Congratulations, you beat winter. If you’ve forgotten what it’s like not to be layered up to within an inch of your life, then take heart, because the mercury is rising. With the thaw well underway, now’s the perfect time to take stock of where your wardrobe’s at in preparation for the warmer seasons ahead. This is our take-no-prisoners approach to a sartorial spring clean. There’ll be no “might come in handy later” and we definitely won’t tolerate any “those were the days…”. After all, there’s no room for sentimentality when you’re low on storage space. Follow these simple steps to nix the dead weight of your wardrobe and make way for new-season winners.
1. Turn It Up
Because the task of spring cleaning without music is a chore so unspeakably foul, we’re pretty sure it’s used as a form of torture somewhere.
2. Storage Wars
You probably won’t need mounds of heavy-gauge knitwear come June (even if you do live up t’North), so unless you’re planning a sojourn in the Arctic this summer, it’s time to squirrel away those chunky knits, bulky parkas, hiking boots and toasty wool accessories. Doing so creates much-needed room for warm-weather wear in your day-to-day wardrobe, readying you for ushering in the joys of spring, running gaily through English country meadows… that kind of thing. Remember to clean your winter pieces before storing them, never hang your knitwear but fold it instead, and invest in space-saving solutions like large plastic resealable bags and boxes, both of which will enable you to easily and neatly stow your cold-weather clobber in cupboards or under your bed. Still at a loss as to where’s best to put it all? Think ‘CCDD’ – cool, clean, dark and dry – when it comes to storage spaces. (Related: Save space, time and your sanity with our guide to wardrobe maintenance)
3. Charity Begins At Home
No matter how savvy a shopper you are, certain elements of your wardrobe will have become – by way of fashion’s ebbs and flows or hours spent at the squat rack – obsolete since you first took them home. So now’s the time to finally make good on that resolution of doing your bit for others. Ridding your wardrobe of one-season wonders is a smart way to trim its fat. Be brutal, as brutal as you were smashing the deadlifts that got you here in the first place: if it doesn’t meet storage bag standards, then it’s a one-way ticket to the charity shop. It’s easy to think, “Well, I might need this marble camo cowl neck tee for something”. But, if it hasn’t seen the light of day for a year, it’s safe to say you probably won’t.
4. Back To Basics
Changing seasons can be tiring – especially for your underwear. Staples like crew neck tees, boxers and socks are the frontline troops of your wardrobe, dutifully putting in more hours than any other piece. Which is why it’s important to take action if they look like they’re on their last legs. Bin (recycle, of course) any basics that are torn or worn thin and then replenish the ranks with fresh wares from the likes of Uniqlo, H&M and Mango Man, all of which are worth a look for their cotton essentials. It’s the least you can do for the family jewels. (Related: The high street brands producing the best affordable basics)
5. Fix Up Your Formalwear
Although the festive party season has been and gone (and your tux shirt’s got the champagne stains to prove it), you’re bound to call on your tailoring collection for a fair-weather wedding in the next few months. Save future you the stress of having to get a suit dry cleaned in less than an hour and take all of your smarts for a professional clean now, before stowing them away safely – on high-quality wooden hangers and in a suit bag, of course. (Related: Find out the best way to store your suits)
6. Details, Details
It’s not just your most-worn clothes that need some TLC at this time of year. Those all-important extras and finishing touches – like your wristwear – need refreshing, too. And while your winter gear’s heavy cuffs might have, in recent months, done away with the need for a watch on more than one occasion, sunnier days mean showtime for your timepiece. Keep your wristwear ticking over firstly by getting your watches serviced by a professional, and secondly taking the time to clean them carefully: use a damp cloth for metal straps, soapy water for rubber straps, leather cleaner for leather straps and remember to clean the dial separately and gently using a lint-free cloth. Because nothing kills your look like a grubby watch face.
7. Put A Spring In Your Step
Part of getting off on the right foot this season is making sure your footwear is fighting fit. That means identifying your go-tos (i.e. the shoes and trainers you can’t live without), sprucing them up, and clearing out any tatty, unwanted stragglers (those espadrilles your Alsatian got the better off, for example). This season, the plain white low-top retains its position at the top of the footwear food chain. It’s a modern minimalist classic, as perfectly pared-back with your suit as with your sweat shorts. (Related: Check out 6 of the best minimalist trainer brands on the market) As with all footwear, and especially with these pale-skinned beauties, care is key. So whether it’s a pair of Common Projects Achilles or Jack Purcells you’ve picked up, ensure your whites are white ahead of spring and summer. If you’ve recently had a big night out, don’t leave your trainers soiled for days afterwards – hose them down. And by hose them down, we of course mean carefully wipe them clean of surface debris and then ever so gently remove stains with one of the myriad of trainer cleaners now on the marker, then douse them liberally in some fabric protector spray. They say you can tell a lot about a man from his shoes; make sure yours say the right thing. (Related: Here’s everything you need to know to keep your footwear looking its finest)
8. Rework Your Classics
Not every new trend will work for you in seasons ahead; perhaps you, like us, have previously been burned by a misguided purchase so harrowing you still can’t bring yourself to speak about it (the leopard print racer back vest, the neon green nylon shorts, the horror of it all…). All the more reason, then, to re-work your year-round staples, rather than drop big cash on passing fads. “The mix of smart tailored trousers with casual sweats is key this season,” says Alfie-Lee Marcus, personal shopper at Topman’s flagship Oxford Circus store. “Recycling your favourite winter trousers by wearing them in a much more relaxed ‘street-tailor’ way [e.g. with a grey cotton lightweight sweatshirt or a longline tee] hits the nail on the head with this one.” Knitwear (the lighter kind at least) also has its place in your warm-weather wardrobe. “It’s OK to pack away your winter knits but remember; it’s not quite summer yet,” says Marcus. “A fine-gauge sweater you can layer is essential for a brisk spring evening.” Or a summer one at that. Try teaming your lightweight and merino knitwear with chino shorts on evenings that are equal parts balmy and breezy. Experiment with new combinations of your old favourites to see what works for you.