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Wednesday 25 January 2023

Make the Best of Your Wardrobe

 Clare Smythson from Zero Based Wardrobe with is This Mutton's Gail Hanlon as they go through her wardrobe.

Dear friends. One trend so far from the Is This Mutton 2023 survey so far (scroll down if you haven't taken it yet) is that most of us don't organise our wardrobe in any way, and buying duplicate garments is quite common.

Speaking from my own experience, I probably wear 40% of my clothes. But let me introduce you to a woman who's on a mission to make our wardrobes joyful again, and reduce the waste from garments, both financial and environmental, from clothes never worn.

Clare Smythson from Redhill in Surrey has started a new business, Zero Waste Wardrobe, and hopes to leave clients invigorated and inspired to have fun again with their clothes. 

She started it because figures show that British women wore 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. She says: "My aim is to help you save money by using your wardrobe to its fullest extent. You will learn how to use all your clothes in different combinations, and you'll find everything more easily thanks to good wardrobe organisation."

Clare describes herself as a very organised person. Her varied career has seen her applying her skills and years of experience as an administrator and IT  training manager, and also as a salesperson and creative artist. She supports a friend's businesss, Peak and Brim Designer Hats, by selling them at events like Hampton Court Flower Show, and her creativity is expressed through her glass painting business, Ornately Lanterns

She is also very colourful. A vibrant member of the Kettlewell Colour Club, Clare has always been a flamboyant dresser. She has a very large wardrobe but says she wears 95% of it, thanks to a system that tells her how often she wears each piece.  "I don't care how many clothes you have but what I do care about is how often you're wearing them. Are you wasteful in what you've got? Is there money sitting in your wardrobe?"

Below: a gathering of Kettlewell Colour Club members at Clare's house last year. She's in the doorway. Can you spot me? 

How Zero Waste Wardrobe Works

There's a pre-visit questionnaire. Clare visits you at home and identifies what you're not wearing. She'll then work with you and your personal style to dress things up or down, and discover new ways of wearing things, perhaps with different jewellery. 

She will advise on how to get rid of clothes, via charity/thrift shops and secondhand outlets like Vinted, and will be offering a service where she sells your clothes for you

Three familiar problems with our clothes are size, lifestyle and a fondness for black.

Since the lockdowns, many women are working from home more often so their work wear wardrobe is not as important. For those who've retired, there are fewer opportunities to wear "dressy" clothes but we're reluctant to get rid of them.

Many of us keep clothes that are too small in the hope we'll lose weight to wear them again. 

And black is a bit of a safety blanket for many. I wore a lot of black to work because it was easy. But black flatters just a small number of people.  Clare says there's no need to get rid of all of it. Instead, she gives tips on how to make it work for you, perhaps with a fur collar or earrings in a good colour.

An average session lasts around 2 hours, during which Clare takes photos which she sends afterwards, along with a follow-up note. There's a private Facebook group for further discussion, and Zoom calls can also be arranged. Clare is good fun so you'll enjoy the session. 

"The Results are Transformative and Long Lasting!"

Author Jenny Worstall describes her experience of using Zero Waste Wardrobe

Author Jenny Worstall has found she has a much bigger selection of outfits to choose from following her session with Clare and Zero Waste Wardrobe.  She says: "I already knew my season was Spring, but was unsure of my style. Clare sent a quiz to complete before the session then on the day we discussed my answers and found I was a Natural Classic with a few hints of other styles. All was beginning to make sense!

"Then we tackled my wardrobe, with everything put on the bed to appraise and sort. Clare was particularly keen for me to consider the clothes I rarely wore. 

"These were divided into ones I didn’t actually like (destined to be sent to the charity shop/sold) and those I liked but didn’t wear for other reasons.

"I wasn't sure how to style some skirts I used to wear for work. I wondered if they were still ‘me’, now I was more home based."

Jenny says Clare introduced her to combinations she would never have thought about. "She suggested I combine a gold lacy blouse I’d been keeping for evening wear with a vintage Laura Ashley needlecord waistcoat I’d bought in my twenties. 

"She encouraged me to avoid ‘keeping things for best’, advised me to stop buying duplicate clothes (a real weakness of mine), and explained why certain clothes would never get worn because, although they might be the right colours, they weren’t the right style for me – for example, I need to remember leopard print is for Romantics. And she has the most ingenious system with hangers to make sure you reach neglected parts of your wardrobe."

How to Book Your Session

Clare charges £60 an hour and will travel within the UK. If you live within 50 miles of Redhill, Surrey no mileage is charged; for 50 miles plus, mileage will be charged.  

Is This Mutton readers are offered a 25% discount. 

Visit the website to book, quoting code MUTTON251. Or contact Clare via zerowastewardrobe@hotmail.com

Do you try to wear all of your wardrobe, or do you blanch at the thought of how much goes unworn? Do let us know in the comments.

Sharing this post with: On Mondays We Link Up at Glass of Glam, Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue#AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling BoomerChic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge,  Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi


There's still time to share your wardrobe usage in the 2023 Is This Mutton Survey. It will take 10-15 minutes. You don't need a Google log-in, and no email addresses are being captured. The results will be shared in February.


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Last Week's Favourites

Iris from La Moumous with her post 5 2023 Fashion Trends for the Non-Fashion Trend Followers

Return of the Big Chill by Veronica at Vronni's Style Meanderings

Is This Mutton Favourite:  How to Look Sexy for a Valentine's Date Over 50 by Nicole at High Latitude Style

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1 comment

  1. That sounds very interesting. My trap is that I buy single items. Abs then they don't fit to what I have.


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