I understand that style might not be anywhere on your list of priorities right now, but hear me out:
How You Look can dramatically influence How You Feel.
And who doesn’t need to feel better these days? Like I’ve said in the past, there’s a lot we can’t control, but the state of our closets isn’t one of them. And there’s never been a better time to play with your wardrobe and come up with fun new combinations for now and later. Because there will be a later when we can go out and do all the things.
In the meantime, I’ve got ideas for making the most of what you have! (A well-edited closet certainly makes this process easier because you can see what you have more clearly, so purge first, if you have the time.)
Shopping in Your Closet
1. Start with the Wallflowers
Wallflowers are the little-used items in your closet or the items that you only wear one way, with one thing. Break up your matched sets to give you more options. Try to find 5 tops and 5 bottoms. Or 10 tops and 10 bottoms. Once you make sure that these items Fit and Flatter and decide that they are items you actually want to wear, you can start styling them. These pieces represent your wardrobe’s untapped potential. Now separate these items into Basics and Statements.
Basic pieces are usually neutral, unadorned, and very versatile. Here are some examples of basics:
Statement pieces are high-impact items because of their color, shape, or detail, like these:
2. Get Inspired
Next, hop onto Pinterest, Instagram, or just your web browser, and search for outfit ideas using the items you have. For example, I searched “red skirt outfit ideas” in Google, and selected images. This is what I found:
Add these ideas to a style Pinterest board, or save them on your phone, or even print them out and put them in a binder. Whatever works for you.
Then use these images to inspire outfits with the items you’ve pulled out of your closet.
3. Create a Column + Add a Completer
Try this simple 3 part outfit formula:
Basic + Basic + Statement = Cute outfit
The Column = A top and a bottom or a dress/jumpsuit. Add a completer piece in the form of a statement clothing item or fun accessories.
Columns can combine different neutrals, different colors (colorblocking), or be monochromatic.
4. Play Matchmaker
Now that you have some tools, make sure that every wallflower gets a dance partner. (I might be taking this analogy too far, but…). Create as many combinations as you can, and Google the items that stump you. Photograph each item on your phone and put them in their own folder for easy retrieval later. Or print them out and keep them in your closet.
Do you have some stubborn pieces left over, that, in spite of your best attempts to find them a mate, are still single?
First, ask yourself if you actually like the item. (I know we’ve been over this before, but I had to ask. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a variation of “I have nothing to wear with that white shirt.”)
If you do, indeed, want to wear the item, go back to step 2 and find some outfit ideas using it, and then add the missing pieces to a running shopping list. And make it a point to fill in these gaps as soon as possible!
(Yes, we can still shop. We just need to do it online. I’ll post a video talking you through it shortly!).
I hope that this has inspired you to head over to that little boutique in your own house and do some shopping.
(Interested in some more resources on shopping your closet? check out this post and this one and this one).