Yes, you have read that title right, a winning wardrobe really does work wonders.
But aside from all this literary based rambling, this article does have as serious point – maintaining your wardrobe and thereby the clothes you wear IS hugely important. In fact, it is arguably just as important as what you wear and how you wear it. You can’t exactly step out of your house in a creased shirt or a piece of knitwear that has been stretched beyond all belief; it defeats the object of making an effort.
As men cut from a particularly sartorial cloth, becoming the perfect gentleman is very important to us. Not only must we be dressed impeccably but we must also smell fantastic, have stupendous hair, be superbly groomed, be bewilderingly cultured in all aspects of modern society, show a appreciation of fine food, not hate all forms of art with a passion, be in almost appallingly good shape, be desired by all the ladies of the world and ensure that our home and everything in them are impeccably cared for; all the while maintaining enough manliness and testosterone to terrify a grizzly bear.
In short, achieve impossibility. If there ever was such a man I think he would deserve many smacks in the face for making every other human male feel inadequate (although he would probably give a good account of himself in return). But whilst we clearly can’t profess to attain all the above attributes, we can at least make sure that we cover one or two (generally the easiest one or two).
Thankfully, organising your wardrobe and making sure you have everything stored and placed correctly (a part of keeping everything in your home in impeccable condition) isn’t hard. With hardly any investment, very little time and only the smallest amount of effort you can ensure that your clothes stay in the best condition possible.
Let’s start with the proverbial mammoth in the room; the wardrobe. This great hulking beast will be doing most of the work, with regards to clothes storage, so it will need the most attention.
Unfortunately we aren’t all blessed with massive . . . ahem . . . wardrobes, but you’ll be glad to hear that I won’t be telling you to start clicking on those nice little Internet pop-ups that offer you a whole extra 4 inches on your existing wardrobe. Not everyone can afford a bigger wardrobe, so you’re just going to have to make do with what you’ve got – there’s probably someone out there with a smaller one than you anyway.
It is perhaps worth pointing out now that no matter how big (or small) your wardrobe, having a floor-drobe or a chair-drobe is completely unacceptable. It wasn’t acceptable when your mother cleaned your room for you and it isn’t acceptable when you become a responsible adult and your mother cleans your room for you. That isn’t an issue of space, that’s a problem with laziness.
If your wardrobe is looking a bit overstocked, have a clear out. Go through all of your clothes with a fine tooth comb and ask yourself what you really wear, if something has been sitting around for a few months, years even, then move it on. Sometimes it helps to be ruthless, you’ll probably find you get rid of more than you imagined and with eBay you can even recoup some money.
Getting rid of the items you don’t want or don’t wear is a good start, but you can go one step further. Start identifying the clothes that don’t actually need to be hung – knitwear does not suffer being hung up kindly. If you are using thin hangers, you’ll be stretching the material around the shoulders and the shape will deform, so take it out and fold it.
Remove anything else that could reasonably be folded – polos, tees etc – they don’t need to be filling up space. You only want outerwear, formal wear, shirts and trousers to be stored on hangers if space is at a premium.
Keeping your wardrobe uncluttered is only half the battle however. You might have only the necessities in there but if it’s still a mess it was hardly worth the effort. Keep your clothes separated and in order, keep your outerwear (the dirtiest part) away from the most delicate items (probably your shirts) and invest in some decent hangers: Thin hangers for shirts, wide hangers for everything else. Clipped trouser hangers will ensure you don’t crease your trousers.
I’m sure this is obvious, but if any of your clothes get wet, hang them somewhere to dry before you stuff them back into the wardrobe. Also try to leave space between each item, as this will allow air to circulate – keeping things fresher and reducing the chance of any creasing.
Keeping things clean whilst they wait in your wardrobe is also important. Dust is a fact of life and it will get on your clothes no matter what you do, so invest in a lint roller to remove the worst of it when you take things out and put them back in. If your blazers, suits or outerwear come with suit carriers, use them.
Storing your out of season clothes can be a real pain, especially if you are dealing with chunky boots, thicker knitwear, coats and the like. Sadly there is no real way around this, so you should simply try and protect your clothes as best you can.
Clean all of the garments you intend to store and then wrap them up in something clean and breathable, this will keep off the dust and, in the case of knitwear and coats, keep out the moths.
These little beauties come second on the list, swallowing up almost everything else the wardrobe won’t take. It is perhaps only second in importance because the items it contains aren’t quite as expensive.
With drawers it’s all about considered folding so that you make the absolute most of the space available. I find dividing up my the individual draws to be very useful, identifying what bits go together and are most suited to each other. However, if you have followed my advice and are now folding your knitwear, you will more than likely have to dedicate an entire draw just to this one segment of your wardrobe.
This bit isn’t at all complicated, you can buy sock holders, tie holders and all manner of inserts for your draws, all in the name of keeping them tidy; it really depends on how far you want to go. The one thing you might want to improve on however is folding – this is one of the easiest and most efficient methods I have seen:
Investing in a (albeit cheap) shoe rack was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a very long time. Not only does it keep your room tidier but it helps you look after your shoes as well. I’ve no doubt that at some point in our lives we have all been guilty of just throwing our shoes in the bottom of our wardrobes, not really worrying about where they end up or what sort of state they were in.
The only time this becomes a problem is when you have to reach into that lovely, lucky-dip of sweat, dirt and stank in a vain attempt to pull out a matching pair. This is clearly very wrong.
If you spend a lot on your shoes then obviously you want to take care of them; we polish and condition them, protect and love them to the point of it being quite strange, but it is all in the name of making sure they look good and last.
What a shoe rack will do for you is keep all your pairs together, whilst separating individual pairs from one another – reducing any transfer of dirt, keeping your room tidier and particularly if you have leather soled shoes, aid in the drying process. I would suggest that you keep your shoe rack somewhere away from direct sunlight, particularly if you have suede shoes, as colour tends to fade.
In short, if you haven’t already bought one, go and do it now.
Should you find yourself with lots of new found wardrobe space you will of course want to start filling it back up again (in a reasonable and structured manner obviously), so below we have a selection of season appropriate picks that take into account current trends and looks:
Treat your wardrobe as you would an outfit; considered, intelligent and exactly how you want it. Keep things clean and tidy and you’ll find life gets much, much easier. A tidy wardrobe is a sign of a tidy man and it is just one more thing to tick off the list on the way to becoming the perfect, sartorial gentleman.
As ever, I want to know what you guys think, do you take as much pride in your actual wardrobe as you do your clothes?
Let me know in the comments below.