De-clog and re-tog for new season

Woman underneath wave of laundry
Woman underneath wave of laundry
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If your bedroom is bursting with clothes you hardly ever wear, a wardrobe detox is probably well overdue...

Final reductions, 75% off signs, and buy-one-get-one-free offers all over the shop...

Showing some shopping restraint in January is virtually impossible.

Little wonder our closets are bulging at the hinges. The average woman’s wardrobe houses more than 600 dresses and 400 pairs of shoes over the course of a lifetime, according to a recent study by, while a poll by Sure Women Linen Dry last year revealed all that clothes-spending costs us a grand total of £84,000.

It’s an eye-watering sum. Yet around two thirds of us (63 per cent) are throwing away unwanted garments rather than attempting to recoup some of our cash by re-selling. We’re not even bothering to let someone else benefit by recycling.

With a wave of new season trends about to hit stores, it’s time to detox your wardrobe.

But don’t designate your fashion disasters to the scrap heap. Stylist Mark Heyes reveals how to de-clog and re-tog the clever way - and keep your conscience.

January is the ideal time to assess your fashion hits and misses.

More than a third of women (37 per cent) admit they buy at least two pieces of clothing that follow the latest fashion trends each month, according to

“By the end of January all the fashion magazines bring out their trend predictions for the year, so you can see which of the items you own are worth holding on to for next season,” advises Mark, stylist on ITV1’s Lorraine and Ecover’s Wear & Care Feel Good fashion expert.

“Be honest, too.

“Ask yourself when the last time was that you wore something.

“If it’s an item that’s been at the back of the wardrobe for a couple of years or more, then it needs to go because it’s unlikely you’re ever going to wear it again.”

Assess your sizing, too. If you’re holding on to a size 10 dress that you were squeezing into years ago, it’s time to say goodbye.

There’s no need to throw away clothes just because they are surplus to your style requirements, though.

Take them to a charity shop or recycling centre.

Another great way of minimising wardrobe waste - and snapping up new additions in the process - is by swishing.

Whether it’s at an organised gathering or done by a group of friends or colleagues, clothes swapping parties are going down a storm in the current cash-strapped times.

“If you have things that don’t suit you any more, get together with your friends and swap your gorgeous but unwanted garments to get something that’s new to you,” suggests Heyes.

“Swishing is the perfect way to enhance your wardrobe as it means you get a whole new look without spending a penny, and it’s a great social event too.”

If it’s a professional event there are often guidelines to abide by, to ensure the clothes are of similar quality and that the swapping is fair. Nobody wants to donate a designer handbag and end up with a bargain basement clutch, after all. If you’re organising your own swishing event, ensure you also have a few rules in place and that everybody’s aware of them.

There may well be hidden gems at the back of your closet that simply need some TLC.

Sort out the clothes that require repairs and either fix them yourself, or take them to the tailors if you’re inept with a needle or if it’s a tricky repair.

You can also inject new life into tired clothes with a stain remover, and get extra mileage out of your everyday clothes with less washing.

Heyes says: “Ask yourself whether you really need to give your clothes a full wash, or if they just need a ‘refresh’ on a quick spin (which saves energy too).

“Always check the care label, as there are many garments, especially ones with beading or those made from delicate fabrics, that you should only wash by hand to ensure they’re kept in tip-top condition.” If you’re a fan of splitting your clothes into summer and winter wardrobes, store your clothing in an environment with a controlled temperature to avoid damp, mould and mildew getting to them. Avoid attics and cellars, which are often prone to extreme atmospheres.

If you’re rewarding yourself with a new closet addition, think investment.

Shop with a business-savvy head and you may even make money on your purchases.

“When people hear the term investment they automatically think designer items that cost thousands, but the high street is a goldmine of collectable clothes that over time will go up in value as long as they are stored and looked after properly,” says Tracy Martin, TV fashion collectables expert.

Here are her tips for hunting out future fashion collectables:

Seek items that are only available for a short length of time. H&M collaborations with high-end designers such as Versace and Marni have already increased in value.

Look at pieces from the emerging breed of new designers. Examples include Olivia Rubin and Holly Fulton. They will grow into fashion icons of the future and the cost of items from these collections will rise rapidly.

Classics always stand the test of time but won’t necessarily become sought-after in the future. Wacky, quirky and controversial pieces are more likely to command interest, especially if they have a designer name attached such as Vivienne Westwood or Alexander McQueen.

Art, colour and embellishments reign supreme with fabulous prints and/or sparkles always attracting attention with collectors.

For more advice on garment care, go to