I know I’ve been promising you this blog for a while and here it finally is, although, it is the abridged version, as I’m sure there’s a book in it 😂 But before I launch into it, if you’d like to comment, please press on the title now and it will open with a commenting section at the end.
Back in January, I introduced the idea of SAVVY STYLE with this blog. I like to think of it as a smart, practical, creative and inspirational system of belief to capture and create a feel good wabi- sabi life of style. It’s a summary of what I’ve learnt to pay attention to in ”my life” and with “my style” since I turned 50, so I can “feel good”. And in it are 5 pillars (that have morphed into) : WEARING SHOPPING THINKING AGEING LIVING. And “curating your closet” is an idea that came to me from THINKING about the WEARING and SHOPPING blogs as well as the one I wrote on RELOVE. (In fact, come to think of it, most of the blogs I’ve written have had some influence 🤔) and it’s beginning to feel like the purpose of my little hobby blog (other than to leave something for my daughters to read as they age) is to creatively curate a closet in which after 55 years, I always have fun and feel good in 🙏🏻
And what makes me feel so passionate about sharing all of this, is that it if this hobby stylist can do it, anyone can ! It will literally transform what you wear, how you shop and more importantly how you feel about yourself in doing both! And it’s practical, enjoyable and achievable in which I didn’t spend much at all! In fact my “spending” is what got me into a mess to start with. The sheer accumulation of mindless pandemic “add to cart” moments and exciting acceptance of “influencing gifts” over the last two years (that were ironically bought/accepted to ”make me feel good”) were what actually had me falling to the ground last October and thinking STOP…I have so much stuff!!! So much so, that it was confusing my style and generally overwhelming me with what I “should wear” VS “love to wear”. So I simply, took a deep breath and decided to take back the control of my wardrobe and own my spending/accepting habits by SAYING NO to both for a while to concentrate on what I love to wear and rewear. And since then, I have, “curated my closet ” and created the wardrobe of my dreams, in which I always have something I love to wear! And this is pretty much all about how I did that in a blogpost….
INVEST IN LEARNING WHAT COLOURS SUIT YOU !
I can not reiterate this enough! Most of us have some idea of the colours that look good on us through the way we feel in them and compliments received from others. I’ve always loved and bought the colour olive/khaki for that reason. (So please be sure to let others know when you see them wearing their best 😉). But it wasn’t until I started thinking how I wanted to feel good in every colour that I wore that I got stuck. So when Victoria Nelson, an image consultant (also known on IG as stylepixie_consulting) offered to colour analyse me last year I jumped at it! I wrote about that here. But what I also learnt is that there’s more to it than just wearing a certain hue that suits, it’s also how you “contrast” your colours, in accordance to your own skin/hair/eye contrast level, so that what you decide to put with it makes YOU look good and not just your clothes. And knowing all this has allowed me to work over time, on narrowing down what I had in my closet while opening up possibilities of how I could make existing clothes work better to what I should look for in purchasing and perhaps accept as gifts moving forward.
So if you want to look great in every colour that you wear, I encourage you to look into it by yourself or with help. It can be a bit $$$ if you out source, but over time, the investment will be cost saving and life changing……just a thought. But you can do a lot of research yourself and I found Donna Cameron’s book “Colour: the secret to creating a sustainable wardrobe” the perfect starting point. In fact, there are many resources and experts in colour offering their advice free of charge on this platform, You Tube and Instagram. And in case you are wondering, these are mine:
Although, when my hair is very bright, I can slide into a few of these:
And while I’ve curated my current closet based on a handful of favourites. I love that there are “new to me” colours i’d love to explore….
PAY ATTENTION TO THE STYLES THAT SUIT YOUR BODY (shape, proportions and size)
Again, a personal stylist can help you with this OR you can conduct your own research and follow your intuition. Although sometimes the latter may take longer. I’ve been a follower of ”What Not To Wear” and Trinny Woodall for 20 years, so have had plenty of practice in analysing my shape. I am a triangle, a pear. My shoulders are smaller than my hips. My torso is also longer than my legs. I have a waist. I am petite. There is a very old book by Trinny and Susannah Constantine called The Body Shape Bible that I learnt most of my “how to dress my shape” tricks. And knowing them is how I dress to feel good even after all these years, some people may not agree, but when I follow these simple guidelines, it really makes choosing clothes so much easier!
And pay attention to the tips about necks, boobage and calves, it can help with accessories! And when it comes to earrings, I find this helpful.
Although, tbt, even with all this advice, I’m still a work in progress and sometimes fall head over heels for something NQR, only to realise why it never gets worn 😂
ALTER or REMOVE WHAT DOESN’T WORK
Knowing the colours and styles that do suit, it’s time to tackle your wardrobe. This may seem daunting, but if you accept that it will take more than afternoon and aim for a timeframe that works for you, it can be done methodically. You may want to start by season and category.
I started in Summer with dresses. I had about 60! And so many hanging on my rails didn’t get worn, so I pulled them off one at a time, tried them on and then depending on whether their colour and style suited me, separated them into three key piles: KEEP, ALTER, PURGE.
The KEEPERS were laundered, ironed, had buttons fixed etc.. and then hung. On hangers that matched! I am super fussy about this and all mine are in a natural wood. I want my Curated Closet to reflect the feeling I get when I walk into a chic boutique, regardless of the garment being high end or thrifted! My aim is for it to be somewhere I go to shop each day. And you know that amazing feeling you get, when you try on something you love in store?, thats what I’m aiming for each and every time 😍
The ALTER pile is just that. Garments that suit in shape and colour, but need tweaking by a seamstress (or yourself) like a hem. Many of my Maxi Dresses were too long for my 163cm frame so I had them taken up. I suit a midi. Some were too full, so I’ve invested in having volume removed. Some too loose, so I’ve had darts and waists altered. I’ll admit that paying Australian seamstresses to do this isn’t cheap, but if the item suits me and I love it, I want each and every one I own to be a perfect fit. Think of it as closet couture 😉 Because I know from experience, the better you feel in a garment the more it gets worn! I also took all my white dresses (which isn’t my best colour) and experimented with dyeing them. And all the alterations don’t have to be done all at once, in fact, I still have half a basket of alterations from last Summer to be tackled this Spring…. must get onto that 😉 But what I can say, is that in concentrating on wearing what I had and tweaking what I love, it actually stopped me buying new for a month or two. It was also the pause I needed to reset how I felt about what I owned and chose to wear, which has since allowed me to THINK about it and what I wanted my curated closet to be.
The PURGE pile I split into gifting (to family and friends), selling, and donating. In this pile I put garments that definitely didn’t suit, like or fit! And please don’t keep and ”one day I’ll fit back in it” items in your curated closet – they only make you feel bad, if you can’t part with one or two, store them elsewhere for 12 months, and then take another look at them. I’m okay with doing this purge once in a while, but the ultimate aim is to curate a closet that is so sustainable, this is a rare occurrence .
And there is one more pile, that I may have only mentioned once or twice and it simply got rehung. And that is the ARCHIVE. In it are high end or highly stylish garments that I will no longer wear but have a sentimental attachment or I think my children and their children may appreciate the value of down the track. And I keep them hanging as this group is meant to be small but meaningful. Plus, I always welcome my daughters into my wardrobe to wear or pinch anything I own 🙏🏻
ORGANISE, ORGANISE, ORGANISE !
Using your uniform coat hangers, organise your closet into categories. This will be completely determined by the size of your closet and your hanging space vs. shelving and draws. But I do try to keep my warm weather clothing (Spring/Summer) seperate from cooler weather (Autumn/Winter). And in catagories. So Summer skirts, Summer blouses, Summer jackets, Summer dusters, vs. Winter skirts, Winter blouses, Winter jackets, Winter coats. You get the idea. I’ll even do this on the same rod. That way, I can simply bring garments for the particular season to the front. And on my shelves and in draws, all my turtle necks are together vs. chunky knits. And my tshirts vs. singlets. To be honest, I don’t have many separates. A majority of my garments are dresses. My Summer ones stand alone in the long hanging and my Winter ones hang or are folded over a hanger in another section depending on length. I have also started trying to keep them in colour groups in order of the rainbow 😉 My aim is to make what I have easily identifiable and accessible. The same with accessories. All my jewels sit in groups on a chest of drawers. My belts in drawers according to size, my scarves in season piles. And anyone who has seen my wardrobe knows my larger bags/shoes/boots are on display (these are separated according to season) and my clutches are organised in baskets by colour. Having said all this, I am an extremely organised person (perhaps I missed my true vocation 😂)!! So find your own aesthetic…
What doing this also highlights is the amount of what you have in each catagory! Which can very easily help you define your style. As I’ve already said, dresses are what I have the most of because they are what I wear most days. Knowing this, and knowing what I have, I am always happy to look for additional. It’s the same with boots! Which then leads me to…
CREATE A WISHLIST
In my Filofax 😂 I have a page in which I write down garments and items that my wardrobe may benefit from. Notes on your phone is simpler, but I love paper 😉 On it are wants, rarely needs. These are added randomly as they come to mind, often when I’m dressing or inspired by what I see on others. I certainly don’t rush into buying anything on it. I like to sit with it for at least a week or two and think about how it may benefit what I’ve so carefully curated. Sometimes I’ll even risk waiting for it to go on sale, thinking if they don’t have my size, it wasn’t meant to be. And often items get scrubbed 😉 The last thing I need is to bring in is something that will stuff up all my hard work! Currently I have a Camel Coat (which has eluded me now for two Winters), a chocolate brown turtle neck (I haven’t found the right shape), snakeskin boots (I have had an eye on this pair for a while 😉), a pair of rose gold Havianas with a thick strap (to replace the ones my dog ate – probably more a need) and a fine gold chain and charm (random I know, but sometimes I don’t want to wear my chunky ones…). you get the idea. And this week I added another garment, this stunning dress:
What I love about having a list, is that when I am out and about shopping new or secondhand, I always have something in mind to look for. I may not always find it, but it keeps me mindful and less impulsive. And because I now know my wardrobe so well, the result keeps the closet curated! Having said that, and all this, the whole purpose of a curated closet is to…
FEEL GOOD and HAVE FUN IN IT
Which really is what clothes and style are about! And now my closet is fully curated, my current style established and I love everything in it and on me 🙏🏻 I feel happy and confident with all I welcome in “new” and “secondhand”. Because it’s been intentionally selected. No more frenzied “at to cart” moments, no constant accepting of kind gifted offers…… so when Blue Illusion surprisingly offered me the stunning toile dress above after I posted on Instagram how it sparked my interest, it felt like the right time to say YES (it has been 10 months since the last) and step back into the ring of occasionally accepting gifts and sharing them with you. And since it’s been a while, I’m a bit excited 😆. And that’s the feeling I want for you when you have taken the time to curate your closet and then decide to add to it !!
Excellent read Sarah.. so much of this is what I teach my clients when we do wardrobe edits.. you are a natural born Stylist and you put things in a clear and concise way for your readers to fully imerce in your journey. Thank you for letting me be a part of that. Xx
What a lovely thing to say 🙏🏻 but thank you for all your input and support.
LOVE THE DRESSED DYED!
Thank you 🙏🏻
I’ve just found your wonderful blog!! Wonderful simple advice. After retirement, I want a simpler,stylish and comfortable wardrobe. Love your ideas 💡
Thank you Joan! Welcome 🙏🏻 in a light note.. I do get called sensible Sarah 😂