You know that top you’ve had since like, 2014? The one you’re just a little bored of now, but can’t quite bring yourself to chuck? And you know that skirt you bought in a rare bout of Taylor Swift love and have been studiously avoiding since? Go and get them. Dig them out from the murky depths of your wardrobe, grab that old jumper while you’re at it, and hold them up to the light.
These, dear reader, are your old new wardrobe: ready to be refreshed, revamped and recycled into a series of totally on-trend outfits. All you need is a little imagination, a trip to Accessorize, and some help from your free personal stylists…
Step one: Get your mum involved
Granted, the girls are more fun – but none of them have the honesty, good sense and bank account of your mum (or dad, gran, auntie, big sister…) She’ll purge your wardrobe of no-hopers and dig out old classics before you’ve even had time to set up a WhatsApp group. Should a potential new outfit be missing an essential item – a belt, maybe, or brown brogues – she might even finance them, or at the least find some of hers you can ‘borrow’. By which we mean, cherish forever. Between her clothes and yours, you’re bound to find some new combinations: after all, a wardrobe shared is a wardrobe greatly enhanced. Just take it from dresslikeamum.
Step two: Get the girls over
Or the guys – my brother’s fashion help is invaluable. Show them your wardrobe, and ask THEM what they’d pair with your potential rejects. Different people have different ideas of what goes with what: one might wear that old jumper with that long pleated skirt you’ve been waiting to wear, but could never quite find the moment. Another will grab a big chunky necklace, sling the top beneath it and add denim shorts for good measure, a la Suki Waterhouse at Glastonbury.
This has triple benefits: the first being that you’ll find new outfits, the second that you’ll have a lot of fun in doing so (cue Spotify playlist, snacks) and the third that any clothes you do end up getting rid of might end up in the grateful hands of your friends. Aren’t you the nicest?
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Step three: Head to Accessorize/Claire’s/H&M/other treasure trove
Write a list before you go, so you don’t get dazzled by the shiny things. We all know that a new necklace can transform an old top, and likewise a belt on an old dress – but have you considered a wide-brimmed hat, big fierce earrings (excellent for uplifting black or grey numbers) or – stay with me here – new socks? Because visible socks, ankle or knee length, wool or cotton, are very much a thing. I learnt this from my best friend, whose ability to flaunt her sock-clad ankles is truly enviable.
I’ve not quite graduated to socks with Converse yet – her signature look – but embracing socks of all shades and sizes has certainly given my old boots and Mary Janes a new lease of life.
Step four: Just add lipstick…
So often, style ennui – that’s the ‘same old, same old’ feeling you get on trawling through your wardrobe each morning – stems from a lack of confidence. When the buzz of the new has worn off, and the comforting sense of a classic hasn’t emerged yet – it’s easy to assume this or that purchase was a mistake. Little wonder, then, that it doesn’t look right when you wear it.
Everything about the way you present yourself – your anxious face, your hunched posture – says to onlookers: “I’m not sure I can pull this off. Do I look okay?” In this case, what you need is not a new top or even a new accessory, but a fast acting, bulletproof boost of confidence; a way of feeling FAB whether you’re in Burberry or a bin bag. In other words (the words of Coco Chanel, no less) “if you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” Instagrammer Dressingoutsidethebox has her lipstick game down.
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STEP FIVE: …if you’re ‘not a lipstick gal’, HAIR
Here’s one for those ladies who have narrowed their hairstyle choice of a morning down to two options: 1, up in a messy bun and 2, down. If you’re me, and only wear it down on special occasions, you’ve essentially resigned yourself to wearing the same hairstyle for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. But as I leaned recently, switching it up (or down or around or in a knot) can work wonders for your confidence and, because you’re more confident, your wardrobe.
All you need do is invest some time (rather than money) in a bit of experimentation, some help from Zoella’s All Things Hair tutorial videos, Instagrammers like Sarah Angius and ideally from your more tress-savvy friends. Master a new braid and watch how your outfit looks exciting again.
Step six: The clash
Hair styled? Lipstick on? Accessories jingling? Then you’re ready for the biggest challenge: clashing things. Spots with stripes? Sure. Jade with lime? Why not. Denim, denim and denim? Hell, yeah. Breaking the rules, even just a wee bit, can create fashion-forward relationships between items in your wardrobe which may have never met. If you need reassurance, just follow Jessie Cave.
Go on – don’t shop, shake things up! New year, same clothes, same old (revamped) you.