5 step wardrobe detox

5-step-wardrobe-detox-cocomamastyleIt’s that time of year when we look to cleanse our body, mind and (well this is a style blog!) our wardrobes. A mid-season wardrobe detox is a great way to make life easier in the morning, with refined outfit options a tidy, well-organised closet works wonders to facilitate stylish outfit building – if you can find your clothes, you’re more likely to put together something that looks good!

At risk of doing myself out of my Personal Stylist day job by giving away my top tips for editing your wardrobe, I’ve outlined a 5 step plan to cleanse your closet.

Step 1. Take everything out

It’s got to be done I’m afraid! Take out each item piece by piece and ask yourself:

Do I wear it?

If yes…

…and it’s in good condition (no putting things back with missing buttons or broken zips or stains!) put it in the keep pile. Easy.

If no…

…why not? This is the harder one. Is it that it doesn’t fit or doesn’t make you feel good when you wear it? Then don’t keep it, don’t let it creep back into your wardrobe. If you love it though and want to find a way to wear it, put it in the style me pile. The same goes for items which perhaps you spent a lot on and can’t bring yourself to get rid of, maybe we can restyle them or have them altered to update them and make them wearable. So in they go to the style me pile.

pinterestDo you actually wear all those sweaters?
Image: Pinterest

I’m not completely ruthless, I get that we all have items we’re emotionally attached to so if you’ve space and you’ll miss it because it’s what you wore on your first date with your partner or what you wore in labour with your first child (yep, that’s my reason!), go on then, you can keep it!

Step 2. The ‘style me’ pile

Work through these items and try on if necessary. If it has potential try teaming with other items from the style me pile or adding an accessory or pair with one of your favourites from the keep pile.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Can it be layered over or under something to give it a new lease of life.

  • Can I create a new outfit thinking outside of the box? Try new colour combinations, unexpected pairings of evening items with daywear and dressing up or down with heels vs. trainers.

  • Can it be altered to fit better or taken up, maybe buttons changed? Perhaps a belt could be added or sleeves rolled to tweak it to show off your best features.

During this process see if there is a pattern emerging for a gap in the outfits you’re creating? For example if you find you could wear several outfits if only you had one more piece to finish them off – the right shoe or belt or simple top for example to wear with the items then add this item to a shopping list.

For more details on Step 2 with 5 ways to reinvent your wardrobe take a look at this post


Step 3. Re-building your wardrobe

Take all items from the keep pile and those from the style me pile that made the final edit and hang back in the wardrobe by type: shirts and blouses together, short sleeve tops, sweaters, dresses, skirts and trousers, jackets, coats for example.

Use velvet hangers and get rid of any wire hangers especially. Head to Primark for their packs of 10 hangers for £3.50 – you’ll find them right by the tills so no need to battle through! Or try Lakeland‘s pack of 4 velveteen hangers for £6.29, pricier but a little stronger for heavier items. Also look for accessory hangers for multiple scarves or necklaces.lakeland hanger

Hangers, Lakeland

Top tip: Some of Primark’s packs of hangers have a small hook in the centre which is ideal for double hanging to save space (hang another hanger on there with clothing on to take up less space on the rail) or adding a necklace or belt onto the hanger to plan outfits in advance.

Step 4. Spot the gaps

Once your items are all hung up and in order, step back and bask in your organised greatness – but only for a second, the work isn’t yet complete! – then glance across and notice any obvious gaps. Is your wardrobe full of one colour or mainly one item? Then be firm with yourself and don’t allow yourself to buy more items like these. Any obvious gaps from your newly edited wardrobe (e.g. lacking in interesting tops or jackets) can be added to your shopping list. This will focus you when you’re ready to shop and ensure you only buy items you need.

Prioritise these in order of importance for even higher efficiency when shopping.


What’s on your shopping list? Image: H&M

Step 5. The rejects

I say ‘rejects’, but perhaps that’s a little harsh – one man’s (or rather woman’s) trash is another one’s treasure after all. So with the items that you are bidding farewell to, sort between those items that you may want to pass on to friends. If it’s in good condition or as has happened in wardrobe edits I’ve done before – still in it’s packaging from an online order! – but you’ve taken it out of your wardrobe because you already have many similar items or it doesn’t work for your shape, consider offering to a good home. Have a lot of great items that are barely or never worn? Consider a clothes swap with friends over a glass of wine one evening.

Of course donating to your local charity shop is an option or, if not in great condition, you could drop it into a clothes bank for recycling. Don’t forget re-selling for good quality items or high end labels. If you’re efficient on eBay it can be worthwhile but I almost feel it’s had its day for selling clothes and the effort versus gain doesn’t tend to be worth it. Do however look at sites like Vestiare Collective or take a look at @wearnotwantnot on Instagram.

Et voila! Welcome to your new, edited, stylish wardrobe!

I hope this 5 step wardrobe detox plan is as easy-to-follow as intended and sets you on your way to a stylish New Year. If you need a little more help or you’re struggling with Step 2, have a look at the accompanying post: 5 ways to reinvent your wardrobe here.


Want to take the effort out completely? Find out more about my Personal Styling services by getting in touch below.

Title image: IKEA

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