West Coast Stylist: Orla Sheridan describes her style as elegant chic with a little bit of edge. This style has awarded her a successful business as a very sought after Personal Stylist. Orla was previously a fashion buyer for Primark, but now in her ‘spare time’ the Mum of two also lectures Fashion in Galway. Orla has won a number of Best Dressed titles, and has featured in the likes of Vogue, Tatler Magazine, The Irish Examiner, and Stellar Magazine. We are delighted to have Orla let us in on some wardrobe secrets…
If you are someone that has a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear, you might find this post helpful. Having worked as a personal stylist for the last few years my clients found that an organised functioning wardrobe saved them time, money and energy on a daily basis.
These are simple practical steps that I hope you find useful.
Before you start:
- Know this may take you at least 3 hours
- Clear your bed/floor space for wardrobe contents
- Invest in good hangers, go one step further and buy a variety of colours so that you can colour code your wardrobe
- Buy 2 plastic sealed containers that will fit under the bed
- Large black bin bags
- Pair up with an honest friend and help with each other’s wardrobe
Step 1: Start from Scratch
The best thing to do when you want to organise your entire wardrobe is to start by emptying its entire contents onto the bed. This includes all your clothes from your drawers, as well as your shoes, bags, hats, scarves all your special occasion clothes etc. Don’t worry about the mess: it will all be worth it!
Note: Now might be a good time to clean out any of those cobwebs that are inside the wardrobe!
Step 2: Time to Say Goodbye
Personally I much prefer to have a small functioning wardrobe full of clothes that I love. So my advice to clients is if something hasn’t been worn for over 6 months you start the process of saying goodbye. This process has 2 stages:
Stage 1 – Move clothes into a plastic container and store it under the bed.
Stage 2 – If the garment hasn’t escaped its way out of the container and you haven’t used it after six months then it’s time to say goodbye.
Note: I’m very reluctant to let clients throw out any of their clothes without going through these stages as I appreciate that clothes can have certain emotional attachments. So it’s important that you are ready to say good bye for good!
Step 3: Sort by Season
Don’t waste your wardrobe space on out-of-season clothes. Store all those summer clothes in another wardrobe or if space is limited use a plastic sealed container and store it under the bed.
Step 4: Hang only what you LOVE!
This is the most important step. But you may find this step difficult especially if you are the type of person that loves a full wardrobe. But if you really want your wardrobe to work for you this step is essential. You need to be ruthless and honest here! If you don’t wear it don’t hang it!
Coats – I always start with coats first because they take up the most space. My experience with clients is that sometimes the more expensive a garment is the less likely they are to wear it. My advice is to do the complete opposite, instead justify your expensive purchases by wearing them as often as possible! Just hang your favourite coats!
Note: Living in Ireland coats are the most wearable visible garments we own, so don’t be afraid to invest!
Trousers – Separate your trousers into the following sections
Hang all your trousers using the clip hangers. If you are stuck for space use the layered hangers for denims only and organise them by colour going from dark to light denim.
Tops – Separate your tops into the following categories:
Most people’s wardrobes are overflowing with tops. Here is where the coloured hangers come in helpful. Choose a colour for each of the category above.
Note: If you are worried that your knits might drag it may be advisable to fold the garment.
Special Occasion Outfits
I think it’s very important to have these outfits visible in your wardrobe. So you are clear as to where you stand on dressing for that next special occasion. Some people love to hang on to these outfits even if they are outdated! It may also have some sentimental value or you may feel because it cost a lot of money that you don’t want to discard it. If this is the case perhaps you could consider storing it in another wardrobe or even selling it to a consignment shop. But if you aren’t wearing it don’t hang it in your functioning wardrobe! It may also act as a reminder that this section needs updating.
Note: Special occasion shopping can leave even the most seasoned shopper frustrated. Never leave this type of shopping to the last minute; it usually results in panic buying. If you see something special and you love it BUY IT. It will always come in handy.
Step 5: Shoes
Shoes, they can make or break the outfit! If you are fortunate enough to have a wardrobe with a special shoe compartment separate them by height and keep your most worn shoes at the most visible point. For the more modest wardrobe, I would recommend that you keep shoes in their shoe boxes and place them under the hanging clothes.
Step 6: Jewellery
There are so many creative options when it comes to hanging your jewellery. My experience with clients is that most of their jewellery is hidden away in a jewellery box. I recommend that you hang it in some way that makes it more visible. Pinterest has some fantastic fun ideas.
Step 7: Hats and Scarves
If you are guilty of owning too many scarves now is a perfect time to sort through the good from the bad. Only hang a small collection at a time so that it’s easier to see what you have.
Hats can often work a little bit like jewellery, we buy them with great intentions but far too often they never see the light of day. They are really in season at the moment so don’t be afraid to wear them!
Step 8: Quality over Quantity
Another very important step if you want to build the best functioning wardrobe. Remember these points when shopping:
- If in doubt about a garment, don’t buy it!
- You should like your new garment as much or more than what’s already in your wardrobe!
- Be careful not to duplicate! One pair of black jeans may just be enough!!!
- If you don’t wear your new garment within one month of buying it, return it (unless it’s a special occasion outfit)!
- When purchasing a new garment think how it will complement what’s in your existing wardrobe.
Note: If you are someone that doesn’t mix your everyday wardrobe with your work wardrobe I would recommend following exactly the same steps but separate the clothes into two different wardrobes.
Orla is one to follow, check out her personal style & services at…