Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Wardrobe Angel and the Life Changing Magic of Tidying

What didn't spark joy in my wardrobe

I was going to call this post "How The Magic of Tidying Changed My Life" but I thought that's a bit dramatic, isn't it? Well, no. If you've read the book and been following Marie Kondo's progress around the world then you'll see that she really is changing lives, mine included. My friend Dawn gave me her copy of the book before Christmas and I didn't wait to finish it - I started working over my wardrobe straight away, then came the kitchen, then the dining room, then my office. The sheer sense of relief I felt after holding my possessions in my hand and asking whether they sparked joy was...overwhelming. Straight away I could see what was going to stay and what was going to go; I felt the joy of treasured pieces fill my face with a strong smile and the words "Oh I love this" blurting from my mouth before I even knew what was happening.  Conversely the pieces that sparked NO joy made my mouth crease up like a cat's bum. And the thing is - I had been wearing ALL the items I got rid of. The process was nothing short of magical, enlightening and has changed and informed the way I work with my Wardrobe Angel clients.

Marie Kondo's magical book

Here's what I got rid of from my wardrobe:

A checked shirt from H&M, a pair of pleather trousers from H&M, a Wildfox t-shirt with an angel on it, a striped top from Topshop, a Stella McCartney jumper, a vintage houndstooth pattern top, 2 Zara blouses, an Alice & Olivia blouse and a leopard print jumper from M&S. 

Here's what I learnt from going through my own wardrobe:
  1. I love a very specific type of animal print  I had a grey/black zebra print sweatshirt from H&M which I loved. I bought a leopard print wool blend jumper from M&S Limited Collection which I thought I loved. When I picked up the M&S Jumper and asked it if it sparked joy it dawned on me - NO. Why? The leopard print was brown and blue, not black and brown. I don't get on with brown at the best of times and this jumper's main colour was brown (Hilarious considering I am now Mrs Brown) so into the charity bag it went. 
  2. And another point on patterns  I'm not a huge fan of stripes or checks as it turns out. I have a fitted H&M basic navy and white t-shirt which I love BUT a square cut navy and cream top from Topshop was placed in the charity bag. And my only checked shirt was bagged up for charity as well. As soon as I held it I knew what was wrong - it made me feel masculine. Bye bye checked shirt. 
  3. How strong my connection to my body is  Turns out I like the feeling of being fully covered on my top half. Hence why deep V necks, scoop necks and strappy tops are generally out of my comfort zone. Why? I have a distinct memory of standing at a bus stop one summer when I was 14 wearing a scoop neck white vest and a thigh length wrap skirt. A car drove past and the 3 males in the car wound down the windows and wolf whistled at me. I've felt uncomfortable exposing a lot of skin "up top" ever since.  
  4. Muddy colours are a strong no  As soon as I picked up the Stella jumper I knew why it was going - the muddy blue colour only looked good with a tan and since I don't tan very well anymore it was thankfully jettisoned. Same for one of the Zara blouses in a muddy orange colour - even looking at it made me feel pale and awkward, Gone. 
  5. Finally realising I'm just not a blouse person  And man, I have tried. In myself I just don't feel that ladylike and blouses, to me, are the epitome of ladylike. A while ago I decided I needed  to 'grow up' my wardrobe so I went and bought some blouses. They are both now on eBay. At heart, I just love to wear t-shirts. Yes, with a jacket to smarten them up, but t-shirts nonetheless. And some shirts are awesome; I stole one of Rich's shirts last summer and hardly had if off my back. When I dug down to the preferential feeling of a shirt over a blouse, a shirt means structure which I LOVE (I'm a HUGE fan of structured jackets). In comparison I find blouses very flimsy. Even though mine were crew necked and collared I felt they didn't give me enough coverage (see no.3) as they were sheer. Funny, eh? 
Looking like a right mardy git but, to demonstrate my love of shirts, this is me last summer in Canada wearing Rich's shirt!

And finally...

It's ok to get rid of things that are given as gifts  I am a hard person to buy for - especially when it comes to clothes. Soon after I started The Wardrobe Angel a good friend bought me a Wildfox t-shirt with an angel on it as a gift. She had married up my love of logo t-shirts with my brand. The t-shirt was shoved in a draw and never got worn - I didn't want to offend her so I kept the t-shirt. The book teaches you that it's ok to give away gifts you don't like or want because it is the act of GIVING the gift which is important, not the gift itself.

So, a couple of hours later and stronger sense of colours, patterns, textures wiser. I've read a couple of fashion bloggers take on the book. One blogger asked her clothes "do you serve me?" My mum said she asks the question "would I take you if I moved house?" However you decided to tidy, clear out and get rid I would urge you to do it - give yourself some time to re-evaluate how you want to look and feel in your clothes, and how you want your home to look and feel as well. 

Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying?? What did you action as a result of it?

Til next time. Stay wardrobe happy...x

The Wardrobe Angel

Monday, 25 January 2016

Buy Less, Wear More and Introducing Always Wear Red

I bet she's warm. draped in all those yummy cashmere scarves!!
I just got off the phone with Michael Owen, the brains behind and founder of Always Wear Red, a luxury cashmere and silk accessories company launching on 14th Feb this year. We talked about how cashmere is a worthwhile investment for any wardrobe - soft, durable, and when it's made of superior quality cashmere, like the Always Wear Red cashmere scarves are, it won't pill because the longer the stand of cashmere when it's woven, the less the chance of bobbling. How's that for sustainability! (They are hiring by the way - check out the job opportunities by clicking here.)

We also reminisced about owning fewer items of clothing when we were teenagers but loving them more and an image of my favourite jumper from my teenage years popped into my mind - a funnel neck knitted jumper from Warehouse, pastel ice blue in colour with 2 darker blue lines running horizontally across the bust. I LOVED that jumper. After each wear and wash I would carefully fold it, wrap it in tissue paper and place it on the middle of the second shelf in my wardrobe (yes, my clothing memory is THAT GOOD!) I owned that jumper for about 4 years and when it gave up the ghost during my second year of uni I was distraught, convinced it would never be replaced. In fact, I did try and replace it with a camel roll neck from Miss Selfridge. Much to my disappointment, the "roll" bagged after every wash only compounding my grief for my much loved Warehouse number. That jumper was just...awesome. I felt so smart when I wore it, so cosy (a must if you live "up north"), and so stylish.

How often do you feel absolute love and joy for an item of clothing?

I tidied my own wardrobe this morning, re-ordered my shoes for the new season and re-folded the items in my draws - I call it "spending time with my clothes" - it helps me see what has given up the ghost, what is missing, what I need to buy next, what I'm loving, what I'm wearing and most importantly, what I'm not wearing. Today turned up a surprising item - a faux sherling coat purchased in early December last year. When I bought it I couldn't wait to wear it - I wore it out of the shop I thought I was so in love with it! I wore it with some white jeans and an awesome grey knit underneath a week later. But since then the love has waned: it just ain't ME. So, jacket, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw to Big, it's the end of the line:

"You and I are like that red wall. It's a good idea in theory but somehow it doesn't quite work."

You and I are like that red wall. It's a good idea in theory, but somehow it doesn't quite work.' Carrie
You and I are like that red wall. It's a good idea in theory, but somehow it doesn't quite work.

Here are the pictures and the measurements. If you want to make me an offer then please do. Just email me at or leave a comment below. I'll post it to you this week.

Size 10-12, faux sherling coat with 2 real pockets, spare buttons available, fully lined. Chest 36” Length 28” (approx.)

100% Polyester

Til next time...stay wardrobe happy x

The Wardrobe Angel

Thursday, 7 January 2016

6 things to do in January when you are a bit skint

When I used to work for H&M I remember the awesome feeling of getting paid twice in December. Except the second load of dosh had to last you right up until the end of January (I swear I can hear the sound of belts tightening at the very memory). So here are 6 things to do when you bank balance is dwindling and you have run out of box sets to watch...

1. Give blood. Rich I went to give blood on New Years Eve. I think it is one of the most selfless acts you can undertake; you give up time, energy and ultimately your blood for someone you don't even know. We always marvel at the cross-section of people in the waiting area - illness and disease don't discriminate and when it comes to blood donation, neither do the people who are willing to give up the red stuff. For me there are 3 upsides to giving blood: free club biscuits, the feeling of doing something 'good' and the chance to sit down the relax with a magazine. When I was there in December I read the new Harpers Bazaar cover to cover whilst supping on a tasty pint of lemon squash.

Mrs Doubtfire came out in 1993, fellow interneters. Just let that sink in...

2. Clean. There is nothing more I love than a really good "sort out" - cupboards, draws, shelves, and of course, wardrobes. I find it really therapeutic to keep what I want  and donate to charity the items that no longer belong. My friend Joban popped round the other day and was greeted by the sight of me pulling things out of my dining room cupboards and piling them up on the dining room table. Why on earth should I do this you may be wondering? Cleaner, tidier living space, you might find some money, you can donate unwanted items to charity which allows you to polish your halo.

3. Use up your sachets. Before I sit down to devour a magazine I always leaf through and pull out the free sachets of shampoo and conditioner/moisturiser etc, I then stockpile them in a box in the bathroom cupboard where they largely sit untouched until the next time I clear the cupboard out. It's a habit I picked up from my mum and one I have never questioned until this month I ACTUALLY USED A FEW OF THE SACHETS!! Cracking open a sachet of shiseido shampoo I felt the habit breaking AND my hair looked immense for the following 3 days. WIN. Your hair/skin will think it is Christmas.

4. Phone a friend. You know that friend you are always texting? Phone her. When I saw my school friends on Christmas Eve we ended up reciting each others home phone numbers ingrained on our memories; we didn't have a text option when we were teenagers. Phone a friend: you may finally use up some of your free minutes.

5. Write Thank You cards.  Last year I felt compelled to write to 3 women who had changed my life for the better - one was so moved when she opened her card she phoned me in tears. I love it when people say 'thank you'; for a gift, for some information, for a phone call but a card, however old school, is a thing to hold and cherish. Here are 3 reasons to write a 'thank you' card: you get to crack out the awesome stationary you received at Christmas, it will only cost you the price of a stamp to send, you may even get some fresh air on the way to the post box,

6. Sort out your old photos. This a free trip down memory lane, you get to marvel at how fresh faced and awesome you were when at the time you thought you weren't and - ultimate bonus - you get to rid yourself of any bad memories/people by chucking those photos away! (Unless all your photos are on your laptop/phone in which case you're in for a major scrolling session).

Stay happy

Til next time...x

The Wardrobe Angel

Friday, 1 January 2016

Things I'm looking forward to #January

Hello New Year!

1. This month last year saw me try and buy my wedding dress. This January (and whole entire year, in fact)  I'm really looking forward to a wedding planning free zone!

2. The Sales - last year I welcomed Helmut into my life and my wardrobe. I'm still committed to the leather sleeved jacket of beauty but I'm excited to see what else the sales will bring me this year.

3. Rich's birthday - after being my Toy Boy for a couple of months, this month sees Rich catch up and join me at the grand old age of 35.

4. Re-decorating our bedroom. It's the last room of the house to be done. We currently have a thick, mint green carpet (yep - tasty), mismatched curtains that used to be in the dining room and some baaad "plastering" where the previous owners ripped off the picture rail and in-filled the holes with Polyfiller but forgot to sand it down before painting.

5. New haircut. I've been growing my hair since September 2014 and it's time for a change. It roams free and slightly frizzy when I let it out of it's daily bun prison due to years of over processing with the GHD's and in the morning I have a tendency to look like Brian May.  Now past my shoulders, I have more options so I'm thinking a LOB with the option of curling it every now and again. It'll be a stark contrast to the sharp bob I used to previously sport but style is an evolution and when your hair and Brian May are involved, best to evolve sooner rather than later me thinks.

Stay happy

Til next time...x

The Wardrobe Angel