My Wardrobe cleanse à la Marie Kondo showing a pop of colour sparks joy

I am having a bit of a wardrobe cleanse whilst in lockdown. I am doing a serious ‘Marie Kondo’ on my clothes. I have taken everything out and put it in piles. I am then trying it all on and wearing it for at least half a day. If it ‘sparks joy’ I am popping it back in my wardrobe. And quite frankly we all need some joy in our lives right now. I have found that for me it is a pop of colour that sparks most joy. Grace’s post showing that comfort is all important to her is also very true. So if I can combine comfort and colour I feel I have got it right and the garment has a special place in my wardrobe.

I have always wanted to do a complete wardrobe cleanse but never had the time i.e. a stretch of days to get it all done. Usually I get halfway through and then shove everything back in my wardrobe. I don’t know about you but this lockdown has made me want to streamline everything in my life. I want a simpler lifestyle. Maybe it is all the hand sanitising and cleaning of everything that crosses our home boundary that has made me want to deep clean everything else.

Polishing the silver to give it some much needed sparkle.
Jumper Me+Em – similar HERE

Whatever has sparked this I am really enjoying myself as I have found items that I had forgotten about. Equally by laying them all out I now have found outfits that I had never thought of. I have also found that wearing a pop of colour every day during lockdown has cheered both me and my OH up.

This lilac sweater from Me+Em (a few seasons ago) is a perfect weight and colour for this time of year. The soft merino wool keeps me warm on those not so sunny days. I am wearing a Baukjen tee-shirt underneath as it has a high neck and fitted half sleeves which is the perfect shape under a crew neck sweater. The colour reminds me of all the flowers that are bursting out in my garden right now.

Lulu Layered top from Kettlewell – shop HERE
Winser London Cotton Twill Capri Pants – shop HERE
Slip-ons from UGG – shop

I have found some old favourites during my wardrobe cleanse that even if they are looking a bit tatty I have noted why I like them and will keep them until I can find a good enough replacement.

This Lulu layered top in Peacock from Kettlewell Colours comes out year after year and the shape is perfect for me as the underlayer hides lumps and bumps and the top layer comes to just below my waist which is a good length for me. This top now comes in a short sleeve version – the Gemma Layered Top. Worn with these very old Cotton Capri trousers from Winser London, another perennial for my wardrobe, and a design that they produce every year. Finally my Ugg slip-ons that also are produced each year in a variety of colours and are simply one of the most comfortable summer shoes and perfect for when your pedicure is not at its best!

Top from At Last – shop HERE
Trousers and shoes as above

I have binned (donating to charity when out of lockdown) all the shapes I know don’t suit me e.g. thigh hugging, long jumpers that just make my legs look so short. Just loving the colour is not enough any more.

White tee-shirts and jeans that are no longer white have not made the cut and now just two pairs of white casual trousers have made the edit. Who really needs more than two pairs of white trousers? Dog walking, gardening and cooking in white trousers is a no-no for me. They should really be reserved for going out in and that is not going to be happening in the very near future.

Perfect time to give my summer clothes a wash and air-dry.

So what am I wearing on dog walks. I found these old, favourite jeans (see below) from Donna Ida, a few seasons ago, that are in such a lightweight, stretchy cotton. Perfect for this weather as I find denim too heavy in the summer.

I cheated with the blouse as it is only a neck and front. I found this company, TLM Edit, selling a selection of these broderie-anglaise detachable collars at The Early, Early Christmas Fair and snapped one up. I have had so many compliments from girlfriends I think they would make a great gift. As you can see they work under a V-neck too. Click HERE for more info.

Linen Shirt from Marks & Spencer – shop HERE
Boyfriend Jeans from Baukjen – shop HERE
Cardigan Winser London – past collection
Annabel enjoying the morning sun, a smoothie and the newspaper from post: My Wardobe Cleanse
Morning sunshine, a smoothie and the newspaper – BLISS!!

Pink is another of my favourite colours. Pop it on and it lightens and brightens my face and mood. There are so many shades so there is bound to be one that suits you. I prefer the softer shades. This linen shirt, in the picture above, is from Marks and Spencer this season and the Winser London cardigan is very old but I have at last found the perfect shirt to match it.

The pale pink sweater is from Birdie London in 100% Merino wool and again the perfect weight for April. During my wardrobe cleanse I am trying to keep colours together so that I can find items more easily.

Annabel at her piano lesson following her wardrobe cleanse
Can you spot the Peacock nail varnish!

OH and I have been trying to learn the piano. It is not going brilliantly but we are battling on as we feel this lockdown might go on for longer than anticipated for our age group. So there is hope that we can learn at least one tune by the time we are allowed out. I think our children think it so funny that we should want to learn the piano at our ripe old age. But you are never too old are you?

So my wardrobe is nearly in perfect order and there is a big bag ready for the charity shop when they open up again. This exercise has been cathartic and I feel thoroughly cleansed. It has also been useful as I have truly seen what works on me and what doesn’t. In normal times we are in such a rush that we end up wearing the same combination of clothes or worse still buying something similar. I have also done some mending as I went along, sewn on buttons, handwashed jumpers and de-furred them so that everything now is ready to wear.

Fashion may seem irrelevant right now and I do agree, to some extent. However doing your hair and make-up, and popping on a nice cheery outfit can do so much for your mental health and for those around you. It is also so lovely to open your wardrobe following a wardrobe cleanse and be able to see all of your clothes at a glance. No more rummaging for that illusive shirt!

Let me know, via the comments section below, what is working for you with your clothes.

Stay safe and well – the home stretch is in sight.

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Sarah Machin
Sarah Machin
2 years ago

I so agreed with your article on having a cathartic clean out. I realised when,for the. umpteenth Spring in a row I was getting out the same old tops and trousers that I haven’t worn last year or the year before and the year before that and so on so have
had quite a radical clear out and yes,I too, have a bag ready for my favourite charity shop. I think they may be quite overwhelmed with bags by the time
Lockdown is over! I have sewn on buttons( and thank my mum and Brown Owl how to make do and mend ) and even had time to
Make my daughter a “scrubs” bag out of part of an old duvet and appliqué it for the start of her new clinical job on Monday. Next project -the airing cupboard! As Captain Scott said “I may be some time”!
Sarah xx

Sarah Machin
Sarah Machin
2 years ago

Oops I meant Captain Oates!

2 years ago

Hi Annabel. I had already cleared out my wardrobe but was reluctant to introduce a suggestion by Trinny that wardrobe items should be arranged by colour. I have always arranged them by work/casual. I have struggled with the new arrangement (ie ballgowns amidst black work trews) but it has highlighted my preference for black and green and where I am less adventurous or too outrageous. It has also highlighted by tendency to buy things I only wear once for specific occasions! Definitely need a rethink about what is missing. Sister in Law has a theory that you have to buy a “whole outfit” at a time rather than random pieces. She always looks amazing. My 23 year old son is brilliant at coordination but his colour pallet is limited to white, beige and black. He always finds a perfect outfit though rather than me declaring I have nothing to wear when I have a vast selection of totally mismatched clothes. Son is a great fan of Uniqlo. Don’t even get me started on my collection of expensive unworn shoes and bags. Still working from home in current climate (NHS emergency response team admin) and I think Teams Meetings should be banned, seeing myself in the bottom right hand corner of the screen is hideous. Terrified of needles but suspect I might be seeking botox in the new worldl! 🙁

debbie longville
debbie longville
2 years ago

I, too, have been clearing out my wardrobe! I ‘had my colours done’ over a year ago (inspired by your experiences) and so I have (FINALLY) discarded anything that isn’t in my Autumn palette. I have arranged my clothes by colour and I must say that a wardrobe that previously looked dull and uninspiring now looks surprisingly attractive and there are lots of outfit combos that I can’t wait to try out! And I have ALMOST perfected Marie Kondo’s folding techniques so my drawers are also looking beautiful!

I’m setting myself the target of one shelf or drawer or cupboard in the morning every few days. Then I can sit in the garden to read with a cup of tea or coffee as a reward!

Thanks for your wonderful blog!


Judith Steven-Setchell
Judith Steven-Setchell
2 years ago

I sorted out my wardrobe just before lockdown started, in the distancing phase. I colour coordinated in categories- all my trousers are hung together in colour order for instance. I don’t fold, I roll and then mix up the colours in the drawers so that I can find the correct tee shirt or sweater. All this organisation inspired me to wear a different outfit every day and photograph. I’m making an album “What Granny Wore in Lockdown”. I’m enjoying doing this and it really cheers me up!

2 years ago

Hi Annabel,
Just wondering if you are discarding the brighter colours in your wardrobe, as you prefer softer colours these days. So softer pink rather than bright pink. I too am a summer season palette but have some brighter colours not sure if you can use tonal colours to offset a brighter shade?
Also I am an apple shape – so can Grace advise on whether she avoids jumpers in favour of cardigans. What is her favourite outfit combination. By the way, my experiment worked on removing the elastic hem from a top, but it was stitched in so took longer to do but was worth it.
Anyway stay safe ladies, and keep coming up with such varied topics.
With best wishes. Morfudd