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How to find new outfits when you organise wardrobe

What better time to organise your wardrobe? Spring is in the air, we're forced to stay in and we have the long Easter weekend ahead of us. Plus.....you just know you'll feel great once you've done it.

But it's not just about throwing things out, it's also about finding new combinations so you get the most out of the things you have. After doing a virtual wardrobe edit with a client last week, he said:

"I feel that I have acquired several new outfits without having to leave the house!" 

So I thought I'd share some of the suggestions I've used before to help clients get maximum mileage from their wardrobes, which you can also use to help organise and find new outfits in your own wardrobe.

How to organise your wardrobe

1. Put a t-shirt underneath

One of the things I did via the online wardrobe edit last week - was use the simple solution of putting a t-shirt under a heavier casual cotton shirt. The shirt wasn't working when worn underneath a jumper as it was slightly too thick and scratchy, but with a t-shirt underneath, it was more casual and much more wearable - bingo!

We also 'demoted' a jumper by putting a plain white crew neck t-shirt under it. My client hadn't been wearing it much, even though he liked it, especially the beautiful rich plum colour. We figured out it because it was a little thinner than some of other jumpers he had and didn't look as neat when he wore it on top of a shirt. By putting it with the fitted white t-shirt, it felt more comfortable and he knew he'd get much more use from it. I also suggested getting a toning scarf to go with it to create a great casual look.

Clerkenwell Tab checked cotton shirt - Oliver Spencer at Matches - £110

How to organise your wardrobe during lockdown

2. Try out different colour combinations

This is something I often find myself doing in clients wardrobes. They may have 'set' outfits where they always wear the same combinations, but once shaken up they feel like they have a new wardrobe without spending a penny! So have a look at your things to see if you have some new combinations to try - I like tonal shades of the same colour (like the 3 x blues above) and I also like a dark navy shirt with a navy blazer and contrasting trousers. If you have a pale blue shirt in your wardrobe (fairly likely from what I've seen of most men's wardrobes!) you could try toning it with some soft grape coloured trousers like the ones above, or khaki or mustard also go well. Try blues and greens together, or pick out one colour in a pattern and echo it somewhere else in your outfit. One other tip - hold the things up together in front of the mirror, as it's easier to see which colour comes to the fore and how it looks to other people.

 Image from Pinterest

How to make the most of your wardrobe

3. Wear something in a different way

Can anything in your wardrobe be worn in a different way to how you normally wear it? Could you casualise a suit or blazer by wearing it with a sweater or t-shirt? Maybe you could upgrade a chore jacket to a smarter look by wearing it over a button down shirt with some smart chinos and brogues. Have you got some tailored trousers that would work well with a pair of simple leather trainers?  Perhaps you could wear your cashmere hoody underneath an unstructured blazer for a different look? Spend a bit of time experimenting and trying out new combinations that you might not have thought of before. There's no harm done if you try things and they don't work but you might uncover some hidden gems of outfits!

Taupe Nolin/ Brider Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Sateen Suit - Hugo Boss at Mr Porter - £525

Use what you have in  your wardrobe

4. Create some layers 

Now's the perfect time to crack open your summer wear, and though it's warm today, next week you may need to learn to layer! I find lots of men struggle with this concept, so here are some suggestions on how to do it: (a) Wear a t-shirt under a shirt, and add a lightweight jacket on top of that (b) Use a cotton scarf to accessorise and add warmth to a t-shirt, sweater and lightweight jacket (c) Layer a shirt under a polo knit with a blazer on top (d) Add a hoody as an extra layer over a t-shirt and underneath a bomber or biker jacket (e) Put a gilet over the top of a t-shirt and lightweight jumper. Check out my Pinterest boards and this blog post for more ideas. 

Band-collar cotton-poplin shirt- Brunello Cuccinelli at Matches - £380

Contrast cuff canvas bomber jacket - Brunello Cuccinelli at Matches - £2,250

Alterations to things your wardrobe

5. Could you alter it?

We breathed new life into a pair of Comme des Garcons trousers that my client had had in his wardrobe forever. They were beautiful trousers (similar to the ones above) but the overly long, wide leg felt a bit 90s after wearing slimmer cuts for awhile. As the wider cut is coming back in though, I suggested cropping them slightly to make them modern again and wearing them with chunkier shoes to balance them out. Once I'd pinned them, my client could see how well it worked, got them altered and now he loves wearing them once again.

Do you have anything that could do with a tweak like this? Shortening or adding a turn up to trousers, nipping in the waist of a blazer or taking up the sleeves, relining a coat or bomber jacket with a fresh colour, adding leather elbow patches  (a la Margiela) to a worn out sweater?

If you're in London I can highly recommend Savva Tailors for any alterations and though I've never used them, I've heard great things about Pinnas & Needles too.

Checked cotton twill shirt - Thom Sweeney at Matches - £260 

Brushed cotton blend gabardine trousers - Thom Sweeeny at Matches - £395

 Shop your own wardrobe

6. Add some accessories

You may need to do a little online shopping for this one. Accessories can make such a difference to your outfit, so I highly recommend updating and refreshing what you have if it's not something you've thought about recently. This time of year, really lends itself to a beautiful cotton scarf to ward off the chill when the sun goes in, or freshen up your belt selection with some stripes, perforations, woven textures, or suede. Get a functional but stylish backpack, look ahead to summer and holidays (when we can do that getting on a plane thing again) with a smart new hat, or do your face a favour and invest in some modern new frames.

Navy embroidered linen scarf - Paul Smith at Harvey Nichols - £110

Pair up your patterns - how to organise and shop your wardrobe

7. Pair up your patterns

Are you scared of mixing up patterns? Follow the guidelines below and try out some new combinations of shirts and ties, shirts and patterned jackets, striped t-shirts and check overshirts etc (a) Vary the scale of your patterns if they're the same ie: one wide stripe with a narrow stripe (b) Bring different patterns together by using similar colours (c) Let the pattern get larger from the base layer to the outer one (d) Counteract a busy print with a widely spaced one (e) Let one pattern stand out by using a darker or brighter colour (f) Invert the colours eg: a white shirt with a navy pinstripe with a navy tie with a white stripe.

Light blue striped double cuff shirt - Emma Willis at Mr Porter - £240

 Silk jacquard tie - Bigi at Mr Porter - £105

"I enjoy working with you because I love the way that you can see solutions to 'problem' items that may otherwise stay hidden and unworn in the wardrobe, or may even be discarded. As a result, I feel that I have acquired several new outfits without having to leave the house!"

Not sure you can tackle it on your own? I'd love to help! If you'd like to do an online Wardrobe Edit or book in for an in person wardrobe session, when the lockdown lifts, click the button below to book in.

Book in here

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