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Style SOS: How do I streamline my wardrobe this year?

Style SOS: How do I streamline my wardrobe this year?

"This year has shown me that I have a lot of items in my wardrobe that I never wear. I'd like to use the new year as an opportunity to edit my wardrobe, but I don't want to get rid of anything I'll regret. Any tips?" - Lewis via Instagram 

You’re not alone in using the new year as an excuse to tackle the dreaded wardrobe clear-out, Lewis. This time of year can inspire an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mindset that helps us tackle the previous year’s worth of clutter. It’s also a time when we consider new approaches to the way we dress, and even new styles we want to try out. But since (we assume) you’re not Marie Kondo, it’s likely that cutting down your clothing and curating a wardrobe of things you really want to wear is no mean feat. But there’s good news: working backwards and reducing your existing wardrobe can be a far easier and more gratifying experience than building an entirely new one. Just follow these simple steps.

Look to the pieces you love

When streamlining your wardrobe, start by picking out the items that represent the way you want to dress, and make you feel like the best version of yourself. These will make the most effective basis for your collection. If, like us, your wardrobe can feel a little confused and messy, start by pulling out 10-15 key pieces you’ve worn out this wear – no, not your sweatpants – and work out what made you reach for them over anything else. 

Consider your style holistically rather than focusing on specific pieces that you like, but never wear because they don’t fit the overall way you want to dress. Think about how you want to look: do the items you’ve worn this year represent that? If so, they’re here to stay and you can whittle down the pieces that fit – and don’t fit – that version of yourself.

Look at the pieces you don’t love so much anymore

You’ll probably notice some common themes emerging as you start building a pile of pieces to keep and toss. There might be lots of a certain colour or shape that you no longer favour, which can help you think about what colours or shapes you might prefer. You might notice lots of pieces that fit a specific trend you no longer relate to, so consider if there’s a certain look you feel represents you better or whether you want to ditch trends altogether. Think about the items that you’ve grown out of in terms of style (goodbye, skinny jeans) as well as fit. 

Think about what you really like to wear

We pick our clothing based on a number of subconscious factors, and the best way to develop a wardrobe consisting of pieces you actually love is to make that decision making conscious rather than habitual. Consider the pieces that make you feel happy and comfortable. Try them on and ask yourself: do they fit? What size are you, actually? Do they really look good, or are you clinging to a past image? We often hold on to pieces in the hope that they will one day fit or suit us, but unless they’re sentimental and unbearable to part with, it’s time to get rid.

Think about what you don’t like wearing so much

On the flipside, don’t be afraid to keep things you know you love even if you don’t wear them a lot. If you only think about how recently you wore something before relegating it to the charity shop pile, you’ll probably be left with no formalwear or holiday attire. To bring some process to your clear-out, look at the pieces you weren’t wearing much before, and reflect on whether, if 2020 hadn’t turned out the way it did, you still wouldn’t be wearing these pieces. If you weren’t wearing it before a year in lockdown, you definitely won’t be reaching for it once normality returns.

Don’t be too ruthless

Editing your wardrobe isn’t about minimalism or essentialism, and you don’t want to end up throwing away things that you’ll end up re-buying later down the line. Consider keeping items that feel timeless, like a mac or a pair of leather boots, and instead clear out the pieces with a shorter shelf-life. Similarly, prioritise pieces that are made well and are likely to last for years to come over lower-quality pieces in the same style. You might wear your ASOS jeans and Topman jumper more right now, but you know your Levi’s selvedge denim and pure cashmere knit are going to outlive them. Now, where do you keep the bin bags?

Looking to donate or recycle your clothes? You send us any pre-loved clothes in your Thread returns bag any time you make an order. 


Words: Ella White
Illustration: Ryan Gillett