Wardrobe detox: How to get the most out of your clothes

I HAVE a passion for fashion. I love putting outfits together, talking about style and – obviously – shopping.

But therein lies the problem. Shopping costs money. And, until I learn how to grow that stuff on trees, I only have a limited supply of funds.

I, like many women, am guilty of standing in front of a closet full of clothes lamenting that I ‘have nothing to wear.’

Our reasons for keeping clothes we don’t wear are deeply-rooted and psychological.

I’ve thought about it a lot lately and I think my main reason for holding onto clothes I don’t wear is the ‘One Day’ mentality.

‘One day I’ll be slim enough to fit into these….one day I’ll be the type of woman who wears this…’

For a long, long time I carried around this vision of ‘Perfect Sam’ in my head. The woman I wanted to be but wasn’t; I thought I fell short of all my ludicrous expectations.

And I don’t think I’m alone – 85 per cent of us have items we don’t wear in our wardrobes.

In total, Brits have £10billion worth of clothes in our wardrobes we never wear, research by Weight Watchers found.

Not only is this a shockingly bad waste of our money ad strain on the environment…..clothes are meant to be enjoyed!


In a separate study, Elizabeth Bye and Ellen McKinney found that women have at least three clothing sizes in their wardrobe, with the smallest being the ever hopeful ‘one day’ pieces.

So long as we keep these clothes, they found, we have the motivation to change. We have the hope. To get rid of them is to admit defeat.

Or is it?

Ladies – life is too bloody short. It’s time to get realistic and start to enjoy.

Fed up of trying to stuff everything in, then only wearing a small percentage of it, I recently embarked on a wardrobe detox. I came up with some new rules to re-work the pieces I have (shop my closet, if you will) and really think about what I’m buying and why.

Hands up if you’ve bought something on impulse only to root around in the back of the wardrobe and find a very similar item you forgot you had?!

Not only did the process streamline how I get dressed, it also lifted a weight from my mind. I’m getting much more use out of the pieces I kept, my friends are getting use out of the things I let go of and it’s really made me think about different ways of utilising existing items before buying any more.

Looking to do your own wardrobe detox? Here are my tips below.

Regular reviews

It’s easy to bury your head in the sand; to keep shoving stuff in the wardrobe and forcing the doors shut.

Until one day, the doors won’t shut any more, stuff comes tumbling out and you’re stood in a pile of clothes – none of which you want to wear.

Regular reviews are vital. They help you really see what you have in your closet, what’s missing or what needs to be chucked.

Block off half a day in your diary and get it done!

Some of the items I rediscovered in my recent wardrobe detox

Get in order

You’ll work this out as suits you, but mine generally goes in groupings – t-shirts, shirts, skirts, trousers, day dresses, occasion dresses. Knitwear is rolled and kept at the top on shelf space (as it would take up so much space on hangers).

You might want to group your clothes like work-wear/non-workwear, or by outfit. I just find that having some organisation makes it much easier to see everything I have and work through the outfit piece-by-piece.

And always a have the ‘hook’ of the hanger facing towards the door – it takes up less space, don’t ask me why!

Insta inspiration

Social media can be a minefield; it can perpetuate feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. However, there are lots of accounts which will help you. Someone like Erica Davies will often do ‘three ways with’ stories, or show you a different way of wearing a certain item. It’s been a great source of ideas for me in how to re-work certain pieces.


Image: Erica Davies/Instagram – click to go through to Erica’s page


The ’30 times’ rule

I heard this gem on the Telegraph Fashion Unzipped podcast in a discussion about the environment and sustainability. If you haven’t already, do check out the podcast it’s great for fashion geeks.

The rule is pretty simple – aside from, say, a dress for a wedding, are you going to wear that new item you’ve got your eye on 30 times? If the answer’s no, then don’t buy.

BeFunky Collagec

Five ways to wear

Following on from above, this will help you get the most out of your wardrobe. Works for items you already own and those you’re considering. Can you think of five ways to wear it?

If it’s a strappy dress for example, could it work with a rollneck underneath, or a shirt tied over the top?

Could it work under a jumper?

Having conversations like this with yourself will help you get the most from your clothes.

Not sure? Consider a stylist

Ooooh but that’s expensive, I hear you say. Think of it this way – you could carry on spending hundreds of pounds on clothes you never wear, or, you could spend a couple of hundred pounds on some styling sessions to help you work with your existing wardrobe, know what suits you and therefore only invest in the things you’ll definitely wear in the future.

Want to get in touch? Comment below or find me on instagram



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