Organise your wardrobe like a fashion editor

Always fold the cashmere, don't put leather in plastic, never crowd the silk and no wire hangers!

By ELLE Malaysia | Published: 21 Apr 2017

Organising clothes
Photo: Ikea

New season, new attempt to tackle the mess in your wardrobe! (If you're a neat freak, gold star for you and you can scroll on; if you're not, keep reading.) A good wardrobe declutter will not only add hours to your week, but free your mind to think about bigger life goals. To help you get there, ELLE has assembled a panel of top retailers, organisational pros and seasoned fashion collectors to talk you through building and maintaining the wardrobe you've always wanted.

JJ MARTIN, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the e-commerc e website La Double J.

"I follow the Italians when it comes to wardrobe maintenance. They're the pros!" says Milan-based JJ Martin, who is fashion famous for her extensive collection of vintage and designer pieces, which she's frequently photographed wearing on the street-style circuit. Martin has a household rule against crowded closets.

"Otherwise you'll never find anything! You've got to clean it out, put it all on the same type of hanger, facing the same direction," she says. "And long garments should never be hung in short closets. I divide everything between winter, summer and year-round seasons, and within that, everything is divided by style then coordinated by colour. Whatever season we're in gets placed in my bedroom closet and the nearby hallway closets. Everything else is stored in a wardrobe in our laundry room."

Even if you don't have as many closets as Martin, she stands by her 'divide and conquer' approach. "It's a lot of work, so you may need to enlist a helper, but it's an organisational lifesaver. Having my closets in order keeps my head in order. I really love and depend on it."

ALWAYS USE… big, beautiful hangers for delicate items. "Treat these pieces like dear old friends. They'll be happier for it," she says.

FOLDOVER… heavily beaded or embroidered items to avoid them being tugged at or having too much pressure on the shoulders on a hanger.

MAKE SURE YOU… have enough room for the pieces in your closet. It's very important the clothes aren't exposed to any humidity at all.

Six months? 12 months? Two years? Our clear-out panel weighs in with their views on how long to hold on to a piece before letting it go.

"Editing doesn't necessarily mean throwing out. If you have designer clothes that you've invested in and you don't want to give them away, store them in a box and keep them for six months. If you don't need to open the box again to get anything out, then it's time to part with it," says Lisa Aiken, Retail Fashion Director, Net-A-Porter.

"Every season I edit my wardrobe and ask myself: "When did I last wear this?" If I haven't worn it in the past 12 months and it's not a collector's item, I force myself to resell it or give it to a charity shop," explains Ida Petersson, Accessories Buying Manager at Browns in London.

"Two years will give you plenty of time to decide if the cycle of fashion will come back in your favour," says Kenya Hunt, ELLE UK's Features Fashion Director.

This article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of ELLE Malaysia.

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