Wonderful working wardrobes

You are what you wear. Or at least, sometimes.

Here Susan Axford offers tips and practical help on decluttering your wardrobe to ensure you are making the best use of the clothes that you own that help you feel your best.

De-clutter is one of the buzz words of the decade - the solution to a clear mind.

We're encouraged to de-clutter our lives, from living spaces to desks, to the pantry and don't forget the wardrobe.

Learning the art of de-cluttering is especially important when we work from home as we are constantly reminded of our personal surroundings and their current state of tidiness or mess.

The start of the year is a great time to put all those new ideas in place and a good time to de-clutter so we can start afresh and look and feel organised.

It's amazing how much easier every task seems when we start from a place of order - a place for everything and everything in its place. When we work from home we can fall into the trap of thinking "nobody sees me, so it does not matter what I wear or how I look."

But psychologists tell us how entwined the look good, feel good theory is. When we know we look good we are more confident and perform better. PJs and slippers may be fine for checking those early morning emails, but smart/casual business attire ensures you perform more professionally in clinching the deal.

Having an organised wardrobe that works for your lifestyle will make looking great everyday easier. Let's start by taking a virtual look in your wardrobe. How many of you can honestly say that you wear EVERYTHING in your wardrobe?

How many of you can say you LOVE every garment in your wardrobe? Most of us struggle to answer a strong yes to both questions. The 80/20 rule applies equally to wardrobes - most people wear only 20 per cent of their clothes 80 per cent of the time - so why do we hang on to the 80 per cent that never see the light of day.

The strange thing is that the more we have in our wardrobes, often the less we have to wear. A disorganised wardrobe means we sometimes don't even know what hangs in there!One of the advantages of working from home means we are not seeing the same people everyday, so we do not require a lot of clothes, as we do not have to ring in the changes as much as people going to an office daily and seeing the same people.

Let's not clutter our wardrobes full of things that do not look good on us; instead let's have clothes that do work well for us - make us look good and feel great. Get rid of all those old clothes that are weighing you down. Regardless of who gave them to you, how much you paid for them, or who made them, if they're not working for you, discard them.

A wardrobe filled with clothes that you're not wearing has a negative impact on you. Why be reminded every time you open your closet that you are either too big to wear something, you've spent lots of money on something that you've never worn, you no longer have that great job where you used to wear that suit.

We don't need our clothes to send out negative vibes every time we open the door. Your closet should have clothes that fit and make you feel great. A messy closet is the biggest hurdle to looking great.

The new year is the perfect time to transform your dysfunctional closet into an organised and efficient space with the right things to make getting dressed and looking fantastic a breeze. Knowing the colours and styles that work for you will show you how to create a successful capsule wardrobe.

Tips on how to de-clutter the wardrobe

  1. Take EVERYTHING out and then examine each piece before putting it back. This is a wardrobe audit aimed at simplifying and organising what we wear.
  2. Try on each piece to see if it fits well, needs washing/drycleaning/mending. If, what you see in the privacy of your own closet does not make a good impression on you, you will never feel confident and empowered when you wear it! This exercise is about letting go of what no longer works for you and making room for what really enhances your style.
  3. You don't keep food in the pantry that is past its "use by" date, so why keep clothes that are past it. However for clothes, it is not the age of the clothes, but how they look on you. Sadly it may be the sale item you bought last month that is not working for you and needs to go; but the shirt you bought three years ago still looks fantastic.
  4. Examine each piece and ask. Do I love it? Do I need it? Does it support my life style? Does it have positive or negative memories? 
    If you have answered no to any of the first three questions, then let it go. When in doubt, toss it. Decide whether to sell it or give it away. There are excellent re-cycle shops or sell them on the internet.
    The clothes you put back in your wardrobe must have earned that place. You probably choose carefully what else you store in your home, but somehow clothes we just let them clutter the closet. But every time we open that wardrobe we feel a little guilty that we have so much crammed in there and never feel amazing when we get dressed.
  5. If you are re-designing your wardrobe, choose the wardrobe plan or system that suits you best. Never underestimate how much long hanging space you need. Trousers should be hung in the long hanging area, not folded over a hanger in the short hanging space.
  6. Some people hang their clothes in colour categories, but my preference is to hang them in categories. So put the jackets together, trousers together, shirts together, tops next to each other and so on. You may like to separate summer and winter. If you hang by category you can see the exciting new ways of combining pieces. Isn't it amazing how often you can find a great combination when your favourite combo is in the wash.
  7. Once you've re-organised your wardrobe, you often don't need to go shopping because you've discovered so many great combinations. If you have suits left over from a former working life stop thinking they have to be worn together or tossed out. Wear the trousers with a funky T-shirt or shirt and team your jacket with jeans. Change the buttons on the jacket - even different coloured ones for each buttonhole.
  8. Buy good hangars - the rule is the heavier the garment, the stronger/larger the hangar. If you have a walk-in wardrobe make sure your clothes are protected against sunlight. The sun shining on one shoulder of a jacket can ruin it. Knitwear is best folded rather than hung. Clear plastic boxes are a good way to store scarves. Roll them, so they won't crush and you can remove one without messing up the whole box.
  9. Shoe trees are essential to keep your shoes looking pristine. Boot holders will stop your boots from falling over.
  10. Hooks are great way of using wall space - hang your sunhat, belts, jewellery. A full-length mirror is an essential - treat the mirror as your friend to check the overall first impression. Make the mirror your friendly assistant to check overall appearance not to concentrate on perceived flaws.

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