Doing a New Year closet clear out? Here's some advice on what to love and what to offload

Doing a New Year closet clear out is as cathartic for mind, body and soul as banishing the booze. Both release a fresh perspective on who you want to be and what you want to achieve over the next 12 months. The danger of course is that, in the flurry of excitement to reinvent yourself, you'll throw the baby out with the bathwater, or the cashmere sweater out with the knobbly knit.

A good closet clear out that's going to leave you freed up rather than fretting requires a considered approach. Some items, whether you wear them right now or not, should reserve their right to be there. And don't listen to anyone who recommends you donate anything you haven't worn in two years. I have many wonderful pieces in my wardrobe that I've owned for almost 20 years, and I still love them and pull them out when appropriate; though that's not every day or anything like it. As a rule, if an item still fits me, it hasn't fallen to shreds, and I feel wonderful when I wear it, it stays in my wardrobe.

So what are the items you should never turn your back on? Cashmere, Merino and wool sweaters always look good even as they age. They're great for layering, especially the finer knits which are ideal for underneath dresses or T-shirts in the depths of winter. I have a wonderful stash of jumpers, some of which I haven't worn yet this winter, but I know I'll return to them again, if not this year, then next.

When I was young, I had one "good" coat that had to work with everything I wore. I've always considered it such a luxury to have a variety of outerwear in my wardrobe and so I won't part with any of them. I have a gold brocade coat, which I bought in Karen Millen in London for a wedding about 15 years ago. I pulled it out last winter for the first time in several years, and it felt brand new again. My style had veered in a different direction in the years after I bought it, but now it feels just right again. I'm so glad I never made the mistake of giving it away. Remember that your style will evolve as you get older, and while that might mean banishing certain items from your wardrobe for good, it can also mean holding onto others.


My jewellery style has changed significantly over the years. In my twenties and early thirties, statement necklaces were my signature and I amassed many costume pieces. These days, I wear earrings more often than necklaces, and one statement ring that my former colleague at IMAGE bought me from MoMuse in Powerscourt. I wear it every day, and for me, one strong piece of jewellery is enough at a time. But those statement necklaces will never be given away as I know in time they'll intrigue me as they have in the past and become part of my look. I really admire "older" women who wear statement pieces with panache, as it looks so unexpected and modern. It's something I could see myself trying out in ten years' time.


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