How to get your wardrobe ready for Spring…
Spring has officially landed. Really? It certainly doesn’t feel like it with the weather we are having, but in the world of fashion it is most definitely here. The sales are over. Spring and Summer clothes are hitting the shops and people are thinking about their summer holidays. So what are you doing to prepare your wardrobe for Spring?
Getting ready for a new season is exciting. It is a great excuse to have a good clear out and plan your style, looks and outfits for the next few months of (hopefully) warmer weather. As well as spring cleaning your house, you should be doing the same to your wardrobe. Here are my top tips to ensure you are ready for Spring.
1. Wardrobe Stock Take
Spend some time, preferably when you are in a good mood and not rushing, to try on everything that is in your wardrobe. This will remind you of exactly what you have, but also:
- What you like
- What fits
- What needs fixing/altering
- What needs cleaning
- What goes together
- What needs replacing
- What is missing
Don’t forget to do the same with your shoes, boots, bags, scarves, other accessories and jewellery. These items are just as important as the clothes when creating your looks for the next season.
Accessories: check clasps, stones and fastenings on brooches and jewellery.
2. Unwanted Items
Items that you don’t like anymore or don’t fit and are unlikely to even with alterations can be reused by others. Please don’t just throw them away!
Consider the following options if the items are in good condition:
- Selling, either online through eBay or other selling sites or do a car boot sale
- Donating to your local charity shop or clothes bank
- Using a dress agency which will give you a percentage of the sale price if they sell the item
- Holding a clothes/accessories swapping party with friends where you can all bring unwanted items to swap with each other
If unwanted items are in poor condition and unsuitable for the above options, think about how you can reuse parts of the items like zips and buttons. Cut up and use the material to make other things such as dolls clothes, cushion covers, peg bags or dusters etc. There are hundreds of ideas on sites like Pinterest. Wherever possible try and avoid putting whole items in the bin. Remember Reuse and recycle.
3. Annual Maintenance
Check all the items that you are keeping for the following:
- Holes or rips
- Loose and missing buttons, studs or poppers
- Broken hook & eyes or other fastenings
- Broken or stiff zips
- Hems that have come undone
- Pulls in the thread
- Worn patches
Don’t be tempted to leave the winter clothes out of this process, get them repaired and/or cleaned now so they are ready for next time that you wear them. Include your shoes and boots, do they need a good clean and the waterproof spray reapplying or do they need to be re-heeled?
Go through winter handbags and remove any tissues, pens, sweets/gum and money if you store those bags away. This will prevent any nasty smells or stains when you next use them. Take care when storing bags or boots to ensure they are not squashed together risking damage.
If you are able to remove stains and odours by washing at home then do it, but don’t risk it if the item needs professional cleaning.
The same applies to repairs and alterations, do not attempt if you are not confident that you will do a good job! I have recently sent all my vintage summer dresses that need repairs to my favourite seamstress at Sew Create (follow on Twitter @sewcreatehq). Paying a professional means a proper job that will last and look good.
4. Styling Session
Once you know what you are keeping you can think about outfit combinations. This can be done by you trying the clothes on, or if you have a mannequin try dressing that up first, as sometimes it is easier to be more creative on someone (or something) else. Get a friend round to help you if you are struggling with this part.
Try putting tops and skirts/trousers together that you would not normally pair, to explore more mix and match options. Remember it doesn’t usually get warm until around May so think about seasonal transition pieces that will overlap this period. I feel ready to wear a different set of clothes by this time of year, as I am bored of all my winter clothes, however, March and April are definitely months for keeping some winter clothes to hand. Try layering up your summer tops with blouses and shirts worn open over the top, neck scarves to keep off drafts and use capes or ponchos to keep you warm but showcase spring tops. Think of it as a preview of what is to come once the sunshine finally arrives.
Back to your styling session, I also like to put outfits and accessories together on the bed or floor to see how it all looks together before trying it on. Do whatever you are most comfortable with and works for you. Whichever method you choose try and take photos of the looks that work so you have a record for the future, it makes choosing an outfit so much easier.
This process will also identify any missing items that you need to source. Make a list of what you think you need and keep the list with you all the time so you can be on the lookout wherever you go.
Of course you may decide that nothing is right anymore and that you want to replace your entire wardrobe! If you decide that you need to look like the models in the latest copy of you favourite fashion magazine, bang on trend, nailing every single look of SS17, please remember what is in fashion may not be right for your body shape, personality or lifestyle. I’m not saying it is bad to try new things, quite the opposite, but be considered and practical before you rush out to buy anything. Impulse shopping is a waste of money and can leave you feeling disappointed. Instead research trends and take inspiration from the parts that work for you. Don’t feel forced to conform if the latest trends are not right for you.
Gradual and subtle changes are sometimes better when it comes to a new you. Starting with one key piece in a style you have not tried before such as a coat or bag is a safer option. That is how I started wearing vintage clothes, a bag here, a brooch there, then the odd dress and now 90% of my wardrobe is vintage! I always integrate modern with vintage clothing to avoid looking like I am wearing fancy dress.
Above: just a few of my vintage dresses…
5. The Hunt
Sourcing the items that you need to complete your Spring wardrobe is the most exciting part. Remember your list, try to stick to it, as this will avoid you making random purchases that could end up in your wardrobe unworn for years to come, sound familiar?
Before you head to the high street shops or the online equivalents, consider searching charity shops, eBay and vintage shops and fairs first. Buying new is the obvious choice but think about the benefits of not buying new. It is cheaper, better for the environment and it is an ethical choice for a start. Not to mention the one off finds that will help you to create your own unique and individual look. I will always look for vintage clothes and accessories before even considering new and modern options. I am interested in modern fashion and what is trending, but I don’t feel the need to follow it. I will however buy some vintage inspired pieces if they are representative of the eras I like to wear.
There are plenty of vintage fairs taking place all over the country this Spring so why not go along and see what you can find. Alternatively look online at vintage clothing websites.
Read my ‘Vintage Fashion– clothing’ for more information about buying vintage clothes.
One word of warning I will give when it comes to buying vintage is the amount of modern clothing that is vintage style or vintage inspired being passed off as genuine/authentic/original vintage and therefore has a price tag to reflect this. I have no objection to people selling vintage style/inspired clothing as long as they are being honest about it. My pet hate is picking up a high street brand item in a so-called genuine vintage shop or from a stall at a fair. Just to be clear I am not talking about vintage repro here that is a totally different thing. New collections made in the style of vintage clothing are a great way to wear vintage when you can’t find what you want in original pieces.
So there it is my guide to preparing your wardrobe for Spring. I hope that it inspires you to try some of my suggestions if you are not already doing them. The most important thing is to have fun planning and to love your clothes and how they make you feel.
I would love to see photos of your outfits, post them on Twitter tagging @VintagedUp or on Instagram tagging @allvintagedup using the hashtag #StyleMySpring