Kirstie Clements: This season I’m dressing to impress – myself, mostly

Kirstie Clements comes up with a clever idea to uncover the gems hiding in your wardrobe.

Kirstie Clements comes up with a clever idea to uncover the gems hiding in your wardrobe. Photo: Getty

My son’s fiancée started a new job this week in a very corporate workplace.

There has been quite a lot of preparation on her part, putting together a professional wardrobe, because in her last job she worked from home and her clothing choices were mostly based around leisure wear and leggings.

She bought a fab pantsuit in mustard yellow, high- heeled pumps, a lovely knit knee-length dress, lots of black tops and well-cut trousers and skirts.

I had a pang of recognition for all those career years of power suits and showy designer handbags and pin-thin heels. I don’t do any of that now, as I mainly work from home.

I’d be unlikely to put on a blazer for any occasion, unless it was for evening. I mostly reach for comfy trousers and a shirt (in the hotter months) or a sweater. My handbag is a small cross-body in natural leather, my shoes are Hoka Slides. My fashion needs have changed.

But I do have some lovely clothes in my wardrobe that are lacking attention. So I decided that if I was only wearing 20 per cent of my clothing 80 per cent of the time, it was time to challenge that dreaded algorithm.

Part of the reason we don’t wear a lot of our things is because we simply don’t see them. During winter this year, I put up a rack in the bedroom and took every coat I have out of their plastic storage bags and arranged them by style and colour: Black, camel, khaki, tweed, trench coats, parkas etc.

Old and yet fresh

I then opened my drawers and pulled out a variety of scarves, hanging the ones that worked best with each coat around the handle of the hangers. I also took out my jewellery and combed through it, working out different ways to stack bangles, draping necklaces around the hangers as well. I put brooches on some of them.

It definitely upped my style this winter, as it was all at my fingertips every time I wanted to get dressed and every coat got an airing. There were beautiful coats I had completely forgotten I owned (hello, khaki wool Isabel Marant pea coat), and I had worked out new ways to make them look fresh.

This week, I started another experiment connected to shopping my own wardrobe, one that I’m calling “a dress a day”. I took out all my dresses and put them on the rack (there’s room because the heavy coats have gone back into storage).

Instead of reaching for pants and a top when I come out of the shower in the morning, I put on a dress. The first one was a navy-blue silk calf-length tea dress, and I spent all day at home writing in it, with bare feet. The courier told me I looked nice when I came to the door.

The next day I wore a pink and beige ankle-length linen tunic dress I normally save for resort holidays, again with bare feet. The day after, a Dries Van Noten long-sleeved dress with metallic thread.

I’m popping out to the supermarket and the bakery in my finest clothes and it feels wonderful.

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