Wardrobe strategies: beating the January fashion blues

Yes, it's that time of the year. 

Back from Christmas holiday. Instead of feeling recharged, I am a bit depressed of being back to work and the weight gained over the past month. It is hard enough to get up in the [dark...] morning. But in addition, somehow, getting dressed is even more of a chore than usual: all my existing clothes and trusty outfit combinations seem unflattering, boring and unsuitable, and even just looking in the mirror is harder than usual.

The thing with January is that it has a whole different vibe to December, which was all about enjoying the moment, snuggling up, embracing dark days and Christmas lights and indulging in warming food and drinks. January feels like a fresh start: it is about looking to the future, shedding bad habits and making first steps to improve ourselves, and all around trying to become a new, better person. Which, of course, needs to somehow be reflected in what we look like and wear. 

Hence, something must be done to restore my style mojo and get the new year started with enthusiasm -- but without spending money or accumulating more clothes. [I am broke due to all the gifting and have of course also resolved to be both more frugal and less superficial in the new year; in any case, the shops are a jumble of sale mess, such a sad sight to see all those pieces, once carefully displayed or neatly folded, now in heaps all around, without any respect: it makes me want to hang my head in shame and never buy anything else ever again.]   

Yes, going for a run helps somewhat... but this is also the perfect time for a wardrobe makeover. And when I say makeover, I do not mean throwing things away [remember the shops and the already alarming heaps of unwanted clothes] but discovering what we have, and giving a new shine to existing items by creating new outfit combinations with them.


Step 1: Make sure you know what you have and that everything is in the right condition. Look through the contents of your wardrobe, launder and iron what is needed, get missing buttons sewn on, perhaps take some items to be altered - get your wardrobe ready for a new start. 

Step 2: Think about the situations you will need outfits for in the coming weeks/months. Office, school, stay-home mum, travel, commute, business meetings, trips to the shops, lunches with friends, weekends away, weekends outdoors ... what will you need to dress for?

Step 3: Figure out the vibe you want to channel. If you have made style resolutions for the new year, these now come in handy. You can also use magazines, blogs or Pinterest for inspiration. Come up with 'style words' for the coming weeks/months -- perhaps you will want to feel 'sophisticated', perhaps 'effortless' or 'feminine', but you can also think less in fashion words and be more poetic such as 'light and airy' or 'sunny' or psychological such as 'fun and approachable', 'commanding' or 'surprising'.

Step 4: Match the situations to your new style vibe/words. Start with items that you own that are key for the situations [e.g. country weekends: flat riding boots; business travel: smart coat] and keeping in mind your style words as your desired effect, try to find something to wear with it that you have not tried before. There will be loads of new combinations, believe me, and not only for your newer items. Do not forget your accessories: belts can completely change a silhouette, earrings or scarves can add just the right vibe. And remember layering - blouses can be worn under dresses or jumpers with only sleeves or hems on show, dresses can be worn as skirts, shirts can be worn unbuttoned as a cardigan, cardigans worn buttoned up as a jumper, etc. 

Step 5: Try try try and try - it is not enough to do this in your head, you need to actually try things on. Plan ahead. Make sure you give yourself time for this, and make sure you are in the right state of mind [fun music helps] and look the part [wash hair, put on make-up] so you don't start hating yourself immediately.

Step 6: Take pictures of or write down the details of your new outfits. It is so easy to forget even the best ones, especially when it comes down to details [were the tights nude or black? which shoes were best? what underwear did I have on?] which may seem unimportant but can in fact make or break the overall result.

Step 7: Enjoy your brand new old self and wardrobe!