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Your Wardrobe Explained

We’ve all been stuck with the dilemma of having ‘nothing to wear’ whilst stood right in front of a fully packed wardrobe, yet clearly seeing nothing! So to provide some enlightenment on the dilemma, I’ve put together this quick guide to the five categories of clothing that we can all relate to:

1. Always Wear

 

This is the infamous 20% of your wardrobe that regularly gets an outing – the dependable every day pieces, aka your trusty staples! They never let you down but it’s easy to get bored of them, so be sure to mix them up and wear them in different ways.

 

2.Have to Wear

 

These are essential clothes that seldom get us excited, but we can’t live without them. Think gym gear, sleepwear, warm weather essentials and those comfy pieces that you just want to pull on when you get home – the key with these is not to clutter up limited hanging space, so store them in drawers and boxes

 

3.Hardly Wear

 

Living in Hong Kong, these are the clothes that I miss the most. So many of my London favourites fall into this category: trench coat, wool coat, Louboutins and chunky knitwear. If you look after your clothes they will last a life time – so let them. Don’t get rid of something you adore just because you don’t wear it very often. If space is at a premium then think about storing them away from your main wardrobe.

 

4.Was Going To Wear

 

I hate to say it but these are more likely to be shopping mistakes. Clothes that seemed so alluring that you loved it in the shop, but when you got it home it didn’t quite have the same wow factor. If every time you try it on, you end up wearing something else, then the chances are that it’s the wrong colour or wrong shape for you. As frustrating as a failed purchase is, there are options. Think about alteration, restyling and even selling – practical solutions to the pieces that never leave your wardrobe.

5.Wish I could wear

 

I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t have a few of these items in their wardrobe! Usually it’s because the item doesn’t fit, so I ask clients one question, if it did fit then would you wear it? If the answer is no, then the solution is easy – donate it, swap it or sell. However, if you truly can’t bear to prematurely let go of something you love, then take it out of the wardrobe. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at clothes you love, but can’t wear.

 

If you enjoyed this post, then please subscribe  Make My Wardrobe Work for more blogs, exclusive event invitations as well as great sartorial savings. If you’d like some help and support to understand your wardrobe and make it work harder for you, then check out the services.

Is your wardrobe working as hard as you?

Meet Jenny* – she’s a busy woman, recently hit forty, works full-time in a  role with lots of travel, has two children and a dog! Every day she needs to leave for work by 8am and the 90 minutes that precede are total chaos! Get the kids up, dressed and feed, pack the school bags then navigate two different school routines. The time she has to get herself ready is minimal to say the least!

On top of this, Jenny’s frustrated. She has great clothes and enjoys shopping but never feels that she leaves the house feeling fabulous. She – along with so many others – tell me they want to look more pulled together, to say to the world, “hey I thought about this”, but instead she ends up wearing the same 30% of her wardrobe and is left wondering where her style has gone.

Sound familiar?? Thought so. Don’t get stuck in wardrobe warfare. Here’s a few ways to get your wardrobe working as hard as you.

 

Live by the rules 

No matter who the client or group of women I talk to, there are three things I say day after day, which have become my golden rules. This philosophy is the corner stone of every single wardrobe edit or revamp session, so here let me share them with you. It is simple and effective.

Love what you own – on you

Know what you own

Create different looks with what you own.

 

I’m a planner, I like to know what I am wearing in advance. Rarely will I randomly decide on an outfit on the day. But my recent research showed that I was in the minority. Less than 15% of women planned what they were going to wear before each day, making that over 85% who decide on the morning.   Starting on Sunday and planning for the week is a big ask, I know. But start slowly, each night select what you’ll wear the next day, so that you won’t just pick up the first item you see hanging that actually fits and is clean (15% of my respondents do this). Doing this means you’ll be able to spend an extra ten minutes pulling out interesting accessories and shoes that are often elusive at 7am. This is a bug bear of over 71% of women questioned, who wished they accessorized more.

 

Seeing is wearing  

The number one reason for not wearing something is forgetting you own it!

From experience, shoes and accessories are the items  most frequently hidden and subsequently forgotten. When clients ask for my help to create a refined look, the focus of our session often turns to accessories. Not because they are the cherry on the cake but more like the glue that holds your outfit together.

A scarf with a flash of colour, an unusual shoe, the statement bracelet: these are the pieces that inject personality, style and individuality to your outfit. But to realistically ensure you include these pieces, they need to be visible. Put your shoes on racks or stick photos onto their boxes. Take out your jewellery and invest in organizers to hang it where you’ll see it. Belts can be great for creating a waist and adding a flash of colour, whilst making a look appear smarter. Hang or roll them near to your clothes.

 

Your Top Can’t Talk

Many women compartmentalize their clothes; work wear, holiday pieces, going out clothes and so on. This is one of the most important changes I make to the way clients view their clothes. Next time you find yourself thinking this, ask yourself; did the top tell you it was only to be worn to work or is that skirt only contracted to the weekend?  No thought not, clothes are clothes, they don’t have feelings or an agenda.

‘Wear the more ways’, is my mantras. It’s rule number three – don’t be afraid to take that silk print blouse that usually goes with the suit and team it with a leather skirt and heels for dinner. Go even further, wear it with shorts and sandals to weekend brunch. Buying something you can only wear with one other thing in your wardrobe is a false economy and it’ll never return a low cost per wear. So think of at least three ways you can wear (almost) every piece.

 

Selfie Files

How annoying is it when you know you nailed a look but can’t quite remember exactly what it was? Simple solution – snap a selfie! I’m not talking Instagram #ootd or a post on Facebook, just a little private photo as a reminder of what you wore when and how.  Save it in a file on your phone and its instant inspiration with a dash of confidence and the feel good factor. You’ll remember that dress/shoe/belt combo forever….

 

** So are you or feel like you could be Jenny?? Let me help you live your best wardrobe life and make peace with the 70% of your clothes that don’t work for or reflect you. My Wardrobe Edits and Revamps are created specifically to help you discover your style.   Please, get in touch, so together we can Make Your Wardrobe Work.

 

7 Steps to wardrobe perfection

Imagine opening your wardrobe and feeling spoilt for choice, knowing that every item looks and feels amazing – on you! Here’s how to achieve that wardrobe perfection…

 

  1. Wear the love

As they say, love conquers all. Only keep clothes that you really love to wear, in your wardrobe. They will ensure you feel fabulous every time you put them on. Simple, but effective.

 

  1. Be true to yourself

None of us dress the same way we did ten years ago. As your look and style evolves, be sure your clothes reflect the real you, right now. Think about what you want the way you dress to say about you? Of course this doesn’t mean you are limited to only having one look, after all, we don’t always want to eat pizza! But it is that element of uniqueness to the way you dress, that makes it ‘you’.

 

  1. Clarity is key

Being able to see what you have in your wardrobe – shoes, scarves and other accessories too, is key to wearing them. A cluttered, squashed wardrobe is overwhelming and as a result you go back to the same few things time and time again. Think about how best to organize your wardrobe so you can see exactly what you have.

 

  1. TLC

Look after your clothes like you would any other investment. You spent money on each and every item, and it needs to earn its keep. Love it and look after it. Read the care instructions, use the right hangers, store things in the correct conditions, and don’t ram them in. Polish your shoes, mend those buttons, and remove the stain, quickly! If you look after your sartorial investments then they’ll serve you well.

 

  1. Be timeless

Ignore the “if you haven’t worn it in six months, then get rid of it” rule. We don’t all don a wool coat every winter, a stunning gown every Saturday night or a classic trouser suit during maternity leave. Instead, think about the cost per wear (not forgetting how good you feel in it!) as this is the easiest way to judge your investment.

 

  1. Are you sitting comfortably?

It doesn’t matter how beautiful those shoes are, if you can’t walk in them then you are buying them as either a piece of art or a torture tool! We’ve all done it. When shopping, think “Fit for Purpose”. Try everything on, bend down, roll the sleeves up, reach for the shelf, and go for a little walk in the fitting room. If it’s too tight/big/long/short/itchy* and can’t be easily altered, then don’t buy it. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing it, then it will show.

*add in or delete as appropriate!

 

  1. Know your style

Trends come and go but style is eternal! The joy of a seasonal “must haves” is short lived so spend your money sparingly and thoughtfully. Consider buying pieces that you genuinely love and will want to wear season after season, year after year. Invest a little, swap a little and don’t forget to check out pre-loved sales. For a wardrobe bursting with things you’ll really love, think longer term.

 

If that seems a little overwhelming then get in touch, The Make My Wardrobe Work REVAMP was designed to help women rediscover their true style, creating a long term solution to the ‘I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR’ syndrome.

I have nothing to wear

As you stand in front of your wardrobe flicking through the contents, your head is silently screaming

“I. HAVE. NOTHING. TO. WEAR”

You then subconsciously disregard most of the contents; they don’t fit, need repairing, you have nothing to go with them, or because you just don’t like them, anymore! But the clock is ticking, you need to get dressed, so you opt for the usual dependable pieces (which you are totally sick of wearing) and promise yourself that you’ll go shopping and get some new clothes – but what if that’s not that answer?

There are two common things my clients say at the end of their wardrobe edit;

“It wasn’t as bad as I imagined” or “I wish I had done it sooner” I understand that for many women opening up your wardrobe, such a personal space, to a stranger , to go through your clothes, the good and not so, is daunting. I agree it’s a big step, that’s why my sessions are not only unique and personalized but designed to be fun and empowering. I listen to my clients before hand to get an understanding of their personality and lifestyle, yes the edits are an opportunity to sort out the mountains of clothes, get organized and plan future purchases but they are also a way to rediscover your style and a chance to rediscover and re use old favourites, and so the results always exceed expectation and that’s why women wished they had done it sooner.

But what are the practical benefits of a wardrobe edit?

It will save you TIME, MONEY & EFFORT and in short, you’ll have a closet full of clothes that you love to wear.

But How? I hear you ask

Well let’s start with TIME It has been reported that the average women spends up to two years of her life looking at her wardrobe, deciding what to wear. Sounds ridiculous I know, but how many times have you put on and taken off outfit after outfit and still not been happy? Yep we’ve all been there too. But when you know which clothes make you feel fabulous, and have outfits that you love for any occasion ready to go then getting dressed becomes a whole lot quicker.

Moving on to EFFORT, if it seems like too much hard work, that’s because it usually is.

Trying to make that top work because it cost a week’s rent, or spending hours aimlessly walking through malls, queuing in cubicles with unflattering mirrors to come away with nothing, or even worse something you don’t really love, is a lot of effort. By knowing what you already have, (If I had a pound for every time I uncovered a piece that my client had completely forgotten she owned…….) by identifying where the gaps in your wardrobe are how to fill them with the silhouettes that suits you – this will have your sartorial stress levels falling.

So on to MONEY which for most of us, is not an infinite resource.

Understanding how to spend your clothing dollars wisely is important, but it’s not just the initial outlay that you need to consider, getting real value comes from actually wearing them. Mix and match your clothes to ensure you get maximum cost per wear (More you wear, cheaper it becomes but more of that next month) Almost every wardrobe I’ve ever edited has a least one item still with the tag on so a simple step to reduce your clothing bills is to stop buying pieces you  won’t wear. Remember, if you never wear it, it’s not a bargain despite what the big red sale sign says!

If you want to know more about how I can help you to save time effort and money, get in touch for a FREE consultation, or follow Make My Wardrobe Work on Instagram & Facebook for tips and advice as well as invitations to events. I want your wardrobe to be your favourite boutique.

Sales Glorious Sales

There is something about the huge red SALE sign that turns even the most prudent shopper into a shopaholic, we rummage about like a crazy person and hand over the credit card quicker than you can say, “bargain”

We’ve all stood in front of those big money signs and been swayed to spend. I love a bargain as much as the next person but when is a bargain saving you money and when is it wasting money? Well in short if you don’t love and actually wear it, it really doesn’t matter how much you saved as the money you did spent might as well have been stuck to the still be wardrobe door for you to look at everyday!

As a wardrobe stylist I work with many women in their own home going through the clothes they already own and almost without exception every client has at least one piece that has never been worn and still have the tags on. When probed as to why this is, more often than not the answer is the same, “I bought it in the sales” And the reasons why women loose out in the sales are numerous, here are a few examples, sound familiar?

  • It was so trendy and everyone had one but it just wasn’t me when I got it home.
  • It never fitted when I bought it, I thought my weight would change or I’d get it altered.
  • It was too good a bargain to not buy it – they were almost giving it away!
  • I loved the style but just not the colour but bought it anyway.

The best kind of bargain is when you have your eye on an item and then it is reduced in your size! To bag that kind of bargain you need to keep an eye on when the particular retailer goes on sale, sign up to their newsletter, often they email out the sale details first.  In general sale purchases are most successful when you buy something you genuinely love and know when, where and how you will wear it.

So this summer think before you buy, are you really saving money or just comprising on style, colour and fit to save a few pounds which would have been better saved to purchase something you will wear and love for years to come.

Happy Summer Shopping

Why pre loved?

Given I’m such a fan of buying Pre Loved clothes I thought it was about time I explained why. A recent edit of my own wardrobe showed that over half of my clothes were initially bought by someone else for someone else.

Having worked in the retail industry for over fifteen years it’s easy to be swayed by new trends and brands. My retail career began before I’d even graduated, as a languages student I lived in Madrid and discovered Spanish fashion retailer Zara, (yes there was a day pre the year 2000 when there wasn’t one on every street corner and shopping mall the world over) On my return to the UK I decided I wanted to work for them and from then onwards the business of clothes became my career.

Fast forward a few years and I’m living in London working for Arcadia Group where I discovered the weekly sample sale, with cast offs from the likes of Top Shop and Miss Selfridge, it didn’t matter that part of the garment was ripped, or missing a button or wrongly sized, these were (almost free) clothes and when you are 23 and styling yourself in one of the world’s most expensive cities you soon learn to make do and mend. I was hooked on the concept of taking clothes that someone else didn’t want and making them work for me.

Wearing Pre Loved 2

Ten years later I’m living in Hong Kong (yes, I know, another expensive city!) I started to organize Frock Swaps, for charity. Women would come along with the clothes they no longer wore, I’d set them all up like a boutique and other women could take them away. Everyone goes away with something new to them, and the clothes get a new lease of life.

In fact one of the first things that took Make My Wardrobe Work from an idea to a reality was the feedback at the Frock Swaps. Women kept telling me that had so much more at home but didn’t know what to keep, tailor or donate. I was also frustrated by the amount of amazing clothes hanging in wardrobes all over Hong Kong that never saw the light of day. So in 2013 I set about helping women to love and feel fabulous in the clothes they already owned and teach them how to become a savvy shopper, not wasting money on pieces that didn’t get worn past the fitting room.

It is well documented that the textile industry is the second biggest polluter after oil and the continued media frenzy of “buy new, buy often” encourages us to buy and then discard clothes all too quickly. Well-made and cared for clothes will last a lifetime, sometimes two. Pre Loved is a simple concept that’s good for your wallet and the environment. Many women, myself included, love having new clothes, and why not fashion is fun but buying items you don’t love nor wear only serves the growing profits of retailers.

Shopping Pre Loved

What’s not to love about fabulous new to you clothes from brands that are often out of our budgets, or an opportunity to experiment with styles and colours without breaking the bank, or even simply to pick up great pieces which you will love and wear and in doing so keep the lifecycle of a garment going longer. It’s fashions biggest win win!

For more on the best of the Hong Kong Pre loved scene check out;

And of course the annual charity Make My Wardrobe Work Festive Frock Swap.

Packing Top Tips

Returning from our family mini break, our neighbour remarked upon how little luggage we had, although my husband would disagree, (he still thinks all four of us should be able to travel with a ruck sack) I was quite pleased at the recognition I’d received for my savvy packing. In years gone by I would travel with countless bikinis and enough shoes to cover every eventuality but these days travelling with children means I need to pack smart if I want to showcase a different look using limited pieces. So I thought I’d share my top tips on what to take on your next sunshine trip;

  • SWIMWEAR: it’s small so you can afford to take a couple of options, (reversible gives you even more choice). Remember: this is not your 1998 Ibiza trip- you do not need two different bikinis every day!IMG_7324
  • KAFTAN: long enough to double as a sun dress. Essential when the sun is too strong, or when you don’t think lunching in your bikini top is quite as appropriate as it was in the days when you were haggling for free shots.
  • A good sized COTTON SCARF: this works as sarong for the beach, a cover up when visiting any religious buildings, and you can wear on the plane when it gets a bit chilly.
  • MAXI DRESS: this is your numero uno piece- universally flattering, preferably in a colour or print (for many women black is not as forgiving as they think). Choose one that you can wear casually around the pool, or accessorize for dinner. Add in an extra sundress to see you through the week, I have one that can be worn as a top too, so perfect to also wear with………IMG_1052
  • SHORTS: denim or chino-esque, these are key for mixing and matching with a casual vest (take a few, small and easily washable if needed) for daytime, and pair with a fancier top (see above dress) for the evening.IMG_7328
  • FLIP FLOPS & SANDALS: yep, that is it on the footwear front. Sorry ladies.  A pair of fancy, or coloured, sandals that can be dressed up or down will go with everything. Come on, who really wears the two pairs of heels they packed?
  • TRAVEL IN TROUSERS: Woven joggers, lightweight wide legs, or capri’s all fit the bill. Not only are they ideal if you are covering up on a sightseeing trip, but perfect paired with another fancy top for dinner.
  • PACKING: if you are packing a hat and don’t want to wander around the airport wearing it, pack it upside down in your case, filled with your underwear and swimwear to protect the shape. When packing, to avoid creased clothes, always roll, never fold. Finally, always put a swimsuit for you and your family in hand luggage so, even in the worst case and you arrive before your bags, you can still head straight to the pool and worry about the rest later.

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Happy Holidays!

Make My Wardrobe Work