What to bin, store, sell and wear


As the new year starts, it is time to reassess your wardrobe and decide what to do with your clothes. While cheap fashion items can go, your children will never forgive you for getting rid of classics

Every new fashion season brings with it the joy of the new but, sadly, the sad passing of the trends with which we were in love a few short months ago.

While September 2012 told us that wedge trainers were still in, January 2013 – and the myriad high-street copies of Isabel Marant’s original Beckett – tells us that they are very much out. These are not times in which we should be throwing the Becketts out with the bathwater; au contraire, these are times to sell, consign or otherwise recycle, with the refuse pile being the ultimate last resort.

But how do you know which goes in which bracket? And how can you be truly ruthless when looking forward to your spring/summer wardrobe?

BIN IT: super-cheap, fast-fashion items that won’t last another season, anything beyond repair

Let’s be realistic. Spring cleaning is all well and good, but Trinny and Susannah are remnants of a Celtic Tiger whose miaow hasn’t been heard around these parts in a while, and throwing out clothes without holes in them is a folly we can no longer afford.

So your “refuse” pile will be small. In it we suggest throwing: anything that is irreparably torn or stained (cotton and silk can be used for polishing silverware and wooden furniture – just tear into strips); and cut-price items that won’t be welcome in charity shops and can’t be passed on to friends (super-trendy dresses that cost less than a tenner, maxi dresses that smell of holidays and are worn through from the wash and flat pumps that let in water can all go in the bin).

STORE IT: brocade trousers, embellished jackets, metallic knitwear, oversized statement neckpieces

There are certain items that will inevitably come back into fashion, even if they may have temporarily seen their day. Last season, we were inundated with luxe fabrics and gold accents in a trend that seemed to permeate every occasion and social class: baroque. The new season has pared itself back and cleaned itself up, and the OTT fabrics and embellishments of our Edwardian autumn are well and truly passé, but that’s not to say that they won’t return.

Vacuum bags are a great way of storing items you won’t be wearing for a while (although I tend to pack mine in suitcases on top of the wardrobe, which is hell when you realise, last-minute, that you need the suitcase). If your items are so on-trend that they won’t survive a year in a suitcase, drop them into your local charity shop, try your luck on eBay or consign them.

SELL IT: Isabel Marant Beckett sneakers, bright floral suits, 1920s embellished dresses, anything designer (that you no longer love)

There are poor souls on this planet who may not be quite as up to date as you are, and so they will not realise that baroque is passé and wedge trainers are no more, and may be dying to buy into the trend, even now. For those people, your willingness to part with your past loves is excellent news.

For high-value items, eBay is your best friend. Isabel Marant trainers, for example, still fetch close to their RRP on eBay, and designer items by big names such as Diane von Furstenberg, YSL and Miu Miu will always sell well. Be sure to put a reserve price on your items and do give due consideration to how long it will take you to post them, and how much it will cost.

For high-end high-street pieces, consigning is a relatively new trend from the US that is taking hold in Ireland as a great way to rid yourself of your lightly worn items while recouping (some of) your losses. In Dublin, Siopaella ( siopaella.com) in Temple Bar will resell lightly worn, high-end high-street gear (think French Connection, Reiss, Topshop and Cos) and give you 40 per cent of the price. If you have a decent number of items to sell, this is a great way to cut down on the grunt work involved in eBaying.

WEAR IT: Breton stripes, leather trousers, leather jackets, denim shirts, parkas, macs, anything military, heirloom items (Chanel, Prada and Mulberry), skinny jeans

There are certain things that children will forgive of their parents – zero knowledge of popular culture, for example, or confusing Rihanna with Beyoncé – and there are certain things that they most certainly will not. In the latter category, you can put the disappearance, for charity or otherwise, of any and all amazing designer items that they will spy in photographs, 40 years from now.

To err on the safe side, keep any high-end designer duds. If the worst comes to the worst, you can sell them when times get tough; otherwise, they are worth holding on to. Similarly, there are certain items that will never be truly out of fashion, and in this (and in so much else) I recommend thinking of the French. Breton stripe tees, sweatshirts and polo necks; camel macs; and leather jackets all benefit from their association with the most fashionable nation and are considered classics.