One activity many of us aim to do before spring is organise, declutter and refresh our wardrobes, finding old gems such as that plaid vintage shirt from the 1990s or a long-forgotten Issey Miyake dress that was worn once, but is right on-trend for 2021. Going shopping in your own closet is even better when you’re recycling old looks to be more sustainable (after all, we need to do everything we can to help save the planet).
Many of us only wear a small portion of what we own—a 2018 study showed that people ignore at least 50 per cent of their wardrobe—especially during the pandemic, as we attend Zoom meetings and go on supermarket dashes in our favourite tracksuit bottoms and slides combo. But that means there’s no better time to give our closet a top-to-toe clear out, putting together new outfits from old staples and creatively styling what we’ve already bought.
So, here’s your guide to revamping your wardrobe, working with what you have and refreshing your style for the year ahead.
1. Neutrals are your best friends
As you begin rummaging through your vast collection, try separating all of the neutral items you have in your wardrobe and put them into one place—trust us, they’ll help you when you come to style an outfit in a new way. These are your look’s ‘base’ colours, and they’re perfect for adding oomph to an all-black outfit (take your cue from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s minimalist New York label, The Row). Simply layer with that retro red jacket you have lying around or those cowboy boots you never knew what to do with.
2. Get some Instagram inspo
Your IG feed can be your greatest source of inspiration—I recently discovered how to style a pair of white leather boots just by scrolling through and seeing Dua Lipa’s take on them. Follow accounts that resonate with you and your style—I love @PelayoDiaz, @AnnaTrevelyan and @MarcGoehring—and create a folder where you can save your favourite images. Pro tip: following 1990s and 2000s nostalgia pages will spark ingenious outfit ideas and you can upcycle those Y2K items that you haven’t touched in years (yes, Juicy Couture tracksuits included).
3. A staple shoe can get you anywhere
In 2020, we witnessed the explosion of the chunky sneaker everywhere, for everyone, for every occasion. When it comes to digging out the staple footwear you need to see you through 2021, look for the ‘dad’ trainer; a heavy-duty black boot; a ballet pump and even a pair of Crocs—they’ll provide all the versatility you need. When trying on looks, experiment with a shoe-outfit combo you haven’t worn before — the results may just surprise you.
4. Accessories are wardrobe saviours
Silver bangles, vintage rings and necklaces are something I always find every time I clean out my closet, most of them purchased from vintage markets. Experimenting with stacking rings or wearing jewellery over gloves (thank you, Miley Cyrus) will add that edge to a simple outfit and make it stand out. This is where your creativity comes into full force.
5. Remember, a coat will transform your look
Multi-coloured or block colour, statement or simple, vintage or new—coats are the ultimate finisher for any look. Try swapping in different coat styles over multiple looks; again, you never know when you might find a brand-new outfit. Look to Hailey Bieber for outerwear inspo—Vetements puffers, utility vests, padded cocoon coats, the list is endless. You’re sure to have something in the back of your closet that is on-trend for SS21 (hint: the 1970s tracksuit jacket will be the style everyone wants this spring, so keep an eye out for one in your wardrobe).