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If you’ve said, ‘Oh! I’ve nothing to wear’ while staring at an overflowing wardrobe, then you suffer from a toxic wardrobe. But here are 8 ways to fix it!
For the last two week, I have been on a self-imposed isolation amidst nature, at my farm, a few hours away from Bangalore. I’ve been living off ten sets of clothes during this time. And obviously, these are my oldest, most worn out and favourite ones.
This self-imposed exile reiterated how privileged most of us are. How blessed I am to have a tiny home away from home- a splendid getaway spot!
In the past two weeks, I have also learnt just how little we really need to live honestly, be authentic and feel loved and accepted. And what can be more important than that? You could say ‘money’ and yes, it is important and what you can do with it is limitless. However, I believe there are two things that money cannot buy- time and freedom.
This time has also brought forth just how many needless things we have , how much we hoard and waste things. Personally, I have three cupboards full of clothes at my home in Bangalore. Having them and adding to them gave me momentary sparks of joy, that I cannot deny. But, now I realise that it has added no meaning to my life.
Spending this time out in nature inspired me, I’ve seen the light to the path of minimalism. And I’d like to take this opportunity to share my experience with you.
But before I do that, I have a few questions for you:
Well, my dear friend, if you answered yes to most of the questions, you are the owner of a ‘Toxic Wardrobe.’
A toxic wardrobe is a cluttered one. Filled with clothes, often overflowing, constantly being added to, yet the wearer can never find anything to wear.
Let us free ourselves from our toxic wardrobes during this lockdown period. Why not take this time to declutter, segregate and donate clothes that don’t bring us joy anymore or never did? Let us give away the clothes that we’ve simply hoarded them that ‘someday’ we might need them
This madness has a method to it, which is quite similar to Marie Kondo’s. Here it goes:
Go to your cupboard and pull out ALL your clothes and pile them on the floor. Do not give up until each and every piece of clothing has been attended to/looked at and tried on, if need be. Keep in mind, the joy they are supposed to bring to you.
Note: Why not make it a group activity on Zoom, quite similar to the scene from Sex and The City? Grab some wine and model all the clothes for your friends. Trust me, you will feel truly liberated after having decluttered your closet.
How do you choose what stays in your wardrobe? You’ve wined and tried on clothes but how to decide if they stay in the wardrobe? Well, here are a few quick tips that could help.
Set up a mirror in your bedroom or living room- whichever has better lighting. Pick out a piece of clothing and hold it against your body and take a look in the mirror. Now ask yourself what is highlighted the most when you see your reflection?
Colours are either warm or cold. Often, we follow international trends and buy colours that look great on models and mannequins. However, what we do not realise is that the Indian skin tone is very different than the white skin. Cold colours like olives and navy blues reflect a greenish blue shade around our mouths. But colours like coral or old rose reflect the colour on our cheeks and make us glow.
Different body types need different camouflaging and highlighting. Pick out the one item of clothing that always gets you a ton of compliments. Now look at other similar clothes or try to replicate it into newer versions- maybe with longer sleeves- for tops and dresses.
So blouses with 3/4th sleeves are the new trend and short sleeves are out. Does this mean you will get rid of all the old ones- even your favourites? Maybe you could make changes, add embroidered patches and lengthen the sleeves.
But if you think you won’t be doing that or give it to a tailor- donate them.
Remember, what you want are compliments like, ‘Wow! You look great!’ or ‘Love that colour on you!’ and preferably not ‘Ooh! That dress is fab!’ Don’t let your clothes take the spotlight away from you.
If you think a particular dress or top or pants will look the bomb on one of your friends, why not give it to them?
And I mean this in the nicest way possible. Our past selves play a huge role in our minds. ‘Oh! In college I was so skinny!’ or ‘These two kids have made me an aunty!’ I hear these things from a number of women around me.
So, I’d like you to do an experiment with me. Close your eyes and picture yourself from the time when you were younger, thinner, hotter than now. Now imagine this person moving to the corner of your mind’s eye- growing smaller and smaller, till they are minuscule.
Step two- put your present and best self forward in the middle of your mind’s eye. Make yourself look the best you can. Keep only the clothes that will make this person look as beautiful as she deserves to look.
There are fashion trends that will definitely work for you- they will be perfect for your lifestyle and will suit the Indian skin tone too! But don’t copy trends that simply don’t work for you. These may work very well for your friends or even siblings, but they won’t be right for you. Choose trends that only make you look great but make you feel great too!
So you were a corporate achiever but now are a yoga instructor, excellent. But you also have a whole collection of power suits. Why not donate it to the next corporate diva you know?
The same works if you’ve just started your first corporate job. You have a massive collection of hoodies you don’t see yourself wearing, donate these. Someone will have a warmer, softer winter.
Maybe you have something that is unique or just extremely personal. It could be a meaningful gift from a friend who made it or from a self-help group. Since it’s not a run of the mill style that everyone would have, you could keep it.
Once you’re done with all the above steps, make three piles of clothes.
The donate pile
These are the clothes that just don’t work for you. They aren’t the colour of your choice, don’t fit you right or just don’t bring joy anymore.
The alter pile
You will be surprised at how much of a difference three inches can make. It changes the appeal and the look of the whole garment. However, if the garment has been in the closet/alter pile for a very long time, you need to think. That it has been there for long generally means it is never making to the tailor. Drop it in the donate pile and do someone some good!
The sentimental keepsakes
You are allowed to keep a small pile of clothes that you’re emotional about. The old, soft worn out shirt you swiped from your dad’s closet, your first saree, your mum or grandmum’s old saree, or even your college hoodie.
And once you’re done with all the sorting out all the clothes and have decided what to keep and what to donate, contact me post the lockdown. The only thing I ask about the clothes is that they have to be in a good condition.
For your next project, why not take up the accessories, bags, footwear or even your partner or children’s wardrobes?
I believe you can actually help others by staying at home. And we can always improvise, swap, mend and alter whatever we have in our wardrobes before buying new clothes.
Thank you for taking the time out and reading. If you felt drawn to cleansing your closet and don’t know where to start or need any styling tips- feel free to leave a comment below and let’s chat. I’d love to hear from you.
Picture credits: YouTube
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