Colour-coordinated, a place for every accessory… welcome to Instagram’s most coveted closets. Feeling inspired to get sorting? The A-list’s favourite organisers Gemma Lilly and Charlotte Reddington, the Style Sisters, show you how…
There’s something wonderfully appealing about the sight of a neatly ordered wardrobe, where dresses hang in colour-coordinated splendour, belts are tightly rolled, socks and gym sets obediently paired and knitwear is pleated into complex origami-esque folds.
It’s easy to start fantasising about drawers that open and close freely to reveal perfectly placed accessories, and a wardrobe with evenly spaced hangers from which you can select something to wear that actually fits and suits you.
However, these days having an organised wardrobe is about more than Marie Kondo-style practicality; it’s about looking fabulous, too. Carefully curated images of dramatic wardrobe makeovers are sweeping the internet as Instagrammers show off their transformational skills. And leading the way are two British women, the Style Sisters – Gemma Lilly and Charlotte Reddington – who have been revamping celebrity homes across the country, ruthlessly ripping through the excess and disorder and leaving eminently Instagrammable images in their wake.
With more than 150,000 followers, the pair are in hot demand from clients in quest of the miracles they performed for singers Rita Ora and Alexandra Burke and presenters Amanda Holden and Stacey Solomon.
It can cost as much as £1,000 for one of their wardrobe ‘detoxes’, which combine decluttering and cleaning plus a sprinkling of professionally trained style, which Gemma and Charlotte draw from their backgrounds in fashion and interior design.
The girls (not actually sisters but best friends) live ten minutes away from each other near Loughton in Essex, and have known each other since school. They followed similarly creative career paths – Charlotte, 33, excelling in interior design, and Gemma, 32, majoring in fashion and merchandising. Then, two years ago, the pair set up Style Sisters in a bid to combine their skills and experience to become the ‘Trinny and Susannah’ of home makeovers.
Within hours of setting up their Instagram site they had been contacted by a Love Island winner who went on to post pictures of her new style-infused wardrobe, and work of Gemma and Charlotte’s transformational skills rapidly spread.
‘It’s an addictive process,’ says Gemma. ‘Often our clients call us and ask us to come back and go through their playroom or kitchen. You’d be surprised how many husbands are cynical at first, then end up begging us to sort out their wardrobe space, too.’
One reason for the Sisters’ success is the strong thread of positive psychology running through their work. ‘It is incredible when you realise the negative effect that clutter can have,’ says Gemma.
‘We love what we do,’ says Gemma, ‘but most of all we love the effect it has on others. The most regular piece of feedback we get is, “Thank you, you have changed my life.” It might sound dramatic, but decluttering your wardrobe really can make that much of a difference,’ she adds. ‘If your wardrobe looks good, you’ll feel good about how you look, you’ll feel more in control, and that will really set you up for the day – every day.’
With a waiting list of celebrities itching for the Style Sisters’ expertise, you’ll be very lucky to pin the pair down, but, with a bit of insider insight, you can enjoy the many benefits of an expert wardrobe.
Seven steps to wardrobe heaven
There’s never been a better time to get your closet looking super-smart and super-ordered, say the Style Sisters. These are their key tips and tricks…
1. Make a list of every rail, shelf and drawer in your bedroom then tackle them one at a time, congratulating yourself when you tick each one off.
2. Drop the contents of each drawer, rail, shelf, etc, into one of three piles: yes (I love it, it makes me look and feel great); maybe (I don’t love it but it was expensive or has sentimental value) and no (it doesn’t fit or flatter, it’s duplicated, old, tatty, unfashionable). The ‘no’ pile can later be divided into items that can be given away, sold or sent to charity shops. ‘This initial process can take hours,’ says Gemma, ‘and it can prompt tears as well as laughter.’
3. When the cupboards are bare, return to your ‘maybe’ pile for a double check. A common concern is holding on to clothes that no longer fit. If you really are struggling to let your ‘I may love them again’ items go, put them in vacuum-packed storage bags, label by size and tuck out of sight.
4. Special items that you don’t wear should be stored elsewhere, too. For example the Sisters persuaded Alexandra Burke to take a collection of souvenir jumpers from her Bodyguard musical tour and the clothes from her appearances on Strictly Come Dancing out of her wardrobe (where it was taking up space) and put them into a special memory box.
5. The key to maximising visual impact is to carefully group items (knitwear, denim, trousers, T-shirts, dresses) and place them in their new home (which could be somewhere completely different from where they previously lived) in colour-coordinated sections.
6. Before putting anything back in your wardrobe or drawers there should be a deep clean followed by an all-important change of clothes hangers. ‘Before we arrive at any client’s house we ask them to put in a bulk order of slimline velvet ones,’ says Charlotte. ‘You’ll find you can hang three items on separate velvet hangers in the space that is taken by one wooden hanger.’ The girls also recommend stocking up on a selection of transparent stackable storage boxes (such as iDesign, available from Amazon) and drawer dividers (such as Skubb from Ikea). Every shelf and drawer segment should then be carefully labelled.
7. Finally, add some interior design flourishes to give your wardrobe the Insta-friendly wow factor. Charlotte suggests ‘a fragrance diffuser, perhaps, some framed pictures or a couple of inspiring fashion books’. While many of us aren’t lucky enough to have a walk-in wardrobe, the Style Sisters insist that this is no reason to neglect your cupboards. They suggest using your shelves and drawers to display an edit of your favourite bags and shoes as well as some decorative items – for example, candles or a vase of flowers. Anything that will encourage you to keep the area tidy.
Quick tricks for chic storage
These velvet hangers look sleek, but crucially they save space: you’ll fit three of them in the space of one wooden hanger.
Curate scarves, belts and sunglasses in clear stackable storage boxes. They’ll be protected and you’ll be able to find them quickly.
Extendable shoe racks are your flexible friend. Whatever the dimensions of your storage space, they will fit perfectly.