Monday, 23 January 2012

Time to clear out that wardrobe with Deborah Harding

It's the New Year, and you’re desperate to race to the sales, and bag as many bargains as you can afford. Stop right there! Far from saving yourself hundreds of pounds, you COULD be about to make an expensive mistake.

Before you snap up a sale item which is destined to simply languish at the back of your wardrobe for the next six months, follow my formula for Sales and Success. Just because something has a great big sale sticker attached to the label, it doesn’t mean you are making the right move.

Firstly, work out what you need rather than what looks like the best bargain online or in the shops. Always think capsule wardrobe and add to what you already have. Ask yourself, is this something you really want and will wear? Don’t click and buy if you are shopping online. Stop, go away and think logically about the purchase you are about to make.

Now is the perfect time to do some investment shopping - like buying the Burberry bag you have coveted for months or the Louboutin shoes which are now half price.

A classic, an essential or an item which is missing from your wardrobe is a good buy. Even so, regardless of the label and the reduction, make sure they are comfortable and affordable before you snap them up.

Save time and energy by heading for the places which always offer genuine bargains. I recommend which always has good sales. Once a year, I try to buy at least one dress or bag in their sales as investment pieces which will never date and will last for occasion after occasion.

If you fancy really treating yourself, try net-a-porter, which never fails to deliver something fabulous. Cashmere is another good investment piece - have a look at, or They’re all currently carrying good sales on their websites.
Once you’ve bagged yourself your sale bargains, you need to bring them home. Now it’s time to organise your wardrobe for spring, and show off bargains old and new to their very best.
My mantra is declutter, organise and create a capsule wardrobe. Separate your workwear from your weekend clothes, so that you won't be wondering what to put on at 7am on a Monday morning.

If you get dressed in your bedroom as opposed to the spare room, try and keep your Monday-Friday attire where you can see it with the right shoes and accessories stored neatly in the same space.

The simplest way to organise your wardrobe is to put together outfits by colour, starting with dresses and then skirts and trousers - with shirts and tops either hung next to or at the end of the rail.

Work out what is right for you. When I am putting together a wardrobe for a client I tailor her requirements for what is easiest for her to follow.

It is all about saving time and money because everyone has an item stuffed at the back of their wardrobe which they’ve long forgotten about, or decided that it simply doesn’t match anything.

My job is to come in, look at the forgotten item with the eye of a stylist and find an outfit which it does go with. If there’s really no solution, I’ll help you to sieve out the clothes that you really don’t wear anymore.

You’ll be amazed to know that less really is more. If you have fewer items in front of you, arranged in a pleasant and orderly way, you’ll enjoy mixing and matching your outfits in a way you never thought was possible.
I’ve learned my trade through many years of experience. I spent 20 years working in the City for a high flying executive – a job which meant I had to look perfect at all times. My own wardrobe was honed down to the perfect capsule working wardrobe, and a perfect weekend wardrobe.
I loved arranging outfits for different occasions, and when I wasn’t at work, I would de-clutter wardrobes or act as a stylist for my friends.

When I decided to retire from my full-time City job, my mother suggested that simply did what I loved best – sorting out mess – and turned it into a career and a company.
I did this, and I have never looked back. No job is too big, no mess too daunting.
I absolutely love the challenge of being faced with an untidy wardrobe, overflowing drawers and a desperate woman!

Many of my clients call me in when there’s no space left to shut the wardrobe doors, the bedroom floor has long disappeared and she still can’t find a thing to wear. It is a joy to spend the day with someone who needs my help and is smiling at the end of it because they can now see what they have in their closets, discovered what they like and what they want to throw away, and have a well organised wardrobe to show for it.

Some clients make me their very own Christmas present – someone to clear out the excess baggage before the festive season. Others want a spring clean but can’t face it themselves.
I love to sort out chaos – almost as much as I love bagging a bargain at the sales. But remember – think and plan hard before you step outside the door. Don’t fall into the online trap, where spending is so easy at home. And once you have your bargains, force yourself to show them off in a neat and tidy wardrobe.

Good luck with the bargain-hunting, the de-cluttering and the fresh spring in your step!

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