How to spring clean your work wardrobe
After frigid temps and depressingly short days, it can feel like you just spent months hibernating in your office. And in reality, you probably did.
Trudging through the snow on unbearable commutes. Dodging off-site meetings out of fear of bracing the cold. When it comes to working through the winter, the experience is daunting. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that – like most of your to-do list – you’ve started to phone it in as far as your wardrobe is concerned. But there’s good news: your rotation of black slacks and chunky knits can finally take the day off.
It’s officially spring. And that means it’s officially time for a closet overhaul.
1. SET A PLAN
Like any project, it’s essential to approach your wardrobe reset with a strategy. This isn’t your year-end review, so there’s nothing to stress about. Simply have a rough idea of your goals. Think about the outfits you wear most often. What do you reach for when you’re in a rush? What do you feel most confident in? What do you rely on when you’re trying to impress an executive – or the cute guy from finance? Then, take it a step further by mapping out a mood board on Pinterest or a folder of inspiration on Instagram. Include outfits that catch your eye, professionals you admire, and pieces you can see yourself wearing. This visual reference will help you define your office style.
2. GET KONVERTED
You’ve likely stumbled upon the tidying frenzy sparked by Japanese decluttering consultant Marie Kondo. It’d be hard not to. After her cleaning guide The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up became a New York Times best-seller, her KonMari method ignited a global spring-cleaning craze. To make the most of your seasonal sweep, start with Kondo’s tidying tricks. Assess everything in your wardrobe. If the item doesn’t ‘spark joy,’ it’s probably time for it to go. Organize what’s left – these should only be the pieces you’re genuinely excited to wear – by colour, fabric and length. Seasonal items, like winter jackets, boots, and weighty sweaters, should be neatly stored away. And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, try the KonMari system at the office. You’ll feel infinitely inspired after your laptop, email and desktop are completely cleared out.
3. MIND THE GAPS
Now that you’ve stripped back your closet, you can see where you’ll need to invest. Revisit your plan and gauge what’s missing. If you’re in a corporate environment, ensure you have all your basics, like a classic tote, trench coat, and tailored suit. But don’t just pay attention to the staples you need to replace. If you were left with a rack of shift dresses, consider adding a few new options to your wardrobe. If it’s a style you’re comfortable wearing, you’ll get more use out of it than if you opt for a trendier piece. The key to refreshing your workwear uniform is stocking your closet with things you can’t wait to wear.
4. MIX & MATCH
Once you’ve added a few new styles to your existing collection, spend a night trying everything on. Experiment by pairing unexpected pieces together and styling your favourite items in new ways. This will help you see the potential of each piece and give you time to discover what works best for you. In the morning, when you’re darting to your 9AM touch-base and your to-do list is spinning in your head, your sartorial creativity is likely non-existent. But if you’ve allowed yourself to play – when the pressure is off – you’ll feel more confident and in command when getting dressed. Even when you’re running late.
Sasha Johnson is a writer and content creator based in Toronto. Previously, she was the Manager of Digital Content at Holt Renfrew, where she led the luxury retailer’s integrated editorial and social media strategy. Her fashion, beauty, culture and lifestyle writing has appeared in Holt Renfrew’s print and digital publications, Elle Canada Magazine, and Coveteur, among other titles.