Every new year brings with it a fresh rake of promises to really, properly sort your style this time. But that means different things to different people because just as each of us is a precious, different snowflake, so too is our style. Editors all over the newsstands and internet will be telling you how to fix your fashion woes for the upcoming year, but we know that there’s a different problem and solution for everyone.
Problem: My clothes don’t make me happy.
Solution: ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘, Marie Kondo
Japanese author and professional de-cluttererer Marie Kondo has been taking the world by storm with her ‘tidying up’ philosophy. Marie runs a consulting business where she helps people transform their homes into visions of tidiness and joy, and has chronicled her KonMari method in her book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’. It’s a worthy read if you’re prone to hoarding, but the key takeaway can be thusly summarised: Keep only what makes you happy.
As applied to the wardrobe, this means that you should only maintain a closet of clothes that will bring you joy each time you wear them. When you’ve removed everything from your wardrobe except the things you love and make you happy, you’ll be able to see exactly what your style is. Repopulate your wardrobe with items you truly, truly love – that means no bargain buys for the sake of it, or work-appropriate wear that kills your soul. (There is office wear that is beautiful and a pleasure to wear, too.)
Problem: I have too many clothes.
Unfancy pioneer Michelle is living the beautifully lit, perfectly curated minimalist life many of us love to admire from our computer screens. She started the Unfancy project last year, choosing to create 37-piece capsule wardrobes for each season, culling the unnecessary and focusing only on those 37 items (plus accessories). And she wants you to do the same.
It’s intimidating, but Michelle’s enthusiasm for the project is infectious and has a two-fold result: a cleaner wardrobe, and more money in the bank. Every season you get to rejig your wardrobe and buy new necessities for the months ahead, and the no-shopping rule means no regrettable impulse purchases.
Problem: My clothes don’t fit me.
Solution: New Dress A Day
This is one of the easiest things you can do to give your clothes new life, as blogger Marisa Lynch demonstrated over a year on her site New Dress A Day. Her mission was slightly more extreme than yours might be – she vowed to eschew ‘traditional shopping’ for a year, instead buying secondhand and vintage clothes, and chopping and changing them to suit her. Each project is detailed on her blog, as she explains how to alter clothes that are too big, small, long or just unflattering.
While you don’t have to give up shopping for a year (though a little abstinence always makes the heart grow fonder, and the wallet grow fatter), Marisa’s gospel of alteration can be easily adapted to your lifestyle. Getting hems taken up, waists taken in, or unflattering sleeves removed is an easy and affordable task – if you’re not up to the sewing yourself, get thee to a tailor. There’s a bank of alteration shops on Sungei Wang’s third floor, or the more ubiquitous mall-based chain Za Altera, You’ll be surprised how you can transform clothes you were meh about to clothes you really love.
If your clothes are too small for you – whether because you’ve kept clothes from your teenage years, or put on weight recently, or had a baby – put everything that doesn’t fit away in a box and have a think about it. Is it a minor blip from holiday over-eating, or have you not been that size for a long time now, and are unlikely to be again in the near future? If the first, put down the wine and get back to the gym. If the former, save anything that has particular sentimental value and give the rest away to charity. There’s no shame in changing size or shape over your lifetime, and there’s no point keeping clothes that don’t fit.
Image credits: Unfancy, New Dress A Day, Marie Kondo