The fall collections are now in stores, the must-anticipated September fashion issues are arriving in mailboxes and newsstands (Vogue is scheduled to be available August 15 – although I know a few have been enjoying an early copy), and I must admit I’m getting excited to touch up my fall wardrobe.
But before any meaningful purchasing can occur, knowing what is already in our closets will help direct us toward wise purchases in the coming weeks and months. So what is the best way to go about organizing your wardrobe/closet?
It’s quite simple and fun as well. Let me show you what I’ve been doing for years.
1. Carve Out Time
Choose either an entire morning or afternoon that is free so that you are not making rushed decisions and are adequately rested. It might sound silly, but you don’t want to be making rash decisions about clothes/shoes/accessories that you’ve spent good money on without a clear mind.
2. Start from Zero
Remove everything from you closet (or one closet at a time if you have many) and leave everything on your bed, sofa or a clean floor.
3. Have a Notebook Handy
As you go through your closet you will be taking notes of what you need, what needs to be repaired or tailored and any tools to help care for your clothes and keep them well organized (specialty hangers, dividers, jewelry organizer, etc).
4. Find a Full Length Mirror
While not everything is something that you will need to try on, there will be items in which you need to refresh you memory and take a hard, honest look in the mirror to see how it hangs on your body.
5. Find Two Empty, Large Boxes/Structured Bags
For each item of clothing that you sort through there will be three options – keep, tailor/fix/repair, toss/donate/consign. Make the clean-up easier and begin with two large boxes/bags already in the room waiting for their merchandise.
6. Have Your Capsule Wardrobe List Handy
As I go through my closet, I am constantly asking myself, “Does this fit into my capsule wardrobe? What will I wear this with? What does this item need to fit into my capsule wardrobe?” And in order to answer these questions effectively and accurately, you must know what type of capsule wardrobe you are wanting to create. Click here to learn how to create your very own capsule wardrobe.
7. One by One
Go through each item and ask the following:
- Do I wear it?
- Does it fit properly?
- Does it fit into my capsule wardrobe?
- Does it need to be fixed?
- Does it need to be cleaned?
- Do I feel good wearing it?
- Can it be worn in more than one outfit (if not a dress)?
Some items will only make it through the first two questions before you know you are tossing them, but others will make their way through the entire list. Once you’ve worked your way through these questions for each item, you now have sorted your clothes.
- For any items that you are keeping but need cleaning (regular or dry-cleaning), plan on taking care of them as soon as possible so you can begin wearing them.
- For clothing that is going to the consignment shop, determine which season it would be best suited for and ask the store when they accept seasonal appropriate items. Typically, they will require you to wash and iron any items you are bringing to their store, so plan to take care of this as well.
8. Store/Hang Properly
The clothes that made the cut need to be cared for, so make sure you have the right hangers, enough shelving, adequate drawer space, etc. Below is a list of hangers I use as well as a few other items you may need.
- non-slip hangers (for large necklines, camisoles, lightweight tops that are always falling off the hanger.
- wooden skirt hangers
- padded hangers (for high collared garments, lingerie, dresses)
- regular wooden hangers
- wooden trouser/jean hangers
- scarf hanger (this one as well)
- belt hanger
- hanging jewelry organizer
- shelf dividers
- shoe organizer – to store boots – simply roll up a magazine and place inside as it helps it to maintain its shape and stand up straight – cheap too!
Click here to discover more ideas on how to tend to the decor and tools that will provide a sanctuary for your clothes, ensuring that they last for many seasons to come.
9. Organize by Color/Type
Depending upon your preference, organize your clothing by hue or type (skirt, top, dress, etc) – or perhaps both! Not only does this create an aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye when you open the door to your closet, but it also helps you keep track of where everything is and where to return it when you are done with it each day.
10. Assess What’s Missing
Now is the time to pour yourself a glass of something delicious, take out the notebook you were taking notes in and decide what is missing from your capsule wardrobe that would complement what you already have.
~Remember: lingerie, special occasion dresses, coats, camisoles, workout clothing, accessories, shoes, handbags – are not part of a capsule wardrobe. These items are the details that complete each outfit and provide differentiation between your outfits.
11. Plan What You’re Shopping For This Season
While everything on your list will most likely not be able to be purchased immediately, make savvy decisions about what items to shop for now, which to wait for the sales in November/December (May/June/July – spring wardrobe) to occur and which ones you’ll have to save up for.
12. Start Shopping
Depending upon where you live and which stores you have access to, the internet may be used more or less often to do your shopping. If you have access to brick and mortar stores, it’s always a good idea to go there first because often you will find items that will never be offered online and you get to try them on (although often there are online exclusives as well, so stay tuned). Subscribe to your favorite designers’ and websites’ newsletters so you can be alerted to early sales or releases in order to ensure the most options of sizes and styles to pick from.
More and more shops are offering wonderful discounts for short 2-3 day sales, so save items in your wish list so you can purchase them immediately when the sales begin.
13. Edit Regularly
I usually go through my closet twice a year. Typically before the spring and fall collections make their way into stores and online boutiques. Even as the amount of clothing I have becomes more refined and smaller in amount as I fine tune my capsule wardrobe, I always want to check the quality and remind myself of what I have to mix and match with.
The purpose of diving into your closet is to help reduce buyer’s remorse and help you create a capsule wardrobe that is a pleasure to wake up to every morning when you’re deciding which outfit to pull together. After all, when we feel confident in what we are wearing that confidence rubs off on the rest of our days which make up the quality of our lives.
So, pick a day and enjoy the process that can actually be quite fun, but most certainly rewarding.
~Below are a few posts from the Archives regarding wardrobe essentials that will give you a good starting point if you are starting from scratch or want to refresh your signature style.
~Also, if you want the help of an online stylist, you can hire me to create one outfit or an entire seasonal capsule wardrobe (click here to learn about all of the styling services). I will do the internet perusing, pulling the outfits together based on your client profile and you will be able to shop when your budget allows for a flat fee (no commission).