Why I’m welcoming January with an open wardrobe

Photo: Rex Features 

After an overwhelming festive period, Stacey Duguid explains why January isn’t just offering her the respite she needs – it’s also improving her wardrobe

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By Stacey Duguid on

I am, quite possibly, the only woman living in the UK to say this, but man I’m glad it’s January. On Christmas Eve, partly thanks to seasonal overwhelm, a heavy cloak of exhaustion fell around my shoulders. The following morning, I could barely get out of bed. Christmas carried on in a blur.

It took a huge amount of effort just to appear OK, especially when my old pal, the Inner Critic, came in for a pop: “What right do you have to feel low?” I began falling deeper down the U-bend, but it was Christmas and the show must go on. And it did, thanks to frocks, heels and a few forced smiles. Sitting on my sofa on New Year’s Eve, as Big Ben chimed midnight, I felt something shift. On the morning of the Jan 1, buoyed by a faint flicker of positivity, I got out of bed and immediately began tearing down the Christmas tree. Emptying it of its baubles faster than you can say, “Rudolph,” packing away trinkets into old brown boxes, the overwhelm slowly dropped away.

Down came the door wreath, the tacky tinsel (or the tonsils, as my four-year-old calls it), the giant paper pom-poms hanging ostentatiously in the hallway. The more I worked, the more my mood lifted, so I shifted efforts to my wardrobe. Getting rid of roughly a third of its contents – everything, from old underwear to trainers – I was brutal in my assessment. “Have I worn it?” “Do I love it?” “Will I ever wear it again?” “Does it suit me?” Bang, no. Boom, see ya. Off I went to the huge fabric recycling bin that sits in the carpark of the local Sainsbury’s. A pair of skyscraper Prada sandals bought while pregnant (I know) were put on eBay, joined shortly afterwards by a pair of daft – as in way too high to wear – Isabel Marant boots bought in the sale on a whim.

Packing away the Christmas tree and having a good clear-out is how I set about dealing with the seasonal overwhelm

A small pile of clothes marked “What the hell do I do with this lot?” lingered on my bedroom floor, so I started inviting friends over to take whatever they fancied. Seeing once-loved clothes recycled to good friends felt good – almost as good as looking at what remained in my wardrobe. Confidence-boosting tailored jackets, silky tops that feel good against my skin, jeans that don’t jab me up the fanny like an angry cheese grater. (Tell me I’m not the only woman to buy fanny-chop jeans “because they’re a nice colour”?!)

After the cull, I saw the gap in my wardrobe – a gap that, for the past 12 months, had single-handedly brought on several “I have absolutely nothing to wear” hissy fits. So, I went to the sales with a shopping list containing just one item: a pair of smart, black tailored trousers. Very unlike me, I did not deviate from the list, nor did I go berserk and buy the first pair of black trousers I found (despite everything, I’m not a massive fan of shopping, especially during the sales). After a meander along Oxford Street, I ended up in Fenwick, where, at 50 per cent off, I found the perfect pair of trousers for a price I was willing to pay. Well-made trousers that won’t crease or creep up my bum (how to avoid fanny chop? Buy the next size up! Who knew?!) to wear with jumpers, blouses, high heels and trainers, and which work for work AND going out? That’s a whole wardrobe solution right there, baby.

Packing away the Christmas tree and having a good clear-out is how I set about dealing with the seasonal overwhelm I had no idea was crushing me from within. After a month trying make things perfect, I now need some space to breathe. I love January, the sleepiest of months, the perfect time to take stock of life. Where to start? I can highly recommend your wardrobe.  

Stacey’s tips for making space to breathe:

Locate a couple of things in your wardrobe that make you feel great. Use them as benchmarks as you begin the cull.

2 Even the smallest wardrobe update could boost your confidence. Are your tailored jackets cut for now, as opposed to 1984? How about your jeans? Without wishing to go all Princess Diana, the combo of a modern-cut jacket and jeans is unbeatable and easy to throw on.

3 Old-fashioned and out-of-date shoes can make or break an outfit. Shoes are the easiest way to keep your wardrobe feeling fresh.

4 Knitwear – with holes and bobbles? Recycle!

5 When it comes to dresses, I’m a hoarder and I know it’s hard to ignore the fancy label or, in my case, the fact you met the love of your life wearing a certain tea dress. But, if you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s time to say bye bye.

6 Be ruthless with your bags. You only really need a work bag, a cross-body bag (for the pub, obvs) and one going-out clutch. (Not including nappy bags or suitcases.)

Click here for the breathing space wardrobe edit 



Photo: Rex Features 
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fashion honestly
Stacey Duguid

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