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8 Ways to Shop Your Closet

We can think of few statements more cliché than “I have nothing to wear”. But like losing your car keys when you’re running late for work and never having an umbrella when it rains, it’s a cliché for a reason. Why? Stuffed-to-the-brim closets, blouses with tags on, and impulse purchases (for starters).Take a cue from the people who do it best- fashion retailers- and turn your closet into a ready-to-wear boutique.

1. Empty Out Off-Season Items

There’s a reason you won’t see wool coats in Bloomie’s in July. Put simply, you can’t shop in a store that’s cluttered and chaotic. Empty out your closet- take it all out- and put it on your bed or the floor. Grab off-season items and pack them away in storage bags or under-bed boxes. Best part? Since you won’t see these pieces for 6 months, they’ll feel brand new next season




2. Organize Your Closet

Time to put everything back in your closet. Make your wardrobe “shoppable” by sorting items first by garment type, then by color and pattern. Hang items the way you dress, with shirts on top, pants on bottom, and shoes underneath, so you can easily see outfit combinations.

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Then steal this trick from retailers: hang items near other items you’d like to try them with. According to the Daily Mail, Mickey Drexler- the ‘king of retail’ who revolutionized brands like Ann Taylor, Gap, and most recently J. Crew- revealed that, “a pair of shoes or selection of belts might be placed near a contrasting dress or shirt, helping the customer imagine how they might put a look together.” Try it in your own closet for a fresh spin on your go-to garments.

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Hang your bright top with a skirt & accessories for a ready-to-wear outfit


3. Keep A List Of New Items You Need

After your closet is organized, it will be easy to see what’s missing. Do a closet “inventory”: got 17 black tees, but no boyfriend blazers? Make a list of items you need- basic white tees, a classic trench coat, a tailored jacket- then fill in the gaps with pieces that fit your personal brand.

4. Follow The Rule Of 3

Cut back on haphazard shopping and maximize your wardrobe possibilities by following the rule of 3: every new item should make 3 new outfits with the clothing you already own.

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5. Use Pinterest To Build New Outfits With Your Existing Pieces

Stores know the secret to turning browsers into buyers is helping them visualize the product in their everyday lives. “The most tried and true example of this would be the mannequin…this tactic gives prospective customers an immediate point of reference and as soon as they can envision your product on themselves or in their homes, you can consider it as good as sold,” says Humayun Khan at Shopify.

Find your own fashion “mannequins” on Pinterest. Pick an item you already own- like a denim jacket- and type it into the search. You’ll quickly find dozens of options for ways to wear it that you had never thought of, without constantly buying new pieces.

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Another favorite source of outfit inspiration

6. Wear Pieces In An Unexpected Way

Aside from mannequins, retailers have another trick up their sleeves: impeccably stylish employees. They always have a fresh take on the store’s basic pieces. They unbutton a chambray shirt and wear it like a jacket, make a wide cuff on a pair of skinny jeans, or tie a top over a maxi dress and wear it like a skirt. Look at your pieces through new eyes and see how you can wear them in an unexpected way.

7. Get Items Tailored

Recently, stores like Club Monaco and Ralph Lauren have started offering free or inexpensive alterations. Why? A perfect fit off-the-rack is a rarity. The same is true for your closet. For just a few dollars, a tailor can shorten a hem or remove sleeves and transform your pieces into something totally new.

8. Add Accessories

Retailers know that accessories can turn an otherwise boring top or dress into a must-have piece. Try this pro tip from our creative owner, Christine: instead of building your outfit around a top or pants (which can leave you feeling totally uninspired), start with a fresh piece like a statement piece or eye-catching shoe.

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Now you: Which tip will you use to shop your closet?

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Mix and match fashion- that perfectly imperfect blend- walks a fine line between looking like an off-duty model and looking like a six year old dressed you. Here, we give you a crash course in achieving the former.

When we were little, we loved playing dress up. Stacks of bangles, polka dot dresses, sequined scarves- the more, the better. Mix and match fashion- as seen on every blogger worth her Manolos- is fun because it’s so almost outrageous. Enough and you seem wordly, too much and you stray into clown territory.

As Jenna Lyons, the queen of laissez-faire layering, says, “The overthinking doesn’t go well, the quicker out the door the better.” Perhaps that’s why we’re so in love with this look- it’s utterly chic without even trying.

But for those of us who, unlike Ms. Lyons, weren’t born with the style gene, here’s how to work your way up to mix master:

Beginner: Start With Solids
If mixing plaids and pineapples feels kitschy to you, ease into the mix & match trend by trading your basic neutrals for a colorful look. Pick solid pieces in complementary hues, like tangerine and teal, for a summery pop. Just remember that, like black and white, “opposites attract”.

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Intermediate: Choose One Focal Point
Start with a standalone piece, like a shirt in a bright botanical or brazen stripe. Then add solid pieces in hues borrowed from your pattern. The trick to achieving a mix that’s more “Karlie Kloss” than kindergarten is picking one of the less expected shades from your pattern.

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Pro: Match Colors, Not Prints
The secret to an eclectic mix? Keep it in the (color) family. Find prints that share a hue to make the look cohesive yet fashion forward. Play with the scale of your patterns- try a wide stripe with a dainty floral, or mix stripes of varying sizes- but make sure they have one color in common.


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Add A Dash Of Print With Accessories: Accessories are a low-commitment way to pull in a funky pattern. Don’t be afraid to add a geo-print clutch or leopard shoe (leopard is basically a neutral, anyway). Just don’t overdo it on prints in your outfit- as a rule of thumb, two is plenty.

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What Jewelry Goes With Mix & Match Outfits?: Simplicity is key when pairing jewelry with prints or bold colors. Go for a simple gold or silver bracelet or a special ring to keep your look clean and uncluttered.

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Now you: are you a beginner, intermediate, or mix master? What’s your favorite pattern to play with? Tell us in the comments below.

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