Fancy a closet sweep?

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Fancy a closet sweep?
Location: Vida Downtown Dubai

With January being the perfect time to declutter, luxury stylist and fashion influencer Nicole Majdalany, lets us in on the tricks of the trade


Janice Rodrigues

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Published: Thu 18 Jan 2018, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 30 Jan 2018, 10:58 AM

I seem to have an ongoing war with my closet. Every time I open its doors, I'm welcomed by a pile of clothes that comes tumbling out. Of course, this tends to happen when I'm in a hurry and so the clothes are shoved back in haphazardly - usually with a prayer that they'll actually stay there. Alas, the next time I open the doors, they come straight out again. It's a vicious cycle. 
Of course, I'm not alone. If you happen to have a decent disposable income, the downright reasonable cost of high street fashion makes it easy to stockpile - even hoard - clothes. And when your wardrobe gets packed fit to burst, it's not just about organising anymore but throwing out what you don't need. And that's easier said than done. Human beings are, by nature, possessive of material goods and throwing out a product you've spent money on isn't fun. But fret not - you could always hire a stylist!
"My job as a stylist varies from day to day," explains Dubai-based stylist Nicole Majdalany, who is well-known by her Instagram handle @nicole_ontrend. "One day I could be in a luxury designer store personal shopping for someone and the next, I'll be on my hands and knees, cleaning the back of someone's closet!" Clearly, no matter how glamorous the job, you can't escape the nitty gritty realities of life. 
Born to British parents, Nicole previously worked in the graphic design department of various banks. However, when she moved to Dubai 12 years ago, she decided to start afresh with a new career path. Having always had an eye for fashion meant that the job of a stylist came naturally to her and she was soon being called in for styling suggestions, shopping trips, planning and packing travel wardrobes and, of course, closet sweeps. 
"Most of my clients are just very busy and they need to hand over their schedules in order to have outfits organised for them. This includes anything from business attire to red carpet outfits, with the events usually crammed back-to-back. I initially started by helping my friends with style tips - going through their wardrobe and doing closet sweeps - and they pushed me to take it further. I also clean out my own wardrobe every three months and I'm used to shuffling things about now," she explains. 
According to Nicole, the busiest time of the year for closet sweeps is apparently November-January as well as the beginning of summer - basically it's a change in the year or season. There's also always the odd call from clients who are shifting houses or having a baby. But, of course, you don't need a reason to get into your closet and start decluttering - Nicole advises you do it at least twice a year. 
"Closet sweeps are essential for everyone, and if you do it often, it's quicker and less work. I recommend sorting and organising your clothes once in summer and again in winter. With high street brands offering so many bargains and sales these days, we tend to purchase continuously throughout the year and amass a large amount of clothes, bags and shoes - many of which we don't use."
So, is hoarding clothes a distinctively UAE problem? No, says Nicole, who admits that, while most people in the UAE could do with a wardrobe cleanse every now and then, people the world over tend to hoard clothes. In fact, sometimes, the hardest part of the job is convincing them it's time to let go!
"Most of my clients are possessive of their belongings and I do wonder if they put some things back in the wardrobe after I've left," laughs Nicole. "That's why I make it clear before I come that I'm there to help and they have to trust me - it's just a waste of money to hire me and not take my advice. But, ultimately, it is their choice. On some occasions an item that I've suggested we toss has sentimental value for the client and so it has to stay. But I do not allow that argument with more than one or two pieces - or nothing gets done!"
In order to do her job and make a case for the clothes that stay (and against the clothes that don't), Nicole has some ground rules. Firstly, while there are many trends that will probably come back in fashion, if she's sure it's one she wouldn't wear again, it has to go (think wedge sneakers!). Secondly, accessories don't usually have to go since they can easily jazz up a look. But it also depends on what kind they are.
"Choose your accessories wisely and they can be great investment pieces. I also suggest that any items that are more than one size too small for a client should go - most people don't lose a dress size and maintain it (if they do, they should treat themselves to some shopping!). Classic items like leather trousers, coats, knitwear, LBDs and blazers can be kept (unless they really haven't been worn in more than a year). Most people know, deep down, what they need to get rid of and just need someone to help them make those decisions, so I'm like a sounding board."
So, if we are planning a closet sweep for the new year, what should our ultimate goal be? Should we follow in the footsteps of personalities like Mark Zuckerberg who advocate for minimalism? And can that actually make us more focused and efficient in other aspects of our lives?
"Honestly, the minimalistic wardrobe doesn't work for everyone," muses Nicole. "But I do think we all need to declutter our lives regularly. If nothing else, it makes you feel great."                       

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