Back to basics: How to makeover your wardrobe

With a new season almost upon us, it’s time to start thinking about clearing out your wardrobe


WE cling to certain things for emotional reasons, but the more clothes we have, the more we have to move, organise or store. So its good to take stock of your wardrobe at least twice a year. But how do you decide on what to keep or what to throw out?

If you have the space to keep your past purchases, then do so. But you’ll soon discover that when a particular look comes around again it will be in a slightly different from its original incarnation, so be prepared to alter it slightly or to wear in a different way. And don’t forget that, as we age, our bodies generally change shape, so what suited us back then, may not suit us now.

Throwing out clothes is never easy although it can be a strangely liberating experience. Reducing your choices will provide you with a better edited and more functional wardrobe.

Before you start, you need to be clear about who you are and the clothes you need for the style you want. Work out what you need for the coming season and even for the next five years, then find a better use for what you already have. This way you’ll end up with a fresher, more versatile and better-edited wardrobe. Then create a list of the wardrobe essentials you need,  and stick to it. The secret is to get organised. And think classic basics. Here’s how.

1: Rationalise

Start by organising your wardrobe into seasons. Clean and press your summer clothes and, if anything needs mending, do it now. Then store away. Next, take stock of what’s left – your winter clothes.  Create a “YES, “NO” and “MAYBE” pile and start sorting. If you have the slightest doubt about something, try it on. Experiment with new combinations to see if you can get any extra wear out of them. Then ask: Does it fit? Does it flatter? Is it functional? Is it fabulous? If you’re not really sure, enlist the help of someone who really knows you and you trust their opinion — a best girlfriend, sister, daughter or your partner! If a garment fails all four “F” questions, it goes into the “NO” pile. Some things will make the “MAYBE” pile. Once you’ve finished sorting, look for trends among your past purchases. Are there lots of “YES” items from the same store? What dominates in the “no” pile? Are they items you bought on sale or on impulse? The evidence in front of you should help you make smarter choices in the future.

2: Recycle

The clothes that make the “no” pile, get rid of them. Take them to your local charity shop, sell them on eBay or a similar resale website, organise a stall at you local market or a swap event with friends, have a garage sale, or if the garments are still relatively new and in good condition take them to a recycle or consignment shop.

3: Revamp

Those pieces in the “maybe” pile might only need freshening up with a little clever revamping. It’s amazing how a simple change such as changing buttons, altering the length or shape of a favourite skirt, dress or pants, or embellishing the collar or yoke of a favourite jacket or top might make. If you aren’t handy with a needle and thread, or you don’t have a sewing machine, find a good alterations person and make them your new best friend.

4: Rethink

The elegant top or skirt you save for special occasions could look just as good during the day or dressed down with jeans. Equally, the pants or skirt of your favourite suit may create an elegant evening look when worn with a sequinned top, smart evening clutch and sexy heels. Be creative, you’ll be amazed at how you can wear things in different ways.

5: Reposition

Now with your newly sorted wardrobe, all you have to do is hang your clothes according to type. For example, hang all your shirts together, dresses together, evening wear together, and jacket and suits together. Not only will that make for easier viewing, but you’ll know exactly where everything is.
Ever stylishly yours ….

Do you need help to rationalise your wardrobe? Not sure what to keep or throw out? Would love to hear from you.  Ever stylishly yours …


  1. Anonymous
    March 9 / 11:23 pm

    Great post-thanks! Would you please give me some guidance on coat-hangers; best/worst. And what about some commentary on washing eg which fabrics are best to drip-dry? And maybe a post on how to save money at the dry-cleaners?

  2. March 10 / 10:08 am

    Hi Anon, Thanks for your post! Regarding the best and worst coat hangers – I will dedicate that for my next post.
    Drip dry fabrics: Are those that, when washed and dried, will require little or no ironing. Look for manmade fabrics, particularly new technically advanced fabrications such as polyesters, kupros, nylons, jerseys, crepes and some washable silks. However, before washing always refer to the garment or fabric care guide as some fabrics require specific washing instructions.
    How to save money at the dry cleaners: Other than shopping around for more competitive prices, choose garments that don’t need dry cleaning. But that would limit your wardrobes choices. So, when buying clothes, always factor in the cost of cleaning the garment as well. Hope this helps. AMG

  3. March 10 / 10:22 am

    Hi Anon,
    In regards to coat hangers.
    Banish wire hangers forever, you know those ones you get from the dry cleaner – they leave a waxy residue on the inside of your clothes, ruining them forever. Instead opt for wooden or plastic hangers (choose from a selection from Ikea, Lincraft, Spotlight, Shop for Shops, Howard Storage World). You can also get wooden hangers that have groves on the end – particularly good for straps on tops and dresses. Others also have a ridged plastic piece on the end so garments don't fall off the hanger. To create your own non-slip hanger, wrap a rubber band around the ends of the hanger. For hanging skirts, shorts or pants, look for hangers with metal clips.
    For more delicate fabrics, such as lace, silk, and suede, use elegant satin-covered, padded hangers (Lincraft and Spotlight). Trust this helps.

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