Have you got a wardrobe full of clothes and still have nothing to wear? Do you wear just 20 per cent of your clothes 80 per cent of the time? Now is a great time to follow these practical tips from Colour Me Beautiful Image Consultant JULIA CUMMING
FEBRUARY is one of those in-between months - the cosiness and fun of Christmas now a distant memory, but spring still feeling a way off yet. So now is a good time to turn your attention to doing some of those indoor jobs you've been putting off and sorting out your wardrobe might be a good place to start.
There is something very therapeutic about tidying up and getting rid of clutter. Believe me, once you've had a good old wardrobe weed, you will feel so much better and more energised. You may discover things long forgotten, not least of all the back of your wardrobe!
But where do you start? Decluttering is often put off because it all seems too daunting. Break the task down into small chunks and tackle one cupboard or drawer at a time. Put on some upbeat music and just get on with it.
Set aside an hour or so when you can have uninterrupted time. Clear your bed and open your wardrobe doors - have a good look at its contents with fresh eyes.
You need to end up with three piles: pile 1 - clothes to definitely keep; pile 2 - clothes you might keep, with a bit of a revamp; and pile 3 - clothes that must go.
'Maybe next year' clothes Be honest, is there anything you have not worn this winter but think 'Oh well, I might wear it next winter'? Wrong. You won't. Start the 'must go' pile on your bed.
Are there items in your wardrobe that you have not worn in the past two years? The chances are, you never will again. If there are things you bought for 'best', ask yourself, if you were invited to an event where you could wear them, would you actually want to? Start pile two or three. It is lovely to have special clothes for special occasions but don't keep them until they feel outdated; remember my cost-per-wear mantra.
Clothes that nag
Do you have clothes staring out at you from your wardrobe shouting 'I don't fit you any more'? Don't hang on to them thinking that if you just lose a few pounds, you might just squeeze into them again. You might, but don't let your clothes nag you to start the diet every time you open your wardrobe. Ditch them or hide them.
Did you buy something last year that you later regretted? We've all done it. Well, you could try to find a way to rescue it - by accessorising it differently or teaming it up with something new.
New buttons can really update a favourite old jacket. Visit the new haberdashery department at Liberty in London for a treasure store of ideas for those handy with a needle. Put it on the 'might keep' pile.
Alternatively, give it to a friend or donate it to one of our local charity shops.
Maximise your clothes
Do you have cardigans, for example, that you only wear with one particular dress/skirt? Can you get more use out of your clothes by mixing and matching them more effectively? For example, take the jacket from an older suit and wear it with jeans. Wear a long-sleeved jumper under a summery dress. Utilise summer T-shirts and cami tops for colourful layers under jumpers and cardigans. Be creative.
Plan your shopping
As you critically look at your clothes, make a shopping list of things you need to buy to refresh old tops (for example, a colourful new necklace), bring in new colours (perhaps buy a vest in a colour that contrasts that V-neck jumper you love) and update styles (for example, by buying a wide belt to wear over a shapeless jacket).
Whites less than white?
Bin any white T-shirts or undies which look grey. This might be a good time to go and get properly measured for some new bras to give your figure a real lift.
Once you have decided what you are going to keep, separate what you need to store away until next summer and what you need in your day-to-day winter wardrobe. Pack your summer clothes away carefully. Invest in a vacuum sealer for space-saving storage; you'll be amazed how much you can store away in the under-bed drawers or in a suitcase. You can then rotate your summer/winter clothes through your wardrobe.
Before you put your clothes back into your wardrobe, vacuum and dust it out and perhaps invest in some sturdy wooden hangers for jackets and coats, hangers with clips for skirts and trousers and padded hangers for luxury fabrics. Basic plastic hangers are fine for blouses, shirts and lighter-weight dresses.
By now, you will be feeling great. It is amazing how cathartic an hour or so of sorting your clothes out can be.
You will now have a clearer wardrobe and a pile of 'must go' things which you could sell online or to take to a charity shop to make money for worthy causes.
Alternatively, as a very popular 2011 winter pastime, you could hold a clothes swapping party with a group of friends - I can help you with this and come along to advise on colours and styles to flatter everyone. Perfect recycling!
**Julia can help you with wardrobe weeding and accompanied shopping trips. Call her on 01753 882 636, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website for details and prices at www.afreshimage.co.uk