How to start from scratch

headerHave you ever just wanted to throw out all of your clothes and start again? And then panicked that you wouldn’t have a clue how to start again?

Whatever the reason – new baby, retirement, major lifestyle change, moving to a different climate, losing a lot of weight – sometimes what you need really is a whole new wardrobe.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or simply decluttering your wardrobe and wondering what to buy to make it work for you, here’s our essential how-to guide for planning your wardrobe from scratch:

  1. Think about how you spend your time: do you need more workwear, or mostly casual stuff? Do you socialise three times a week or once a month? Make sure your wardrobe reflects the way you actually spend your time rather than the way you vaguely imagine you might spend your time.
  2. Start by focusing on an even smaller range of colour than your entire palette – pick perhaps two neutrals, three basics and three accent colours to start with, then add more as you add more garments to your wardrobe.
  3. Don’t forget footwear and accessories – a couple of different styles of footwear and an alternative scarf and bag can completely change the look of an outfit.
  4. Remember to buy several of whatever people will see the most – if it’s like to be cold, you’ll want more than one coat option, in the baking summer go for a few summer dresses or short sleeved tops.
  5. Don’t be afraid to buy the same garment in a couple of colours (one neutral, one bright) if you know it works for you – when you’re building up a wardrobe this can save shopping time and give you a good wardrobe foundation. Don’t go out and buy 13 navy blue sweaters because you feel comfortable in them though!
  6. Add in a couple of wildcards – perhaps a patterned jacket, or a bright pair of trousers. Just because you’re starting from scratch doesn’t mean you need to buy all classics.

My imaginary client below has recently retired and needs a wardrobe from scratch for late spring/summer. She lives a fairly relaxed life, spending a fair amount of time at home or out lunching with friends, perhaps with the odd wedding or friend’s 60th birthday party to attend.



Details of all items shown can be found on the Kettlewell Polyvore page

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