The new reality of dressing in the modern world is something we all need to come to terms with. Our lives and our wardrobes are constantly evolving. Work, retirement, social life, location…all factors that make a big difference to the clothes you need for a wardrobe that works well for you , now and into the future.

Reality #1; we wear most of our clothes most of the time

One change that affects all of us is the gradual ‘dressing down’ that has become the norm. This applies in different degrees given your work or social environment but it is still a really strong and constant trend. The days of putting on your best dress to go out seems to have become a thing of the past. By default therefore, we now wear most of our clothes, most of the time. This means that a small, well thought out collection of pieces can become the basis of nearly all our dressing needs. If you live in a temperate climate, you can also add the weather to this mix. In areas where we rarely have extremes of cold or heat, we really can wear most of our clothes most of the time. You just keep adjusting the layers and perhaps the colours.

Reality#2; spend more money on your core items

I’ve designed and made many, many items of clothing over my career, with perhaps a 50-50 split between functional clothes to be worn every day and the more formal, occasion wear. Even when designing a ‘mother of the bride’ or Ascot outfit, I have tried to make them more than just the single wear item that clogs the back of many a wardrobe.

If you wear something over and over again, it really makes sense to get the best you can. If you wear jeans every day, say 200 times a year, doesn’t it make sense to have a really well fitting pair that make you look and feel good? Whether you wear suits, dresses, trousers or skirts, the same theory applies. I have a great friend who spends much of her life in a sports kit. It makes total sense for her to get premium makes, with highly technical fabrics that feel great against her skin. On the other hand, doing yoga once a month probably doesn’t justify the £100 price tag leggings, however beautiful.

Reality#3; edit and plan

Given all these factors, a few beautiful pieces that you know suit you, now, are the basis for a streamlined collection. You’ll already have many great things but I’m sure many that never see the light of day. Building a wardrobe around what you really wear, not wish you wore, is the first step to a more integrated way of dressing.

Take the time to edit (recycle, bin, donate) the clothes that are clogging your hanging rail and drawers. I have various posts giving you advice on this. Take it from me, you don’t need all the clothes you’ve been hoarding.

Build a wardrobe around your life as it is now. Wear clothes that you love and that make you look good. This doesn’t happen by accident but it doesn’t need to be a chore. In a similar way to writing a food diary, make notes of what you’re wearing for a week or two.  See if there are patterns and act on them. Use this as a reminder of your reality and plan your purchases accordingly.