Easy Ways to Shop Your Own Closet

It’s about that time of year when we are all sick of our winter clothes, but don’t want to buy anything until the spring. If you’re like me, you’re probably finding yourself bored to death with what is hanging in your closet.

If you want to save some money and find outfit combinations you’ve never seen before, consider shopping in your closet. Not only will you get a few new looks out of the deal but you’ll start to define your style and know what you need when you’re ready to shop for spring.

Easy Ways to Shop Your Closet

How to Shop your own closet

Start with an Edit

Before you can shop your closet, you have to make sure it is well edited. Our guide, How to Edit Your Closet in 60 Minutes, will walk you through the steps. The most essential element of the process is to release the pieces you are holding onto that are not serving you. If they don’t fit; are damaged or dated, or you just don’t like the style anymore, you have total permission to get rid of them.

Once you have a clean, organized, and well-edited closet, you can get started.

Look for Inspiration

Create a Pinterest board for your personal style. You’ll find the more you pin, the more your style will start to show itself. I worked with private style clients for over a decade. I found most women have a hard time defining their style. They don’t know what they like, or maybe they like everything and have a difficult time narrowing down their favorite looks. 

Personally, I found this exercise helpful after I had babies. You’re so use to being limited to maternity clothes, and then comfy outfits for being at home with the little ones, that you start to forget what you like. 

Having a visual of inspirational style not only helps you curate your wardrobe, but it’s also a source of inspiration when your wardrobe choices feel a little blah.

I reference my Pinterest boards and find inspiration for color combinations, shoes, layers, and accessories. Spend some time searching for the looks you like; then, go through your board, and keep only what you love. It’s like getting an aerial view of your personal style.

Separate Basics from Trendy Pieces

Separate your basic pieces from your trendy pieces. The basics would include jeans, black pants, a simple navy dress, layering tanks and shells, a cardigan, etc. These pieces are at the center of every look.

Your trendy or novelty pieces are everything else: a skirt with embroidery, a patterned blouse, a tweed jacket, anything in a bright or bold color.

I like to have a rolling rack on hand for this exercise to stay organized and be able to see everything that I have. Keep basics on the left and novelty items on the right.

Before you move on, be sure you have edited your shoes and accessories and, then, similarly divide them. Keep the jewelry you wear every day away from statement necklaces and oversized bracelets.

Not sure what you should have in your closet?

Download our Free Wardrobe Checklist here. 

Start with a “Base” and Add Layers

Now, let’s create some outfits.

Start by forming a base for the outfit.

For example, take a black pant and a black shell. This is your base. Next, go to your novelty pieces. Add an interesting sweater or jacket. Can you layer a sweater over a print blouse? Would a blazer pull a look together?

Try to get creative.

With a base and a layer, move to your shoes and accessories.

What does the outfit look like with a classic pump?

Now switch it out for something with pattern or texture.

Could you wear it both ways?


Play with necklaces and accessories. I guarantee you, with an edited closet and a clear idea of what you like, you will discover several combinations and new ways to wear old pieces.

Remember a few things:

Break things up
We tend to wear the same combination of items over and over, to the point that we can’t see other options. You probably have a few favorite outfits, so take them, and break them apart first. Force yourself to find a new way to wear the individual pieces

Make minor adjustments and alterations

I can’t tell you how many times I would clean out a client’s closet and she would have several pieces that would be perfectly wearable with a few alterations. If a pair of pants are a little big, a hem fell out, or buttons need to be replaced, action them immediately. You don’t need to buy something new, just have them fixed. 

Stop saving things for special occasions
That black dress you think is only appropriate for a rare cocktail party might look fresh and updated if you throw a denim jacket over it. Push yourself outside your comfort zone and try everything on before dismissing it.

Purge as you go.
You’ll definitely come across items you can get rid of, so keep a designated area where you can place them and donate immediately.

Challenge yourself for a week

Commit to coming up with a few new outfits for seven days.

That’s all!

Throughout the week you might notice that you are missing a few updated items that would help expand your wardrobe. Conversely, maybe you have a lot of trend and novelty items, but not enough basics to build an outfit.

Whatever you discover is missing, write it down and pick up those items when your budget allows. With some time, you’ll create a thoughtful and intentional wardrobe, with tons of outfit combinations you can feel good in every day.

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How to Shop Your Own Closet, Save Money, and Find New Outfit Combinations
Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

1 Comment
  1. So helpful,thank Megan.This is something I have been wanting for years.Have read a lot on organizing and developing a basic wardrobe,finally one I understand.

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  • This outfit is a great example of investing in a simple basic and wearing it to death. I wear this @dvf dress all the time. Today with a denim jacket and sneakers to have lunch and run errands for a busy weekend.

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