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The Contemporary Closet: A slimdown ritual for the overstuffed wardrobe

23 Jun 2018 6:05 PM | Birdie Brennan, CPO®
We 've all had those mornings where pulling together a fresh outfit that helps us feel good about the day results in a ho-hum, not-what-I- was-going-for look. But how can that be, when we have closets full of clothes?

Usually when clients tell me they "have no clothes," the reality is one of several instances:
  • they have closets that have not been purged of things not worn in several seasons
  • they are holding on to clothing that no longer fits or suits their tastes
  • they have not reviewed their clothes to find pairings that are versatile
  • they have lost track of what they own 
The result, is jammed packed rods of clothes that are skipped over each day, which makes us feel frustrated and lethargic. Why can't we find anything to wear? It is because we can't see the outfit through the textile piles. 
Here are a few strategies for finding those fresh looks that are within reach. 
First, we suggest removing the contents of your closet. It may seem overwhelming, but it is important to get to the clothes that have been lingering in the back and out of range for a while. When doing this, separate shirts from pants-from jeans- from skirts-from dresses.
Now, make a fit check. Most of us have clothes that either don't fit or that don't fit in a flattering way. Some times the cut just isn't right or maybe a few too many washes has changed the shape. If you are hoping to fit into a size again, consider that most people won't lose or gain a size without significant efforts. If you are not actively dieting or exercising, then don't keep clothes that don't match your current needs.
The next step is to take a closer look at items that you haven't worn in several seasons, and then ask, why might that be? So many times we buy separates without thinking about what they might match. This is especially true of sale items. When re-evaluating these items, a good rule of thumb is to be able to wear the separate with three outfits. If you feel it does not coordinate well, then it is okay to admit it may not have been a good purchase. 
Clothes that no longer fit or that don't work with other clothes are great candidates for donation.  On the other end of the spectrum are those clothes which have seen better days. We all have them. The blouse that just needs a button, a pair of pants that needs hemmed, or a frayed edge on a favorite sweatshirt. When we aren't wearing things because we might one day be able to improve condition, it is not likely that we are going to restore them to their original glory. Unless you can sew, or you have a good tailor on speed dial, it is okay to admit these items are the end of their life cycle. 
Now that you have performed a closet edit, you can begin to look at your clothes with a fresh eye. With the remaining items, take time to coordinate and plan outfits. The most versatile items should help you build 2 or 3 outfits. Hang up clothes by category and by color - from light to dark. This will help you see if you have too much or too little of one color.  And just like that you will be rewarded with knowing what to wear next week, knowing where to find it, and having a closet that fits YOU!


  • 09 Jul 2018 7:22 AM | Olive Wagar (Administrator)
    It is so much easier to get dressed when everything in your closet is something you delight in wearing! I wear pretty things even when I am alone at home all day--it makes me smile!! And I really enjoy having less laundry.
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