Spring fashion is hitting the stores but before you run out and start buying all the great new looks, how about seeing what's in your own closet first. Amy Goodman, contributing editor for In Style magazine, was invited on the “Today” show to share some helpful hints on how to shop for the upcoming spring season by starting in your own closet.
With a little inspiration, some easy reshuffling and help from In Style’s March issue “Shop Your Closet” feature, you can create great spring looks from what you already own.
Spring’s here, but before you even think about going shopping and spending a lot of dough on the season’s must-haves, plant yourself in front of your own brimming wardrobe. Follow our steps to organize your closet like a chic little shop to pick and choose from. You’ll learn what to keep, what to toss and how to restyle your favorites.
Edit your wardrobe
Pull out everything from your closet. This might be a terrifying concept, but it is best to begin with a clean slate and assess all of the things you own. If you are storing (and cramming) your luggage, tennis rackets and winter coats all side by side, keep in mind that this is primarily a clothes closet (with room for shoes and small purses). Ideally, store coats in a front hall coat closet and sports equipment all together where you can find it readily before heading out to the gym or a game (i.e. in a designated spot in the garage). Off-season clothing should be stored in another closet in breathable, canvas storage bags. Consider grouping category specific clothing like swimwear or ski clothes with like items in individual canvas boxes (with those that allow for an exterior label where you can clearly write the contents “beachwear”) and stored high up on a shelf as space allows.
Tip: The less something is used, the higher in the closet it should go: keep things that you are wearing this season visible — at eye-level as much as possible. The space that is usually the most wasted is the vertical space in a closet.
Sort through your clothes and shoes and make 3 piles:
- Clothes to keep that fit well and flatter
- Clothes to give away to charity
- Clothes to be discarded (stained, torn beyond repair or too worn)
This phase will probably be the most time consuming of your closet makeover. For most of us, separating ourselves from clothes that are in good condition but are seldom worn is a tricky task. Invite an honest friend to come over and help you judge what is flattering, and make sure you try things on if you question the fit. Wear your favorite, flattering undergarments and comfortable clothes that you can slip easily in and out of in order to try things on with confidence.
Tip: If you haven’t worn something for a year, it is time to let it go. If you are having a tough time making a decision about a particular item, place it in a fourth “maybe” pile. Set your Maybe pile aside in a separate room for a day or two, and see if you are thinking about any of the pieces: if you are, then reintegrate those choice pieces into your closet and donate the rest in the pile to charity.
Restock your closet
Now it is time restock your closet like a chic boutique.
HangersReplace wire and mismatched hangers with uniform hangers like these cherry wood hangers in both shirt and clip styles from Bed Bath & Beyond (set of 6, $4.99; 800-GO-BEYOND or bedbathandbeyond.com) for a clean look. A nice bonus: the slimness of these hangers reduces bulk.
CategoriesGroup your clothes by like categories (pants with pants, skits with skirts, sandals with sandals, etc.).
ColorizeSort your pieces by color, from light to dark.
Stores have tempting displays that inspire you to try a new top or outfit. Your closet should similarly sport an inspiration board — a collage of looks you love. Tear pages out from a magazine that show an outfit, an attitude or a style that appeals to you. Mount tear sheets on a bulletin board to hang in your closet or near the area where you get dressed. The idea is that this serves as your dream fashion palette to inspire your clothing choices or future purchases. Continually add and subtract clippings to the board as you please, and certainly with seasonal changes. We chose a sleek metallic bulletin and magnetic board by Umbra ($29.99; Container Store, 888-CONTAIN or containerstore.com) and additional magnet “pushpins” by Mighty Magnet (round or square shape, 16 for $12.99; Container Store.)
Tip: This can serve doubly as a wish list board and helpful hint to your significant other for your birthday and holiday presents!
Go spring shopping!
Now that the closet is organized, you have a clear sense and display of what you have and any holes that you may need to address. Take a step back and ask yourself some questions: Are there too many solids and not enough graphic prints? Are there too much black and not enough color? Are there too many jeans and not enough skirts?
Now it’s time to shop, wisely and efficiently for some fun seasonal clothing that can supplement your wardrobe. If you do so smartly, you’ll discover great spring pieces that work well with not only one item in your closet but several — thus insuring that what you buy, you’ll wear often and hopefully well beyond one season.
Tip: For every new piece of clothing you purchase, take one thing out of your closet. An organized closet is like a healthful and successful diet: you do it well once, with a little maintenance every day you’ll never have to do it again!