When your budget is tight - shop your wardrobe! If you are recovering from the expense of Christmas, and despite all the sales on at the moment can’t really justify any more expenditure, January can be such a depressing month that we are desperate to treat ourselves to something new!
Use one of those dull Saturday afternoons to “go shopping” in the warm and dry in your wardrobe. This isn't about weeding out (although the exercise will help to decide whether it's time to 'let something go'), it’s an opportunity to try different combinations and experiment with what you have - I guarantee you'll find something you've forgotten about hidden in the depths! The end result will be new outfits, and maybe a list of key items you need to fill gaps or replace.
Have a notebook and a full length mirror handy. You could use a camera too if you want to be really organised.
Pick out some items you love but don’t seem to wear very often and try to figure out why. Is it because of the fit? If so could it be altered? Is it because you don’t have the right shoes or accessories to go with it? Or is it because it doesn’t really reflect your personal style despite you loving the colour?
With each item check the following three rules to determine whether to keep it and create a new outfit or whether it just goes to a good home (charity shop, friend or ebay):
- Is it flattering?
- Do you love it?
- Does it reflect your style personality?
Once an item passes, mix it with other keepers to create new looks. Try different combinations of lengths, colours, fabrics, and style. For example would that velvet jacket work during the day with jeans and a sweater? One of the key looks for autumn/winter was tunics and trousers – could a short dress become a tunic? Could a dress that sits in your wardrobe for best be mixed with ribbed tights, boots and a chunky cardigan, to make it less formal? Add a belt to a long top, just keep trying different accessories, and pieces together.
When you find an outfit combination you love, make a note of all the items that make up that outfit – even take a picture (stick photos inside wardrobe door for quick reference & inspiration). You could be really organised and categorise the outfits into occasions so the next time you have a smart lunch to attend you can check your notebook for the right outfit.
As you go through you will find some pieces that you want to keep but you know need a new item to make them work. Make a list of all the things you need. But BEFORE buying check the laundry basket, and any storage just to make sure you don’t have that exact item hidden away. You may also have the right item but in the wrong colour so think about dying it – this is really simple to do in the washing machine and I have had great success creating new outfits this way.
Accessories can really change the look of an outfit – I am a great collector of scarves and a costume jewellery magpie! Any one item of clothing can be worn many different ways by changing what you put with it. Think about starting a collection of accessories to put the finishing touches to your new outfits. It doesn't have to cost the earth to transform what you already have!
Finally when you put your clothes back into the wardrobe treat them with love (after all if you don’t love them they shouldn’t be going back in!) invest in decent wooden or padded hangers and they really will make your beautiful clothes last longer. Add some lavender or cedar wood and enjoy your fresh new wardrobe every morning!