Updated: Sep 18
"If you want to immediately improve your life: detox your wardrobe. It's often what we are holding onto that holds us back."
In the current age of wellness, we are all familiar with the term DETOX. Many of us have even gone to extremes to rid our physical selves of the nasty toxins that build up in our system decreasing our health and vitality. Well, why not do the same for your wardrobe? Eliminate those clothes from your wardrobe that weigh you down, bring you guilt, clutter the space and prevent you seeing all the amazing outfit opportunities. Rejuvenate your style and your morning routine by detoxing your wardrobe. And the bonus is there's no pills or fasting required!
Here's my list of key questions to ask yourself as you handle your clothes to cleanse your wardrobe of all its toxic and vitality-reducing items:
1. Is It comfortable?
If you're like me, you'd rather stay home than go out wearing something that is itchy, too high waisted (or low waisted), has fabric that's too bulky, has an annoying neckline or which pulls across the shoulders. If it doesn't feel good to wear then it usually stays tucked at the back of the wardrobe because life's too short to be uncomfortable.
If you have items like this then it's time to part with them- and yes that includes those super pretty shoes which are half a size too small or which have heels so high that they are reserved only for seated occasions! Time to say your goodbyes to the uncomfortable clothes- they're out! Use the space for clothes you actually enjoy wearing.
2. Do I have more than one of the same thing?
When you find a piece you love, it's tempting to buy many of a similar style and colour but these duplicates are such space-stealers in the wardrobe taking up room and giving you no more options. There are exceptions to this (like uniforms) but if you find yourself always choosing the same one item, even though you own many that are similar, then maybe it's time to let the others go. Typical duplicates include things like black cardigans and blazers, jeans of the same colour and style, and white shirts. Often we own many similar but have a preferred one amongst the many.
Keep and wear the one you love most and when it's looking tired, pass it on and buy a new one that you love just as much as the original. Think about owning less items but better quality - that way your items will last you longer too. You'll be surprised how many duplicates we can accumulate and how much space they take up. Time to let them go.
3. Would I buy it today if I saw it in a shop/ online?
Oooooh-this is where wardrobe detoxing gets tricky! I know the feeling: You spent a bomb on it, it looked great once upon a time and was your 'go-to' piece...but if you passed it on a rack today, would your head turn? If not, then why do you still have it? Is it possible that you've moved on from this style/ phase/ piece? If an item in your wardrobe is no longer serving you despite what you paid for it or your sentimental attachment to it then why should you keep it? Time to kick it to the kerb.
4. Is it damaged?
Yes or No? - and not in a trendy designer slashed-jeans kinda way. I'm talking pulled threads, missing buttons, oil or make-up stains etc. This is an easy question to get you parting ways with your excess- Is this item damaged? Does it need repair? Can I be bothered to take the time or pay the money to repair it? Decide if you love it enough to repair it NOW otherwise it's gone. Let's face it; if you really loved it that much, you would've repaired it already - wouldn't you?
5. Have I worn it in the last 12 months?
Now, I'm sure you were expecting this question. Pretty straightforward- with the exception of ball-gowns, ski jackets & Christmas jumpers if you haven't found an occasion to wear it in the last 12 months then you probably won't find an occasion to wear it in the coming 12 months. Get rid of those things that you once loved but just don't spark anything in you anymore- they're all taking up the precious space where you current 'most loved' items should be basking!
6. Does it fit?
If you are one of the 85% of women that own clothes which don't fit, answer me this- WHY? Are you clinging to the idea that you'll fit back into those jeans you rocked when you were at uni, before you had hips that had birthed a couple of kids and before you discovered how good soft cheese is? I can say that with such boldness because that was me. Those gorgeous jeans hung there taunting me, reminding me daily that I didn't fit into them, that I wasn't enough (or more accurately, that I was too much!) and that I'd probably never get into them even if I gave up cheese and invested my savings in liposuction.
Finally admitting that I was fabulous despite what those jeans told me everyday, then proudly waltzing them into a charity shop was revolutionary! I have no more 'guilt' section in my wardrobe- how about you?
Stop tormenting yourself by holding onto those clothes which don't fit. Unless you're losing baby-weight or actively involved in a weight-loss plan (a proper one, not just that hopeful outdated New Years resolution) then get rid of it! And let's face facts, if you ever got to that goal weight- wouldn't you want to celebrate by buying a new on-trend slim-line wardrobe rather than dragging out those late-90s jeans anyway?
7. Do I feel confident in it?
This one is easy- do your clothes make you feel beautiful or do they make you feel blah? Pretty or plain? Heavenly or homely? Radiant or repellent? Dazzling or disgusting? I'm sure you've caught my drift.
Everyone needs some 'home clothes' for gardening, cleaning the house and walking the dog- these are different. But when you step out for work or shopping, dropping kids to school and meeting friends for coffee, stop and take a moment to reflect on how the clothes you are wearing make you feel. Do you feel more confident when you stand out in colour and patterns or when you wear black? Do you feel better in jeans and knits or a flowing dress? A low-cut top that flaunts your fabulous cleavage or a sleeveless one that reveals your beautiful arms? Heels or trainers?
If you step out and don't feel confident, ask yourself why you're wearing that item? Why do you still own that piece? Identify the clothes that make you feel amazing and those that don't- and you guessed it: the ones that don't are on their way out!
8. Does it represent my style?
Did you ever get into dressing-up as a kid? I sure did. And for many years I still found myself trying to dress as someone I wasn't. I followed fads and trends, this seasons colours and that season's style, feeling lost in an ever changing fashion scene with no real sense of my own style or identity.
It wasn't until I got my new purchases home and into my wardrobe that I realised they didn't work with anything else I owned and on reflection didn't suit me at all! That equalled wasted money, time and space in my wardrobe.
If you have a natural style and it works for you then embrace it and stop the imposter clothing taking up space in your wardrobe. Stay true to your style and avoid fast-changing trend pieces. If you don't have a natural style already try pinning images online that you like, or looking at items you own and you feel great in to see if there is a theme or blend of styles emerging.
Once you are confident with what your style looks like, start to identify clothes you own which don't fit with that style- they need to go.
9. Would it make someone else happier than it makes me?
This is my favourite of all detox questions. If you still have a wardrobe full of clutter and the last few tips haven't resonated then ask yourself the question above.
If you don't love, I mean really love and get joy out of an item anymore, consider giving it away or selling it to enable that item to have a life beyond you. What may be hanging, neglected, in your wardrobe could be the signature piece for someone else. If you just contemplate where your item might end up, how often it might be used and who it might make happy then that should be reason enough to inspire you to finally part with it.
Make some time now to detox your wardrobe and reap the rewards of clarity in the mornings, a rejuvenated and lighter space and the sensation of truly loving and honouring those pieces which remain in your wardrobe. happy detoxing.
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