As winter (or summer for our northern friends) draws to a close, it’s a poignant time to think about wardrobe organisation.
While most of us spend hundreds on new gear each season, we purchase a lot of stuff we already have for failure of not accessing what we actually own already. It all comes down to lack of guided wardrobe placement and maintenance of the expensive clothes we own.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a simple, down-the-line guide to keeping a wardrobe. We’d rather you get the most out of your clothes, and stopped wasting time with mess. It even affects getting dressed.
We’ve all been there (in our jocks), peering into our jumbled-excuse-for-a-wardrobe. Overflowing with topcoats and shoes, that whinge-y, high-pitched voice (that’s solely reserved for times like these) pierces the silent air: “Why do I always have nothing to wear?”
#1 Get A Vision
A bit of style vision for your fashion future is needed: Why the sudden urgency to get organised in the wardrobe? Are you going through a style overhaul or transition? Turning toward a minimal style has been the trend for a while now, focusing on classic pieces that are relatively unprinted and neutral in tone.
Another is sportsluxe, street chic or athleisure with most blokes blending luxury with active wear for a transient style workable from the gym to the street.
Whatever the case, men’s style is seeing a focus on simple, with quirks thrown in via accessories and incredible tailoring. So, a flexible wardrobe is your friend; keep the pieces that are foundational, and can be used for a few different outfits – both smart and casual.
#2 Out With the Old
Stocktake time! First things: what exactly lurks within your monstrous closet? Understanding what stock you have (and where it’s placed) lets you know what pieces you need – and what style you have way too much of! Most guys will find unwanted tees with hideous prints are taking up too much space. Or a favourite sweater with an uncompromising stain or hole is sitting on a shelf, for sentimental reasons – loose them!
Making two piles – ‘keep’ or ‘go’ – is the next step. Like a break-up, be ruthless; remembering exactly how that old, ill-looking overcoat really makes you feel when you go to wear it, no matter how familiar it feels. With this in your closet, a hot new Chesterfield or trench simply has no room to set up home, right?
#3 Stock Like-With-Like
Getting ready in the morning for some of you is already a chore. So, don’t make it more difficult with a disorganised closet. The system is simple: categorise like with like. This means hanging all garments that belong in the same category together (think work shirts with work shirts, and sweaters next to sweaters).
Contrary to popular belief, colour coordinating your closet, instead of categories, will only cause confusion. Essentially, clothing’s function is the primary motivator behind choice, before deciding on colour (for instance, you need to dress smart casual for a thirtieth birthday, which involves a blazer – flick to the jacket section on your rack, and a pair of chinos – easily found folded neatly on the second shelf).
While you may colour coordinate your closet, do this within the perimeters of each clothing category, pairing blue dress shirts with other blue dress shirts – and moving from lightest to darkest.
#4 Keep It Seasonal
Another way to separate and organise is in accordance with the seasons. In the winter, take all your summer clothes – be it, shorts, swimwear and singlets and store them in a suitcase or drawers under the bed. And, likewise with your overcoats, woollen trousers and knitwear in the winter. Fold and place them into plastic bins or fabric storage bags, with the heaviest garments at the bottom.
Be sure to store within a dry, dark place – sans humidity, to avoid mould and strange smells permeating your clothes. And for expensive coats, it’s actually better to loosely fold them; removing everything from pockets and fastening all snaps, buttons or zippers. This will help the coat retain its shape.
#4 Hang Vs. Fold
Another thing to consider: What items take pride of place on the rack? And what can simply be folded and placed on shelve? Let’s look at the list:
The hang brigade: suit jackets, trousers, outerwear, dress shirts, belts, ties are essential hanger items, while casual shirts and tees are a personal choice thing (hanging them if you have the rack room will save on ironing time later on). And, keep a centimetre between each hung piece to give the item some breathing room.
The fold fellows: socks and jocks, tees, jeans, shorts and chinos can all be folded and shelved. A big one is heavy sweaters – fold them, as hanging will only stretch the fabric. If you’re using draws, don’t stuff the pieces in, but neatly fold them with room on the sides. And if you can’t fit them into one, it’s time to get more draw space, as part of your new found closet tool kit.
#5 Invest In The Tools
As mention earlier, having things organised properly will make it easier to remember what you own, put together outfits and it will make your clothes last longer.
But tools are required.
Closet Organisers: These add extra dividers to your space. There are a lot of great models out there that are inexpensive, easy to assemble and install. Check out your local hardware shop to find a style and size that suits you.
Hangers: Invest in wooden hangers to hold the weight of tweedy or wool suits and retain the shape of jacket shoulders. And clip ones for trousers or separates. Hangers are great too for freeing up space on your shelves, so hang as many shirts and tops as you can, folding the rest.
Plastic bins: Clothes – those off-season pieces stowed away or your collection of vintage tees – need to breathe, so plastic bins are fine for non-delicate. This includes shirts, jeans, and sweaters. And pack them in loosely to maximise air flow.
Shoe Trees: These should be mandatory with a leather dress shoe purchase. When you remove a pair of shoes, the wooden apparatus absorbs the moisture from the leather and soles. And, they maintain the shape of the shoe when not being worn.
Brushes: A firm-bristled brush is essential for suiting and those delicate items that are never washed – but occasionally dry cleaned. Brush jackets or trousers down after wearing to dislodge food or dust particles to preserve look and feel of the fabric. And a lint brush is essential in removing closet dust and specks before heading out.
Shoe Rack: A separate rack for your shoes will free up some much needed shelf space in your closet. Racks will help organise your wardrobe more efficiently and keep your remaining clothes in better condition for longer. No brainer.
A new season or deciding on a change of style is a perfect time to have a wardrobe overhaul. Or maybe it’s been a while and you’re well over due. It gives you eyes to see exactly what you have before you go out and buy more of the same thing, and it gives you room for those nice, new things you’ve been eyeing-off.
The key is to plan and discern, and then don’t hold back. Taking the time out to clean out, and then put back in the stuff you really want and need – with the tools you’ve purchased to make them fit best – is a sign of style maturity. It’s a nice feeling, being all grown-up.