I arrived back in NZ to the daunting task of unpacking all my clothes and accessories and it got me thinking about this concept of “shop your closet”. To be able to “shop your closet” you need to take stock of what you have and this means first cleaning out your closet. Go through absolutely everything in your closet and create three piles:
- Clothing and accessories that fit you and you feel good wearing.
- Clothing and accessories with sentimental value that you want to keep.
- Everything else.
The “everything else” pile can be given away to friends or donated to charity so there is no need to feel guilty about parting with it. There is no point in holding onto something that makes you feel bad about yourself i.e. you can’t fit it anymore, or you have never worn it (tag still attached perhaps?), or it cost a lot of money. Let it go.
The “sentimental” pile can be kept but should be stored elsewhere like in a spare closet or cupboard. This is your archive and you can look at it whenever you want to, but it shouldn’t be mixed in with your current wardrobe.
The clothing and accessories that fit and you feel good in, will form the basis of your wardrobe. Before you put these items back in your newly cleaned out closet you need to take stock of what you have. Write a list of all the items you have and then analyse this list to find any common threads – Are certain styles particularly flattering on you? Is there more than one of the same item? Is there very little colour? Are there lots of tops but not many bottoms to go with them? This analysis will help you see not only what you naturally gravitate towards but also what gaps there are in your wardrobe. Make a short list of items that would help you get the most out of your existing wardrobe and prioritise buying these pieces.
As you put your current wardrobe back into you closet give some thought to organisation. A key element to being able to shop your closet it to make it look inviting. We don’t all have walk-in wardrobes but even if you are dealing with a small space (or a shared closet) there are ways you can make it look better. Start with your hangers, ideally these should all be the same type of hanger and if space is at a premium then thin hangers are better (thin flocked hangers also stop garments from slipping off). Next group all items of the same type together (e.g. shirts), this will save you time when you are looking for a particular item. Within each group you may wish to order by colour. You may also find it helpful to group all the clothes that you wear to work separately from everything else.
Your goal through all of this is to be able to open your closet and smile. When you need to put an outfit together you should be able to peruse your closet like you would the racks of a boutique and enjoy yourself. Remember your closet, like your personal style, will evolve so don’t expect to get it perfect. Good luck and have fun!