The Great January Packaway: How To Detox Your Wardrobe Like A Fashion Editor

The surprise tips and life-saving hacks to organise your closet — and, most importantly, your life. Happy New Year.

Juice detoxes are so boring. The post-Boxing Day, pre-New Year's Eve wardrobe clear out is the new way to take control of your life. A good one will not only add hours to your day, but free up your mind to think about bigger life goals.

To help you get there, we've assembled a panel of top retailers, organisational pros and seasoned fashion collectors to talk you through building and maintaining the wardrobe you've always wanted. Now put those final days of 2016 to good use.

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IDA PETERSSON

Accessories Buying Manager at Browns

Leather bag, £2,140, Gucci

If you were to clear out everything in your closet and start with a blank slate, what would you start your wardrobe with for 2017?

It's a key question fashion insiders often ask themselves when making a personal wardrobe edit. In Petersson's case, the answer to that question is fairly simple: eight interchangeable pieces.

The resident accessories expert at Browns says the backbone of her wardrobe is made up of cashmere sweaters: 'My all-time favourite comes from Acne, but I've also started buying some from Vince.' She also relies on jeans: 'Maybe it's because I'm Swedish, but I always favour Frame and Acne.'

For outerwear, it's the leather jacket: 'It can be an expensive purchase, but the right one will be your best friend for years to come! Saint Laurent is the holy grail.' And she says don't forget the perfect shirt: 'Essential for 2017 – it's the key piece that will instantly update any wardrobe. J.W.Anderson does a great fit in a statement print.' For accessories, she looks to classic black pumps: 'My pick for 2017 would be Jennifer Chamandi's Lorenzo pumps, as they take you from day to night.' And her daily carry-all, a Céline box bag: 'It's the most timeless shape out there'.

She pads it all out with even simpler basics, which she buys in multiples. 'I bulk-buy white T-shirts when I find a great shape. I approach cashmere sweaters the same way,' she says. Ultimately, she reveals, the key to mastering the perfect edit is building a wardrobe with pieces that all work together. 'I always try to think about how well an item I am buying will integrate with my existing wardrobe. Will it work with most things, or am I going to need to invest in a whole new outfit? This doesn't come naturally to me, so it's something I've had to force myself to consider.'

What's The Expiration Date?

Six months? 12 months? Two years? Our clear-out panel weighs in with their views on how long to hold on to a piece before letting it go.

Six months

'Editing doesn't necessarily mean throwing out. If you have designer clothes that you've invested in and you don't want to give them away, store them in a box and keep them for six months. If you don't need to open the box again to get anything out, then it's time to part with it,' says Lisa Aiken, Retail Fashion Director, Net-A-Porter.

12 months

'Every season I edit my wardrobe and ask myself: "When did I last wear this?" If I haven't worn it in the past 12 months and it's not a collector's item, I force myself to resell it or give it to a charity shop,' explains Ida Petersson, Accessories Buying Manager at Browns.

Two years

'Two years will give you plenty of time to decide if the cycle of fashion will come back in your favour,' says Kenya Hunt, ELLE's Features Fashion Director.


JJ MARTIN

Founder and Editor of the e-commerce website La Double J

Cotton-mix coat, £555, Jacquemus at Net-A-Porter
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'I follow the Italians when it comes to wardrobe maintenance. They're the pros!' says Milan-based JJ Martin, who is fashion famous for her extensive collection of vintage and designer pieces, which she's frequently photographed wearing on the street-style circuit.

Martin has a household rule against crowded closets. 'Otherwise you'll never find anything! You've got to clean it out, put it all on the same type of hanger, facing the same direction,' she says.

'Always fold, never hang, the cashmere.'

'And long garments should never be hung in short closets. I divide everything between winter, summer and year-round seasons, and within that, everything is divided by style then coordinated by colour. Whatever season we're in gets placed in my bedroom closet and the nearby hallway closets. Everything else is stored in a wardrobe in our laundry room.'

Even if you don't have as many closets as Martin, she stands by her 'divide and conquer' approach. 'It's a lot of work, so you may need to enlist a helper, but it's an organisational life-saver. Having my closets in order keeps my head in order. I really love and depend on it.'

JJ Martin's Guide To Storing Vintage

Always use… big, beautiful hangers for delicate items. 'Treat these pieces like dear old friends. They'll be happier for it,' she says.

Fold over… heavily beaded or embroidered items to avoid them being tugged at or having too much pressure on the shoulders on a hanger.

Make sure you… have enough room for the pieces in your closet. It's very important the clothes aren't exposed to any humidity at all.


LISA AIKEN

Retail Fashion Director at Net-A-Porter

Satin boots, £860, Marco De Vincenzo

Aiken is quick to point out that wardrobe staples should never be boring. 'They should have a fashion twist. When buying something, you should be excited about wearing and styling it, otherwise it's not for you,' she says.

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Take the blazer, a classic item that when chosen wisely can elevate an outfit: 'I own two by Ellery. They always add something interesting to my look.' Among the things that excite her most for 2017 are 'Balenciaga white patent-leather ankle boots, which you can wear with anything from jeans to skirts'.

She also plans to top up her wardrobe with new versions of the reworked shirt, including Off-White's oversized flannel version and a Jacquemus printed cotton-poplin number. 'Again, these are all wardrobe staples, but they're not basic.'


Fold, Bag Or Hang?

How different fabrics, including cashmere, leather and silks, need to be stored.

Fold

Always keep your cashmere jumpers folded on a shelf in your closet, rather than on hangers. 'If you hang them, they'll just become misshapen with time,' says Jan Haste, Branch Operations Manager for Jeeves of Belgravia, a fashion-favourite dry cleaner.

Bag

'If you need to store something in a garment bag, go for a breathable fabric such as cotton,' says Haste. Plastic garment bags are particularly bad for leather. 'The plastic will cause the leather to dry out,' she adds.

Hang

'Leather jackets and coats are best kept on wide wooden or padded hangers to maintain the shape. And all silks should be hung, never folded. Don't pack silk into a full wardrobe; abrasions can damage the fabric.'


PETRO STOFBERG

Co-founder of Wardrobe Icons

Leather and canvas boots, £1,300, and metal, resin, lacquer, and pyrite bracelet, £1,700, both Dior

Stofberg, a former editor-turned-professional shopper, says she won't buy a piece if she doesn't think she'll get 30 wears out of it. And she arranges all of her timeless pieces – 'Joseph leather leggings, Gucci flats, MiH jeans, Whistles skirts, Chinti & Parker cashmere jumpers' – in her closet like a capsule wardrobe, based on how she might wear them.

'Never crowd the silk.'

'I have the building blocks of outfits all ready in my closet. It's just a case of slotting them together,' she says. She admits the approach has served her well; it now takes her an average of five minutes to get dressed: 'That's mainly because I have my capsule wardrobe all sorted.'

And by sorted, she means literally sorted, right down to the socks – a trick that she says saves her loads of time: 'I use a storage separator in my smalls drawers to keep my tights, socks and underwear neatly organised in. It helps me find what I need in the mornings. IKEA has the best ones. And for jewellery, we use stackers from John Lewis. My partner Laura loves Matalan for non-slip, super-thin hangers that you can buy for £10 a bunch. And I think West Elm and Kate Spade do great containers and boxes.'

Her best hack of all? 'I always put a Cowshed diffuser in my wardrobe. I love the spa-like smell that greets me when I open my closet doors.'

What To Resell Now

Vestiaire Collective's Fanny Moizant on the pieces that will get you the most money, quickly, if you do decide to sell.

Saint Laurent cross-body bags: 'Saint Laurent draws a strong interest even after the departure of Hedi Slimane and arrival of Anthony Vaccarello. It's currently one of the strongest brands for a good return across all products, especially the cross-body bags.'

Gucci fur- lined loafers: 'In some cases, the resale value surpasses the original price.'

The Gucci Dionysus bag: 'It's currently reselling for around 85% of the original retail price.'

Anything Vêtements: 'All of the pieces are flying at resale. In some cases, we're seeing Vêtements sweaters reselling higher than the original retail price after they've sold out in store.'

Hermès bracelets: 'They have enduring appeal, especially the Clic H.'

Classic Chanel bags: 'A consistent, steady return on investment.'

Valentino Rockstuds: 'Anything from this range is still popular now. We keep thinking this style might slow down, but it hasn't yet.'


This feature appears in the January issue of ELLE

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