Tip 7: Own clothes you love

One of my earlier tips focussed on having a plan for your wardrobe. However, it assumed that once you laid out all your clothes that were seasonally appropriate then it would be a relatively straightforward process to pick a selection of clothes for work and play. This article focusses more on some of the ideas behind purchasing clothes to enable the planning to go smoothly.

Which items in your wardrobe do you love? One tip I’ve applied to my own wardrobe is to take all of my clothes out (say onto the bed) and make three piles, the ‘love it’ pile, the ‘maybes’ and the ‘nos’. Personally I do this each time I’m preparing to move house. It is obvious that I should keep the items I love but what about the rest? 

For me if the item is a no and I’ve never really worn (or when I have worn it the item hasn’t been comfortable or given me confidence) then I know it is time for the item to find a new home outside my four walls. Before they depart I try to note what it is about item that I don’t like (say the style, colour, fabric etc) in an effort not to repeat the same mistakes in future. 

If the item is a maybe, then I have a couple of approaches depending on the item. These are:

  • If I used to love the item and it is now a bit worn but perfectly wearable then I keep the item and mainly wear it at home in the evenings and weekends
  • If the item is a top with a couple of small holes then I either retire the top to become one of my pjs tops (for that reason I only ever buy pjs bottoms) or part of my exercise wardrobe
  • If the items doesn't fit that well I consider if it can be taken to the tailor and given a new life, if not then it goes into the ‘no’ pile
  • If I’ve gone off the item I pop it into the drawers under my bed as I may grow to love it again in a few seasons time
  • The trickiest items are the ones I’m not sure how to wear or can’t put my finger on why I don’t wear them. If I’m moving house then I think about whether I want to take the item with me and go with my gut instinct  

So, what to buy (or acquire). The four key things I consider are colour, style, fit, and fabric. 

Thanks to the Colour Me Beautiful book, I’ve always believed in having a colour palette. That being said I misdiagnosed my colour palette and didn’t sort out my ‘good colours’ until my mid-20’s. But now I have my work colours (black, grey, white, blue, red) and my casual colours (denim blues, navy, coral, blues, red). I find this limited palette makes laundry easier too, one load of darks with blues or reds and another of lights. 

For style and fit I like to stick to a handful of tried and true silhouettes. For work this means dresses with a pencil skirt, pencil skirts, wide legged pants, fitted pants, and fitted tops usually in solid colours or a geometric print. Casually I opt for jeans, denim shorts, summer dresses, t-shirts, hoodies, leather jackets, trench coats and flat shoes. Most of my items are made from cotton, merino or bamboo. 

How many clothes do you need? One thing I’ve thought about is how many clothes I actually need. I am guessing it is for me it is around 100, but I own more than 130 at the moment. Instead of opting to declutter I have opted for a temporary holt on buying new items except as replacements for essential items which have worn out. Next year I’m likely to impose a cap on the number of new items I buy with the aim of being very deliberate about the items I add into my wardrobe.