Four quick and easy tips on culling your wardrobe and getting rid of excess

by jamie-lee on May 10, 2015, 7 comments

wardrobe cull four easy steps
wardrobe cull four easy steps

I’m no stranger to the wardrobe cull – I’ve pared back my wardrobe more times than I can count, only to go back several months later and find that I’m not 100% happy with what I see in my closet. If I’m feeling particularly ruthless, I’ll work my way through my wardrobe with a fine-tooth comb at least once a week, just to make sure that I’m not hoarding anything that I know I’m unlikely to wear. For most, I’d recommend doing a quick audit of your wardrobe at the start of each season (every three or six months – whichever works best for you), to identify what you are and aren’t wearing, and spot any gaps in your wardrobe that need to be filled.

I generally find the process to be quite cathartic, as your wardrobe morphs from an overflowing mess (yes, on occasion it does get a little out of hand) to a carefully edited selection of wardrobe favourites. It also assists in wardrobe planning at the start of each season, in identifying what you might be missing, and what you definitely don’t need to buy any more of.

I know that there are plenty of wardrobe culling guides out there (and Anuschka of Into Mind does it incredibly well), but I wanted to give you all a little bit of insight into my process – just keep in mind what works for me might not work for you.

Step 1: Empty your wardrobe
And I mean everything. Pull everything out of wardrobe and pile it onto the bed. I know what you’re thinking – and yes, It might look daunting – but think of it as a fresh start to the season ahead. If you’re like me and have a pretty good handle on what is in your wardrobe (and what you do and don’t wear), I’d recommend just pulling out everything that hasn’t been worn in a while, or that you’re just not sure about.

Step 2: Try everything on
Be critical. If something doesn’t fit right, or you don’t like the way it makes you feel, then don’t keep it. There’s no point in having a wardrobe full of clothing that you don’t feel comfortable in or don’t enjoy wearing. I like to keep the following things in the back of my mind as I’m trying on each piece:
Does this get regular wear?
Is it in good condition?
Is it flattering? Does it make me feel good to wear it? (this is usually the main reason why I’ll decide to get rid of something)
Does it fit my overall style?
Is it versatile?

If you find yourself answering no to any of thsese questions, then you need to ask yourself why you are keeping it. It could be for sentimental reasons, it could be that you are still waiting for an occasion to wear it, or it could be that you paid a lot of money for it.

I generally only keep the pieces which I enjoy wearing, am comfortable in, and that are in good condition. If it hasn’t been worn in the last six to twelve months, then I’m usually happy to let it go.

Step 3: Sort your items into keep, maybe, donate, and sell
Anything that you definitely want to keep, put back into your wardrobe. This is also the perfect opportunity to re-organise your wardrobe space so that you can find the pieces you love easily.

If there is anything that you weren’t sure about, put it back in your wardrobe and turn the hangers back to front, only turning them the right way if you’ve worn the item. General rule of thumb is that if after six months you haven’t worn it, it’s probably time to let go – although bear in mind that you may want to give more time to seasonal items, or special occasion pieces which you might wear once a year, if that.

The last two piles are the items that you don’t want. It might be that they no longer fit, aren’t worth altering, or are no longer your style. Depending on the brand of the item and the quality that it is in, you should decide whether you want to donate the items to the Salvation Army/Vinnies or whether it’s worth selling them on eBay. I generally tend to choose to eBay most of the pieces I no longer love to make a little bit of extra money to go towards any new purchases. This can often be a truly laborious experience, so I’ll only make the effort if I think that I’ll be able to get a return of least $20. It all adds up pretty quickly if you’re selling a big chunk of items. Keep in mind that if anything is beyond repair and is extremely worn, it’s best to throw it in the bin. I always get a little bit sad when something is completely beyond repair and is so worn that you can’t remember whether it truly has seen better days, and honestly, it’s these pieces that I find the hardest to let go – there’s a reason that they get so worn out.

Step 4: Identify any gaps in your wardrobe
Now that you’ve pared back your wardrobe, you should be able to spot the pieces that you’re missing, or have identified anything that is worn out and needs to be replaced. For example, perhaps you’ve decided that you’re missing a light jacket that you can wear when the weather is a little cool, or you’ve realized that you don’t have any sandals or denim shorts for the upcoming summer (true story!). These are the pieces which you should add to your shopping list.

Be fussy. Don’t settle for the first thing that you try on – there’s no point in taking something home if you aren’t going to love it and wear it as often as you can. If it’s too small, don’t buy it. If it doesn’t fit right, don’t buy it unless it’s something you would either alter yourself, or take to the tailor.

Buy the best quality that you can afford, whether this means your budget is $50, $200, or $500 (or more); just bear in mind that price doesn’t always reflect the quality that you receive. Check the thickness of the fabric in the light, judge the feel of the material; ensure that the seams are solid and straight. I tend to favour natural fabrics, like merino wool, cotton, silk, and cashmere, or should I opt for man-made, I tend to prefer a polyester crepe as it is hard wearing and drapes nicely. I like to buy my basics from Glassons (they have some great cotton tanks), Everlane, Country Road and T by Alexander Wang (primarily the supima cotton or the linen/silk/cotton blends), but there are just as many other high street (or luxury) labels which will do the job just as well.

And the most important thing? Have fun with it. You don’t have to buy the perfect anything the first time around. Instead, you want to piece together a wardrobe that is versatile, speaks to your lifestyle, and that you enjoy wearing. If a black pencil skirt doesn’t fit into your lifestyle (or suit your body shape), then don’t buy it; you know you probably aren’t going to wear it anyway!

I’ve put together a short video on wardrobe culling over on my channel if you’d like to check it out (it talks through most of the points mentioned here!). Are there any special tips or tricks that you use to cull your wardrobe? I’d love to hear them in the comments below x

Lady in grey

by jamie-lee on May 8, 2015, 4 comments

minimal style MBFWA streetstyle
minimal style MBFWA streetstyle

Dion Lee loop back knit, Dion Lee Line II skirt, Alexander McQueen leather jacket

Fashion Week isn’t always about standing out from the crowd; sometimes, blending in has an even bigger impact. It’s little surprise that I’m pretty big on neutrals, and truth be told, this was one of my favourite looks of the day. Pared back enough to be worn in the office, but sexy enough to be worn out for drinks, once you take into account the deep exposed back of her knit sweater – from Dion Lee, of course. Simple does it best.

Just a minute

by jamie-lee on May 6, 2015, 4 comments

ruby nz gattabravo j brand karen walker minimal style
ruby nz gattabravo j brand karen walker minimal style
ruby nz gattabravo j brand karen walker minimal style

Karen Walker top, J Brand photo ready jeans, Opening Ceremony mules, Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, RUBY x Gattabravo fedora

It occurred to me over the weekend that I’ve made it into my third and final month of my Project 333 capsule for Fall. Without even a hint of of longing for the remainder of my wardrobe and, might I add, still an item shy of 33.

For the most part, it’s been all about the wardrobe workhorses; the ones that do double duty, and do it well. Adding a tailored blazer and a pair of points has this outfit transitioning from weekend to work, which should give you a pretty good indicator of how I’ve been getting the most out of my wardrobe.

I know that outfit posts have been a little lacking around here over the last six months, but I’m hoping to step it up a notch and share what I’ve been wearing a little more frequently, including regular lookbook and style videos over on my channel. Considering that more has left my wardrobe than entered it this year, I can just tell things are going to get a little… creative…

Not quite Susie

by jamie-lee on May 4, 2015, 5 comments

leaf greener style MBFWA streetstyle
leaf greener style MBFWA streetstyle

Leaf Greener, MBFWA day one

On first glance, and in those oversized bug-eyed sunglasses, Leaf Greener could so easily be mistaken for Susie Bubble (as I, and a few other photographers I saw that day would attest to). The sharply cut fringe, jet black hair and innate nonchalance is enough to give you a double take. I’ve been scrolling through the streetstyle blog feeds and one thing I’ll say about Leaf; she wears what she likes, because she likes it – which if you ask me, is the best way to approach fashion. And if you’re wondering what it was that drew me to this outfit in the first place? Well, admittedly it’s the fact that she’s managed to pull off the very look I was aspiring to circa 2000, sans the exposed Winnie-the-Pooh boxers… Another story for another day…

5PFW Challenge Update and some thoughts on wishlisting

by jamie-lee on May 2, 2015, no comments

mansur gavriel bucket bag acne studios jensen boots minimal wardrobe challenge

Mansur Gavriel bucket bag (in black/ballerina), Acne Studios jensen boots (in grain leather)

So I’m three months into the Five Piece French Wardrobe Challenge, and as difficult as I’m finding it to stay away from the shops, I’ve found that actually sticking to my wishlist has really been helping to keep me in check.

You may recall that I made a quick list of my five back in January and so far I’ve snagged 2 items from the list (and a couple of everyday basics, but those don’t count, remember?), and one which was a calculated impulse buy (I’m pretty certain there’s yet to be a season where I haven’t bought a piece from Karen Walker). Being limited to only five ‘special’ pieces over six months means that I’ve had to give so much more thought to the purchases that I actually make. My list has definitely helped to keep things in perspective, and made me much more focused the few times that I’ve actually gone shopping or had a wee browse online. If you’re interested in seeing what I actually picked up, I’ve put together a video on my Youtube channel which you can view here. Alternatively, I’ve posted about the items here and here.

I’ve been keeping a second wishlist running – the basics which my wardrobe is missing – as there’s nothing like an unintended shopping hiatus to help you realize what pieces you’re missing, or that you wish you had for everyday. I usually keep this list in my phone so I can refer to it if I need to, and it includes things like a boxy white short sleeved shirt, faded black denim shorts and a monogrammed black leather card wallet. They might sound like the simplest of items, but somehow they always manage to be the most difficult to find (which is why it’s always so satisfying when you finally do!).

At the other end of the scale, I have my beauty wishlist, which is admittedly a little out of control. Mostly it’s products that I’ve been itching to try, lipsticks in every shade imaginable, and skincare which is oh-so-hard to get a hold of in Australia. But there’s definitely a time and a place, and I’ve been trying to take a measured approach to new beauty purchases given the explosion of new products I found myself with at the start of the year.

You might be thinking, ‘Well, doesn’t that take the fun out of shopping?’, and honestly, the answer is a bit of a catch-22. On the one hand, I know exactly what I’m looking for, but on the other, I feel pangs of guilt if I even consider deviating from that list. Not to mention that if you are quite specific about what you’re looking for (which I often am), the search can quickly turn from exciting to very frustrating quite quickly. That being said, when you find that piece, it is just so much more fulfilling than the impulse buy you’ve already forgotten about, because a lot of thought and consideration has gone into the purchase.

So I guess what I’m wondering is, do you keep a wishlist?

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