Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 September 2020

Fashion notes: Clearing the clutter can be liberating

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of worn, and unworn, clothes languishing in my closet, there were times when I felt like covering the whole lot in tarp.

Ever moved through a chaotic wardrobe without pausing to consider that things may be done differently? Battling sleeves, spiralling anaconda style, around the neck; a face lined from nothing more exhilarating than the monotony of finding something to wear. Promising (for a few minutes) that tomorrow, we’d sort things out; we’d join the elite, the lucky few born with preternatural ability to facilitate order and create systems.

But how do things in the closet get so overcrowded? How does that ratty little denim jacket you wore in university manage to surreptitiously elude the grave for decades, as you move across the world, back and forth and back again.

For me it took (yet another move) for want of change. There was simply something infinitely tiresome about all the stuff. Yes, black dresses, (enough, at a guess, to allow for 20 Sicilian funerals), I mean you. And your little navy sisters aren’t far behind.

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of worn, and unworn, clothes languishing in my closet, as well as my own pride, there were times, I’ll be honest, when I felt like covering the whole lot in tarp, for someone (I couldn’t bare to do it myself) to scoop into the dirt. This time, I swore, it had to be ­different.

And so it was. For the more I started throwing (OK, shipping back to my parents’ place), the better I felt.

It started with a list – albeit in a brand-spanking-new Moleskin notebook. A list of what I actually needed. The rest, if you choose to follow my lead, is at your own discretion.

A good-quality trench coat was the number one selection on my list – something versatile; a classic that allows for wet weather, balmy winters, chilly springs and most else in ­between.

Because of its versatility, the black tailored jacket was another must – although I opted for a longer length to avoid looking like I forgot the other half of my suit. By adding in a pencil skirt with a little stretch, and a good-quality pair of fitted trousers, we were getting ­somewhere.

Staying with the classics, I chose a good-quality T-shirt in grey marl and a silk shirt, as it works with most other pieces – as will a plain crew navy or a charcoal jumper (in cashmere, if funds will allow for such things).

A slim-fitting dark jean (you will need to work at the perfect pair) and knee-length dress that can easily transfer from day- to nightwear with the use of clever accessorising ticked off the cross-shifters; a sophisticated sundress (or two) also made the cut.

As for accessories, well they need a whole other column, but rarely will you ever need more than three pairs of shoes at any given time. A dressy flat, a mid-level heel and an ankle boot will more often than not allow you to cover all bases.

I’ve often wondered how de-cluttering would affect mutual contentment – my earnest idealisms drowned by the beautiful swoosh-swoosh, ding-ding of the credit card, as I continued to march to the beat of the consumers’ drum. And now I know that those conservative minimalists and post-materialists that we often balk at are on to something big – and it has nothing to do with deprivation.


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Updated: October 30, 2014 04:00 AM

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