Shop your own closest
It’s January, so it’s no surprise that anyone and everyone is looking after their pennies. But our purse strings aren’t the only things that are feeling a little tight, and after a busy festive season, you’re not alone if you’re feeling a little sluggish. We’ve all been there, staring at a closet full of clothes, with nothing to wear. A January closet-clear-out is nothing new, but the million-dollar question is this: how do we update our look, without spending the money?
To help us out and learn a few tips on how to get the most of what we already own (without running to the shops!), we chatted to Sheryl Bolden, founder of Hong Kong based wardrobe editing, styling and personal shopping consultancy, Make My Wardrobe Work. Here’s what we found…
1. Get organised
Let’s start with the basics. If you’re wanting to make the most of what you have, you’ve got to actually know what you have. No more floordrobes. This year, we’re going to get organised, and though our shelves may not be Pinterest-worthy, we can still tidy them up a little. Start with taking everything out of your wardrobe and try everything (we mean everything) on.
2. Cull the Clutter
Sheryl tells us that when she starts out with a client she works with them to “give their clothes a rating,” she says that “if it doesn’t score high enough, because they don’t love it enough, out it goes.”
We recommend assessing the style, fit and wear of what you have, and then go from there. There’s no use keeping something that doesn’t fit quite right (no matter how hard we may try to fit into those old jeans), or an item that’s been worn to death. Once you’ve done this, it’ll be much easier to assess what you own, and what potential gaps may be in your wardrobe.
3. The Must-Haves
Although capsule wardrobes aren’t for everyone, owning the basics such as a pair of “flattering and comfortable jeans, a cashmere jumper, a maxi dress, a great statement jacket, a Breton top, and at least one dress you adore and feel a million dollars in” can be a huge help and make getting dressed every day so much easier. Sheryl tells us that she thinks “it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of clothes, as long as you love and wear them” and that for the average woman it can be “more achievable to have a wardrobe where you love the contents and are confident in pulling looks together that maximise the clothes you own.” So, there’s no need to feel constricted to a limited number of items. If you actually wear what you own, keep it!
4. Assess Your (life)Style
As well as streamlining your closest, the previous steps will help you to see patterns in your style. Sheryl says that her and her clients “work together to establish key words that they want to associate with their style,” and this is something that will help if you’re not sure where to start, or if you find yourself at a loss when out shopping. It’s also hugely important to have “clothes that work for your shape and your lifestyle.”
5. Spend vs. Save
When it comes to which items Sheryl thinks you should spend a little more on, and which can be purchased on the cheap side, she says to “think about the cost per wear. If you’ll wear something for years, or if you wear it often, buy the best you can.” In line with the classic, “must-have” pieces, you’re likely to get more wear out of these for seasons to come, so if you can spend more here, do.
It’s all too easy to fall for new season trends and sale items, but it’s important to keep in mind what you actually need when shopping. Sheryl has seen too many women “spend a fortune on a dress only to wear it once or twice, yet scrimp on office wear that everyone sees them wear every day.” (We have to admit we’re guilty of this one!) And when it comes to buying fashion items, occasion wear and holiday pieces, Sheryl advises to “consider pre-loved sales, clothes swaps and hiring.” It’s better for your wallet and the environment! For example, organisations such as Rug Lane host second-hand and vintage clothing markets every other month and online sites such as HULA are a great resource for pre-loved designer pieces. Me & Co can also help to sell your clothes on your behalf and host regular events! For hiring clothes for special occasions businesses such as Yeechoo is a good option.
Sheryl also warns not to think about your clothes in strict categories and to try to feel comfortable experimenting with what you have. She advises to “try to wear the pieces you love in different ways, so a summer dress as a skirt with boots and a jumper to give it more life, or a silk blouse that was for work, with some shorts and heels for a brunch.
7. Borrow, Swap or Tailor
But what do we do when we just really want something new to refresh our look? One option is to “host a clothes swap with friends, or pop along to any of the numerous pre-loved sales that are gaining popularity in Hong Kong.” It’s also important to “remember the tailor is your best friend”, and with so many options available in our city, Sheryl states that “if an item isn’t quite right, don’t be afraid to turn it into something that is.”
8. Confidence is Key
Simply put, the best advice Sheryl can give us is to “wear what you love and what you feel great in – nothing looks better than confidence,” and we couldn’t agree more! Next time, think twice before running to buy something new, and look in your own closet first.