It’s time for the first Signature Style post of 2022 with my compatriots, Cindy and Sarah and we decided to begin with a post that encourages you to look in your own closet before you buy anything this year. As Sarah, who came up with the idea, says can you ‘relove’ what you already own? I think we all need to try and on today’s blog are ideas on how.
A lot of us are addicted to shopping, to that high we get from a new item, but we can retrain ourselves to stop looking at stores and online ads for inspiration. We can look right in our own closets if we spend some time seeing what we own and what we can do with it.
I know I’ve said this before, but the best way to prevent yourself from buying what you don’t need is know your closet. That means spending a couple hours taking the closet apart every season, (that’s 4xs a year), clean it out, straighten and organize by type and then color. Try on every sweater and pair of jeans and shoes, dress and coat. Lay out the hanging pieces on your bed and then look at each and every one.
If you’re able and have the space, store some of your out of season clothes in another closet or space, so you can see only what you are able to wear now. A crammed closet isn’t conducive to shopping it, and I like my clothes to have space to breathe.
Think of your closet as your own personal boutique and make it appealing.
Start arranging your closet to be attractive and inspiring. Make it smell pretty with sachets or a candle (unlit). If you have the space hang cool art, wallpaper it or create an inspiration board. Then get it curated by season.
Go through your jewelry, shoes and accessories and select things that will work for that season.
Right now in winter, I like to have my sweaters folded neatly by color, and put coordinating accessories in same tones near them just as a shop would. What I see when I walk into my winter closet now is coats, jackets, leather bags, scarves and sweaters and boots. In spring and summer, I have blouses, sundresses, woven bags, sandals and short
If you can’t see things, you won’t wear them. You can’t have everything out at once, so each season pretend you’re a buyer for boutique and select accesories for this particular time of year. An example is my crystals and colored stone earrings have been on my tray for the holidays and in summer I’ll drape my Hawaiian pearls on a cord on my small mirror and have my vintage white Chanel enamel earrings and colorful clip ons from my grandmother on my tray.
I’ll pull out all my flat sandals and slides and put them in cute baskets in warm season. Now they are away and boots, sneakers and loafers are on the shelves. Another idea is to pull forgotten scarves out of a basket and pair each one with a jacket or coat by wrapping them around the hanger with it. You can do the same with necklaces if it helps you to remember to use them.
When you like an outfit, snap a photo and save it on your phone
Take a photo when you leave the house in something you like or in a look you’ve pulled together when going through the closet. Then group them on your phone as work outfits, date night, evening look, or weekend, travel, etc. You’d be surprised how you can forget pieces you own, and looks you’ve worn. When you’re feeling uninspired, look at that album.
For example this is one on my phone with outfits so I can remember what worked and what is in the closet.
Try new ways to wear what you own..
- Take jeans and denim and update them by cutting the hem yourself with sharp scissors and chalk. There are many tutorials online. Hello new fringy cropped that look like expensive brands. Mending jeans and adding stitching and patches has become a look. This book is a good one for unique jean hacks.
- Sweaters have so much potential. Turn a sweater backwards for a sexy back v neck. Wear one as a scarf around the neck, or draped on your shoulders as a pop of color or and tied around the waist of a dress. I also love layering my sweaters and try them with different blouses you own to see which ones work well together.
- Dresses don’t need to sit out winter. Wear your dresses layered over jeans or leggings. Play around with the proportions and see which jeans work best. Try a sweater over your dresses or a long sleeve top under a spaghetti strap type. Add sneakers to dresses to update them, (preferably not the ones you hike or run in.)
- Pull apart 2 piece outfits like a suit or a skirt and matching top and wear the pieces separately. You’ll have exponentially more outfits and looks.
- Don’t let your evening wear be just for night and gather dust. Bring these fancy pieces down to earth by pairing them with everyday items. Try a sequin top for day with denim, chandelier earrings with a sweatshirt, a velvet dress over skinny jeans with flats, a black dress worn over leggings with a leather or denim jacket.
- Dress down your ‘work’ or tailored pieces. Start wearing your blazers and jackets out as your daily topper. How many of us have beautiful jackets that never get worn? I use my jackets all the time and love them with a t-shirt or a sweatshirt to dress them down. I like them in winter with a big scarf wrapped over them for warmth and in summer over sundresses. Tailored skirts and slacks look fresh with a sweatshirt or a big oversized sweater, or white sneakers with and a t-shirt.
- Use your bags in new ways. Straw bags tend to be summer things, but Jane Birkin wore her woven totes with fur (or faux preferably), and people like my friend Contessa use their all year long. Leather bags can be changed up by switching your straps. So many have removable straps, or options to add a shoulder strap so look at what can be converted to a cross-body if you want. Guitar style straps here at Madewell, and some of the coolest ones here on Etsy. Older bags are more chic now than new, as seen by the huge market for vintage bags. If you are so lucky to have saved older bags start wearing them again! Or as we talked about in this recent post, take a load off and start using a canvas tote you might already have, like all the cool kids.
Spend a few hours playing dress up.
For fun, I thought I’d show you what looks I created with a old Equipment dress that has been sitting in the closet for a few years. I love this dress, but don’t have many opportunities to wear it, so I thought I’d show you looks I pulled together using other closet pieces, over blue jeans, grey skinny jeans, with leggings and with different boots. I also I tried an oversized sweater over it, a velvet bomber, and a moto jacket. I used bags I’ve had and it was fun to see all the options I hadn’t even thought of.
For Inspiration go to Street Style Instagram accounts or Pinterest.
I still read magazines, but I don’t think I’ve found an outfit I wanted to copy from one of them in years. Everything is so fantasy driven now. I do however find a lot to inspire me on Instagram and specifically for me, street style accounts where real people are snapped in various cities of the world. These people will give you ideas on how to style what you already own. Screenshot looks and out them in an album on the phone to refer back to.
Some of my favorites are
Photos below from the Street Style Global Instagram..
I also love the Parisian Chic Look Book which has tons of ideas of how to add style to your wardrobe basics…
Another fun idea is to do a wardrobe swap party with a group of friends. Everyone brings 5 or so pieces that are nice that they no longer wear and they are hung or displayed on tables or racks. You draw numbers and everyone takes turns selecting pieces. It is a great way to keep clothes in the cycle, not the landfill and pass something nice onto another.
Having too much is as bad as not enough. If you’ve paid a lot for something, and have a hard time parting with it, but will never wear it, as Marie Kondo says, be thankful for it and pass it on to another who can enjoy it. Don’t let things sit when others could be using them. Dress for Success in San Jose is a great place to help women who are trying to succeed in the world and can use those items that are gathering dust.
When you are ready to shop again, get to know consignment and thrift stores near you. It’s a great place to sell some of what you no longer want and also find unique and better quality things for a song. Make a commitment to bring only better quality items into your wardrobe this year. Save for the good stuff as I talked about in this post, or find them through thrift and consignment. Stop going for the quick high at places like Target if you can. I’ve yet to have a cheap item stand the test of time – trend wise or wear wise, but I’ve been grateful I saved for better items that still look good, even cooler, year after year and give whole wardrobe an upgrade.
If you find a consignment shop you like, the best thing to do is be a regular. That way you see when the better things come in and can grab them. In the Bay Area, my favorites are Crossroads Trading (the Blossom Hill location) and Filmore & Fifth in Palo Alto. Other options abound online too now.
I can’t wait to read Cindy and Sarah’s blogs today about shopping the closet. Stop by their blogs at:
Thanks for reading and please share below your thoughts on shopping your closet.
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