The Curated Clutter

How to detox your wardrobe

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Words by Sinead O'Reilly
March 16th, 2017

Though it is a term which we generally try to avoid in relation to ourselves, our situation or, in this case, our style, the word cliché can’t help but rear its ugly head in certain sartorial scenarios. Indicating so much with so little, everything from its French origins to its exotic inclusion of an accent seems to mock us. And yet, while we stand in front of our overfilled wardrobes, feverishly rummaging through the rails, we acknowledge that that is exactly what we are. A cliché. Why? Well, because with a closet crammed with clothes, we still have ‘nothing’ to wear.

A tired stereotype applied to so many of us, feelings of embarrassment often accompany the realisation of its truth. Didn’t we go mad in January sales? Didn’t we eagerly indulge ourselves last payday? We did. Of course we did. The evidence hangs there in front of our eyes, some of it shamefully still donning its price tag. And yet still we’re left short. We feel completely fleeced by fashion because, despite all we have, each blouse, pant, skirt and so on, we remain barren when it comes to a single #OOTD. Or #OOTN for that matter.

We are not alone, though. Not that we want to brand everyone or, worse still, every woman, with this stamp of drapery distress. But, in our current culture of fast fashion, we can rest assured that we do not stand lonely, weeping (slight exaggeration) in front a chock-full fashion closet (no exaggeration).

We are also not alone in our feelings of embarrassment according to Sarah Hanrahan of the blog, I Come Undone. “People can be embarrassed about what they have in their wardrobes. The idea of me going through their closet worries them. But it’s not like that, it’s not about belittling people.” This idea stems from that of Sarah’s latest business venture, a Wardrobe Detox service. The blogger turned entrepreneur conceived the idea following two years of travelling and subsequently living out of a backpack. It was through this experience that light was thrown on yet another cliché, that less really is more.

Upon her return home, Sarah attempted to build her wardrobe again from scratch. And realised that with a focus on conscious choices, while her number of items stayed down, her outfit choices soared. Simple attire arithmetic perhaps, although a conscious closet is not necessarily about that magic number. Berlin-based author Anuschka Rees of the Curated Closet avoids exact restrictions when it comes to the algorithm of your apparel.

photo: Sarah Hanrahan / IComeUndone.com
Sarah Hanrahan
photo: Anuschka Rees / anuschkarees.com
Anuschka Rees

Minimalism isn’t a numbers game. It’s not about owning or doing as little as possible. It’s about owning and doing the right things, things that add value to your life. Minimalism is all about that little bit of extra intention and making conscious choices.”

Striving to create a wardrobe without waste – waste of space, waste of money and waste of style, Anuschka’s book attempts to guide the reader into building a wardrobe that is driven by essentials and possesses the tools to evolve. Timeless pieces that can be worn and re-worn throughout life and occasion. “Your life isn’t static, and neither is your personal style. A great closet is one that can grow and evolve alongside you, your style, and your life.”

Placing emphasis on the individual rather than the trend, Anuschka explains that a great wardrobe does not denote a ‘fashionable’ one. “One of my biggest style related pet peeves is the idea of “keeping up with fashion.”  – Our thoughts exactly! Of course, we are great advocates and lovers of fashion and the trends it produces but that does not mean we are slaves to them. They are merely guides, bountiful in inspiration.

But it’s about moving forward, a process which Sarah Hanrahan is happy to help with. Her services which come in three neat packages, which Sarah likes to tailor as tightly as possible to each individual customer. Providing everything from a closet clear out to a body shape analysis, in some cases Sarah even goes as far as setting up a Depop store for her charges to really reduce waste in their wardrobe.

No space to waste, Sarah tells us that her services move past purely the clothing. The former psychiatric nurse believes that her various career paths are not unrelated. “I still really enjoy helping people I feel that I am doing that with this [Wardrobe Detox]. A messy space does not help for a constructive mind. I know I feel lighter with less stuff and I believe others will too.”

A look around at our own closets, it can feel as though they screaming at us. Not just of the array of 80’s thrift store prints but because of their multitude. And yet there is a comfort there. Memories conjured from clothing worn to events and occasions passed, that soft feeling inside, accompanied then by a hard eye-roll over the fact that you haven’t worn that dress in next to 5 years. Maybe it is time to fill that memory box, in the form of a Depop account or even a flea market. Memories can last a lifetime, but looking around at waylaid wardrobe it should be remembered that they are only clothes.