Who, in lockdown, hasn’t thought they really should use this time to sort through their wardrobe, re-organise drawers and declutter their shoe shelves? And what about mending tears, polishing shoes and de-piling jumpers before you pack them all away again? But which of us has done anything about it? A real wardrobe detox is much more than just re-folding the scrunched up t-shirts at the back of the drawer and re-hanging those dresses squashed into a too-small space. A real wardrobe detox goes to the essence of your style – how you see yourself and how you want the rest of the world to see you (even if it is just on Zoom for now).
Step forward Becky Hall who runs her own personal style consultancy, based in Wiltshire but operating from London right down to Dorset. As Becky points out, most of us tend to hoard, not knowing when to let go of things but actually only wearing about 20% of our wardrobes. Becky’s role is to work with clients to re-evaluate the clothes in their cupboards, work out what can be repurposed or worn in a different combination, what suits their shape and colouring and what can be given away or sold on.
“Everyone has a personal style,” she explains. “I don’t go into a client’s wardrobe wanting to dress them how I dress as I have my style and its not their taste or personality.” However there are some common mistakes we all seem to make, getting stuck in a rut being one of the main ones, which Becky maintains is disastrous for self-esteem. “Understanding your shape and coming to terms with it is key,” she adds. “Some of us hark back to how we used to dress, usually in a happy period of our lives, so my role is to help people be more current and adapt their style to suit their lifestyle now.”
Once someone has worked through their style, Becky will help them pull together different outfits from their existing wardrobes and take them shopping to fill the gaps. A well-tailored, investment coat or jacket is always a good buy, according to Becky (“you can fling one over some jeans and trainers and it will instantly lift the outfit”), but she likes to mix high street with designer. “Buy the best you can, but I’d never advise paying £100 for a t-shirt, there are certain things like that which you just don’t need to spend too much money on.”
And once a wardrobe has been detoxed, organising the space methodically and visually will make getting dressed in the morning so much quicker and easier. Becky’s top tips include:
• Use slimline velvet hangers as clothes won’t slip and they don’t take up too much room.
• Group trousers, dresses, skirts and shirts into sections and then colour code them within their sections.
• Group sections of bottoms together (skirts and trousers) and sections of tops together (shirts, blouses, tops).
• Pack away very seasonal clothes – it makes it much easier if you’re just looking at clothes you can wear in any one season.
• Fold t-shirts and sweaters in piles and stack them according to colour.
• Display accessories and underwear in open baskets or boxes within drawers so you can see over them quickly – and colour code them!
• For everyday shoes, store them on shelves or a shoe rack so they are easy to see and access. For event-type shoes that you wear less frequently, keep them in boxes with a photo on the outside.
• For seasonal clothes that are being packed away, always de-pile, clean and mend them before storing. For shoes, polish and re-heel them so they are immediately ready to wear next season.
• Pack seasonal clothes in breathable storage boxes and invest in good moth ball sachets – Lakeland sells some pleasant smelling ones.
And for the clothes that just don’t work in the newly detoxed wardrobe? Online charity initiative Thrift+ is the perfect solution. Offering charity clothes shoppers the same level of service as mainstream online clothes retailers, Thrift will send members a ThriftBag to fill with their donations, let them nominate the charity they want to support (and earn themselves credits to spend at Farfetch as well) and, during lockdown, even offer a doorstep collection service for donations. There really is no excuse not to tackle that jam-packed wardrobe now!