your existing wardrobe and to extend the number of combinations you can create. If you’ve found a style that really works for you, consider buying the same piece (or separates) in a few different colours so you can mix and match more easily.
- Prioritise your list and create a budget. Break your list into essentials and ‘nice to haves’. You don’t have to do all your reinvesting at once. Work out what you absolutely need now and what can be put off until later. You never know, by the time you get to the “put off until later” items you may even get them on sale.
Now you can shop. Buy only what is on your list, because you know it will work in your new and improved wardrobe.
You’ve spent good money on getting your wardrobe organised, so be disciplined when it comes to reinvesting.
- If it’s not perfect for your body shape/colouring/lifestyle, don’t buy it.
- If it doesn’t work with at least three other items in your current wardrobe, don’t buy it.
- If you don’t really need it, don’t buy it!
If all this sounds too hard, enlist some professional help. Find a good stylist who will give you an unbiased opinion and will show you how best to maximise what you love and minimise what you don’t.