(in 5 Easy Steps)
Style might be a whole lot simpler if we could start from scratch.
Then you might be able to build a flattering, versatile wardrobe from the ground up. Sure, you might need endless amounts of time and money, but with a little know-how and a few good shopping days, it’s totally doable.
But what if you already have clothes? And you’re just not sure what to do with them?
In today’s video and post, I show you how to take your wardrobe from where it is now and transition it to a more stylish, current, and flattering version of itself, without shopping.
In 5 easy steps.
Okay, that last part was a lie.
There are 5-ish steps. And describing them is easy. But it would be a lie to tell you that this process is especially easy or effortless.
Like everything else worth doing, it requires a bit of effort upfront, but you will reap the rewards for years.
Step 1: Purge the Frumpy Clothes
The first step in any organization or renovation project is a good declutter, and it’s no different with a wardrobe refresh. And since I’m not there to tell you what to purge and what to keep, I’ll offer you a few guidelines to get you started.
Trendy or decorated or statement items more than 3 years old
Printed tunics with funky prints and lots of detail
Clothes that do not fit you (if you are in a weight transition, store these elsewhere)
Clothes that are faded, worn, or otherwise in disrepair
Expensive mistakes and well-intentioned gifts that you’ve never worn
Old suits from work (although you can keep a classic blazer or two for casual wear)
Itchy, uncomfortable clothes and shoes
Costume jewelry that is more than 3 years old
Find the Staples
The next step is to identify the basic, staple, workhorse pieces in your wardrobe. But how do you define a staple?
These can include items like blue jeans, white jeans, black jeans, button down tops in white or chambray or even a subtle blue stripe, tees in neutral colors, solid silky blouses in solid neutrals, etc.
You can find all of my favorite wardrobe essentials in my Fashion Essentials Over 40 Wardrobe Guide.
Create Effortless Outfits
Now, using the items remaining in your closet, quickly put together as many as you can. Using staples makes outfit creation easier, and if you have a sprinkling of staples in your wardrobe, you should find the outfit creation process fairly simple.
The idea of wardrobe staples is that you can theoretically mix any two or three pieces together and create an outfit. If they are in solid neutrals (or one of the pieces is in a neutral print) you’ll have ultimate versatility when making outfits.
Aim for at least 5 of these outfit combinations.
And if the outfits lack a little interest or personality, don’t worry. We’ll get to that in the next step.
Add Personality with Accessories
Now that you’ve assembled a few Effortless Outfits of your own, you’ll want to ask yourself what they are missing. If you’re a minimalist, your simple everyday jewelry and neutral shoes might be all you need to complete these outfits.
If, however, you have a different style personality, whether that’s boho or whimsical or edgy, you can easily take an Effortless Outfit, which is essentially a blank canvas, and add personality and personal style through accessories.
These examples were created by me a few years ago, but can offer ideas for how to take basic pieces and make them your own through accessories.
Take a Daily Picture
Now that you’ve created Effortless Outfits and added your personality through accessories, line up the outfits at the front of your closet, and wear one a day. Every day, as you wear your new Effortless Outfit, snap a mirror selfie and save it on your phone. After a couple of weeks worth of pictures, you’ll be able to go back and look through the outfits and easily pick your favorites.
You’ll also gain some valuable insight on the outfits that are most flattering, comfortable and wearable.
Move your favorite Effortless Outfits into a folder. You can wear these outfits on repeat, and recreate them with other items from your own wardrobe.
You are well on your way to creating your own personal lookbook.