I am a firm believer that 2 times a year, you should completely hack out your closet.
Last year, I had never really given my closet a good clean-out.. I still had clothes in there from high school! T-shirts I hated but kept anyway, clothes for “what if’s” I was keeping, clothes I didn’t really like at all and didn’t like the way they fit, but it was something to wear so, meh…
This needed to stop. I had a closet completely packed with clothes I didn’t like at all. That’s a pretty big deal, because fashion is literally art that you wear to express yourself. It’s usually the first impression people have of you, and it can directly change the way you feel. How bad do you hate running into an old friend, co-worker, ex-boyfriend(!!) and you’re wearing sweat pants that are 12 years old with a not-flattering-at-all grey t-shirt. On the flip side, how different do you feel when you run into someone when you’ve gotten ready for the day and are wearing a cute new outfit you feel super spunky in? Such a huge difference. And it’s not really about the other people and what they think, it’s about the way you feel.
I found myself always feeling super frumpy, and especially when my cute single sister came to town and we went out with her friends and I felt like the frumpy mom of the group with all these sassy ladies with their cute outfits that made me think they went shopping for something new EVERY day. We don’t have an extravagant amount of money by any means, and when I do go out shopping, it’s for my girls who are rapidly growing out of things. When I did buy something for myself, it was always from the super-sale rack and it wasn’t necessarily anything that I loved but just whatever was cheap. I was in a rut. And I think it’s a super easy rut to get into, especially for a mom. Am I right?
That’s where the closet over-haul comes in. The idea is to be left with only the clothes that you LOVE that can layer together in different ways, making more room in your closet, less laundry to be done and so you feel 100% no matter if you’re heading to the gym or out for date night.
Step 1 – Make a pinterest fashion board. You probably already have one going, and if you don’t, find someone’s style you love and follow their pinterest fashion boards. Once you’ve got a good board going, you can print it. Simply right click at the top of the pin board and click the “print” option. I like doing it this way and keeping it in my closet instead of always pulling it up on my phone. It’s easier to look at as a whole and I use it for reference for a lot of things. If you don’t really have a style, or are trying to develop your own.. this is essential! Your pinterest fashion board IS your style. Whatever you like is your style. So we’re trying to now incorporate your pinterest fashion board and your very real closet. Once you have your board made and printed, head to the closet!
Step 2 – Purge. After reviewing your fashion board, find some commonalities between your pins. My board is full of stripes and prints, splashes of color, and lots of layering. When I look at my board all together, it has a boho-chic feel so I know that’s what I’m going for in my real-life style. Instead of weeding out all the clothes I don’t like, I instead pick 15 things I love. I love wearing it, it fits well and it fits in with my style. I just think after laundry day, what outfits I grab for first. Once I have 15 things (about two weeks of clothes) I pretty much get rid of everything else. I might snag a few layering pieces out of the toss pile, but for the most part, I try not to even look at what’s going. If you’re a person who has a hard time getting rid of things, don’t even look! Just toss. For real. If it didn’t make it in the first 15 cut, it’s not worth keeping in your closet. If you really like it, but it just doesn’t fit quite right, TOSS. If you wore it once and really liked it but you haven’t worn it again, TOSS. If you haven’t worn it in the last 3 months, TOSS! If it’s been sitting in your closet for the last year with tags on it waiting for the perfect occasion, TOSS. Be relentless about the purge. Even purge your sweats, pajamas and work-out wear. Keep a few cute ones and donate the rest. And don’t forget shoes! We want clothes left that we can’t wait to wear, not clothes that we sorta kinda like, so maybe we’ll just keep it around. Be strong! (And remember how nice it is to donate!)
Step 3 – Plan. Once you have the 15 pieces left, see how they can layer together. For example, I have a black and white striped dolman shirt that I will wear with jeans, gold jewelry and a funky sandal. I also wear it layered under a blazer. I also wear it tucked into a pencil skirt or maxi. I can also wear it with my coral bermuda shorts and cream espadrilles. That’s one piece I can wear 6 different ways and for a variety of seasons. My teal skinnies I can wear with a leather sandal and white T, I can wear with a black blouse and a funky hat, I’ll wear paired with a black blazer and a heel to dress it up, I’ll wear with a colorful blouse and a flat. Even though they’re a statement color, I can still wear them all different ways. I don’t really like having anything in my closet I can only wear that one certain way. The exception is a good maxi dress, but even those I like to buy in solids so I can style them differently. When I do a closet styling for someone, we will pair their outfits together and snap pictures so you can remember how you paired them. When I have 15 pieces I can style at last 5 different ways, it really stretches my closet and helps me utilize everything I have, keeps the laundry pile manageable and allows for way more room in my closet (that’s not very big since my house was built in ’59!). If you have a sister or friend who has a style similar to what you’re going for, enlist their help! I have also done closet stylings and will be happy to help you with yours, contact me for more info.
Step 4 – Build. This is the funnest part about the closet re-vamp, but it must be done precisely. Building on what you have. Once I have 15 things I love, I pull out the ol’ pin board again to see what I have pinned a lot, but that I don’t have in my closet. For instance, if I have 10 outfits that have been pinned with black skinnies and I don’t have black skinnies, I know that’s a staple I should probably invest in to build my closet. If I have a lot of printed/floral shirts pinned, but I only have solids in my closet, I know that’s an area I should work on for the build. This is an area I REALLY had to train myself on. Not shopping ONLY the sale rack for as many things I can get for the least amount of money, but sometimes splurging on one thing that I really needed that could be an asset in my closet. This is still something I have to work on. I’ve found that it’s actually more fun to buy one thing I’m super stoked about than 4 things I feel “meh..” about. Not that I never buy on the sale rack, that’s where I check first and for those funky pieces I’d like (florals, layering t’s, trendy skinnies) I always like to buy cheap. But for pieces like a great blazer or pair of boots or the perfect jean.. those are items I’m okay splurging on because I know they’ll last me longer than a season and the quality will matter. This is a very slow process though. I don’t go out and buy these things all at once. I keep a list of things I’d like to build my closet with and very slowly and intentionally, I will cross things off the list. Keep in mind that we are trying not to add a bunch of stuff to the closet, but to only add in pieces that will stretch our 15 pieces even further, or will help us develop our style. I’m certainly NOT suggesting you spend hundreds on a new wardrobe, I’m simply suggesting you should be intentional about the items you do buy that are going to take up precious space in that closet and reflect who you are.
**tip** accessories are a really good and inexpensive way to build your closet. A couple scarves and some funky jewelry can really go a long way.
Refer to your pinterest board or print-out often. When I don’t know what to wear for the day, I’ll always check my list to find some inspiration. Maybe a new way to pair something, something I haven’t dared try, or a way I can dabble into the hub’s side of the closet. ;)
When I have a closet full of things I like, I feel so much better about everything. I enjoy getting ready in the morning, I feel better about my body (especially when everything I own fits me well!) I feel more motivated in my day. It’s a bit of a process, but it’s a fun process! And one you should be doing for yourself. Seriously. A year later, I don’t feel like the frumpy mom-of-two anymore. I feel like me – who happens to have two darling girls attached to my sides at all times. And that feels good.
I do this at the beginning of fall and the beginning of Spring/Summer. It takes a few hours and makes a world of difference!
I’ll answer any questions in the comments. Until next time, happy purging! :)