Autumn is almost upon us and you’re looking in your cupboards to find the right thing to wear. Very often at this time of year, the temperature during the day can vary by more than 10 degrees. What worked well in the morning is often way too warm by mid day. You can’t bring yourself to wear dark colours and thick fabrics, but feel that the clothes you relied upon all summer now look out of place. The shift from summer into autumn can give you a real dilemma when it comes to dressing for the moment. We’re all in the pursuit of a wardrobe that works as seasons change. Once you have developed a strong core collection, you will find that you can draw on aspects of it all year round.
Organise your wardrobe in the Autumn
I think the summer/autumn transition period is the ideal excuse to sort out your clothes. Give yourself time and space to prepare for this reorganisation and to lay the foundations of a wardrobe that works for you. I know ‘spring cleaning’ is a traditional thing, but I think at that time, you often don’t make many decisions when it comes to your wardrobe. You just put your ‘winter’ clothes away in the rush to embrace the warmth that spring promises.
The result of just putting your clothes away is that our wardrobes are often full. We have clothes that no longer fit, clothes from a different life, clothes we’re fallen out of love with, clothes that we’ve never worn. And that’s before the more obvious mistakes!
However, the last thing you need is to go from one extreme to the other in an attempt to de clutter. From a bulging cupboard (when the advert for space saving vacuum bags looks good), to a wardrobe that is pared down to bare necessities. From having so much stuff you actually can’t find anything to wear, to having so little that you really have nothing to wear!
A quick guide to sorting your wardrobe
There are different ways to get a wardrobe that works for you. I have written several journal posts on this subject and you can find any amount of advice on-line. But here are several key criteria we all need to keep in mind.
Make lists, then make piles. Be ruthless but realistic. Find suitable storage for keepsakes. Go through your clothes a section at a time so it’s not too overwhelming. Identify mistakes and successes. Try and recognise gaps that need filling. Invest in storage boxes. Buy good hangers.
Separate, and keep, the clothes that fit with your lifestyle, clothes that are your current size, and clothes that mix with other items and can take you effortlessly through the seasons. Recycle, bin and donate the things that don’t work for you. Store the things you can’t bear to part with but that don’t fit your current criteria.
How to make a wardrobe that works as seasons change
The answer to the change in the seasons comes from layering. In winter you can wear a good technical base layer and build on that. By technical base layer I’m not suggesting polar explorer or Everest mountaineer. I mean the way the technology has filtered down to the high street from these expeditions. Marks and Spencer, Uniqlo and many other companies now sell ranges of finely knitted ‘heat tech’ clothes. These are designed to be layered under just about anything. Leggings, vests, T-shirts and tights all work to keep you warm with very little bulk. Add your dress, suit, jeans or whatever and you’re warmer but not too hot. On cold days bring out the knitwear and scarves. On warm days, leave the base layer in the drawer.
In our temperate climate, we have few really hot weeks and few really cold weeks. This means that we spend the majority of the year wearing the same clothes. It is these clothes, this core of your wardrobe, that you need to concentrate on. Clothes you take more time to find and ultimately, spend more money on. If you have this strong collection of clothes, you can go just about anywhere, at any time of the year.
By creating a wardrobe that has flexibility through the seasons you can get far more value from the things you own. Colours trends may come and go, but if your wardrobe works cohesively for you, there should always be something suitable right at your fingertips. Getting the colours right is important and a grey jumper, even if it’s the right weight, might look too dull in May. In the same way a thick pale pink cardigan can be tricky to pair with your wool trousers in November.
Experiment and find what works for you. There are no rules, the idea is just to make your choices easier, meaning you make the most out of all your clothes, not just the same couple of outfits over and over again.