While recently browsing a Facebook community group I saw a post from someone asking how to switch a wardrobe from summer to Autumn. I was about to write a reply but thought it’d be a good opportunity to share this on the blog.
Essentially, it’s a pretty simple concept and one you might expect; you take out all the clothes that are deemed ‘summer clothes’ and then take all the clothes that are autumn clothes and put them in your wardrobe.
Well, this is true to a certain extent. A lot of people work in this way, others just have everything available to them all the time. Many of the guides tend to cover the people in the former and also lack the detail surrounding how you decide what to swap out. I just felt there was definitely something that was that was lacking in this area.
Are you wearing everything in your wardrobe?
A wardrobe count is one of the great things I feel everyone should do. Ideally, it’s worth starting one at the beginning of each season, so technically is not really part of transitioning your wardrobe. However, it’s useful to be aware of it now so you can plan and think ahead to the next time the seasons switch.
A wardrobe count is basically counting the items in your wardrobe you’re wearing. There are various ways you can do this;
1 | if you have everything hung up one way of doing it is the ‘hanger trick’. When you come to put an item you’ve worn back into your wardrobe place it in facing the opposite direction to everything else. Over time the items you’ve been wearing will face one way, while everything else will face another way. You can then easily scan your wardrobe and see which items you’re actually wearing and which items just stay hung up gathering dust.
2 | You may want something with more detail than the hanger trick. If this sounds like you, then a log is a great option to track what you’re wearing. You can write down the items you’re wearing each day and include extra details like the brand, the colour and even a tally of how often you wearing each piece. Once complete, you end up with a clear record of what you’re wearing, which in turn highlights the items that are just taking up space.
So why is this a good idea?
If you’re ready for a declutter, you know which items to potentially get rid of; the ones you’re not wearing. Just be sure to focus on the current season’s items. This won’t be an issue if you’re already running a capsule wardrobe. But if you currently have everything out you don’t want to get rid of off season pieces if the weather hasn’t been suitable for it, like knitwear in summer. This is why I suggest doing a count throughout the season. By the end of it, you’ll know exactly which items are prime for the potential chop.
Notice I said ‘potential’. And this next part is really key.
Ask yourself why am I not wearing this?
I lose track of the blog posts, videos, and articles where people say get rid of it if you haven’t worn it in six months or twelve months.
Six months is too short.
You could run into trouble even with twelve.
One of the key things I feel is really missing is asking the question ‘why’?
This is so important because you want to understand what it is about these items that are stopping you from wearing them. Answering this question then informs whether you should get rid of something. For example, you might have a piece of clothing you’ve not worn, however it could have sentimental value. Perhaps a relative gave it to you or it reminds you of them. But the real kicker is if you don’t understand why you’re not wearing something right now and you don’t understand the reason behind it you’re not protecting yourself from making the same mistake again.
Why am I not wearing this skirt?
What is it about this item that has meant it’s just been left at the back of my wardrobe?
It also gives you clarity on your personal style and helps you pinpoint what exactly that is If you haven’t already done that. Coming up with a truly personal style is something most people find really difficult. Don’t believe me? Try articulating your personal style in a sentence or two right now.
But by identifying why you’re not wearing an item helps with this. What don’t you like about all these pieces?
- Perhaps it’s the fabric?
- Maybe it’s the colour?
- It could be that it doesn’t sit right when you wear it?
- What if it’s just annoying to wear and keeps moving?
- It could even be something unusual like it makes a weird sound when you walk in it
It all helps inform your personal style. So you know you don’t like all this stuff. This isn’t my personal style.
So the next time you’re out shopping and you pick up a skirt that ticks all the boxes, then you try it on and the fabric clings to you and doesn’t sit right, you’ll be like…
“l actually I know I didn’t wear that skirt last time because it used to cling to me. Even though on the face of it, this is the type of skirt I like, it’s in the right fabric, in right colour and is what I need… history tells me I’m probably not going to wear it because of the way it clings.”
So the next step is to establish which clothes are going into your wardrobe for this season and which clothes are being stored away for next year, along with any that may roll over from the season before.
You’ll need to think about:
- The climate you’re in
- Your lifestyle
What you get up to may fluctuate depending on the season. I know in the UK many peoples’ schedules get busier as the festive season ramps up with office parties, family events and reunions. I don’t know why, but getting together with friends you’ve not seen for ages always seems to happen at this time of the year. So you may need to consider whether your wardrobe is going to cater for all those occasions or do you have a gap in your wardrobe you’re going to have to fill, be it with something you buy or something you have stored away.
Then identify the items which are staying or moving.
Start with things that aren’t season-specific-basics, if you want to call them that. So things like t-shirts, vests, jeans and shoes.
If you live in a warm climate, let’s say California, for example, you might find that your transition is very small. So don’t be alarmed if you have a lot of pieces that you feel will work for both ‘summer’ and ‘winter’. You may end up throwing in a handful of pieces that just allow you to keep a little bit warmer. So maybe a pair of jeans, maybe a pair of boots, and some sort of jacket if it’s chilly in an evening. Be conscious this transition business doesn’t always have to be this huge revamp that’s often depicted on the web. It ultimately depends on your climate.
Assuming you’ve done this first step, you should be left with items that are too summary for autumn/winter. Those are the pieces you’re going to take out of your wardrobe. I recommend you store them away in a suitcase under the bed, in the loft or in vacuum packs. Throw in a mothball or two for good measure. No one wants to pull their clothes out from storage and find there has been a little critter nibbling on them.
Now you’ve removed your items that are too summery, only the ‘hangover’ pieces are left. So pull out all your autumn winter stuff. Again, you may have these stored away or they may already be in your wardrobe.
You’ve essentially got your new wardrobe. So it’s worth spending some time establishing any gaps. Look for anything that may be worn or past its sell-by date, perhaps you clung on to it because you’ve yet to find a suitable replacement.
I know I currently have a leather jacket I never wear because I feel it’s dated, I’ve clung on to it because I’ve yet to find a replacement. For me, a new leather jacket is something I could do with. I also know I need some boots. Last winter I was the idiot that braced the snow in Converse and walking around with constantly wet feet. This year I need some footwear that can actually keep my feet reasonably dry in winter. So those are two items that are definitely on my shopping list.
You don’t have to know everything you’re going to buy right now. You may not know what you need until you get deeper into the season. For now, write down anything you know you need then keep your shopping list handy throughout the season adding things along the way.
Now let’s talk about the budget as it’s often neglected.
I personally like to buy fewer better quality items. I tend to find they last longer. I’d also describe myself as a ‘slow shopper’. I like to reflect on purchases and take my time before actually parting with my cash. I find this cautious approach lends itself well to getting a really great wardrobe.
If you’re the sort of person that spends regularly on clothes, you may find it difficult to buy higher quality pieces, so you have to make a decision.
- Do you want lots of stuff but maybe you don’t wear that often?
- Or do you want fewer pieces that are better quality?
Note that with the latter approach you may only end up shopping twice a year. Which could feel very alien to you if you used to buy on a monthly basis.
You could set a monthly budget for your clothes that you set aside ready for when you do come to shop. You then know exactly how much you have to spend at the beginning of each season.
Having a defined budget is really helpful when shopping. It allows you to write down how much you’re going to spend on the items you need, which ultimately dictates where you’re going to be shopping.
I know if I have £500 for my items and I have two items I need; a leather jacket and a pair of winter boots I’m not going into the likes of Diesel, Replay or even Reiss and expecting to get both items from there. Maybe I will if there’s a sale on. What I might have to do is spend two-thirds of that budget on a leather jacket from Reiss. Then for my boots go somewhere like Dune or Topshop. Planning your budget and where you’re going to shop really helps you shop like a freaking Ninja.
And that’s ultimately it. It’s pretty flexible though.
In this post I’ve gone into a lot of detail but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do everything I’ve mentioned. Go through the steps you’ve got time for, it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. As I mentioned right at the beginning, at it’s simplest, it’s just a swap out of your summer and winter clothes.
What steps do you take when transitioning your wardrobe to a new season?