My Organised Wardrobe

Lisa Armstrong Fashion Director – The Telegraph

1. How important is it for you to have an organised wardrobe or dressing room?

Extremely important. You know how some women need to wear matching lingerie sets to feel together? That’s how i feel about my dressing room. If it’s looking drunk and disorderly, that’s a bad start to the day. Weeding, pruning and metaphorically watering it is one of the most therapeutic activities in my life. I really should take up the piano or gardening instead….

2. What is your organising style?

Boring but effective. Everything in categories and within those categories, everything divided into colour. Shoes organised according to colour and heel height.

3. Which fashion brand do you keep going back to and why?

For every day it has to be Joseph – I always end up buying a few pieces each season and they’re always the items I go back to year after year. The quality’s good, the design is great and the pricing feels sensible. It’s not cheap but it’s not ouch either. I also have quite a lot of Sacai – it’s very unusual and creative, but also highly functional.

4. Is there an item of clothing you currently covet?

I would adore one of those fairy tale Alexander McQueen evening dresses you see in the shows. Even if I never wore it, it would give me pleasure every time I opened my wardrobe. Unfortunately they tend to be couture pieces and cost about £15,000….I’m waiting for McQueen to have a sample sale.

5. Can you find things easily in your wardrobe?

These days yes. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t end up buying replicas of what you already own – and it saves so much time and fuss in the mornings. I am quite good at clear-outs. A Scottish architect gave me a very good tip recently: when you wear something, put it back in the wardrobe with the hanger facing the opposite way from the others (this presupposes all your hangers face the same way, which, if you’re still reading this, they probably do). After six months you’ll have an irrefutable picture of what you do and don’t wear and can begin to discard accordingly.

7. Which treasured item of clothing will you never get rid of?

I have some incredible Erdem dresses which he gave me which are works of art. They’re staying come what may. I also have some Chanel and Dior bags which I bought with one eye to handing them on to my daughters – or that’s my excuse. I love jewellery too. I recently bought a vintage Cartier cocktail watch, which as I’m discovering, is akin to owning a vintage car, when it comes to maintenance. But it’s beautiful . Now I just need another one so both my daughters have something….


8. Do you collect a particular type of clothing or accessory?

I mostly wear trousers and silk blouses during the day so have a lot – I used to love Marni’s trousers but since they changed designers I find Goat and Joseph are better. I’ve always loved dangly earrings since I was a child watching Sunday night period tv serials – I snuck out and got my ears pierced when I was 13 because of an Anthony Trollope adaptation. So I have quite a few earrings…. They’re probably my best buys – I’m still wearing pairs I bought 20 years ago.

9. Do you declutter your clothes regularly – as presumably you are constantly acquiring more?

Yes I love to declutter – and I’ve become quite Marie Kondo about it. I try only to keep things I really enjoy wearing. It gets harder though, because I love all my clothes. But I’ve learned that it’s ok to fall out of love with something and it can be very rewarding passing it on to someone who appreciates it.

10. Have you ever had to keep excess clothes in a storage facility?

No. That’s a slippery slope. I’d say that once it goes off to a storage facility, it’s not going to get worn again. Better to liberate it into a new life.

11. Do you have any organising tips for clothes and accessories you can share?

I love the Skinny Non-Slip Hangers – over the years I’ve transferred all my clothes onto them. After a horribly laborious and expensive moth evacuation this year, I now store all my knitwear in ziplock bags with lavender sachets. I always use shoe trees and boot trees – it really extends their life. Bags are kept in their cloth sacks to prevent rubbing and scratching . And I recently organised all my jewellery into stackable compartmentalised trays so that I can see everything at a glance. It makes such a difference. I’m very goody two shoes, but if you spend your hard earned cash on nice things, it seems crazy not to respect both the object and the outlay.

Skinny non-slip feature

12. Can a fashionista ever adopt a “less is more” ethos?

They can try. The truth is, it takes a lot of trial and error to get to that perfect minimal wardrobe.

13. Do you live by the maxim buy less buy better?

On the whole. But even goody two shoes have their weak moments in Zara and H&M.