Nothing to Wear? Reconnect to Your Wardrobe

Neiman Marcus Last Call (Neiman Marcus)

Has this ever happened to you? One day you take a look at your closet and realize it’s jam-packed with so many pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, and more that you can’t even move things from left to right. But when you try to choose an outfit each morning, you don’t really want to wear any of it. Maybe it happened because you can’t resist a sale and regularly come home with shopping bags full of clearance items. Or maybe you shop to relieve stress after a long work week. Perhaps you just don’t like getting rid of old garments because you think you might need them someday. Whatever the reason, you’ve now become the proverbial woman with the “closet full of clothes and nothing to wear.”

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at some point or another. The good news is, you can take a few simple steps to make your wardrobe less unwieldy and much more wearable! Here are my favorite tips to help you weed out the items that no longer belong in your closet and fall back in love with your wardrobe.

First of all, sort what you have.

A cluttered and disorganized closet would drive anybody mad, not to mention, make them forget what all is packed inside. The first step is to take everything off the rack and take a good look. This way, you’ll be able to see whether you have an overabundance of a certain color tee, for example, or too many pairs of black pants. Plus, you’ll get a chance to consider how much you really like each garment as you come to it. If you’re not sure how you feel, try on the questionable pieces and evaluate each item based on whether or not you would purchase it again today. If you answer “yes,” that piece is a keeper. If you’re truly stuck, get an outside opinion from a friend who will give you an honest assessment.

Organize what’s left.

Now neatly arrange everything that made the closet cut. Begin by rehanging every item, grouping the pieces by color or print. This alone will give you a better grasp on your wardrobe. At this point, you should be able to clearly see what’s “missing,” and can create a list of what you need to complete the outfits you already have. These pieces will probably be simple items such as the proper undergarments, a new black skirt, or base-color pants, for example, that will extend the wear of jackets or blouses that you already own.

Buy some new pieces—with help—and start small. Once you’ve made some room in your closet, reward yourself by shopping for some new pieces to pull your existing wardrobe together…but don’t go it alone. When you shop, either bring a friend whose opinion you trust, use a personal shopper in your favorite store, or hire an image consultant to find some new flattering pieces. Make sure that what you select is flattering, is easy to wear and pair with other pieces, and that it matches your current lifestyle. And don’t be afraid to start small. You can thoughtfully build upon what you have with quality pieces that can extend the clothing you already own. This strategy also gives you the chance to live with the new items and evaluate before you buy more.

Update your shopping strategy.

After you discard the pieces that no longer belong in your wardrobe, organize what’s left, and add a few carefully selected new items, it’s time to tackle what may be the toughest step: changing the way you shop. If you never bypass a sale rack, for instance, it’s time to break your addiction to buying clearance items you don’t really love. Or if you have a tendency to make impulse purchases without pausing to consider whether they harmonize with clothing you already own, resolve to think twice before you buy. Or if you tend to buy items based on price instead of quality, start considering the garment first and the price second—this way you are always choosing from items that fit and flatter you. When you ditch the habits that first contributed to a closet of ho-hum clothes, you’ll have the clarity to start finding pieces that really resonate with your style.

Streamlining your closet will change your life. Suddenly you’ll feel less tense as you prepare for your day, plus you’ll be excited about what you’re wearing—perhaps for the first time in a while. And as you create a closet of clothing that you love, you’ll be able to learn more and more about your current style and keep building on that priceless knowledge.

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