Most wardrobes are overstuffed. No surprise there – buying the new is more fun than chucking the old. The emotion that fills your shopping bags also makes it tough to take pieces to the charity shop: faded tees harbour university memories alongside that university scent.
But edit your clothes and you firm up your style. You also make way for those new season buys, so your trim capsule always looks on trend. As summer ebbs away, take the chance to bin what you’ll never wear, and store anything that should hibernate all winter.
What To Bin
When deciding what to chuck, objectivity is key. Think practically. Does this piece fit? Is it irreparably damaged? Can you think of three outfits you could wear it with? Bid adieu to anything that doesn’t get three ticks.
That doesn’t extend to trends. “The pace in menswear is slow, so don’t feel if a trend has come and gone that you have to disregard an item,” says Simon Chilvers, men’s style director at Matches Fashion. “Even with something like the skinny jean, which is no longer at the frontline of fashion, there is no need to reject it if it works for you and your style.”
Unless, that is, your style is big on slogan tees and muscle vests, says Brooke Phillips, stylist at Thread. They were never ‘in’, so you’ll be waiting a while for them to come back. Chuck. “Also get rid of anything old and tatty – knitwear with curling hems or baggy elbows, jeans with iPhone patterns branded into them or trainers that have seen their fair share of festival seasons.”
What To Store
Weird weather and a non-stop fashion calendar means the traditional seasons don’t exist any more. But there are still some pieces you won’t need until next summer. They’re better stored than taking up space. Clean anything you’re packing away to remove moth larvae and the skin flakes they feast on. Then zip tailoring into suit bags and roll everything into your unused luggage so it doesn’t crease. Toss in cedar blocks to kill any moths your dry cleaner missed.
“Tailored items look good year round, but anything unlined is best kept for the warmer months,” says Phillips. Ditto for shorts. “Cargos have had a resurgence this season, which means they’ll be good for next,” says Olie Arnold, style director at Mr Porter. Bin anything too eye-popping as SS17 is all about neutrals – store anything khaki, navy or black. “Roll them up and pop them in a dust bag to keep them fresh for next summer.”
Breton tops and sandals are trendproof, so will have another life next season. But not till the Riviera weather returns. “I store mine neatly folded, in vac pac bags,” says Chilvers. “You should launder them once they come out of storage to freshen them up.”
What To Keep
The rise of layering has been a boon to your look and your wallet. Ostensibly ‘summer’ pieces now work through winter, a base for piling new buys on top. “Chambray shirts, quality short-sleeve T-shirts and lightweight jackets are all perfect items for layering,” says Phillips. “Which is ideal in the winter when you’re going from the cold outdoors to indoor heating.”
“The long-sleeved T-shirt is one of the most underrated pieces in your fashion tool box,” says Arnold. “It will transition effortlessly from hot days to balmy nights in the summer and becomes the perfect underlay with a plaid shirt and field jacket for when it starts to get chilly.”
And don’t pack away your polo shirts, says Chilvers: “A staple in most men’s summer wardrobes, it can also look great under a chunky cardigan and you will get bonus points for referencing how Orley styled their AW16 lookbook. This look is also very Lanvin SS 17, so you’ll be ahead of the curve.”
What To Buy
That wardrobe space needs something to fill it. And the best way to make your all-year wardrobe seem seasonal is a couple of on-trend additions that work with anything.
Work from the bottom upwards. Shoes are the most easily trashed items in your wardrobe, so invest in a really sturdy pair for the new season. “Hiking boots are a practical investment,” says Chilvers. They’ve got longevity, too. “As hiking is a trend seen all over the catwalks for SS17, you can still wear them through spring.” Classic styles from brands like Grenson or Red Wing work with jeans or chinos, so you’ve got options for any weather.
After a decade of skinny, the simplest way to look on-trend is veer big. “This season, it’s OK to walk out wearing clothes that look like they’ve been handed down from your older brother,” says Arnold. J.W. Anderson and Raf Simons showed knitwear on Miracle-Gro. Get a similar effect for less than four figures by taking your jumpers three sizes up. “It’s reminiscent of Manchester’s early 1980s indie music scene. Who wouldn’t want to look like a young Morrissey?”
It’s cosy, too. And though the snow might be some way off, you should buy your winter coat before you need to wear it. Like everything else, this season’s are roomier, says Chilvers – take this oversized Prince of Wales check overcoat, from Matches’ in-house brand Raey – the better to accommodate all those layers. Just try to resist the urge to wear your brand new buy before the frosts come.