Wardrobe Magic, Part 3: Putting it all together

mood_board Coming a week or two later than planned (but come on, there were new films and new collections to talk about!), here is part 3 of the Wardrobe Magic series (you may want to cast your eye back over Part 1 and Part 2 before carrying on with Part 3). So in Part 1 you spent some time doing an initial sort through of your wardrobe, noting any major gaps and decluttering the worst offenders. In Part 2 you fine tuned that declutter, making sure that you hadn’t either kept too much or missed any further glaring holes in your wardrobe. And so now, at the beginning of Part 3, you’re hopefully left with a rather more organised wardrobe and a very disorganised notepad full of scribblings, noting down any major wardrobe gaps or areas where you have lots of clothes in the wrong colours.

Make a list

You’ve basically made yourself a shopping list already, but since it’s scribbled in various note forms, you might not recognise it as such. You need to do the following to turn it into an actual coherent list:

  1. The first thing to note down is any true wardrobe gaps (i.e. those areas where you had absolutely no wearable version of a garment at all, in your colours or otherwise). Keep in mind that your gaps might be ‘invisible’ – i.e. if you had absolutely none of an item at the point you decluttered (e.g you own no casual shoes and have a requirement for some) you might not have noted down that there was a gap, as there were none to sort through. This list is going to be the hardest work to compile, as you’ll need to look through all your notes for the genuine wardrobe gaps, and then have a good hard think about what might form the ‘invisible gaps’. Bear in mind also that the ‘invisible’ gaps are often items that will make several more items more wearable – e.g. long camisoles to wear under layering t-shirts or a neutral blazer for spring weather, so thinking of the stumbling blocks you come across when getting dressed can help. This newly organised list of clothes is your Hot List.
  2. The next task is going to be to note down any items that you have, but only in the wrong colours. This should be an easier task and forms your Warm List – items that you want to buy soon but don’t need to spend hours trawling the internet or shopping centre for.
  3. The next list needs to be any items that you had one or two of, perhaps a few in good colours and a few in bad, but you know you could do with more – usually things like basic tops, maybe another coat (it’s the only thing people see of your outfit in winter – what’s the point in having a fabulous wardrobe and wearing the same coat EVERY DAY?). Let’s call this your Tepid List – you aren’t going to be making any special shopping trips to sort this list out, but will be aware of keeping an eye out for items on this list as you’re shopping for other things.
  4. Now before we (finally) move onto the actual shopping bit, have a look in your wardrobe and be honest with yourself. Is it a sea of neutrals? Or a wash of colour with no neutrals to tie it together? If it’s a perfect balance of both – for me, this is around 75% neutrals, 25% colour works well, but a friend of mine with a very different personal style goes for more like 25% neutrals 75% colour, so it’s a really personal decision – then you know you just need to continue to hold that balance. It’s far more likely that you lean one way or the other, and usually towards acres of neutrals for people who’ve not long had their colours analysed, so be aware that you might need to shop out of your comfort zone to redress the balance a bit.

Put it into practicerainbow

And now, you finally get to go shopping. Hurrah!

I love online shopping for this stage of the process, as it allows me to try on possible items with my existing wardrobe (I know that with real life shops, there’s every chance I’ll be too lazy to return even if it’s not perfect, but I pass a post office daily so returns are easy and usually no more expensive than driving to the nearest big shopping centre and parking).

Start with your favourite shops, but remember that you might need to go outside your comfort zone to really get your wardrobe working for you. Remember, do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always got. Sermon over. A personal shopping trip with your consultant can be a great way to push yourself outside your usual shopping boundaries if you’re struggling.

I also can’t recommend highly enough ordering a big batch of basics from Kettlewell, especially if your wardrobe is utterly lacking in colour and you want to inject some without having to traipse round the shops for hours, your swatch book in hand. Plus, with free shipping (on orders over £75) and returns being reintroduced with the launch of the new collection, what have you got to lose?

In terms of the lists you’ve created, you obviously want to focus on your Hot List initially, but don’t forget the Warm and Tepid lists, keeping your eyes open for those items while you determinedly hunt down your Hot List items. And don’t close your mind completely to the odd gem that doesn’t appear on any of your lists. Just ask yourself whether it fits in with your colours, your personal style, and can you think of a couple of ways to wear it right now. If the answer to all that is yes, then go for it!

And don’t lose heart if you’re an Autumn/Winter shopping now, or a Spring/Summer shopping later in the year – there are times of year that lend themselves well to certain seasons, and other times when the shops are not so replete with clothes. And there’s always Kettlewell, where all colours exist all year round.

If you’ve got any wardrobe decluttering tips to share (or further wardrobe crises for us to tackle in future posts), we always love to hear them.

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