There’s sooo many reasons why you would want to take the time to shop your own closet before rushing to a retailer!
- want to stay on a tighter budget
- are in a style rut or only cycle through the same few outfits
- feel like you have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear
- desire to simplify and have more of a capsule wardrobe
- don’t like shopping or want to shop less
Whatever your motivating factors are, I want to share the process that I go through when looking through clients’ closets to create fresh
outfits for them!
Here’s the deal.
Our brains like taking shortcuts for us, especially when we’re stressed or in a hurry. That’s why when we’re pressed for time, we tend to go back to those same outfits over and over. Which is not a bad thing! That go-to, I-gotta-look-for-that feeling is GOOD. We just want to create more of those go-to looks so that you can feel more inspired and excited about getting dressed. We also want to make sure that every item that’s taking up real estate in your closet is being used in as many ways as possible. This will ultimately save you money and time!
First, think about your “time categories”:
Since our goal here is for everything in your closet to be as versatile as it can possibly be, we love lots of crossover between categories and seasons. One thought process I really like to go through during the first appointment with new clients is talking about where they spend most of their time, and breaking it down into categories.
During a typical week or maybe month, where do you spend most of your time? Maybe some categories are an office space, at home and running errands with kiddos, travel, church, date night, work or school functions, etc. Recognizing these categories and how you typically dress for each one can be a helpful step to identifying where some items have potentially gotten stuck.
Based on the size of your closet, you could totally go through everything. If that feels overwhelming then just go through and identify pieces that have been hanging there, underutilized, or you’ve really only worn in one specific way. Start out by trying to find 5 of those items and pulling them out. Lay them on your bed or on a rack if you have it.
Next, listen to the stories your mind tells you about each item you laid out:
Our mind is always telling us stories when it comes to clothes, and it’s our job to determine if they’re true or not. Stories about all kinds of things- I could write a whole other blog post on this topic! One story that I often hear is we assign items to those categories, and then never think of them outside of that box.
So maybe you look at a blazer and think, “Oh, that goes with a suit that I wear to the office.” If you detach the blazer from a specific environment or occasion, could it go more places?
Visually playing with these more unexpected pairings helps with this process. Lay the blazer out with things from other categories, like the jeans you wear on date nights or a tee you wear during mom duty. It’s amazing how many outfits you have waiting in your closet if you let go of some of those categories!
It takes some time laying out all these different outfit combinations and finding options you like, but that’s just part of being creative! Have fun with it. Put on music, pour a glass of wine, whatever floats your boat! This isn’t something I want you to do as your running out the door or only have 5 minutes- that’s where we often run into stress or frustration.
If you’re feeling a little stuck when creating outfits: I have 3 things you can think about.
- The “third piece” rule: This is something my clients hear me refer to all the time. A third piece is a finishing touch to an outfit that ties it all together. For example, maybe you have on jeans (1) and a blouse (2)- ask yourself, “Where’s my 3rd piece?” This could be anything from a lightweight jacket, a piece of jewelry, a hat, pop of color clutch, etc. Try to make sure every look has a third piece.
- Another foundational principle to keep in mind when styling outfits is balance. As stylists, we’re always trying to balance the proportions of an outfit based on the individual’s body type. If you don’t already know your own body type, check out this video of a style segment I did on this topic.
- Another tip is to simply keep your eye out for inspiration! It’s everywhere, I promise. If you see someone wearing something when you’re out, on Pinterest, on Instagram, etc.- take note of what you like about the look, and see if you can apply the idea to your own wardrobe. Maybe you even see a color combination you love on a pillow or are inspired by a destination – whatever it may be!
Create your own Lookbook:
When you do create a look that works and you really like, I encourage you to snap a photo of it and create a separate album on your phone. This will be a game changer during those busy mornings or when you’re feeling stuck on what to wear.
One more thing to think about if you’re stuck on how to style a certain piece:
You may come across some items and struggle to make them work. First, go back to listening to the stories your mind is telling you. “I never wear that top because it’s unflattering” or “this never looks good on me”. Again, it’s your job to determine if those stories are true!
Have you just not paired it with the right thing to create a balanced silhouette? Or is it that it’s the wrong size (if so, is it worth taking to a tailor)? Is it attached to a bad memory?
It could be that this piece just doesn’t belong in your closet anymore! Tastes change, sizes change, needs change. Know that there’s nothing wrong with you if this piece doesn’t belong in your wardrobe anymore- don’t use this as another opportunity for more negative self-talk!