Now that the new year has taken hold and the spring collections have begun to arrive our thoughts inevitably turn to the annual fashion cull that is the wardrobe clear out. We, at Independent Woman, want to make the process less painful for you, so, here are our six golden rules for the perfect wardrobe detox.
Get in the mood .... board
There is a certain inevitability to clearing wardrobes that can be quite bleak. Watching another fashion season come and go can be quite disheartening but at all costs avoid melancholy. In truth, the best bit of any wardrobe detox is working out what you need for the season ahead, what you are missing day to day and what you most fancy when it comes to the luxuries of a fashion flutter. Before you even get close to the closet, make a moodboard of the looks you love, do the research on this seasons must haves, take it all out, try it all on, see what works, and most importantly, what fits.
Don't be too hard on yourself
When it comes to your wardrobe, dedicated depreciation requires desiccation, so before you condemn those once loved items to the ignominy of the bin bag, know that serious damage can be done by taking the cold turkey approach. Ripping everything up, throwing everything out and starting again afresh is an option for those who can afford it, but for the rest of us slimming down our addiction to clothes shouldn't mean starving to death. Take it easy, think clearly and work your way through that wardrobe slowly. Hang on to those classic LBD's and capsule items but be ruthless with anything overly trendy that hasn't seen the light of day for a while.
According to stylist Blanaid Hennessey, the key here lies in a certain kindness. "Obviously you'll want to get rid of the things that are bobbly and beyond repair, but not everything has to go.
Inoffensive tops can pull an outfit together quite neatly, and if you've done the research and know your direction for the season ahead, it's surprising how many items can be reused with a little imagination."
Make like Mary and Make and Do
A stitch in time saves having to hide the credit card statement. Once you have taken stock of what you've got and made a note of what you will need, look to reacquaint yourself with the intricacies of a needle and thread. Making friends with a good seamstress will give those much loved pieces a new lease of life and alterations to skirts, zips for jeans and some clever dress repair can all save an outfit from certain extinction. Whilst we're on the subject, the stains that become unstuck in the hands of an expert dry cleaner will never cease to amaze.
Dress ... then REDRESS
If you find yourself keen on the needle and cotton you may also try a bit of lateral thinking by upcycling those clothes. With a few classes under your belt, making a silk purse from a sows ear opens up infinite possibilities for every wardrobe.
Re-Dress offer upcycling courses which specialise in sustainable fashion and making better use of what we already have. From a t-shirt to a scarf or a shirt to a dress, recycling and re-vamping will give a new lease of life to those long forgotten fashion skeletons lurking at the back of every closet. The next eight week Re-Dress course begins 26th January 2011 - see http://www.re-dress.ie for more information.
Don't buy it .... swap it
By the time you've weeded and inspected, discarded and recycled you'll have a much clearer idea of what you need and where to get it. But before you drop off the bags at the local charity shop and head for the nearest spring collection, it could be worth your while to look at exchanging your old items at a swopshop. Working on the simple principle that one girls trash is another girls treasure, swopshops have increased in popularity and are beginning to blossom up and down Ireland.
Any combination of your once loved items can be exchanged for someone else's at a swop shop and there are serious bargains to be had. In Dublin's Temple Bar, SWOPSHOP founder Adèle Geoghegan predicts a busy season ahead with designer items by Mulberry, Roberto Cavalli and Diane von Furstenburg nestling alongside this seasons tangerines, yellows and biker jackets. Once you've done it once, it's easy to see why swop shopping is such a good way of reinventing your wardrobe.
Stick with the programme
Once the bags are gone and the closet cleared it's time to head for the stores. But before you repeat the same mistakes, getting into good habits will reap dividends over the year to come. Taking stock and keeping an inventory will help when working what you're not using and where your best intentions leave the straight and narrow. If things really take a turn for the worse and you end up back to square one, why not call on the services of an expert personal shopper. Far from being the sole reserve of a wealthy elite, most large stores now offer the services of personal shoppers free of charge and as well as offering expert advice and guidance on your shape and fit, a professional eye can also work wonders when it comes to tying outfits together, spotting the gaps and finding the right balance for that brand new you.