13 Steps to an Easy Wardrobe Cleanse, According to an Expert
Now is a very powerful (and practical) time to action that long overdue closet clear-out you meant to do in, like, 2013, but got distracted by back-to-back episodes of Game of Thrones or the things that Alexa Chung can do with her extensive sweater collection. It’s fair, we’ve all fallen into a box set–shaped hole or two, but to help you harness this efficacious time to your best sartorial advantage, we have called upon London-based style consultant and wardrobe organiser extraordinaire, Oriona Robb. With more 16 years experience in the fashion industry and a roll call of seriously busy, powerful women on her books, she has discovered the kind of top tips that will not only surprise you but easily help you out, too. This is a woman who genuinely believes that a smaller wardrobe is a greater wardrobe—so we are all ears.
Scroll down to get her key pointers and essential buys, and then mark a day in your diary to start the overhaul.
The White Company Cotton Storage Bag ( £14 ) (£12)
“To do an effective clear-out, you cannot just stand in front of your wardrobe and look at it. You have to take everything out and place it all onto the bed or a sofa, and then go through it item by item, creating five piles: donate, keep, love, store for another season and alterations and dry cleaning,” Robb says.
West Elm Mid Century Dowel Mirror (£349)
“In order to work out whether you should keep something, make sure you can create more than one outfit out of it. And don’t try anything on without a full-length mirror, the right underwear and the shoes you would realistically wear the look with,” Robb says.
Peter Pilotto Smocked Pleated Jacquard-Knit Midi Dress ( £1525 ) (£595)
“Become the person who swaps over seasonally—it’s not crazy, it’s incredibly helpful on a day-to-day basis. And if you buy something summery right now in the sales, be sure to pack it away and not shove it into your winter wardrobe,” Robb says.
“Divide what you need from your wardrobe into a pie chart on paper, marking out the percentages of how often you need to wear that part of your closet. Then arrange, for example, your work wardrobe together, your weekend wardrobe together, your fitness wardrobe together. And if you spend more of your time at work, then make sure you’ve got enough clothes to cover it,” Robb says.
Lakeland Blue Space Saving Non-Slip Hangers (£6)
“Buy velvet hangers. They are a revelation! And cheap! These are extra-slim so you can usually fit more of them into a wardrobe, but also they hold onto the clothes well. Never ever leave clothes on dry cleaning wire hangers—they will destroy them,” Robb says.
“You’d be surprised by the amount of people who put something dirty that needs dry cleaning or a pair of trousers that need the hems taken up back into their wardrobes. You know you won’t wear them, so the cost of dry cleaning or alterations is far less than buying a replacement,” Robb says.
“By assembling your clothes into similar colours and fabrics you’ll find that everything goes together more easily when you’re in a rush,” Robb says.
“To test how often you are wearing something, pop a safety pin in it. If you haven’t even tried it on in six months, it’s probably a safe sign that you can get rid of it,” Robb says.
Lola Rose Gilded Triad Hook ( £20 ) (£11)
“Look after your clothes properly, but don’t be afraid to display them as well. Sometimes having every bag in a dust bag will mean you forget about them. I show my Chanel bag on a hook—I almost get just as much enjoyment out of seeing it there as I do wearing it. The more you put on display, the more you will wear them,” Robb says.
To learn more about Oriona Robb and the services she offers—from wardrobe detoxes through to detailed colour profiling—be sure to check out her website, OrionaRobb.com.
Opening Images: Style du Monde