Here’s how to shop your own closet to find more than a few new outfits you never knew you had—results guaranteed!
WASTE NOT | The whole notion of “shopping your closet” makes perfectly good sense—in theory. Who wouldn’t want to expand their wardrobe by mixing and matching their existing separates in new and unexpected ways. Who wouldn’t want to put their little-used shoes, bags, scarves and jewels back into heavy (and more creative) rotation.
But here’s the problem. How can you shop your own closet when you can’t look at your wardrobe objectively? When I stare at my clothing, all I see is stuff I wear repeatedly and stuff I never wear—period. Clearly, for this sort of activity to pay off for me, I need the assistance of someone who can see possibilities where I can’t.
Wardrobe consultants perform this service, but so can friends and relatives, particularly those with a fashion sense you admire that is different from your own. I asked my interior designer daughter, Alexis, to tackle my wardrobe. Here’s the surefire closet-shopping formula we devised.
How To Shop Your Closet For Results
Session One: Take Inventory Know what you’re working with. Go through your closet and drawers and arrange/organize everything by clothing type for easy recall later. Take the things you never wear and divide them into two piles: stuff that really has to go (to the Sally Ann), and stuff potentially worth keeping even if you seldom (or never) wear it. While you’re at it, take stock of your shoes, coats, bags and jewellery, too.
Session Two: Begin With Bottoms Take all your pants and skirts (make sure they fit) and lay them out on a clean surface. Begin with a single pair of pants and start building outfits by selecting blouses, sweaters, tees and jackets and setting them next to the pants. First pick what you like, then have your consultant pick; chances are good she’ll pull from the pile of stuff you never wear. Think seasonally, too—the same pair of pants works summer and winter depending on the peripherals. Try on every outfit with possibility, pulling shoes, bags, jackets, jewellery and coats into the mix. If you like a particular combination, snap a neck-down photo with your digital camera so you can remember it. Depending on how many clothes you have, this part of the process could take more than one session. It may seem like drudge work, but you will find interesting new outfits, believe me.
Session Three: Make A Look Book Using your digital photos, create a clothing album for yourself on the computer. That’s the kind of service stylists like Rachel Zoe provide for their celebrity clients, and it really makes a lot of sense to have your own look book, if you have ever stared into the bowels of your closet only to see same-old same-old and think you have nothing to wear. —C. Rule