How do you get on with your wardrobe? Is it a friend who’s always there for you or a hideous, evil enemy that ruins your life? Have you been shopping for decades and still have nothing to wear? If so, it’s time to get on with creating your feelgood wardrobe, a capsule-sized treasure trove of clothes that’s good for you, your mood, your conscience and the planet.
1. Know your style and your likes
Fashions may change but style doesn’t… at least not as quickly or dramatically. When you really know and follow your personal style, you’re a lot less likely to make unwise impulse purchases. We’ve all tried to renew ourselves by purchasing something totally different and a little crazy… just to bury it at the back of our bulging wardrobe. As unfortunate as that is, a wacky item of clothing won’t change what you’re all about. It just makes you look and feel like a stranger.
2. Determine your clothes needs
To be happy with your wardrobe you need the right clothes for the places you go and the things you do, as well as the way you feel on different days. Rather than a random selection of trendy bargains or too many little black dresses, this means something for every occasion… something formal, something casually charming, something for your favourite hobby… you get the drift!
3. Put together outfits
What kind of outfits do you need most often? Pull out the contents of your wardrobe and match the contents: a few outfits you’d wear more frequently and one or two for rarer occasions. Imagine looks that would make you feel stylish and comfortable at a party, at work, at a concert, etc. Think of times when you’ve felt over or underdressed – how would you change the outfits you wore? Finally, write down the perfect combinations.
4. Find out what you own
Time for a wardrobe overhaul. A good rule is never to have more clothes that you can remember (though we’ve all loved those exciting “I forgot I had this!” moments). Sort out tops, skirts, trousers, jackets and overcoats etc. into piles. What’s missing and what’s overpopulating your wardrobe?
5. Choose your budget
By putting aside a yearly budget beforehand, you’ll be able to make intelligent and carefully planned buying decisions to get the clothes you really need. Remember that a 250 euro dress that you wear 100 times ends up costing the same as a 5 euro dress you wear just twice because it shrinks in the wash.
6. Get rid of the unnecessary
Do you wear the clothes in your wardrobe regularly? Do they go together? Are they comfortable, the right size and unstained, and do they look like you? Just keep the ones that fulfill these criteria, which may be surprisingly few – apparently 80% of people wear only 20% of their clothes. Five tops, five pairs of trousers or skirts, five pairs of shoes and five accessories already make up a whopping 625 outfits.
7. Add the necessary – buy, borrow, exchange or have it made
When a key item is missing from your wardrobe, it’s time to get it. But could you borrow it rather and buy it – there’s more places for borrowing clothes around than ever – or organize a day for swapping clothes with friends? Alternatively, having your perfect item of clothing custom made by a tailor is an ethical and often economical (in the long term) investment. If you do go shopping, write down what you want and how much you’re prepared to pay for it, then stick to your guns.
8. Recognise quality
Ok, this might not be easy. But if a top already looks worn out and sloppy when it’s hanging up at the shop, it’s likely to be even worse on. You could ask the salesperson, too: they may not tell all, but what they don’t say can tell us as much as what they do.
9. Look after your clothes
When your feelgood wardrobe is in place, it needs some TLC – washing, mending and adjusting. The planet and your clothes will thank you if you hang your clothes up, air them before washing, clean small stains by hand rather than by machine and wash lightly soiled clothes in cold water. Don’t throw anything just because it’s broken – an item that deserves a place in your feel good wardrobe also deserves a second chance. If you can’t fix it, someone else can.
10. Enjoy a happy, carefree relationship with your wardrobe
So, by now you should look and feel fantastic! And to make you feel even better, just think of the effects that your new, stripped down, sustainable wardrobe will have on the well-being of Planet Earth, too. According to Greenpeace, over 80 billion items of clothing are produced every year. You can be proud to say that not too many of those will be for you.