Hi ladies! I’m Caitlin, and I’m so thrilled to be here with you today. I absolutely love Nada’s heart to help you feel as gorgeous as you are. Today, I’m excited to share with you how to shop your closet to find at least 47 new outfits and give you the know-how to find dozens more.
To be honest, I’ve never liked to repeat an outfit twice. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, because in the past, that meant I was constantly shopping and spending money on clothes I didn’t need or really even like. As a high school and college student, I mostly thrifted, but I felt like I could only wear my pieces one way, so I kept shopping. I felt guilty, but I pushed it down and tried to ignore my feelings.
When we got married, my husband and I had a little chat about my spending habits and how they needed a makeover. Honestly, I was relieved. I was tired of buying all the time and yet feeling like I had nothing to wear. I knew it was crazy, but I felt stuck in this cycle that I didn’t know how to get out of.
This is my sweet husband. Look at that face! How could I say no to him?
Not long after our chat, with Troy’s wise words echoing through my mind (but no real idea of an actual plan to quit shopping) a few things happened that ended up with me breaking up with shopping for a year.
Yes, you read that correctly. 🙂 A friend and I made a plan to give up shopping for a year- no shoes, no clothes, no accessories, and we’d save the money we would have spent on ourselves and pray about where God wanted it to go.
Honestly, I thought I was going to help someone else with the added bonus of killing my shopping addiction, but those 12 months flipped my thoughts and habits upside down. The challenge changed every piece of my life. Along the way, I also learned that my average-size closet had more than 365 unique outfits hanging in it. Crazy, right?!
Today, I’m so excited to share this mini guide with you that describes how to shop your closet. It’s full of some of the best strategies I’ve learned during thousands of hours spent learning to shop my closet. These have also been tested with hundreds of women who have gotten the same results. We are going to kick the “nothing to wear” dilemma to the curb once and for all!
First, use the idea of a capsule wardrobe to open your eyes to the combinations your closet is holding.
A capsule wardrobe is a group of clothes that works together to give you a bunch of outfit options. If you break it down into pieces, you get:
- A tank
- A short sleeve shirt
- A long sleeve shirt
- A completer piece (cardigan, jacket, etc.)
- A pair of shorts
- A skirt
- A pair of pants
- A dress
You’ve probably got one of each of those in your wardrobe right now.
If you mix and match just those eight pieces, look at the combinations you can come up with:
- tank, shorts
- tank, pants
- tank, skirt
- tank, completer piece, pants
- tank, completer piece, skirt
- tank, completer piece, shorts
- tank, completer piece, dress (as a skirt)
- tee, pants
- tee, skirt
- tee, shorts
- tee, completer piece, pants
- tee, completer piece, skirt
- tee, completer piece, shorts
- tee, completer piece, dress (as a skirt)
- long sleeve top, pants
- long sleeve top, skirt
- long sleeve top, shorts
- long sleeve top, completer piece, pants
- long sleeve top, completer piece, skirt
- long sleeve top, completer piece, shorts
- long sleeve top, dress (if you wore the top under the dress and then over and knotted or belted, you could count this combination twice.)
- long sleeve top under dress, completer piece
- long sleeve top over the dress (used as a skirt), completer piece
- completer piece, pants (this look and the next combination only work if your completer piece can be closed or buttoned to create a wearable shirt! :))
- completer piece, skirt
- completer piece, shorts
- completer piece, dress
- dress (worn as top) and skirt
Not all of these will look great or even work with the specific items you have in your closet, but do you see how many looks you can create with just a few pieces? Mind = blown.
You don’t have to stick to just those eight pieces. The goal is to start to see how many possibilities there are from just a few items. What you do with them is up to you! Maybe you pick out a casual and a work version of your 8 pieces and build outfits around them. Or seasonal versions. It’s up to you! Here’s a quick example.
I chose 8 pieces and shopped the rest of my closet to come up with 28 outfits in February.
Now that you know your closet holds more combinations than you realized, get ready to try on, try on, try on! You never know how something will look until you try it on.
Practice putting together outfits (and trying them on!) using this cheat sheet:
Consider Capsule Wardrobe Combinations.
Use the 8 piece guide above to choose your own pieces and work through a few (or all) of the 29 options.
Use The Rule of 3.
One of the quickest ways to look put together is to add a completer piece. Instead of wearing just a top + bottom, like this…
go for a top + bottom + completer piece, like this jean jacket.
Adding the jacket makes the tank and shorts combo look more polished instantly.
A completer piece can be a jacket or sweater of some sort, a scarf, or a large piece of jewelry.
Sub in Outfit Formulas.
Think of your outfits as formulas. Like we talked about with the rule of 3, an outfit broken down is basically a top + bottom + whatever else you want to add. Use these boards to help you envision new combinations and shop your closet to find similar outfits.
- Tank Outfit Formulas
- Tee Outfit Formulas
- Short Sleeve Blouse Outfit Formulas
- Long Sleeve Blouse Outfit Formulas
- Button Up Outfit Formulas
- Sweater Outfit Formulas
- Cardigan Outfit Formulas
- Jacket Outfit Formulas
- Vest Outfit Formulas
- Dress Outfit Formulas
- Skirt Outfit Formulas
- Shorts Outfit Formulas
- Jeans Outfit Formulas
- Pants Outfit Formulas
Try to avoid the, “but I don’t have that exact piece so there’s no way I could recreate this” mindset. What is it you like about the look? Can you recreate the color combination, shape, etc.? Use looks as a springboard, not a set-in-stone template.
Remix A Favorite.
Go-to outfits can start to feel boring if we reach for them too often. Here are three ways to put a fresh spin on your favorite looks.
1. Use the same pieces, but different accessories.
Look 1: black tee, gray blazer, and skinny jeans with a statement necklace and heels.
Look 2: black tee, gray blazer, and skinny jeans with a scarf and riding boots.
I used the same pieces, but switching up the accessories (statement necklace for scarf, heels for riding boots) creates a totally different look.
2. Use similar pieces, but different styling.
Both of these looks use a button up, completer piece, a statement necklace, slim pants, and an interesting shoe.
The outfits are similar, but using different completer pieces (the crew neck sweater and blush cardigan) as well as different accessories (in the statement necklaces and colored v. bow shoes) give a unique spin to both looks.
3. Use similar pieces and the same accessories.
I used similar pieces (the black v. gray tee, and dark v. light wash jeans), and traded the gray loafers for gray booties. I could use the same idea and traded my anorak jacket for a jean jacket or blazer, the blue jeans for a colored pair, or subbed in some riding boots for a different spin. The combinations are endless.
And that, my friend, leaves you with 47 ways to shop your closet for new outfits!
- 29 capsule wardrobe possibilities;
- the rule of 3;
- 14 outfit formula pinboards;
- and 3 ways to remix your favorite look.
- What do I like about these looks?
- What don’t I like?
Recognizing now that you won’t love every outfit you come up with will help set you up for success, and thinking through the ‘whys’ will help you create a style that not only makes you feel gorgeous, but fits your life.
We covered a lot of information today. It can be tempting to come back later to do something about it, but remember that action always beats intention! Before you go, choose one tiny action step to take today to start shopping your closet. Here are a few ideas:
- Download the ‘how to find 5 new outfits in your closet today’ from the special bonus page I created for Beauty Mommy readers.
- Take 5 minutes to find a look on Pinterest to recreate this week.
- Set a calendar reminder with the link to this post to make a review easy.
- Or share your own action step in the comments below! Pick one that you’re excited about and works for you.
Thanks so much for having me today! If there’s anything I can do to help you, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Caitlin Skidmore started Greater Than Rubies as a diary about her experimental break up with shopping in 2012. Since then, GTR has grown to include an online style course, style coaching, and speaking engagements to help women create a style that makes them feel gorgeous and fits their life, body, and budget perfectly. GTR’s mission is to inspire women to cultivate a life of great worth by helping them celebrate their unique style and feel gorgeous in their own skin, while cheering them on to love others well and make what matters happen.
Nada Manley says
Yay! I am so glad to hear that Shannon! Please shoot me an email if you need additional ideas. 🙂
Loved your article on “how to shop your closet”, thanks for breaking it down and showing “how to outfits” this really helped me get past my how to get started problem that I was having.
Nada Manley says
Thanks for the comment! The new printed shorts would be great with these tops, if I’m assuming correctly that they are solid. Try them with a maxi skirt, or a pair of white jeans, or tucked into a denim skirt. I’d love to see a pic of the style you’re talking about so I can give you some more suggestions!
I have a lot of mid sleeved shirts in different colour and I don’t wear anything other than jeans can u help me here style them uniquely
Nada Manley says
Thank you so much Allison! Made my day!
Allison Armes says
This is my very first comment – ever – but I was so very impressed I just had to let you know! I found this very thoughtful and most helpful.
Nada Manley says
Love this! I am learning to sew with my daughter and enjoying it so much. 🙂
I also fasted a year from clothes shopping it was so refreshing and I learned to sew in the meantime. I made two dresses for my daughter’s and a dress for me and a new shirt.
God is good so is fasting.
THIS IS A FANTASTIC POST! I LOVE IT. SUCH GREAT ADVICE – AND SO WELL PRESENTED. VERY EASY TO FOLLOW AND ALL THE OUTFITS I WOULD TOTALLY WEAR. PERFECT FOR A NEW MOMMY GETTING USED TO TAKING CARE OF ANOTHER (…PREVIOUS ME WOULD SHOP TIL I DROP — BUT I HAVE A FEELING THAT’S GOING TO CHANGE). MAYBE I’LL TAKE ON A LITTLE FASHION CHALLENGE OF MY OWN. #INSPIRED
Hi! I found this post from pinterest , really loove your post here! Keep it up ! Gonna check everything in your web ? You and your husband are so lovely btw. Plz post more activity that you and your husband do ❤️
This we so helpful!! I loved it and may I just say you are absolutely gorgeous!! You and your husband make a very cute couple! 🙂
I am from Argentina. Here the economy situation is hard. So I found your post so interesting. I”ll follow your suggestions due to save money and if is necessary buy more conscious. XOXO
Nada Manley says
You mean like I do? LOL. I am in sunny Central Florida, where we have 70-plus degree weather this year in November. My advice would be to switch out the items for items to suit your climate. So shorts sleeved shirts and some shorts, too. This does minimize the amount of layering we are able to do – especially since hot weather pretty much eliminates jackets and sweaters, so I add interest with accessories. I’ll be adding some more capsule wardrobe and shop your wardrobe ideas soon that work for warmer climates as well!
What do you do if you live in a place that’s too hot for pants, jackets, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, etc?
I found this post through pinterest. Very useful and complete article, not just pretty pictures.
Will pin this one and check out your blog Caitlin!
Carol Manley says