If you find yourself reaching for the same limited selection of clothes, day after day, even through you have a closet full of clothes, this article is for you. I'm sharing the simple 3 step process I've used over the past 12 years to unlock the potential inside my clients closets so YOU can maximize your wardrobe.
In my article 12 Ways to shop Smarter I mentioned that many women only wear 20% of their closet 80% of the time. Part of the reason for this is that they aren’t buying the correct clothes in the first place (the clothes either don't fit well, don't flatter, or they seemingly don't go with anything else). As a result, new purchases end up hanging unworn at the back of the closet, and the selection of ‘wearable’ clothes never really gets any larger.
The article goes into detail about why this might be and shares 12 measures you can put in place to stop yourself from buying such items in the future, so if you've not read it yet, pop on over here
It's all well and good changing your shopping habits, and purchasing clothes that make the most of your shape, but what about all those past purchases that are currently hanging unworn in your closet? Those pieces that make you feel guilty every time time you decide not to wear them? Well I’m here to tell you that it’s not too late for them!
Many of the unworn pieces in your closet can be worn, and I'm going to show you how!
Over the past 12 years, I’ve helped hundreds and hundreds of women who don't know what to wear, by sorting through their closets, teaching them how to dress to make the absolute best of their shape, and showing them how to wear the clothes that are hanging unworn in their closet.
And in this article I'm going to share the process I go through when I'm sorting out my clients closets, to help you maximize your wardrobe so you stop wearing the same few pieces, in the same way, day after day, and actually start to enjoying your closet!
Before you start, I just want to let you know that you're not going to be conducting a full closet consultation here. That's too much to cover in one article as it involves other important points such as your body shape and style identity (my fellow Personal Stylist, Arash wrote a great piece on creating a style that's unique to you). In this article I'm just focusing on helping you build new outfits with old clothes.
If you're not sure what your body shape is, I highly recommend taking my quiz below before you go any further, as understanding your shape, and how to dress to flatter it will make the process of unlocking the potential in your closet so much easier!
If you're feeling a little overwhelmed or nervous about starting this, that's OK. It's perfectly natural. You're about to try and change habits that have built up over years and years, so you’re undoubtedly going to feel resistance. It’s also an indicator that this is something you need to work through.
Take a deep breath, (and a sip of wine if it helps!) and take it one step at a time, it will get easier once you start ♥
I've created a workbook for you to guide you through each step:
THE FOUR STEPS TO UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL IN YOUR CLOSET
So you can maximize your wardrobe
STEP 1/ the 7 essential items you need TO DETOX YOUR CLOSET
- 1Full length mirror (this is crucial if you’re to build complete outfits that work!)
- 2Hanging rail (I've used this one for the past 12 years and it's never let me down)
- 3A notebook and pen (or my FREE workbook which you can download HERE
- 4Dressmaker pins
- 5A tape measure
- 6A selection of accessories - long and short necklaces, belts, scarves, footwear
- 7And an open mind!
To see all of my closet maintenance and storage recommendations, click here
STEP 2/ IDENTIFY WHICH CLOTHES YOU'RE NOT WEARING
The first part of the process is to identify and remove from your wardrobe all the items you’re not wearing. Don’t panic if it’s a lot of items, it often is!
Once you’ve removed all the unworn items from your wardrobe you’ll need to go through them and group them into these categories:
This is where you’re going to put the items that you don't like, that don’t fit, can’t be altered, or are beyond repair.
Be honest with yourself as to why you’re not wearing these pieces. Put aside any feelings of guilt and try and let go of the hang-ups associated with certain items. Give yourself permission to get rid of them (whether that’s selling, donating, swapping or binning) and move on. Trust me; it might be hard but it’s incredibly cathartic.
If an item holds sentimental value and you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of it, then consider removing it from your closet and storing it elsewhere.
Alter or Repair
If something can be altered to fit you better or needs a simple repair to make it wearable, pop it in this pile.
With that said, there are a few ways to bypass alterations and fake the perfect fit. I wrote a post all about this over here so I highly recommend you check it out before you cut and sew!
Any items you like, but that dont' flatter you go here.
If something doesn't flatter you it can be down to a number of reasons, but the two biggies are that the color doesn’t suit you, or the item is the wrong shape for your body type. BUT this does not mean the item is no good!
There are quite a few things you can do to make these clothes work better on your shape so hold onto these items because we’ll come back to them later.
If you're not sure what your body shape is and how things should flatter you, Click HERE to take my free body shape quiz!
If an item doesn’t fit into any of the other four categories this is where it should go...even if you’re not sure how to wear it.
If you like it, it fits you, flatters you, and doesn’t need repairing, you should be wearing it! This is the pile of clothes we're going to be working with for the remainder of this task.
So, when you're ready, move onto Step 3.
STEP 3/ ASSESS THE UNWORN ITEMS THAT CAN BE WORN
Now that you’ve uncovered the pieces you could be wearing you can start to think about building outfits around them.
To do this you're going to go through each item in the ‘good’ pile, one by one, and look inside your closet for clothes that compliment them. There are lots of things to take into consideration when matching clothes, such as:
- and print
But to simplify things you're going to focus on just one of them – color. And once you've got the hang of that, move on to one of the others!
Building an outfit around color
Have a close look at the colors in each piece and pull out clothes from your closet that complement the hue and tone. If it’s a block color a neutral will be the easiest color to pair it with. And in turn, if it’s a neutral you pretty much have free reign as most colors will work.
Prints can be a little trickier, especially when they have a lot of colors in them. Pick out a few of the colors in the print and focus on those.
For example, if I want to build a selection of outfits with this floral top…
I would focus on the greens and blues and pull the following items from my closet:
While you're doing this, forget about occasion. I don’t want you to leave an item in the closet because you think it’s too dressy, or too casual. Remove the occasion 'labels' you’ve given each item and pull anything and everything that you think matches the piece you're working with.
Once you've done that, move onto the final step - building new outfits!
STEP 4/ BUILD NEW OUTFITS
By this point you should have a selection of clothes that you think will work together. all that's left now, is to KEEP AN OPEN MIND and start building outfits using those clothes.
Do not rule anything out. Try as many combinations as possible, and when you find one that works (and you will!) make a note of it so you don’t forget it! I’ve included some of my favorite combinations in my workbook in case you need a little help kick starting the mixing-an-a-matching.
There will be some instances when you can’t find anything to pair with an item, or where you need to purchase something in order to make it work (such a camisole to layer under a sheer item). When this happens just make a note of the missing item and look for it when you next go shopping.
As you work through the rail, hang the pieces that are a keeper in your closet. Eventually, when you’ve finished working through the rail you’ll have a closet containing only the clothes that fit you, that you like, and that make complete outfits, and you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your wardrobe and wearing everything in there rather than the same few pieces!
Good luck, and let me know how you get on!
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