Make over your wardrobe

The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the world looks great. But it is raining in your heart.

Why? Because you are afflicted with that most exclusive feminine condition - you have nothing to wear. At least not a single top or trousers that you can lay your hands on right this second.

Your cluttered wardrobe is already heaving with garments that will take you through an Icleandic winter with aplomb.

However, dressing for autumn here presents a major challenge. You have lots of cheery clothes in fun shades but the whereabouts of snug winter woollies and stylish separates which will take you from day to evening are a mystery.

If this all sounds too familiar then it is time you embarked on a ruthless wardrobe revamp.

Research indicates the average woman wastes about €444 on clothes a year or €18,000 over her working life - which may explain why our wardrobes are groaning with clothes yet we have nothing suitable to wear!

Women stockpile 14 items of clothes and shoes costing an average of €31.78 each that never see the light of day. Shoes top this list of items followed by skirts and tops, hats and blouses. Many of the offenders confess to buying clothes a size or two smaller in the hope that they will fit into them eventually. Others just can’t resist the temptation of a bargain.

Be ruthless

When organising your wardrobe it is essential to be ruthless with the contents. Otherwise, you will end up with the same number of items with which you started.

So, if you fall into the above category then you are a perfect candidate for a wardrobe makeover. It is a good idea to re-organise your wardrobe twice a year. Before winter strikes make sure you put away all your summer clothes. You can pack them into a big suitcase (or several suitcases ) and store them in an attic or spare room. Repeat the process when winter is over. This not only saves space but it means you will not get tired of looking at your clothes. When the season is over and you bring them out again they will all look new. Be sure to wash everything or get special care items dry-cleaned before putting them away.

If your wardrobe still seems to be bulging at the seams consider downsizing further. The secret here is to be selective about what you retain. Sort all your clothes into categories - (1 ) the ones you wear regularly, (2 ) items that are rarely given an outing but could be revamped and (3 ) garments which you have not worn for years and will never wear again. Then, examine each garment in a detached and ruthless way.

Spruce them up

The “wear regularly” pile will need little makeover and should be in good condition. A wash and press or dryclean should spruce them up and add to their wardrobe life.

The “about to be revamped” selection may need some deft touches to bring them up to the minute. Revitalise them by replacing buttons, stitching falling hems, adding skilfully chosen accessories or buying an inexpensive item, such as a shirt, which will show them off to their best advantage.

The last category are destined to be shown the door. Before you bid them adieu call a few friends and see if they want to cherry pick any? Maybe you could even do an exchange which would boost your wardrobe without eating into your budget. If swapping is not an option and you are eager to make some cash consider having a car boot sale or selling them from a market stall. It could be fun - the outfits that you view as faded and jaded may be seen as treasures in other people’s eyes.

The way in which you structure your wardrobe is a personal thing. Your aim is to organise it in a manageable way which makes finding outfits easy. You could, for instance, store all your work clothes together in one section and your weekend outfits in another. Or you could hang all trousers side by side, and suits/jackets/dresses/tops likewise. If you are time poor and waste valuable minutes trying to put a look together each day why not place complete outfits together. Hang matching or co-ordinating accessories on the hanger with them. If an outfit needs jewellery to enhance it hang these items in little transparent plastic bags (sandwich bags are ideal for bulkier things ) on the hanger too. Shoes can be placed underneath in boxes (ideally with a description of the type/colour/style on the top of the box or better still a photograph of the footwear ) so you will not waste time and energy wondering what is inside.

If your newly slimmed down wardrobe shows up some fashion gaps set out to plug these. Make out a list - do you need a new suit/trousers/coat/jumpers or are stylish accessories what you need most? Resist impulse buying and aim for looks that can be dressed up and down easily.

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