How to Shop Your Closet in 3 Easy Steps.
Shopping your closet is an easy, no-spend exercise that allows you to see the clothes you have and helps you get creative while discovering new outfit combinations.
If you have ever participated in our Wardrobe Challenge, you know that creating outfits out of what you have is one of the final challenges.
This year, I took it one step further and encouraged everyone to post their inspiration picture and the outfit it inspired in our Private Facebook Group. So right now, the page is filled with posts from our real-life readers wearing looks they never knew they had.
How to Shop Your Closet
Before you can shop your closet, you have to make sure it is well-edited.
Our guide, How to Clean Your Closet in An Afternoon, will walk you through the process of a quick edit. The most critical step is to get rid of what doesn’t serve you anymore.
If the garment doesn’t fit, is damaged or dated, or is no longer your style – out it goes. You can donate, resell, or recycle, but it does not go back into your closet.
Once you’ve completed your clean out, it’s time to shop your closet.
Create a Pinterest Board
Step #1: Create a Pinterest Board to Define Your Personal Style
The next step to shop your closet is to create a Pinterest board reflective of your 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 learned that most women have a hard time defining their style. They don’t know what they like, or maybe they like everything and have difficulty narrowing down their favorite looks.
I found this exercise personally helpful after I had my babies. I became used to being limited to maternity clothes and then comfy at-home outfits and I started to forget what I liked.
Often, these life-changing events, from childbirth to turning 40 to finally retiring, are the catalyst for reevaluating our style.
Having a visual of aspirational style helps you curate your wardrobe and serves as 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 and “pinning” the looks you like; then, go back through your board and only keep what you love. You’ll be surprised by what you see.
Set Up Shop
Step #2: Set Up Shop
If you are dedicating some time to seeing what looks you have hanging in your closet, it might be helpful to set up a workspace.
When I worked with clients, we would lay out certain items to quickly access them. Of course, you don’t have to do this step, but it can be really helpful.
I like to have a rolling rack on hand for this exercise to stay organized and see everything that I have.
Start by separating your basics from your trendy pieces.
Basics would include jeans, black pants, a simple navy dress, layering tanks and shells, a cardigan, etc. Keep similar items together.
Your trendy (what I sometimes refer to as novelty) pieces are everything else: a skirt with embroidery, a patterned blouse, a tweed jacket, anything in a bright or bold in color, also keeping similar items together.
Be sure to include anything you want to make sure you work with, like a new purchase or a piece you love but rarely wear.
Keep basics on the left and novelty items on the right.
And then do the same with your shoes and accessories. Keep the jewelry you wear every day away from statement necklaces and large bracelets, etc.
Step #3: Build Your Outfits
Open up your Pinterest App and decide which inspiration pins you want to work with.
Above is a real-life example.
I pinned this image of Victoria Beckham because I love how it mixes casual and elegant elements.
To be clear, there is no one on earth LESS like Victoria Beckham than me.
We have different body types, I’m a foot taller, probably a hundred pounds heavier, and our lifestyles and budgets aren’t even in the same stratosphere. LOL.
It’s not the same outfit, rather, it’s inspired by the pin. Her outfit is likely made up of pieces from her own collection and other brands I can’t afford.
So I pulled out my favorite dark skinny jeans (not sure how they still fit), an inexpensive white blouse from Amazon, my camel coat from H&M and heels, yes, heels!
Don’t want to wear heels . A neutral pointed flats is an easy swap.
I felt fantastic, like my pre-pandemic self. And I was able to get dressed quickly and easily.
Now, I can use this look as a base and swap out the blouse for a striped long sleeve tee, replace the pumps with crisp white sneakers and as the weather turns, replace the wool jacket with a camel trench. Creating multiple looks also pinned to my inspiration board.
Pro tip! Be sure to take pictures of the looks you love so you don’t forget them. Keep them on your phone for easy access.
Quick Tips to Help You ShopYour Closet
Break things up
We tend to wear the same combination of items on repeat, to the point that we can’t see other options. You probably have a few favorite outfits, so start with them and break them apart.
This is why setting up a workspace is so helpful, you’re forced to see items individually.
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 items that would be perfect with a few minor alterations.
If a pair of pants are a little big, a hem fell out, or buttons need replacing, action them immediately.
You don’t need to buy something new when you can simply fix what you already have.
Stop saving things for special occasions
That black dress you think is only appropriate for a rare cocktail party might look fresh if you throw on a denim jacket.
Don’t wait to have a reason to wear your finer pieces, especially if you have better jewelry and accessories, celebrate everyday by wearing them with a simple pair of jeans and tee shirt.
Push yourself outside your comfort zone and try everything on before dismissing it.
Purge as you go.
You’ll come across items you can get rid of, so keep a designated area to place them and donate immediately.
I always keep an empty laundry basket in my closet so I can add donations to it as I go about my day.
Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers.
Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail.
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