You Asked: How Do I Spring Clean My Wardrobe?
Photograph by Mr Jonathan Daniel Pryce
Our style expert answers your most pressing sartorial questions.
We often need style advice most when we’re anticipating a big change in our lives. This could be something such as a new job, perhaps, or simply if we’re in search of catharsis – a new you. This is the theme of this week’s column, where we have a new graduate who wants some fresh threads, and a gentleman who’s treating the coming of spring as a chance for a fresh start. We also have a question about dressing for a hot, dry climate. If you’re heading to Dubai this year, read below and take note.
If you have a style question, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or keep an eye on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds where each week we’ll invite you to send in your clothing queries. As always, the best three will feature in this column on Friday.
**How should I conduct a spring clean of my wardrobe? **
Mr Mungo Salmons, via email
Psyche yourself up for a brutal game of Yes/No/Maybe. First, you need to be able to look through what you have. We tend only to wear a limited proportion of what we own – the stuff we can both see and access. But so many wardrobes, cupboards and drawers are crammed with things stuffed in inaccessible corners that it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind.
Remove each item in turn and ask yourself: “Have I worn this in the past year?” If yes, it goes in the Yes pile on your bed. If no, it goes in the No pile, straight into black bin bags, to be taken to a charity shop. (I allow my brothers and close friends to have a sift through first.) However, if the answer is no because you forgot you even had it, then it can it can go in the Maybe pile. (Part of the joy of this exercise is rediscovering some lost pieces.) If there are items you really cannot bear to part with, they can also go in the Maybe pile. But you need to be ruthless. If it doesn’t fit, get rid.
There will also be a fourth pile – Repair. These are the items with missing buttons or small holes that need to be taken to a reputable alterations tailor to be fixed. Items that are beyond saving – single socks, threadbare boxers, once-white T-shirts, anything with a stain that two visits to a drycleaner hasn’t salvaged – must go.
Once you have done a purge, you should have identified some key gaps in your assortment – a new bomber jacket, say, some drawstring trousers, maybe some swim shorts that actually fit – as well as some items that require upgrading. We’ll take a wild guess at white T-shirts (try this one by Mr. P), white shirts (we like this one), indigo jeans (Jean Shop has a good range) and canvas sneakers (such as Converse Jack Purcell) for starters.
In order to permanently stave off stuffocation, we will be addresssing how to better organise your wardrobe in more detail in The Journal in a fortnight’s time.
I’m going to the UAE for the Dubai World Cup horse racing in March. How do I look sartorially savvy in the heat of the desert without breaking the bank?
From Mr Cian Faherty, via email
Depending on where you’re watching the races, you’re bound to run into a few dress-code rules. This is Dubai after all. With that in mind, this is a great opportunity to wear a camp-collar shirt. It will exude that laid-back I’m-on-holiday vibe, but still look smart.
In terms of adding a bit of desert-appropriate oomph to your outfit without going overboard, you can’t go wrong with this printed shirt from Italian brand President’s. If you fancy something plainer, try a navy one from either Ami or this storm-blue one from Sunspel. Have a go at pairing it (untucked, please) with some cotton twill chinos – these drawstring ones from Save Khaki United are a steal – or these linen ones from Hartford will work if you’re concerned about the heat.
Footwear-wise, I’d usually recommend a pair of fresh white sneakers, but you won’t get into the Parade Ring with those on, so play it safe with a relaxed pair of loafers – these comfy suede ones from Mulo are a good shout.
This really depends on what you hope to do after college. If you’re reading law, you’ll need a suit. If it’s liberal arts, perhaps it’s more about sweats that you can wear during the inevitable, protracted job hunt. (We’re kidding. Sort of.) I’m going to assume you’re looking for more general advice here, that is, a few tips for dressing yourself into a more adult and professional state of mind. For this purpose, I would recommend investing in a few key smart-casual basics that will be flexible enough to dress up or down, depending on the office or workplace you find yourself in.
Start with a navy blazer, something such as this example from Mr P., which is unstructured, but not too cardigan-y, so it can pass for smart but won’t make you look like you’re trying too hard. Add a button-down-collar shirt in white or blue (we recommend this one from NN07, or, if you’re willing to stretch the budget that tiny bit more, this one from Officine Generale), and a pair of black wool trousers – this Acne Studios’ Ryder style offers a nice balance between youthful and smart, thanks to its neat, sweatpants-style waistband. Combining these few elements with your existing casual wardrobe (we’re going to assume you’ve got white T-shirts, slim jeans, tennis sneakers and a pair of black or brown lace-up shoes) will give you plenty of options for whatever post-college life may throw at you, while retaining an edge of freshness that us old folk should find invigorating.