Winter wardrobe bliss: the therapeutic joy of sorting and organising

Jul 19, 2023
One pair of caramel-coloured wide-leg pants, one belt, one leather jacket in tan, one pair of tan boots. Style these basics with shirts, knitted tops, scarves, caps and hats to create longevity and versatility for these ageless basics. Image source: Supplied

“Nothing to wear. So sick of my old clothes. What, this old thing? I need a new wardrobe!” Sound familiar?

When we believe we look good, we feel good. I’ve always admired people who are confident even in their housecleaning rags, but I was brought up to look my best as it is a testimony to respect for myself and for those I keep company with.

We don’t need a vast budget to dress well. The trick is to have a versatile cupboard. I wanted to say closet but that word is now abused loosely for several purposes, other than a place in which to keep our clothes… chuckles.

So, if we have reached the ripe (not old) age of 60, we should have a few items in our cupboard that have withstood the test of time and could be styled with several other items, old and new, creating a different, chic look.

Where do you begin?

I’ve been a hunter-gatherer of fine clothes since my mother made those pretty dresses that make my little friends green with envy. She even designed my Mandarin-styled pajamas from my father’s old shirts!

Trying to plan my winter wardrobe this year became a little tricky. I felt a tad overwhelmed I must admit. So many styles I’ve not worn for more than 10 years are back in vogue! Flared pants, midi- and maxi-dresses, high-rise jeans and pants, straight-leg pants, cropped knitted tops, and so it goes on!

How do I know what’s in style? I follow some incredible stylists from across the planet on Instagram and I must admit, I have a soft spot for classic European fashion trends. Then, of course, we have our leading Aussie designers, who need never be in the shadow of any of their international peers. I wear them and love the superior quality garments produced here, without having to fork out big bucks on expensive big-name labels.

So, back to basics. What’s in this season? What suits my shape? How could I elevate an old pair of trousers that is back on trend without spending a fortune? What makes me feel good?

My first pay-check was spent on a knitted winter-white midi-skirt, a cable-knit fitted long winter cardigan, also in winter-white, a chocolate-brown silk shirt, and long shiny brown boots. All from Italy purchased on layby from my friend’s mother’s Italian boutique. This was the 70s.

After that, I’d add an item to the mix every month, such as a pair of pants, heels, a belt, another shirt, a pretty knit, or heels.

These rules still apply. However, we do grow tired of some garments that simply won’t quit after a few good years. They also date and being the, sometimes, fickle creatures we are, we need change.

I see that mood for change as therapy

Time to pack away quality garments that are now out of style or just too familiar. I use the same tissue paper that any new items come wrapped in, to fold and pack away those pieces I need to take a break from. I have a special suitcase for those, in fact, I have two large ones, in which I also place sachets of cloves and dried lavender to keep bugs away, teamed with rock salt sachets to avoid dampness.

First, I unpack those trusty trunks of quality style gems and the unwrapping is like opening a birthday present, but only better as this is something I know I will wear again as it had been of value to me in the past and now it’s coming out of its sabbatical! This is pure fashion therapy as the fun lies in planning what to style it with to give it a brand-new lease of life in my slow-fashion, eco-conscious closet!

Amazingly, once this weekend therapy at the start of the new season is complete, unpacking and sending our old garments into temporary retirement, as well as donating those items we know we don’t ever wish to wear again to an op-shop, we discover we don’t need to spend much to breathe new life into the stylish classics we’ve unpacked.

Adding a new belt, a scarf, or a new shirt – it’s always a winning formula when we realise we didn’t have to blow the budget to feel on trend in the new season. More cash for champagne!

The three-point test

So, when we look at images of the latest fashion styles, picture what’s in our existing wardrobe aka Pandora’s box of fabulous tricks before dashing out to spend cash. And when one does acquire something new, let it pass the three-point test:

a) does this item offer longevity;

b) would it suit you;

c) could it elevate at least three items in your existing wardrobe?

Enjoy this therapeutic cleanout and fun reveal. Remembering the fabulous times savoured when wearing those timeless, agelessly stylish items and creating new stories wearing them, equals new fashion adventures!

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