Ok, so this one’s not so new…
Top & belt: both Topshop (many moons ago!);
skirt: Tesco; shoes: Primark
The weather being in its current state of flux, my usual spring/summer to autumn/winter wardrobe clearout has been somewhat late in arriving this year. Still, with our Indian Summer heatwave coming to a close over the next week, and with Gok/Mary Portas having delivered a double-bill of televisual style injections, last night I decided it was high time I embarked upon the great sort-out.
As per usual, I have spent the last couple of months taking note of looks, shapes and colours I’ve liked as seen on style blogs and in fashion magazines. Midis and maxis, colour-blocking in blues, turquoises, rusts and ochres, with navy as a neutral, have all recurred high on my list, as have pleats, broadened shoulders and belts, and a general 70s vibe courtesy of my newfound Biba obsession.
Inspiration can come from the unlikliest of places: Sarah Hadland’s debut as Linda Radleigh on Waterloo Road last week neatly demonstrated royal blue, turquoise and tan as a stylish colour combination.
Last night, I completely emptied my wardrobe. I threw everything onto the bed. I disassembled my pre-assembled outfits (as I leave the house very early, I tend to hang my clothes in complete outfits – dress, slip, cardi, belt, tights, and a post-it note about shoes) and jumbled everything up. Then I began to rethink my clothing in earnest.
First up, I pulled out all those summer clothes which needed putting away for next year, and filled an empty suitcase. Which left more room for brainstorming…
I tried on every single item, and anything that wasn’t flattering, didn’t fit, or was starting to look even a little shabby, was either trashed or set aside for the charity shop. Unsalvageable cardigans – with holes, or bobbled beyond repair – had their buttons removed and were set aside for felting (and if felting doesn’t take, they will be used as cleaning rags when I move!). My beloved red corduroy skirt was deemed beyond repair and thrown unceremoniously into the rubbish (the only item though!). A few higher end/barely worn items were set aside for ebay.
What was left was sorted into colour sets, from which I was able to build new outfits. Item by item, things began to remove themselves back to the wardrobe, hung once again into outfits, but creating entirely new shapes to last year’s sets.
I was able to identify the items which will likely get the most wear over the coming months – certain staple Primark tops and a £3.99 Peacock’s belt – all of which I will be able to buy a back-up for, for less than a tenner in total. It’s astonishing how a few long-sleeved tops and belts in key colours can transform last year’s clothes into this year’s style statement!
I was also able to identify potential outfits based on missing essentials, a handful of items I can hopefully procure over the coming months at minimum expense, but which will each add several new looks to my portfolio. Ordered according to seasonal use:
- A rust-toned top – most likely from Primark
- Ochre, tan or brown platforms – to tie together that 70s look
- Coloured tights (blues, browns, yellows, etc) – Primark, Topshop and Miss Selfridge are great for these)
- Tan boots – I’m STILL obsessed with the Moda in Pele Singh boots, but thinking something a little flatter might be more practical
- Navy chunky knit long cardigan – I’ve seen a nice on in Matalan
- Maxi coat – maxi dresses with knee length coats just never quite look right!
As well as these essentials, a few extras would make some existing items stretch considerably further, and allow me to mix things up more extensively…
- Longline cardi in rust or aubergine
- Cropped blazer in navy plus possibly ochre or brick
- Velvet coat – for special occasions come the festive season
- Back-up tan belt – for when my Topshop number finally gives up the ghost!