Fashion journalist Bianca O’Neill shares what to keep, what to ditch, and what to invest in – for a classic capsule wardrobe that will never go out of fashion.
Even though the weather is starting to warm, we’re having to spend more time than ever indoors. However, on the bright side, it’s the perfect time to kick off some spring cleaning. And what better place to start than your wardrobe? It’s the best way to ensure you’re ready for the real world on the other side.
Here’s how to audit your existing wardrobe, and decide what to keep, what to ditch, and what to buy for the new season.
What to keep
If you’re like us, you probably haven’t looked at the deepest depths of your wardrobe for a while – so you need to find out exactly what you’ve got to work with. Start by arranging all your clothes on a portable rack, organising by style and colour.
There are three key factors to consider when deciding what you want to keep in your wardrobe: the classics, the investment pieces, and the ‘hero’ pieces.
Your classics are your capsule wardrobe; what do you spend most of your time in? What makes you feel good? Often this will include a great pair of jeans, a sleek blazer, a little black dress, and so on. Put any doubles aside for later – often we collect multiples of the same style of clothing, only to wear the same favourite every day.
Set aside any investment pieces – good quality, well-fitted wardrobe staples that you can love forever – as well as any ‘hero’ pieces. These personality items are what makes you, you – so they’re definitely in the keep pile.
Any of the above go straight back into the wardrobe. These will provide you with a great starting point.
What to ditch
Next, take a critical eye to your leftover stash. Consider the remaining items; is there anything that doesn’t fit, or any broken/ruined clothing that you can’t mend? What haven’t you worn for years? If you haven’t worn it in the last 12 months, chances are you won’t wear it in the next 12 months.
Ditch it, or pop it in a box to take to your local charity. Ditto anything that’s too ‘trendy’, and no longer in fashion (unless it’s an investment piece – then archive it if you have the means).
Next, the most valuable piece of advice we can give at this point is to physically try on anything left on that rack. It’s time-consuming, but it’s worth it – trust us! For each piece, ask yourself: does it make you feel good when you wear it? If it doesn’t spark joy, then it doesn’t deserve that sacred spot in your wardrobe. Just ask Marie Kondo.
Anything that makes your heart flutter goes back in the wardrobe.
What to invest in
Next, it’s time to fill the gaps. Take a look at your newly-refreshed wardrobe – what are you missing? Do you have all the classic pieces required of a functioning capsule wardrobe? Spend some time creating virtual outfits, and you’ll find a common theme. Perhaps you’ve always noticed that your favourite pair of pants never matches any of your tops – or your little black dress doesn’t quite work with your corporate black blazer.
Make a list of those wardrobe holes, and look for excellent quality, classic items that can fill the gap – and also work across multiple outfits. Not sure where to start? Sometimes the easiest way to expand your wardrobe is to purchase more than one colourway in already-steadfast favourites. If you know your perfect blue jeans come in black, you’ve doubled your outfit options without even trying them on.
By the time your favourite stores reopen, you’ll be primed for a stylish return to real life and ready for some IRL retail therapy. Or, make like us, and wear your Sunday best to the supermarket while you wait for restrictions to ease.