With the confinement still on in many countries and recreational activities spanning from do-it-yourself tutorials, Zoom video calls and digital book clubs to online workouts — expansively documented on social media during the lockdown — there’s one entry many may still have to tackle: Reorganizing their wardrobes.
The moment to face one’s best — and worst — fashion choices of the recent past might have been postponed, but as the fashion industry is stepping into new territories and sustainability is set to dictate future shopping behavior, there’s no better time to get rid of the old and embrace changes.
The KonMari method — assembled by acclaimed Japanese organizer and author Marie Kondo — and its minimalist approach may be a bit drastic for fashion enthusiasts dealing with too many items “sparking joy” during their decluttering process. So, here, WWD asks creatives in Milan, Paris and London to share their tips on what to keep, what to give away and how to keep things organized — or at least try to.
Lorenzo Serafini, creative director of Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
What to keep: An old denim shirt. It has no seasons but it’s really timeless.
What to give away: The tracksuits or the sweatshirts we wore to stay at home during the lockdown. We need new energy!
What to reinvent and how: Check if some long pants can become a pair of shorts.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: I’m not very good at this, I keep spring and fall clothes together!
Margherita Maccapani Missoni, creative director of M Missoni
What to keep: What inspires me, like a vintage Vivienne Westwood piece, with timeless proportions, which I keep because one day it could take me to new aesthetics.
What to give away: I gift what I feel doesn’t belong to me anymore, clothes I bought when trending or in fashion and thought could be part of my style but now I don’t feel quite myself wearing them.
What to reinvent and how: All the things I didn’t use that much, including a small cardigan I wore over eveningwear but that now I wear over bare skin during the day.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: Every time I rearrange my closet I do it according to a different theme — color, category, etc. — so that different pieces stand out each time.
Giuliano Calza, founder of GCDS
What to keep: I had to proceed as if I were setting up an archive, so I kept the pieces that in 10 years could still be valuable or items linked to important memories. I have a T-shirt of “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” which I used to wear as a dress when I was a child, and now it’s a very skinny shirt but its value increased tenfold.
What to give away: Fast fashion. I had no mercy because my brain kept telling me that my seven closets were already over capacity.
What to reinvent and how: I had different creative moments. I took two XL shirts with different patterns and resewed the two halves, and now it’s one of my favorite shirts. Or with a sewing machine, denim can be padded with tinfoil and turned into oven mitts or place mats.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: I have divided my walk-in closet according to colors. That way I can certainly find an item that’s out of place or find similar ones, of the same color. Another secret that has changed my life is to keep on a separate rack all the pieces that are linked to a good memory or give me a good energy. A sort of “VIP rack,” so I can pick one item that makes me happy from there and then match the rest with pieces from the other closets.
Vivetta Ponti, founder of Vivetta
What to keep: I have a small closet divided into Vivetta clothes and vintage pieces. For this spring, I kept Victorian-style items, such as an oversize man’s shirt I use as a dress; some white clothes from the Sixties, one in white lace and one in brocade with 3-D floral appliqués on the sleeves, and a robe with red marabou details, which I wear as a dress with red lace socks.
What to give away: In general, I don’t give away a lot, I always try to do targeted purchases buying high-quality and timeless pieces.
What to reinvent and how: I take the pieces I don’t think to wear in the current season to Assisi, Italy, where I have an archive for research. Every new season, I always find some item I didn’t wear for a couple of seasons and it’s fun to come up with different occasions to use them, new ideas and ways to match them to create new looks.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: I try to keep everything on hangers, considering I mostly have dresses.
J.J. Martin, founder of La Double J
What to keep: I keep all of the Double J [pieces], so my closet looks like a thumping rainbow. And I keep all of my most precious vintage and designer clothes that had a memory attached to them.
What to give away: I recently moved apartments and before doing so I went through a mountain of clothes and accessories that I had collected over the last 20 years of working in fashion. I was astounded by the quantity and could not wait to clear it away. I am waiting until the virus lifts to hold a sale for all of these items at super-cheap prices so that young girls in Milan can have easy access to high-end fashion. I swept away every single item I hadn’t worn in the last year — there were many!
What to reinvent and how: I am reinventing myself as someone who really doesn’t consume anymore. For the last five years I’ve barely bought any fashion in fact. When you are designing and creating, you don’t really need that input from any other source.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: I organize my closets by season, by category of item and then by color. I’m a maniac about it. A well-ordered house is reflective of a well-ordered mind.
What to keep: I can’t part from my beloved Lanvin jackets and V-neck cashmere sweaters. My advice is to keep everything you have been wearing in the past year, remove all the unnecessary (I often gift what I don’t wear anymore) and move everything else to the “archive” closet. Editing is so important to reset your mind and to let go of some old memories and make room for new ones.
What to give away: Everything useless. No matter how good we think we are, we inevitably make mistakes from time to time and buy things that we never wear. To me, this mostly happens when I travel.
What to reinvent and how: Timeless pieces can be easily matched in new ways.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: I organize everything by color, all the black jackets, all the blue, and so on. But I am aware this might be easier for a person like me who mostly wears the same few colors.
What to keep: What has sentimental value.
What to give away: What you never wear.
What to reinvent and how: Vintage pieces that you can transform.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: Organic by category first and second by color.
What to keep: I have an extreme relationship with clothes in that, most of the time, I will find a reason to keep something even if that reason is a particularly beautiful moth-eaten hole in a sweater. So I really have to be strict with myself. I also find it very counterproductive to actually hold on to things, so imagine my dilemma! My rule is to keep as little as possible in my closet and make sure that whatever I haven’t worn in the last 12 months goes out. I do keep things that I don’t wear anymore as an “archive” piece if interesting enough, or worth keeping for a detail that could be interesting for work, in which case they go to the office into my “Vintage Research.”
What to give away: Basically anything you haven’t worn for the last 12 months.
What to reinvent and how: The best and most useful things to reinvent are those that we wear constantly anyway. I started cutting into my bomber jacket because I kept wearing it and wanted to have another version, something less strict and that would make it look fresh again. The best way to reinvent something is to put it on and look at what we don’t like about it anymore. Perhaps it’s the length or color or a collar-detail. There are so many ways to change a garment, even without sewing or using any complicated techniques: cutting the sleeves or length, over-dyeing, and there’s something therapeutic about cutting into a garment and seeing what happens. Cutting into an old T-shirt and making a sexy top for people to copy on Instagram was by far the most joy I had during the last two months.
Trick to keeping your wardrobe organized: I only put coats and tailored pieces onto hangers, everything else is in boxes, which makes it much easier for me to find things. It also takes up far less space, and is very satisfying to look at.
What to keep: Everything! I hate to throw away clothes and usually only do so if they are falling apart. Some of the pieces in my wardrobe are more than 25 years old; I feel an emotional connection to them as they are full of memories. I will never give those pieces away, such as early Raf Simons pieces I bought when I was a student, pieces I received when I was working for Dries Van Noten, a hand-knitted sweater made by my mother when I was a teenager. I prefer to buy less by buying timeless pieces that I know I will cherish for a long time; this is what helps me avoid a cluttered closet. The latest piece I bought is a pink sweatshirt from Hed Mayner and pants from Jan Jan Van Essche.
What to give away: The main reason I will end up giving something away is when they get much too small, which works as I have two nephews I normally give the pieces to.
What to reinvent and how: I usually wear the same things, so I can forget about pieces if they are in a hidden part of my closet. It is a great feeling when you rediscover your own closet by cleaning up and finding those pieces, some of which you might never have worn before. It happens to me quite often.
Trick to keeping your wardrobe organized: I have the luxury of having a large closet with lots of space, which allows me to sort my clothes by color and by outfits. It usually helps me to organize the clothes in groups like I would style them, it helps me get dressed quicker in the morning.
What to keep: I think it is so important to have all of the essentials covered in your wardrobe, for me this would be a classic white T-shirt, great pair of denim jeans and a blazer. I’ve been living in cozy knit tops while working from home. I still take the time and get dressed every morning — it keeps me motivated and allows me to maintain some sense of normalcy. My current favorite is our new Empowerment sweatshirt, the bold graphic reminds me to stay positive and that we will come out of this experience stronger than before.
What to give away: If you have not worn something for six months, I think it is time to say goodbye. The key is to only keep the things you love and wear and get rid of the clutter. This helps me to simplify the process of getting dressed every day. Whenever I clean out my closet, I always like to donate those pieces to a local charity.
What to reinvent and how: A perfect white T-shirt is great for any occasion. I like to pair a crisp white T-shirt with denim for a more casual look and with a pair of leather trousers for an effortless yet elevated style. They’re great under blazers, too, for a more polished look — so versatile and should be a must-have in everyone’s wardrobe.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: I recently moved into a new home so I have been doing a lot of organizing. I color-coordinated my entire closet and made sections for jackets, denim, shoes, handbags. Having an organized and up-to-date wardrobe helps to takes the stress out of getting dressed in the morning.
Henrietta Rix, cofounder of Rixo
What to keep: Something that you genuinely love, re-wear and can rely on no matter the situation. I wore my Zadie and Donna midi dresses regularly day-to-day pre-lockdown and still do now. I have found that my style hasn’t changed much, as I’ve always dressed for me and focused on what I like rather than trends, whether in lockdown or not. Rixo dresses and separates are honestly as comfortable as pj’s, so I’m lucky I have something unique, yet easy-to-wear and flattering. The thing that’s changed now is the footwear I pair with. Wearing Rixo around the house with cozy socks has become my thing while working from home.
What to give away: Most of my wardrobe is either vintage, charity shop finds or Rixo. I’m quite conscious when buying, so usually I have pieces for a long time and will re-wear a lot because I actually really loved and invested in them right from the beginning. However, sometimes you do feel you can outgrow certain pieces, so I’ve passed some on to my mum, who has the best style (we share everything), or even Orlagh [McCloskey, cofounder of Rixo]. It’s nice to see how people wear and style them in different ways. Then really special purchases I’m saving to one side to pass down to my little nieces for when they grow up and are able to wear.
What to reinvent and how: Old prints you haven’t worn in ages, especially as we are coming into summer. I love pulling out old Rixo prints and mixing them with a vintage element. I’ve pulled out one of our earlier Georgia skirts and I’m wearing it with a tie-dye T that I made in lockdown.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: Organizing by type of clothing is a must — from midi skirts to vintage shirts, midi dresses to T-shirts and so on. And also color organized. If I need to quickly throw something on, I know exactly where it is. I’m lucky I have a few prints in some of the same classic shapes I love, so my wardrobe is pretty much organized by Rixo style names at this point.
Merve Manastir, creative director of Manu Atelier
What to keep: A pair of blue jeans.
What to give away: Any item which has been bought in a moment of seduction but actually does not reflect you and make you move around in comfort.
What to reinvent and how: Turning old denim pants into new denim shorts, which is one of the best never-go-out-of-style fashion item. And the great thing about cutoffs is you do not have to spend a dime to get a pair. Basically, first you need to make sure that the baggy jeans will become baggy shorts and tight ones will become tight. After you choose the type of shorts you want to get, pre-shrink the jeans and decide what length you want them to be. So put your jeans on, use chalk or a safety pin to mark where you plan to cut them off and align a ruler with the cut-off mark that you made. Now you can cut the shorts.
Trick to keep your wardrobe organized: Using hanger stands in my walk-in closet. They especially make it really easy for me to see clearly what I have in my wardrobe; the coats, jackets, pants, shirts, skirts, dresses, basically everything. Besides, you can style them and create a look on the stand without putting everything on and trying them out.