Monday, 18 April 2011


Clothes are the bane of my life.  I hate shopping for them.  I hate when they don't fit.  I'm not all that fond of washing, drying, ironing and folding them either.  I am, however, relatively cheap with my clothing requirements!

When I was little I remember that we had a system - every Spring and Autumn we would all (me and two sisters) bring our clothes through to mum's bedroom, and she would bring out a suitcase and a couple of bags of clothes from the attic.  These consisted of clothes that were suitable for the upcoming season and hand-me-downs from cousins.  All these things were either new to the family or hadn't been seen for six months, so it was like getting a whole bunch of new clothes!  We would try things on and put things that fit into our heap, and then take them back to our room and arrange them in our wardrobe and drawers.  After that mum would check to see what we were short of.  We would then, in turn or in pairs, sit next to her with the catalogue, she would turn the pages and write a list for each of us of the things that we liked.  She was then able to fill any gaps in our wardrobes from the catalogue knowing that she was buying to our taste.  We would also sometimes get good clothes for a bargain from charity shops.  I'm not certain that my memory of this system is entirely accurate (mum'll let me know when she reads this post), but I think it's good, and so back to how I manage my clothing now...

I have a list of what clothes I think I need in any given season.  Bear in mind here that I'm an outdoorsy stay-at-home-mum living in Scotland, so would have different requirements to people who go out to work every day in a smart office requirement and live in warmer climates.  Here's the list:

  • underwear - 4 bras, 2 pale coloured and 2 dark coloured, so that there's always one of each type to wear when one is in the wash.  10 pairs of pants.  10 pairs of socks (varying thicknesses depending on season).  I hate tights, but tend to have a black pair and a nude pair on standby, and usually a thick pair for the winter. 
  • tops - 8 in various styles - t-shirts, long sleeved, vest tops, blouses/shirts, smarter tops etc. for wearing separately, layering and so on.  More thick, long sleeved in the winter, more vest tops in the summer, but not exclusively as I like to layer.
  • bottoms - a comfy skirt, a dress (not at the moment as I'm breastfeeding!), a smart skirt or pair of trousers for going out/looking nice, about 3 pairs of more comfortable pairs of trousers/jeans.
  • Jumpers/sweaters - about 7, some thinner ones and a couple of thicker ones for the Summer, big thick woolly or fleecy ones for winter, a couple of smarter ones etc.
  • Messy wear - a couple of pairs of trousers/tops/jumpers suitable for walking the dog and messing about in the garden (I'm actually not very good at remembering to put these on, so my other clothes get quite a rough ride).
  • Active wear - trousers, shorts, wicking tops, microfleeces etc for jogging, exercise bike, cycling, exercise DVD and hillwalking (ha ha, I may get around to all this again one day!)
  • Nightwear - a couple of pairs of PJs for trekking up and down for night feeds.  I like to get them in co-ordinating colours so that it doesn't matter which top goes with which bottoms, but in reality I'll just as often be wearing an old t-shirt and joggers combo.
  • Coats - a lightweight waterproof for dog walking, a good waterproof for hillwalking and really wet dog walking, a warm or fleece jacket (or 2), a smarter jacket.
  • Shoes - trainers for exercise, trainers for everyday wear/dog walks, walking boots, wellies, old trainers for garden, comfortable sandals for Summer, flip-flops/crocs for around the house, smart boots, smart shoes.
Every 3 months I get all my clothes out and have a sort through into the following categories:
  • worn out - these then go to the repair pile, the rag bag or the bin.
  • "let's face it I will never fit in this again" or "I might fit in it again, but life has moved on and I probably wouldn't wear it" - these go to the charity shop or to the rag bag for reworking.
  • "I might fit in this again one day" - these go back in the bag
  • wrong season - back in the bag
  • correct season and it fits! - I then choose clothes from this heap to fit my list (preferably different ones than I had in my drawers for the last 3 months).  
In this way I feel as though I have a whole new wardrobe four times a year, when actually I'm just re-discovering clothes that have been packed away for a while.  I then only buy clothes when a gap appears in my stockpile (I seem to wear out trousers very quickly), when I change size, or if I see or think of a particular item that I'd really like.

Please comment and tell me how you arrange your wardrobe affairs...

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