Published in Plaid Magazine Online, May 2012
Illustration by Madison van Rijn
‘Tis the season for fresh starts. If you’re like most people and can’t part with the pieces that have languished in your closet for some time (that you admit you will probably never wear), or if your closet is overflowing with no space for Spring’s colourful new trends, then these tips should come in handy to help you get motivated and organized to revamp your wardrobe.
We know it’s difficult to part with your clothing, accessories, et cetera, but thankfully some fashion experts have given Plaid their own tips and tricks for a full closet makeover that will have you feeling confident about your new orderly space, and rejuvenated by a proactive approach to the season.
Get Comfortable: Set aside an afternoon and be prepared to try everything on. Melissa Austria, founder of Gotstyle, a menswear store in Toronto, suggests getting a bottle of wine and a good friend who will be completely honest with you. “Start going through your closet and try everything on to get the nay or yay,” she says. “If it doesn’t fit you properly, get rid of it, especially for suits. If the suit is too big in the shoulders, then you can’t alter it, so donate it.” Look at yourself in the mirror and decide if the item fits properly, if it looks presentable, and most importantly, if you are comfortable wearing it.
There Are No Rules: Shawna Robinson, co-designer of LABEL, recommends keeping those special pieces, even if you haven’t worn them in a while. Keep a piece of clothing if “the construction is beautiful and the piece itself is irreplaceable.” “I know the general rule is always ‘If you haven’t worn something in x amount of months, get rid of it’, but I have to disagree,” she says. “I have some very special pieces that I don’t wear often, and I like to keep them for those times when I feel like being stared at.”
If You Love It, Fix It: “Look at the clothes you love but never wear and ask yourself why you don’t wear them. Is the hem too long? Do the sleeves bother you? Take [it] to a dry cleaner or tailor and fix it! It’s a cheap and easy solution to make what you have and love work better for you,” says Kerry Butt, co-owner of Parkdale boutique, The Future of Frances Watson.
But, don’t be blindsided by your fondness of a specific piece. Robinson reminds us that, “Construction is key! If you have anything that’s faded (unless it’s an old concert tee, for those, faded is the best!), torn, or just looking shoddy, it’s time to say goodbye.” If it’s truly worn out, it’s best to let it go.
Shop Your Closet: Detach yourself from your clothes and look at them as if they were hanging on a store rack. Would you purchase a particular piece now if you saw it? You’d be surprised what pieces you will find in your closet that you can actually work with – that you would otherwise get rid of – just by viewing them in a whole new light. Think of pairing that old item with a modern new addition – this season’s hottest colour or pattern trend, for example – and decide if you can work with it. “Keep an eye out for interesting pieces that could be slightly altered to give a fresh look,” says stylist Nadia Pizzimenti (Judy Inc.) Sometimes all you might need is a bold piece of statement jewellery or even a slight trimming of the hem.
Embrace Yourself: Embrace your size and your style. If something doesn’t fit and you’ve been hoping to get into it for a while, don’t save it. Welcome your size and shape and only keep items that flatter and fit your body type now. It is also important to consider your style and what makes you feel confident. Model Naro Lokuruka (Push Creative Management) says that her style has changed over the years, as it does for many people, so she has to consider whether the piece fits into her current style, and uses spring cleaning as an exercise to define and fine-tune her look. “Style does evolve,” she says. “You have to ask, ‘Do I still feel good in this piece? Does it define the person I am now?’” You grow and change, and so should your wardrobe.
Organize: Find a method of organizing your closet however works best for you, whether by colour, season, category, or type. This will allow you to see what clothes you have and what you need to invest in. Butt explains, “If you find yourself with a bunch of pieces that fill the same role in your wardrobe, get rid of them and pick up a workhorse piece that looks great in many different scenarios…If you organize your closet based on your individual needs, it will make getting dressed that much easier.” When going through your clothing, create piles for keeping, maybe, donating/giving away and rubish to help you along with the process.
Be Realistic: Asking, “Will I ever wear this” seems like an obvious question, but our common response of “Well, maybe” is all too unreliable. Be practical when deciding the probability of putting something on and keeping it on. Don’t hold on to trends that you’re hoping will come back. Fashion is cyclical, so when that trend does return there will be plenty of new pieces just like it in stores, and chances are you’ll be coveting the newest version anyway. If you’re storing things for sentimental or nostalgic reasons, keep this pile to a minimum. Seriously, your ex-boyfriend’s sweater does not need to take up valuable space.
Finally, if it doesn’t make you feel confident, if it looks funny on you, or there’s just something you can’t put your finger on that always seems to sway you away from wearing it, it’s time to part ways. There are plenty of pieces out there waiting for a happy, uncluttered new home!