In Practical Princess Perfect Wardrobe, stylist Elika Gibbs shares the secrets to transforming your life through a bit of de-cluttering and closet maintenance. If you're in the midst of a New Year home makeover, try Elika's six-pile process for a stream-lined wardrobe that makes dressing to impress a doddle:
As you try on your clothes, you will need to create six piles to help you keep order throughout the process. I often use sticky notes to mark my piles, so that items don't get mixed up.
Pile 1: KEEP
The fit and the look are working for you.
There must be no question mark hanging over these items. They must look good, fit well and be in good condition. They must also be relevant to your lifestyle, as identified in your wardrobe assessment. At the end of this exercise, don't panic if this is your smallest pile. You haven't gone wrong; you are simply being realistic about what does and doesn't look good. You must trust in this process, or you will not benefit from my tried-and-tested formula.
Pile 2: ARCHIVE
Pieces that you no longer wear, but don't want to part with.
Of course, there are always pieces that we want to hang onto, and archiving clothes allows us to return to and reuse things at a later date. I have kept some cherished pieces that I can no longer wear for my little girl. You may also have items that you want to hand down to someone special. Having said all of this, you still have to be realistic about how much you keep and where you are going to store it. If you are not wearing it, you shouldn't see it!
Pile 3: MAYBE
Your headache pile: should it stay or should it go?
When you are umming and ahhing over an item, there are a few important things to consider. Does it fit? Is it flattering? Is the cut, shape or detail dated? For instance, even if you don't have a good pair of jeans to put in your KEEP pile, don't be scared to get rid of unflattering pairs. It is better to have a gap in your wardrobe that you can fill when you go shopping. This will help you to buy what you need and stop impulse buying. When the gaps are identified, you strip away the illusion of having a complete wardrobe with loads of clothes yet nothing to wear. Does this sound familiar?
Pile 4: EDIT
Things to move on, including mistakes, wrong sizes or worn-out items.
The key to editing successfully is brutal honesty. We have all made a fashion faux pas (or two) and later destroyed the photographic evidence. With hindsight, remortgaging the house to buy that fabulous dress was clearly a mistake! Just because something is designer or expensive doesn't give it the privilege to sit in your wardrobe. This pile should also contain clothes that are tired, worn out or over-laundered. There's nothing worse than a dingy off-white vest, even if it is one of your day-to-day basic pieces that you might be reluctant to throw away. These wardrobe basics need to be continually edited and replaced.
Pile 5: DRY-CLEANING, LAUNDRY & ALTERATIONS
Very Important! There is nothing worse than going to put something on only to find it needs to be dry-cleaned or laundered. Equally annoying is when you have planned an outfit and then realize that a zip is broken or a seam has come undone. Make sure that your clothes are always ready to wear. Don't put dirty or damaged pieces into your wardrobe until they have been dealt with.
Often, dated clothes can be modernized with a simple alteration. It is amazing what a difference simply changing a hemline or swapping the buttons can make to an outfit. So put items that can be updated on this pile.
Pile 6: SEASONAL CHANGEOVER
The clothes that you wear in the depth of winter or the height of summer should be packed away for the reverse season. Doing this will create space in your wardrobe and help you identify any gaps.
The six-pile process may seem over the top and a waste of time, but if you stick to this tried-andtested formula, I promise the benefits will be endless!
For more tips, check out Practical Princess Perfect Wardrobe by Elika Gibbs.