Sunday, 20 January 2008

Salvaging your wardrobe

For various reasons, I have sworn off buying new clothes (except tights as I have such bad luck with them... and possibly a bridesmaid's dress for my sister's wedding) for the next few months. Given that I'm not the biggest shopper around I foolishly didn't think this would be that hard but having said it out loud it's proving more difficult than I thought that it would be. The Topshop voucher in my wallet calls out to me and I now have surprisingly little to do at weekends since clothes shops are out of bounds. Thank the lord I write for a men's style blog or I'd never survive.

I digress. The knowledge that nothing new is going to appear in my wardrobe any time soon has forced me to reassess its contents. I thought that I'd encourage you to do the same.

Steve's wardrobe. I asked him to take a photo of it for me as it's usually in complete disarray and he TIDIED it!

First you'll need to clear some space and pull everything out – it’s amazing what can fall down the backs of cupboards and get forgotten. We found some great stuff the last time we cleaned Steve's room. You might as well take this time to do a bit of culling too- rediscovery is not always good. If something's horrible, shove it in a bag straight away to go to a charity shop (or if it’s horrible and designer, put it in a different bag to go to one of those consignment shops- you might as well make some cash out of expensive mistakes and you’ll probably never get around to ebaying them. If you're a Londoner try somewhere like the loft The Loft in Monmouth Street).

This is a tiny percentage of Steve's shirt collection. I really don't know where he's hidden the rest.

Now sort! I would probably sort initially into tops, bottoms and accessories, then into other categories later (knitwear, shirts, t shirts etc). Once you’ve sorted then you can start salvaging. Take, for example, a FCUK logo t shirt from about 5 years ago (Steve I’m looking at you here). You might think it’s naff on its own, but could it not be used purely for layering purposes? Hidden under a stylish shirt it has new life. Layering is the best friend of abandoned clothing... t shirts in bright colours that you've got second thoughts about can be subdued.

That shirt with the massive stain down the front could be ripped up and made (as I’ve mentioned in a previous post) into pocket squares with minimal DIY effort.

Take some time to play dress up and mess around with combinations of clothing. Maybe try channelling your own personal style icon... and once you're done, try to put it all away so that you can find everything more easily. It won't stay tidy for long, but you'll appreciate it for one morning at least.

I believe that this is Steve's tie drawer.

For more tips on maintaining your wardrobe (and for a generally good blog!) see this article from A Suitable Wardobe.

OK I admit it...I did tidy. I had to do something other than watch awful daytime TV (as a student it wasn't too bad but it's definitely got worse in recent years!) , re-read magazines and lie in bed trying not to be sick! I also had you chasing me for photos of my wardrobe and it was in a terrible state so I couldn't show it as it was. Speaking from experience I feel a lot better post-wardrobe organising and if that wasn't enough I have discovered long lost clothes (I will post about this point tomorrow), it is amazing what lurks in the depths of your wardrobe...even mine which as you can see from the picture is far too small. It is true, I do have a lot more shirts than the ones pictured in my wardrobe, approximately five of which are on the Hanger of Uncertainty, these are the shirts that I am unsure about, the ones that have been overlooked again and again, the ones that just don't interest me...but ultimately I can't part with them just yet. The items on the Hanger of Uncertainty have one month to inspire me one morning or evening, if they fail to do so and I can't use them in anyway (even when layering) then they will be placed into a bag and taken to one of the numerous local charity shops - all in all this bears strong similarities with Death Row. I have another wardrobe back in Kent which is in desperate need of a clearout. A great number of garmets are hung within those pine doors long past their throw away dates but there are too many memories to be completely objective and I know that this kind of thinking is the life support machine for a significant percentage of clothes within most wardrobes!

All wardrobe talk has made me think of my perfect clothes storage system. It would have to be Colombo-esque whilst being quite minimal yet extremely personal. I don't think Ikea offerings can satisfy me but In just don't have the funds for anything more so the searching and dreaming continues. I will keep with what I have (keeping it well organised and cleansed) whilst adding a clothes rail which will display my most treasured pieces.


Pret a Porter P said...

great post.

and that colombo stuff, incredible!

The Velvet Scientist said...

You have presented a challenge for me.
But alas, I've tried it, and I found some old vintage ties!

Wonderful post.

EJ said...

joe colombo is our god.

Anonymous said...

oh yeah, i've sworn off buying new clothes in a way...
actually, love, i'm going to link to you for a post i'm running tonite...
let you know when it goes up!


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