7 ‘Tough Love’ Questions To Ask Yourself When Cleaning Your Wardrobe

Colette Werden

Style and Image Specialist

How is it that we detest every article of clothing we own, yet when we go to throw something away, we develop this deep sentimental relationship with it? The ironic thing is, that no matter how full our wardrobe is we are convinced we have nothing to wear; we are oblivious to potential outfits that could be staring us right in the face and tend to stick to the same few that we think work (which usually makes up 20% of what we actually own).

 image via pinterest

So, here’s the thing. Yes, our wardrobe space is a place where clothes are hung and stored. Yet, I encourage my clients to look at it in a different way; the wardrobe is where we create ourselves every single day. It’s full of thoughts, feelings and energy (for those spiritually inclined). If it’s not supporting us, it’s costing us time, money, self-confidence and self-esteem.

We, at Colette Werden, are so intrigued about the relationship that women have with their wardrobe; we commissioned Core Data Australia to survey hundreds of women across the country to get the lowdown. The results backed up what has been happening in our client sessions; a whopping 92% of women say they’re holding onto items in their wardrobe that they no longer wear, 72% have garments they no longer fit into and 60% have not worn some clothes since they’ve purchased them.

The crazy thing is, more than 70% say that Spring cleaning your wardrobe makes you feel good. So, as the dreary Winter finds some other country to annoy and Spring lights up back up again, there’s no better time to let go of the baggage weighing us down.

1. Where’s my brutally honest friend?

Or better yet, where’s my stylist that I trust? You’re going to need honest (wo)man power. You’re looking at your wardrobe with the same uninspired eyes everyday; you need a fresh perspective and someone that will hold you up on a stylish pedestal. They’ll help you see outfit options that you never knew existed, push you over the line when you know something has to go and remind you that you do look damn sexy in your LBD.

2. What is my style and what do I love about my birthday suit?

So, here’s the thing. If we have no idea what our style is, and how to dress for the parts of our body that we like and the parts we want to camouflage, we’ll forever be shopping blindsighted. We have to get dressed everyday; the only way to do it well, is to learn about what suits us and how to make it work on our body, easily and sustainably.

Put together a style vision board on Pinterest; add all your favourite looks together and work out how you can recreate those looks to suit you.

Check yourself out in the mirror; remove all emotion and pinpoint the body part/s that you consider your asset/s. Your aim is to highlight this asset in whatever way possible with every outfit that you try on. If you can’t highlight your asset, say adios.

3. What’s my self-confidence really worth?

The pieces of fabric that we call clothes are effecting us more than we think. They’re influencing how we feel about ourselves, how we walk, how we talk to others, what events we choose to go to, how we compare ourselves to other women and how good enough we feel. Anything in our wardrobe that makes us feel like we’re not ready to take on the world, must go. We must kiss it goodbye, thank it for the memories and let it know we’re stepping it up. No price spent on it is worth how it effects our self-confidence. Only keep the garments in there that support where you’re headed, not where you’ve been.

4. If I was out shopping right now, would I buy this?

We’ve all been guilty of making those purchases that we look at down the track and go, “what the hell was I thinking?” Speaking of, let’s put that pink tutu down. Yes, we wore it to a dress up party 20 years ago, but are we really going to wear it again? Or how about those jeans that don’t fit us anymore? Let’s get them out. They’re only reminding us of how much weight we’ve put on, every time we see them. That’s toxic and it’s effecting us subconsciously. The only clothes worth taking up space in our wardrobe are the ones that help us look and feel great now. So, if you wouldn’t buy it today, let it run free.

5. What am I really holding onto?

Sometimes we develop love affairs with our clothes because we attach memories and meanings to them and it makes it harder for us to let them go. When you pick up a garment from your wardrobe and know that it doesn’t work on you anymore, but can’t bear to let it go, ask yourself what it’s reminding you of. It may be a special someone, or a specific moment or occasion in the past. It’s ok to keep these, but if you truly know that you’re never going to wear them again, move them out of your everyday wardrobe space and store them somewhere else. My clients store their sentimental pieces in a “love box”.

6. How can I wear this in at least 3 different ways?

Ok, you now must consider yourself a Mix’n’Match Queen. Give your crown a polish, pop it on and focus. We have to make your clothes earn their rent. Get really clear on your lifestyle and the types of outfits that you need to create to ensure you have a wardrobe that supports you. Ask yourself, how can I take this one garment from day to night? Or from work to play? Having the core wardrobe basics will definitely help you achieve this easier. Spending time on this, will also help you identify the gaps in your wardrobe. Write these down on your shopping “mission list”.

7. How can I stop wasting time figuring out what to wear?

Grab your camera, it’s now on for young and old. We’re going to create your very own Look Book. Photograph all the outfit options that you created. Upload them all on your computer, then add them all into one file and save it as PDF document. Email this to yourself so you can access it on your smart phone. Download the Adobe Reader app, open the file through this and it will save it. You’ll then have yourself an “e-book” full of all your outfit options. All you need to do is flick through, choose your outfit, slip it on and go! 



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