The Wardrobe Detox Operation: Perfectly Perfect
Hello and welcome to 2016's last day! It's time for some good resolutions. What about a good, solid, wardrobe detox operation to kick start the new year? So… Are you ready? Yes? Yes!
I wrote previously about the importance of having a simple, beautiful and well-designed wardrobe so that you do not have to spend lots of time thinking about what to wear, especially in the morning. I also wrote guides on how to figure out the colors that fit you best, understand and embrace your God given body type and facial features, and finding your very own signature style. Last, but not least, I shared the ultimate checklist for the modern-day nomad wardrobe. If you have not yet done so, I would strongly recommend that you first read all the above mentioned articles before continuing with this article.
Now that we are empowered with all of this information and know what kind of colors and clothes suit us best, the next step is to get rid of those clothes that do not belong to your wardrobe closet. Those include anything that you do not love (anymore), that does not fit, is worn out, not in the right color or the right cut for your body type. You should aim for perfection here. There is no room for anything that is not perfectly perfect. Yes, perfectly perfect. That is.
So before we move on, I want you to make me a promise. You really need to be honest with yourself. This is something you could do on your own, or if you prefer, you could enlist the help of someone here. If you can afford it, get a personal stylist that you would have interviewed before, or a trustworthy friend who will give you objective feedback. Let the friend know beforehand that you will not take personally anything they say. Let them also know about your colors and body type if he or she was not involved in those steps.
The first step is to take every single item you own out of your closet. I mean everything down to the last sock which does not belong any longer to a pair (wait, what is it still doing in your closet?!). When I say clothes, I am referring to actual piece of clothing, but also shoes and bags. I then recommend that you try every single item on- I insist every single item and you take a decision that translates to one of two piles: yes and no. There is no maybe here; if you have a doubt, try it on one more time and look with objective eyes in the mirror. If someone is helping you, ask them their honest opinion. Snap a picture and have an objective look to it. The very fact it is a “maybe” shows that there is something wrong with it: maybe it is the color, the cut that does not flatter you a 100% or just that you don’t love it for whatever reasons, such as not fitting your lifestyle. I do not believe in keeping anything that is not Perfectly Perfect = perfect condition + size + right cut for body type + color + absolutely loved = Yes!
Here are 5 elements for your checklist:
1/ Perfect Condition. It should not be or look worn out and/or have holes, stains… In general anything that is damaged beyond repair does not belong to your wardrobe, and that includes pyjamas, underwear and socks.
2/ Right Size. The exception is that it fits all other criteria and is too big in a way that could be fixed by a good tailor. You then have to decide for yourself whether it is worth the expense and trouble.
3/ Body Type. If the cut does not flatter your body type, it is a no, no and no! Do I need to comment here?
4/ Color. Remembers the colors apply to things that stay close to your face meaning, tops, dresses and scarves. So say, if you are a winter like me and have that orange pant that fits you perfectly and that you absolutely love, you should by all means keep it.
5/ Love! Even if you have that dress which is in a perfect condition, in the right size, flatters your body type in colors that make you shine, if you do not absolutely love it, there is no point on keeping me. Period.
Once you are done, look again at your yes pile and if you have the slightest doubt or afterthought about anything, try it again and be ruthless about what you keep. Remember, perfectly perfect.
As you go along the way in your yes or no pile, you should start writing your shopping list to see what is missing in your closet v. the checklist of the basics to build that awesome capsule wardrobe. For example, if you had the perfect jean that had to go the No pile because of an unfortunate hole that is not repairable, then you have to replace it. By the time you are done with your list, you should have a shopping list that is well thought through and complete your existing wardrobe. The idea here is to build on what you already have.
Disposing of your “No” Pile
Regarding the no pile, you could either give away everything or sell your the things in perfect condition that have some value. You could then use the earnings to finance your new shopping list. As for me, I did a mix of both donating and selling. I first started by giving to my friends, sisters and colleagues some items that I know, they really love. It brightened their day and mine, and I love that such item has now a new home. It makes me happy each time I see them wearing this item. Then I gave away items to people in need I personally knew both in France and in Chad as well as local charities in Paris (Emmaüs of which I am a member and the Red Cross).
Some websites I have used to sell my own clothes and would recommend are Vestiaire Collective, Instant Luxe for higher end clothes and for my less high end things, Vinted. I also took some items to a consignment store in my neighborhood, La Boutique de Kroll. You certainly get less money going through a consignment store than doing yourself, but externalizing it frees up your schedule. In fact, it is really time consuming to take pictures, post them online, write a description, reply to the many questions and if you manage to sell it, taking everything to the post office, following up when something get lost as it happened to one of my shirts etc. It can be quite exhausting and I am still on the fence of whether all the trouble is really worth the little extra money you get, especially as all the above mentioned websites charge you a commission.
Looking after your “Yes” Pile
Congratulations! Now that you have that great “yes” pile made of perfectly perfect clothes, you need to look after it so you can keep it in perfect condition for a very long time.
If that beloved jacket needs to be tailored or repaired and if you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, take it to your tailor. If you live in Paris, I cannot recommend enough the amazing M. Albert of Prima Couture in the 16è arrondissement of Paris. If you are in New York, I have dealt with Van Gogh cleaner in the past both as a tailor and dry cleaner and I was happy with them.
Show also your shoes some love- they support us all day and deserve a little pampering. Protect them against water and other elements when you first get them- I use the Collonil's fantastic Carbon Protect. Whenever possible, do not wear the same pair of shoes several days in a row as this will ruin them in the long run, look after them, clean them, polish them and they will serve you a very long time. Take them to your cobbler repair them they need. For example, I take my shoes in turn about once a year to get them reinsoled. When I buy leather soled shoes, after a few wears, I take them to my cobbler to protect the fragile insole with a rubber one. I go to M. Pulin close in Madeleine in Paris. He is a “bottier” meaning that he makes shoes from scratch, so he understands them like no one I have ever seen. He is also the one who looks after my handbags.
If the clothing you have requires you to take it to the dry cleaners, handwash it or simply at 30°, do so as per the instructions. When washing your clothes at home, use organic soap if you can and avoid the dryer, as it damage clothes. Get yourself a steamer like this one I own, gently fold your clothing once, put them in nice wooden hanger, and have each item have a place where they belong, be it a cupboard, a drawer or a box. Protect your clothes against moots by using cedar woods essential oil which is a natural repellent. Believe me, show your clothes a little love and it will pay off in spades, including saving you lots of money in the long run, as you will need less replacement.
A Note about Underwear and Home wear
As I have mentioned it before, I really believe that underwear are really important and they deserve as much if not more attention than your outwear. Pyjamas and any home specific clothes are equally important. Underwear are the first things we put on and what we wear closest to our bodies, pyjamas are those we sleep in (about a third of our lives!), homewear are when we are relaxing in the intimacy of our home, so we should carefully select them and look after them even more. If you are a woman, I will strongly recommend that you get your bra fitted correctly. There is an incredible number of women out there who does not know about their true bra size and wear the wrong type of bra with certain clothes. I would also advise to never ever buy a bra without trying it on. In my opinion, bras should never be visible. They are underwear, so they do not belong out there.
I hope this was helpful! So did you go ahead and detoxified your wardrobe? What do you think? What are your very own tips for detoxifying your wardrobe? If you did not detox your wardrobe, what is holding you back? Please comment and share! My next article in this section will be on my tips for being a smart shopper, so you can get the items missing from your capsule wardrobe shopping like an expert! If you have not yet done so, please do not forget to suscribe and have a fantastic new year's Eve!