My “closet confessions” are already laid bare in my new wellness book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

I ‘fess up in a chapter in the book on de-cluttering that I need to work on my wardrobe… In the book by the way, I interview declutter expert Rachel Hoffman from Rhode Island, in the US. She shares tips on how to unclutter your habitat ie your wardrobe, house, to emails. She explains how getting rid of excess stuff and mess can link with our wellbeing. One of her top tips is to start small and clear a little bit of stuff often. This stops things from piling up and us feeling overwhelmed and like the task is too big.

I confess in my book that I need to put Hoffman’s declutter advice into action with my wardrobe. My closet is chaos. I have dresses in there since I was in high school. Gulp. Don’t ask me how many decades ago…

I’m terrible at letting clothes go. I use the excuse: “it’s vintage”.


My wardrobe is full of things I never wear, but I’m confused about “why” I’m not wearing them.
Enter personal stylist Johanna-May Manks, who is based in Auckland. She is willing to go into battle with my over-flowing wardrobe and wade through the mayhem. I hope she isn’t mortified by the mess. I’m concerned too about her trying to take clothes from my tight grip. We may end up wrestling over dresses I wore when I was 17…


Oh. My.  What am I thinking?


Manks says we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. So I should let stuff go that’s wearing me, instead of me wearing it.

She gently explains why some clothes are not my “fashion personality”. These clothes don’t suit me for reasons like they are not my colour or are a weird fit. Or they are not doing my figure any favours – like making me look frumpy. She breaks the news that the colour black isn’t the best on my pale complexion. While, muted colours are best. She mentions shiny fabrics are not my friend either. 


I have lots of clothes that look great, she says. So she reasons why I would want to wear other things that look drab…

After two hours together, I see what Manks is saying clearly.
So now there is room in my wardrobe. I can actually move things in and out. . It’s no longer like that movie The Lion, the witch and the Wardrobe where you might never come out of that wardrobe again if you go in. 

She helps me see how some clothes might work if I wear them in certain ways. Like this top I had forgotten, which actually looks ok with jeans and my yellow jacket.

Meanwhile, this is phase one. I’ll tackle my fitness wardrobe next!


Johanna-May Manks’ 5 wardrobe tips:

1)  Know what colours suit you.  Don’t just buy a garment because it’s the latest colour you need to know if that colour actually suits you.   How warm or cool should your red be or should you blue be muted or clear, these are all important factors when choosing your most suited colour.
2) Shop for your lifestyle.  There’s no use buying something just because it’s awesome, work out if it will actually work for the life you lead.
3) Identify your fashion personality.  Fashion fads come and go, ask yourself, ‘does this style suit my personality?”
4) When buying a garment stop and think of at least 3 ways you can wear that garment, do you have different jackets you can wear with it along with different shoes, how about mixing  a top with different skirts/trousers or jeans.  How many ways will you wear it to really make it value for money?
5) Ask for Professional help.  Employ a Stylist to work that 80% of your wardrobe for you.  Get them to find out why you’re not wearing it or get them to show you how you can wear it.  If it still doesn’t work, shift it out, let someone else enjoy it as there will be someone grateful of your unused clothing.

Check out Johanna-May Manks website to find out more and book and appointment with this wardrobe magician! Click HERE


* Rachel Grunwell is the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness which boasts 30 global experts sharing science-backed wisdom on how to live healthier and happier + 30 recipes. Rachel’s background is an award-winning journalist. She’s a wellness columnist for Good magazine and Indulge magazine (the latter goes on the Herald online weekly). Rachel is also a qualified wellness expert (coach and yoga + meditation teacher) who collaborates with brands on inspiring Kiwis on how to live healthier and happier.

Follow Rachel via the InspiredHealthNZ facebook page and instagram