Shop Your Closet: Four Strategies for Managing Your Wardrobe



BY JEAN MARIE JOHNSON

It’s little wonder we find it a challenge to shop our “closet” when managing what’s in there can feel like one big, overwhelming chore.  I get your resistance and suggest we start from a different place. Ask yourself if you want to:

  • Love what you wear and how you look every day?
  • Create a simplified, workable wardrobe?
  • Spend wisely and minimize mistake purchases?

If you said Yes! to even two of these questions, read on.

Key Strategies

  • Get Seasonal

It is so much easier to get dressed every day when what’s within arm’s reach is suitable to the temperature. Instead of wading through your clothes to reach what’s wearable now, think in terms of “seasonal reorganizing.” You can do this by hanging and folding “spring-summer” items where you can get to them quickly. Temporarily retire heavier weight items to the back of the closet, the bottom of your dresser drawers, or even in a cedar chest or under-the-bed storage. There are so many storage options available now that you are sure to find what works for your space. The beauty of this simple strategy is that it helps to minimize “visual clutter” while allowing you to see, “shop,” and access clothes that are relevant for right now.

  • Consider the Capsule

The “capsule wardrobe” concept focuses on having several key pieces that can be pulled together in a variety of ways. I am a huge fan of this strategy and have applied it in a few different ways. For example, my core wardrobe (for day, evening, work, casual) is color-focused, revolving around black, white, cream, and gray. I have a large, long, standing rack in my bedroom where  “key” pieces in these colors hang. From “torn” black jeans to black satin harem pants, this curated rack is my go-to for any day that I am not wearing leggings!  It’s a breeze to pull a bottom and then reach for a solid or patterned top, knowing that they will always go together. The flats and sandals lined up below the rack will be switched out for boots and booties when I “get seasonal” in the fall. A few of the heavier tops will replace the light and airy kimonos and sleeveless pieces.

  • Keep, Let Go, Replace

The added bonus of adopting a seasonal approach is that it’s so much easier to make decisions about what stays, goes, and needs replacing. Most of us – including me – struggle with these decisions. We feel bad or guilty about not keeping things because: they are still in good shape, they fit well, and of course, “I spent money on that!” Remember that the goal is to simplify and to feel good about how you look everyday. When you are doing a seasonal wardrobe transition and feel ambivalent about an item, ask yourself:

  • Does this work for how I really live?
  • Does this fill a specific need in my wardrobe?
  • Do I like how this fits me?
  • Is this in good to great condition?
  • Is this item low maintenance?
  • Will I really miss this if it goes?

Only you can decide how many “No’s” you need to wrack up for an item to qualify for letting go or replacing. It may be just one!

  • Keep a Targeted Wish List

By now, you can see how this process works to help you meet your wardrobe goals and to shop your closet with ease. Once you’ve classified each item, grab a notebook or your phone and make a list of items to replace. Be as specific as you can so that when you browse online or in real time, you aren’t easily distracted. Stay focused on filling that gap. I recently ordered a consigned Marc Jacobs handbag from a reputable online company. It had to be shades of cream to complement my summer look. Just before I clicked “BUY,” my eye landed on a gorgeous bag in an unusual shade of dusty lavender. My heart swooned but my targeted strategy paid off!


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