Whether it's waving a child off on their first day of school and your realisation that everyone was right they do grow up fast, or the presence of all those coats and boots in the shops while the sun is still shining, September is a month of change. It is also the perfect time of year for a wardrobe cull. We've all got sartorial skeletons in our closets and most of them are too small, too young for us or just too plain hideous for public consumption.
An overstuffed wardrobe is enough to test the inner hoarder in anyone. It does however feel reassuring to know that you can dress for any given situation at a moment's notice. You know, all those last minute invites you get to all those balls? Not forgetting the interviews you might go on for those jobs that you don't need. It's one thing having endless options but what you really want to strive for is having the right options. Your clothes are the very best way to reflect who you are and who you are changes. That obscenely short black dress you wore to your work party in 1997 is probably no longer appropriate now you're a proper grown-up. Global Hypercolour T-shirt, anyone?
Here are some tips on how to get rid of the old and welcome in the new (you'll feel much better about spending all that money on new clothes if you've made some charity donations or generated some cash on eBay, trust me.)
Choose one category at a time - Focussing on say, knitwear, is much less daunting than facing your entire wardrobe in one go. What you don't want is to empty all your clothes onto the bed only to realise that it's now 1am and you're only halfway through (that has obviously NEVER happened to me.....)
Make three piles: Keep, sell and donate - Sometimes half the reason you have kept something for so long is that you paid a lot of money for it and you can't bear to let it go for nothing. However, if you keep it you're paying in wardrobe space that could be used for something that you look fabulous in. If you give it to a good friend or sell it on eBay then you will get something back for it. Otherwise take it to your local charity shop - and allow yourself to feel good.
Take the test - each item of clothing should produce a resounding YES to each of these questions:
Do I like myself in it AND like the colour AND like the fabric?
Do I feel comfortable in it? (This obviously doesn't apply to outrageously expensive limo shoes.)
Does it fit me right now - not me ten years ago?
If it's damaged or stained can it be fixed?
Can I think of more than one place I could wear it?
Does it go with anything else in my wardrobe?
Have I worn it in the past year?
You have to be ruthless. They are only clothes and you will buy more. Sentimentality is obviously allowed when it comes to wedding dresses, baby clothes or significant items from your youth and these items are exempt from the cull. Don't expect to be successful your first time as it may take a few attempts. An honest friend may be of help but however you do it just remember that the result will be a wardrobe full of clothes you love and that flatter you. And there are now lots of spare hangers just waiting to be filled.