How to Give Your Wardrobe a Refresh and What to Buy Now

I always feel like refreshing my wardrobe at the start of the New Year (I will also change out and update it again for the Spring season once the weather gets a little warmer) by looking back over the previous year and determining what worked and what didn’t. Over the last year I have made a move to buy less but buy better and by that I mean quality and versatility. If you are a regular reader you will know that I recommend wearing what you have rather than “saving it for best” and wearing in multiple ways with the help of some key accessories. The reason I don’t agree with saving items for best is that you really aren’t getting your money’s worth out of them. Yes, you may want to buy one fabulous dress for a special birthday, but on the whole I want to make my money and purchases work harder for me and get good cost per wear from my wardrobe.

So here is what I do in January – you might want to try it yourself (before you rush out and buy in the sales just because it’s a bargain!

  • Open the cupboard doors, pull out drawers and get everything visible
  • Start by putting together in one area those items that you have worn constantly

How to create a capsule wardrobe

My so often worn navy leggings I also bought them in grey – see below

Left – Poncho (sale) // Top (sale)// Leggings // Boots // Hat last year’s // Right – Necklace and Knit last year’s // Red top //

  • Go through these items and see if you can work out why you have worn them so much – are they really comfortable but still flattering? Have you been paid a compliment while wearing them? Does the colour work really well on you? (Order the personalised colour dossier and find out if you don’t know which are your best colours)
  • Next make sure that they are still in good condition and don’t need any attention. Only put back in the wardrobe items that are ready to wear.
  • If there is a particular item that you wear again and again would it make sense to add it to your shopping list in a different colour? Or if there is one that has seen better days and really needs retiring make a note to look for a replacement.
  • Now think about how else you might extend these pieces – could you add a pair of shoes or a scarf that will work with several of them and give them a refreshed new look?

capsule wardrobe, how to accessorise

Shawl and hat from last winter, necklace from the summer, I added navy boots.

  • Next it’s time to tackle the less worn items and work out why you don’t reach for them so frequently. Is it because they need mending or cleaning? If so get it done. Tip – put them all together and set aside some time to batch the tasks. For example if hems have come down or buttons are missing, do all the sewing chores in one go. Get together everything that needs hand washing and do it all together (note – if you hate hand washing and tend to leave it until you want to wear a particular outfit again I’d suggest not buying hand wash items in the future, but check if your washing machine has a hand wash program – I wash all of my silk and cashmere on the hand wash or cold program)
  • Now look again at the remaining items. I’d guess that many of them will be impulse buys – perhaps a new colour that is “fashionable” but you have discovered just doesn’t work for you, or you urgently needed an outfit for an event but haven’t worn it since.
  • Can you make any of these items work by adding a new piece or accessory? If so, before you add to your shopping list make sure that what you are thinking of buying to make this item work will also work with those items you do wear. Don’t just buy a pair of shoes just to go with this item because then you will have a pair of shoes you hardly wear too! It is better to let this item go and replace it with something that works with the rest of your “good” items.
  • Now you should be left with items that you haven’t worn much, or at all. So think about why. For example, I have stopped buying shoes in the winter months because I know that I pretty much wear boots. Apart from some more sparkly or dressy shoes (which I already have) I don’t need new shoes. On the other hand I love to wear leggings tucked into boots, so this winter I invested in navy and berry coloured boots to extend the wear of my black and brown knee boots.

creating a capsule wardrobe,

Getting cost per wear from my berry boots. Left – Top (brilliant, so flattering and washes beautifully) // Leggings // Boots (low stock – also in grey and navy) // Right – Jumper // Jacket (gifted – thanks to Very Exclusive) // Scarf // Bag (this colour sold out but available via link in green, brown, black and navy) //

  • Everything that really doesn’t work or hasn’t been worn needs to go, because rather than opening your cupboard doors and finding plenty of outfit options you will be confused by too many items and just grab the same jeans and jumper.
  • If you do want to buy an outfit for a special occasion try and make sure that you can split the pieces up and wear them with other items in your wardrobe.

If you would like to be prepared for a full wardrobe Spring Clean you can get my free ebook on How to Spring Clean your wardrobe by clicking the button below – you will be emailed with the link.

So what to buy now?

Here is what I am considering adding to the pieces I already have (I want to expand my navy and move away from black now I have lightened my hair):

creating a capsule wardrobe,

Reversible coat (an investment but half price in the sale) // New season cardigan in Mint // Navy cardigan // Navy swing top (similar to my black one and in the sale) // Navy tote (one of the few neutral colours I don’t have and in the sale) // New season print top //

Outfits with my existing items and these new ones:

creating a capsule wardrobe,

creating a capsule wardrobe,

Right – Knit and scarf Christmas presents and both in the sale // Black tote gifted thanks to Very Exclusive // Black boots similar to mine //

I hope this helps you to refresh your wardrobe for January. I think after Christmas we often need a bit of a boost and a treat so if there are items that will work in your wardrobe and make you feel good then buy them – I don’t believe in buying just because it’s in the sale but I do believe your wardrobe should make you feel good and if it doesn’t then give it an update because as the saying goes “You’re worth it!”.

create a capsule wardrobe


  1. Gill Evans
    January 5, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    Happy New Year to you!
    Inspirational post as ever. I’ve just had a major throw out and have determined to go for quality after finding what I love via buying from charity shops. 2017 is going to be a year of treats and a bit more luxury – that started when I won 1st prize on your site before Christmas. The red glitter nail polish was to die for!!
    Keep up the great work and thanks again.

    • Maria
      January 7, 2017 / 5:07 pm

      Thank you Gill. Well done on the clear out it does make you feel good at the start of the year doesn’t it. I’m so pleased you liked your prize – we all deserve a bit of luxury sometimes and it can be something as small as a nail varnish or new lipstick. Happy New Year!

  2. Lena
    January 6, 2017 / 10:35 am

    Loved this post. My favourite so far. Thks for sharing so many great ideas.

    • Maria
      January 7, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      Thank you Lena! I’m so pleased you found it useful.

  3. Sharon
    January 6, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    I tried to follow the link for the navy swing top but it didn’t work. Could you either fix the link or tell me where you found it?

    • Maria
      January 7, 2017 / 5:02 pm

      Hi Sharon, I tried the link and it did work but the top is from Me and Em.

  4. Pat
    January 6, 2017 / 4:40 pm

    Happy New Year, Maria!!

    Sandra looks beautiful and her hairstyle really changed her looks to fabulous! Your suggestions are surely going to get her wardrobe off to a great start this new year.

    Now, on to your refresh ideas….I love the way you think multi-purpose, re-use in a different way, using small additions to current beauty bundles to make them multi-seasonal. Clearly, a wardrobe plan is a must before even looking at sale items, or any new purchases. Your suggestions getting back to core neutrals is something we need to be reminded of over and over again.
    Thank you for sharing your life’s passion so generously. I always look forward to Friday.
    A faithful fan,

    • Maria
      January 7, 2017 / 5:05 pm

      Thank you Pat and Happy New Year to you too – it is always lovely to hear from you with your kind comments. I know it is so easy to be tempted by sale bargains and this is how I have trained myself to make sure I buy sensibly, although I think sometimes we should just be frivolous too – it should be fun as well 🙂