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Time for a closet cleanse
7:00am Saturday 26th January 2013 in NewsXtra
If your bedroom is bursting with clothes you hardly ever wear, a wardrobe detox is probably well overdue - but don't just chuck away unwanted items. Stylist Mark Heyes reveals how to de-clog and re-tog the clever way.
By Lisa Haynes
Final reductions, 75% off signs, and buy-one-get-one-free offers all over the shop...
Showing restraint in January is difficult and, when it comes to the sales, virtually impossible.
Little wonder our wardrobes and closets are bulging at the hinges.
The average woman's wardrobe houses more than 600 dresses and 400 pairs of shoes over the course of a lifetime, according to a recent study by MyCelebrityFashion.co.uk, while a poll by Sure Women Linen Dry last year revealed we spend a whopping £84,000 on clothes.
However, despite that, around two thirds of us (63%) throw away unwanted garments rather than re-selling or recycling them.
Now, with a wave of new season trends about to hit stores, it's time to detox your wardrobe.
But don't designate your fashion disasters to the scrap heap - here's how to clear out your closet and keep your conscience.
Style stocktake January is the ideal time to assess your fashion hits and misses.
More than a third of women (37%) admit they purchased at least two pieces of clothing that follow the latest fashion trends each month, according to recent research by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk.
"By the end of January all the fashion magazines bring out their trend predictions for the year, so you can see which items in your wardrobe are worth holding on to for next season," advises Mark Heyes, stylist on ITV1's Lorraine and Ecover's Wear & Care Feel Good fashion expert.
"Be honest. Ask yourself when the last time was that you wore something. If it's an item that's been at the back of the wardrobe for a couple of years or more then it needs to go because it's unlikely you're ever going to wear it again."
Assess your sizing too. If you're holding on to a size 10 dress that you were squeezing into years ago, it's time to say goodbye.
There's no need to throw away clothes just because they are surplus to your style requirements. Instead, take them to a charity shop or recycling centre.
Swap shop Another great way of minimising wardrobe waste - and snapping up new additions in the process - is with swishing, aka clothes swapping.
Whether it's an organised gathering or a group of friends or colleagues, swishing parties are going down a storm in the current cash-strapped times.
"If they don't suit you any more, get together with your friends for a swishing event and swap your gorgeous but unwanted garments to get something that's brand spanking new to you," suggests Heyes.
"Swishing is the perfect way to enhance your wardrobe as it means you get a whole new look without spending a penny, and it's a great social event too."
If it's a professional event there are often guidelines to abide by, to ensure the clothes are of similar quality and that the swapping is fair. Nobody wants to donate a designer handbag and end up with a bargain basement clutch, after all.
If you're organising your own swishing event, ensure you have a few rules in place, and that everybody's aware of them so that you can all strut away with something amazing.
Wardrobe SOS There may well be hidden gems at the back of your closet that simply need some TLC.
Sort out the clothes that require repairs and either fix them yourself or take them to the tailors. Leave it to the experts if you're inept with a needle or if it's a tricky repair.
You can also inject new life into tired clothes with a stain remover, and get extra mileage out of your everyday clothes with careful washing.
Heyes says: "Ask yourself whether you need really need to give your clothes a full wash, or if they just need a 'refresh' on a quick spin (which saves energy too).
"Just remember to always check the care label, as there are many garments, especially ones with beading or those made from delicate fabrics, that you should only wash by hand to ensure they're kept in tip-top condition."
If you're a fan of seasonal wardrobe separation and like distinct summer and winter wardrobes, store your clothing in an environment with a controlled temperature to avoid damp, mould and mildew getting onto the clothes. Avoid attics and cellars, which are often prone to extreme atmospheres.
Pocket money If you're rewarding yourself with a new closet addition, think investment.
Shop with a business-savvy head and you may even make money on your purchases.
"When people hear the term investment they automatically think designer items that cost thousands, but the high street is a goldmine of collectable clothes that over time will go up in value as long as they are stored and looked after properly," says Tracy Martin, TV fashion collectables expert.
Here are her tips for hunting out future fashion collectables: :: Seek items that are only available for a short length of time. H&M collaborations with high-end designers such as Versace and Marni have already increased in value.
:: Look at pieces from the emerging breed of new designers. Examples include Olivia Rubin and Holly Fulton. They will grow into fashion icons of the future and the cost of items from these type of collections will rise rapidly.
:: Classic pieces always stand the test of time but won't necessarily become sought-after in the future - wacky, quirky and controversial pieces are more likely to command interest, especially if they have a designer name attached such as Vivienne Westwood or Alexander McQueen.
:: Art, colour and embellishments reign supreme with fabulous prints and/or sparkles always attracting attention with collectors.
Get the look You may not have a Golden Globes nomination but you could still nab a red carpet-worthy dress at a fraction of the price. Channel actress Zooey Deschanel's red Oscar de la Renta gown with BHS's Ella bridesmaid dress, £125 (www.bhs.co.uk).
Buy it now Go back to the swinging Sixties and Seventies, Ossie Clark style. Inspired by the iconic designer, Ossie Clark London is launching at Debenhams featuring tribute pieces and prints as well as a limited run of unreleased vintage designs. The label will be available in 45 stores nationwide from the end of January, with prices from £49 (08445 616 161/www.debenhams.com).
Fashion flash :: Neon niche Put your sunglasses on standby. British women predict fluorescent jeans to be the new must-have fashion item for 2013. After noticing an increase in searches for spring fashion trends, MyVoucherCodes.co.uk conducted a poll to discover the public's thoughts on what trends they believe will take this year by storm. Neon denim topped the list with 61% of the votes, with Sixties micro skirts coming second (57%), and head-to-toe leather a close third (56%).
:: Step up From Steps to style, Claire Richards has been signed up as new brand ambassador for Fashion World. Claire will be representing the 'size and fit' womenswear e-tailer, following her stint in Channel 5's Celebrity Big Brother house. With sizes ranging from 12 to 32, Claire's picks of must-have spring/summer fashion can be found at www.fashionworld.co.uk.
:: Mark Heyes is Ecover's Wear & Care Feel Good fashion expert and is encouraging us all to make garment care part of our daily fashion routine. Visit www.the-splash.co.uk