A new year is the perfect time for a wardrobe de-clutter. Before you panic and run to your nearest high street in protest, have a read. It could leave your wardrobe (and you) a lot happier than you think, says Nini Khatiblou
Try everything on
There’s no easy way of putting it – this isn’t going to be a one-hour job. Set aside a whole day and mentally prepare yourself for a mammoth trying-on session. Ideally when no-one else is around; despite what you might think, a second opinion is more likely to confuse and prolong your decision-making than help speed it up. Try everything on exactly as you would if you were going to go out in it that same day (ie not with slippers), and see how it makes you feel. Do you feel good in it? Does it make you stand more confidently? Does it put a smile on your face and make you happy? If so, these are all fine to keep. Alternatively, if something doesn’t fit, or it makes you feel fat/short/too busty or if you haven’t worn it in years, the chances are, it’s better off going to a new home.
Put your styling cap on
It can be easy to revert back to the same outfit combination time and time again but use your de-cluttering day to experiment with new ideas. Luckily, mixing textures and contrasting looks is very much on-trend so now is the perfect time to throw out the rule-book and have fun playing around with different pieces. That sequinned top you once wore to a party? Try teaming it with skinny jeans and a cashmere cardigan for a glam day look. The leather trousers you only wear on special occasions? Why not wear them with a casual Breton or a chunky knit and some trainers? You might surprise yourself with all the new outfit combinations you come up with – it’s like shopping for new clothes without actually spending any money!
Sometimes it’s hard to let something go – perhaps it reminds you of a fun evening, a special occasion or just a particularly happy moment in your life. Allow yourself one suitcase of ‘emotional fashion baggage’ – these might include pieces such as a dress you wore on your honeymoon, a pair of shoes you wore on your first day at work, a bag that was once your grandmother’s. Things which are too special to give away but not necessarily items you want to wear anymore. However this isn’t an excuse to hoard – you still have to be selective in what you choose to keep and promise yourself to not exceed the one suitcase baggage allowance.
Believe in fashion karma
Have you ever had one of those moments where that designer dress you’ve had your eye on for ages suddenly goes in the sale and there just happens to be one left in your size in the whole of the UK and you somehow manage to get your hands on it? Or you see someone wearing something in the street that you simply have to have and then lo and behold, you spot it on your next shopping trip? That’s fashion karma. It happens when you support the flow of happiness that comes from fashion. So when you’re struggling to let go of that pile of unwanted clothes, think about how excited and happy it will make the person that gets it. Perhaps they’ve been waiting for ages to get their hands on something you haven’t worn since the early 90s. Take a deep breath and drop off your unwanted clothes straight to your local charity shop and make someone’s day.
One in, one out
Now that you’ve kick-started your wardrobe de-clutter, make sure you keep it up. The easiest way to do this is to make a strict rule where every time you buy something new, you give away one item from your existing wardrobe – either by selling it or donating it to charity. That way, you’ll think more carefully before your next frivolous purchase, save yourself money and more importantly, avoid getting yourself into a situation where you have so much crammed into your wardrobe that you end up overwhelmed and reaching for the same outfit over and over again. You’ll look (and feel) a lot better for it.
Nini Khatiblou is a fashion stylist. Over the years, she has worked with some of the industry’s top fashion photographers including Greg Lotus, Peter Wetsh and Kai Z Feng.