Monday, 22 June 2015

Redesigning My Wardrobe: The Clear Out!


I have spent a large portion of the last three years either pregnant or trying to shift the pregnancy weight. As a result my wardrobe is a major mismatch in both style and size. I've never been very good at buying clothes that match things I already have in my wardrobe, but before I had kids, I had no problem just going out and buying new outfits whenever I felt like it. 

But once I had children (and realised how expensive children are to keep!) my wardrobe spending has been dramatically cut back. For two reasons, first of all I'd often rather buy clothes for them, than for me; second most of my clothes end up covered in food, snot and milk (attractive) so my willingness to spend a large amount of money on one item is significantly reduced. 

I've bought a lot of clothes out of necessity, but I really should't still be wearing the black flowing trousers that I bought (and wore) when I was nine months pregnant. Or the three pairs of linen trousers I bought and wore when I was a month out from giving birth. 

I've disposed of all of my maternity clothes, and yet I am still hanging onto these ill fitting clothes, and many others that are no longer practical. A clear out is definitely long over due, and it's time to really pull together my wardrobe so that I have a small but workable wardrobe. 

I often open my wardrobe to find trouser but no top to match or vice versa. So I think it is time for a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe, in short, is a small collection of clothes that you can mix and match, creating many more outfit combinations, then jazzing them up with accessories. 

I definitely need clothes that I can mix and match a bit more, so that I don't have to scramble around for a particular top, because of the trousers that are already ironed and hanging in my wardrobe. I also have to be realistic about the clothes I am actually going to keep wearing. 

And so the clear out began. Starting with my going out wardrobe. My going out has been significantly curbed by having children! I'm sure I'm not the only one who has less inclination to party all night if you have to get up at 5:30am with two toddlers (not including the possibility that you'll also be up in the night with one or the other). 

I have counted and I have no less than TWENTY dresses. Twenty. Wow. It appears I have been hoarding my going out clothes without even realising it. I still love most of them, but realistically I'm not going to wear most of them ever again, and there is always the temptation to buy something new as the seasons and fashions change. 

I have also changed. I am starting to feel less comfortable in extremely short skirts or very low necklines. They just don't feel like me anymore, and the rule now is that if I don't LOVE it, then I don't keep it. 

I'm cutting my going out dresses down to six, which I think is more than enough given we are lucky to get out twice a month, and it leaves room if I want to add another one to my collection in due course. As most of them are barely worn Karen Millen dresses I've decided to sell them, to add to my capsule wardrobe fund, which means I win all round and someone else gets to LOVE those dresses as much as I did. 

So here are the going out clothes that will remain in my wardrobe:



So although I "got rid" of a lot of clothes in one go here, this was still the easiest part of my wardrobe clear out. It was easy to really look at clothes that I'm not going to wear that often and decide to part with them. The hardest part was going through my everyday wardrobe and really deciding whether what was in my wardrobe was worth keeping, and would fit with my capsule wardrobe. 

For my main wardrobe I was looking to put together, and keep, ten full outfits. I figured that would leave space for washing and ironing time and mean that I had a proper wardrobe which would suit many occasions. 

Because I'm not looking to go out and splurge a load of money in one go at the moment, it was also working out what could be repurposed and used when we return to the UK. So I can use shorts and wear tights with them, rather than need new trousers or jeans immediately. 

I got rid of anything that really didn't fit right, or was just plain falling apart. What is left are the clothes that I fit into, that I like (even if I don't love) and are enough to get me through for now. I was pretty ruthless in the end and really went to town on throwing things out. As we are moving, there was no point taking clothes with me that I wasn't going to wear, even though it hurt to reduce my wardrobe so drastically. 

So here is what my day to day wardrobe now consists of. I'm a bit bereft of tops at the moment, so where I don't have a "nice" top to wear, I've just substituted with plain t-shirts for now, so i can see the gaps in my wardrobe. 

These are the "bottoms" that are staying in my wardrobe. 




In all honesty, this will likely change a lot over the coming weeks and months, because a lot of what is there is really summer clothing. The pale yellow and blue jeans are really lightweight, and they get filthy when I'm out and about with two toddlers, so they will probably be relegated to a summer holiday wardrobe once I have some more clothes to replace them. 

The shorts will also be moved to either casual evening wear or summer holiday wardrobe once I've had time to replenish my stock of jeans. Having not had much reason to wear jeans over the past few years, my supple is almost nothing!

Those grey jeans are rather too big now, but they will have to do. I'll have almost nothing in my wardrobe if I go too far, but I do intend to replace them at some point. 


Tops: 

I was really shocked once I'd gotten rid of all the tops that were really ill fitting, that there wasn't really a lot left. I had t-shirts which will have to live in their place for the moment, as I rebuild my collection. Note to self, you really must try clothes on before you decide to keep them, I had been a bit too keen to fit back into size 8 tops and bought them when they weren't the best fit. 

So here are the tops I have (that I love). I have several t-shirts as well, which were bought for cleaning the house in, or sleeping in, but that will have to change for a little while! 


The cream top on the left is still a tad big, but as I'm down to three tops, I figured I should keep it for a while! The other two tops I love, which is a good sign as they are the only ones I have. 

I am also a little light in the jumper department. Thankfully I kept a couple of nice ones, because they are probably going to be needed asap! I'll be freezing in the UK after being used to Dubai, so I'm not going to get away with not wearing one! 

I have two jumpers and one cardigan left after my clear out. 


The two jumpers I love so much. They are Karen Millen (surprise surprise) and so soft. The cardigan is getting pretty old now and will probably need to be replaced eventually. 

Coats: 

I have been treated to two coats as we are heading back to the UK, as the one that I left at my mums is literally a decade old, and starting to fall apart! I went for short jackets as I find the longer ones a pain when I'm dragging the pram in and out of the car. 


The cream jacket looks really weird on this post, because I'm standing at a weird angle, but normally it looks lovely! The one on the right is navy blue and slightly padded. They are both from Massimo Dutti are REALLY comfortable. 

Summer Dresses:

Finally I've kept a couple of summer dresses, to go with the pale jeans and the shorts. The blue and white striped one is slightly big now, but there is a belt with it (that I've misplaced) which should sort that out. 


So there you have it. That is literally all that is in my wardrobe at the moment. In my next post I'm going to be exploring what I feel I need to add to my wardrobe and why. I'm excited to go shopping, but not yet, I'm not done planning. 

So here are my tips for clearing out your wardrobe: 

  1. Anything that is too small goes straight in the bin. There are things you can do with clothes that are too big (wear a belt, have them taken in) but anything that is too small just is never going to look right. Unless you honestly think you are going to get back into it, don't even consider keeping it. It will look odd in all the wrong places and you'll never feel comfortable in it. 
  2. Take photographs of you in each outfit. I actually did this after I'd already sorted my wardrobe out, and it gave me a bit of a shock. What I see in the mirror when I buy something clearly doesn't show me what it actually looks like. When I looked at the photographs, clothes that I loved before suddenly just didn't look right. Whether that was a style change or a body change, I have no idea, but it still happened. 
  3. Look at the photographs you take. Don't be over negative, but compare outfits you do like against outfits you don't, it'll tell you exactly what you don't like, and styles to avoid for future shopping. 
  4. Don't throw absolutely everything out. Pick a number of outfits you want to keep and work to it. I meant to get to ten outfits, but I ended up with nine "bottoms". Close enough for me, but I could have cut it down further. However, you still need something to wear in the meantime, unless you have an unlimited pot of money to spend at that precise moment in time. 
  5. Decide what you want to do with the clothes that are too big. If they can be adjusted, then go and adjust them. Otherwise they'll end up in the back of your wardrobe and never worn, so a complete waste. 


*I apologise for the photographs! I did set my camera settings up, but didn't realise until afterwards that Gary tilts the camera the opposite way to the way that I do, so the focus is actually somewhere around me knees! Totally my fault, and I also misjudged the light, so the photos aren't as crisp as I'd like. I couldn't redo them either as they are all now sitting in the case waiting to travel to the UK, so there's no way I can get them all out and start again.