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How to Shop Your Closet in 3 Easy Steps

How to Shop Your Closet in 3 Easy Steps.

It’s challenging to get dressed this time of year. Maybe you’re doing a no or low spend month, perhaps you’re bored of what you have (raises hand) or, you’re in a funk and getting dressed feels like a chore.

If you see yourself in any of these examples, it might be time to shop your closet.

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. 

And I have some tips and tricks to help make the process productive and fun.

How to Shop Your Closet

How to Shop Your Closet

Before you can shop your closet, you must ensure it is well-edited. 

Seriously, only attempt this if your space is organized.

Our guide, How to Clean Your Closet, will walk you through our quick edit process. 

The most critical step is to eliminate what doesn’t serve you.

I like doing this all in one afternoon. If you’ve done our Wardrobe Challenge in the past, your space probably needs a refresh rather than an overhaul.

I can return my closet to factory settings and purge a few pieces in about an hour.

What’s nice about starting your closet shopping with an edit is that you can use this time to figure out if you will keep or donate some of the items you’re currently not wearing.

If you can’t make an outfit out of it, you’re safe to let it go.

More on this below.

Create a Pinterest Board

Create a Pinterest Board

Step #1: Define Your Personal Style 

The first step to shop your closet is to reference your Pinterest Board.

Keep an updated Style Inspiration Board on Pinterest that you curate over each season to keep your style top of your mind.

You’ll find the more you pin, the more your style will show itself. 

When I was a personal stylist, I learned that most women need help defining their style. They don’t know what they like, or they may like everything and have difficulty narrowing down their favorite looks. 

Having a visual of aspirational style helps you create a wardrobe that serves you, and allows you to evolve. 

Bring your Pinterest boards into your closet and allow them to inspire you to try different color combinations and play with shoes, layers, and accessories. 

Set Up Shop

Set Up Shop

Step #2: Set Up Shop

Nest, set up your space so you have room to move and play. 

Having  a rolling rack on hand for this exercise will keep you organized and allow you to see everything you have

Start by separating your items into four categories:

Basics: Jeans, black pants, a simple dress, layering tanks and shells, a cardigan, etc. Keep similar items together, so all your jeans together, etc.

Personality: What I sometimes refer to as novelty pieces: a skirt with embroidery, a patterned blouse, a tweed jacket, anything in a bright or bold color, and similar items.

Accessories: Lay them all out, your jewelry groups by category, so all your earrings, rings, etc. Do you have scarves you never use? Pull them out. Same for belts and bags. These are your outfit enhancers.

Questions: These are the pieces you’re wondering if you should keep.

Don’t rely on your memory, you really want to have everything in eyesight at your fingertips.

Build Outfits

Step #3: Build Your Outfits

How to Shop Your Closet outfit inspo

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 ages ago because I love how it mixes casual and elegant elements. 

I get a lot of push back about the Pinterest exercise, often hearing, “I don’t look anything like the models.”

Listen, there is no one on earth LESS like Victoria Beckham than me.

We have very 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.

This exercise is not about recreating an exact 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 old dark jeans , an inexpensive white blouse from Amazon, my camel coat from H&M and heels. Not as high as the picture but enough to give me a lift.

Don’t want to wear heels? A neutral pointed flats is an easy swap.

I felt fantastic, 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, or use a style app like Style Book.

Quick Tips to Help You Shop Your 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. 

It’s Easy to Shop Your Closet

All you need is some time, which is the biggest commodity for many of us. So, invite a girlfriend over; another set of eyes is a HUGE help. Order in, have a cocktail, and make it fun! Then, do the same for her.

Then follow these tips and you’ll be organized and inspired just in time for spring.

How to Shop Your Closet in 3 Easy StepsHow to Shop Your Closet in 3 Easy Steps
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 Join Megan Kristel for a comprehensive, 3 hour long, LIVE Virtual Workshop sharing personal style and shopping tips for women over 40 on March 31, 2023.

MEET THE AUTHOR

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.

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Shaun Smith

Saturday 10th of February 2024

Love this piece! Can’t wait to try it. Especially liked the idea of taking out all the accessories. I am sure I have forgotten many of them.

Tinamarie

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

Thank you for the great sale items, keep them coming! Getting that lovely blouse from Nordstrom but in green. Maybe you can put together what colors one should be wearing. You see I was told to stay away from Ruby Reds and wear more Fire Engine Reds. I’m light brown hair, dark brown eyes and olive skin. Would love to know if theres some truth in what colors look best on me!

Debra

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

Thank you! This is so helpful.

Kelly

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

Love the step by step suggestions! Thanks as always Megan!

Lori

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

This is great! Thank you for keeping things real with real life and budgets and lifestyles, etc. I am going to start putting this into practice better. It has been my goal this year to watch what I spend and to spend wiser. This is so helpful, and I love the example you shared above. You look great.

Anastasia

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

"Push yourself outside your comfort zone and try everything on before dismissing it."

This is so hard, but finally having the mindset to do it. Going back to work next week and going through work clothes to see what fits after almost 2 years. Surprisingly more fit than I expected. After 2 babies and COVID my closet definitely needs some major attention.

Thanks Megan!

Deanna

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

ooh...I LOVE "Playing in my closet" as my husband calls it! This is a great step by step and will be super helpful. I'm also starting to realize that for me, having a neat and tidy closet is one of the best forms of self-care. Pedicures are nice, but having an organized closet that makes my heart sing every day is so much better!

Megan Kristel

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

So fun!! And it really is a kind of self-care, anything that makes your life easier and fills you with joy :)

Lori

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

I love this and it is going to be so helpful! Thank you!!

Mindy Bernal

Tuesday 14th of July 2020

Great ideas Megan! We all need someone to help give us "fresh eyes" for new outfits. Your thoughts help us light a creative streak and take care of ourselves in the process. That can help us be the best version of ourselves.

Have you thought about doing a post for teachers/those who work with kids? We want to dress professional, but have to be active and comfortable at the same time. Also have you thought about breaking down outfits into age categories? You can show how the same outfit might change as you travel though different decades. I would love to see your thoughts. Take care and best wishes as you keep moving forward.

Anastasia

Tuesday 8th of February 2022

@Mindy Bernal, Great ideas! Hope you are if she posts anything like this

Barbara

Thursday 7th of February 2019

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.