Monday, 28 November 2011

Guest Post: How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Clothes make up a significant proportion of every woman’s spending, and for the busy modern mother, it’s vital to have a wardrobe that works just as hard as she does. Here fashion blogger Jo offers tips on how to build a wardrobe that won’t date.

The first task when looking to transform your wardrobe is to edit down your existing collection of clothes. This will no doubt be the most time-consuming part of the process, but it’s imperative that you start with a good base and clear away anything you’re unsure of in order to streamline your wardrobe.

Start by trying on your clothes by type – you may have ten pairs of black trousers, but only a couple that still fit or flatter your figure, so that dead weight has to go. Try to organise items you’d like to keep by occasion – for example, work clothes, evening wear and casual weekend items - as well as by season. If you have limited space, it may be a good idea to store away clothes that you’d only wear in the height of summer or the depths of winter until you need them.

If you’re unsure about a certain item, ask yourself honestly when was the last time you wore it and why it’s been neglected: It could be because you no longer feel comfortable in it, it’s damaged or it was an impulse buy. If this is the case, it’s probably time to let it go.

Once you’ve rationalised your existing wardrobe, it’s time to go shopping for those all-important updates. Of course you needn’t buy all the items in one go, but making a list before you set out to the shops should help reduce the likelihood of ‘shotgun buys’ that don’t have a place in your newly organised clothing collection.

Keep in mind how your time is divided and the type of clothes you reach for the most. For example, if you spend long hours in the office, you’ll need to build up a collection of smart yet comfortable separates such as a couple of pairs of trousers, a pencil skirt, a few shirts and smart tops, a pullover and cardigan and a dress or two for business meetings or events. This base collection can then be updated with statement shoes – just make sure they’re comfortable – and accessories, such as jewellery, scarves or patterned tights.

For most mums, comfort and practicality are key concerns when spending quality time with the kids, but that doesn’t have to mean pulling on old jeans and shapeless jumpers. Take the time to try out different styles of jeans to see which best suit your shape – flares can often work wonders when it comes to balancing out pear and apple shapes. Rather than buying several cheap and cheerful styles, it may be worth spending that little bit extra on a couple of pairs cut from quality, resilient material that won’t lose their colour and shape so quickly.

Dresses can be just as comfortable and easy to wear as jeans and a T-shirt, but will make it look like you’ve gone the extra mile. Choose simple, flattering shapes, such as those with flared skirts that will make your waist seem smaller, or shifts that can be worn with leggings and boots in the day and tights and heels for an evening out.

The key to a streamlined wardrobe is clever layering, so a neutral-coloured vest, tee-shirt and long-sleeved tops, as well as cardigans, jumpers and jackets, are essential items in any smart closet. And if you’re going to remember just one piece of advice, make it this: each time you buy an item, make sure you have an idea of what you can pair it with, so you don’t end up with that age-old problem of having hundreds of items of clothing - but nothing to wear.

Paying by credit card could be a convenient way to purchase those wardrobe investment items, especially if you've got a card that offers a 0% period on purchases or rewards your spend. Remember - not clearing your balance by the end of the month will mean you'll be charged credit card interest rates (outside any introductory period).

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