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How to Shop Your Closet in 3 Easy Steps

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.

Build Outfits

Step #3: Build Your Outfits

How to Shop Your Closet

How to Shop Your Closet by The Well Dressed Life

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. 

How to Shop Your Closet in 3 Easy Steps

Related Posts

 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.


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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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!


Tuesday 8th of February 2022

Thank you! This is so helpful.


Tuesday 8th of February 2022

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


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.


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!


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 :)


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.


Tuesday 8th of February 2022

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


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.