21 Oct 2015

Nothing To Wear: Shop The Closet

vicki-archer-shop-in-the-closet-the-coveteur-Adrienne_Maloof


Nothing to wear?

I often wake up with that irritating conundrum. Practically speaking it is ridiculous to consider there is “nothing to wear”. Of course there is. When I open my closet doors all I see are a minefield of choices. There are those items I like, those I love, those that don’t fit and those that are either out because they are out-dated or out because I have decided we don’t get on any more.

As much as I want to blame my clothes, or lack thereof, the “nothing to wear’ syndrome is more about me and my closet organisation than what is behind closed doors. It is so easy to forget what is inside, relegate older items to the back and ignore them on a regular basis. Really looking inside, I mean pulling aside the coat hangers and delving in can yield some fabulous finds.

vicki-archer-shop-in-the-closet-the-coveteur-Harley_Viera


Over the summer I decided to “shop my closet”.
Years, embarrassing to admit, have passed and rather than streamline and arrange my wardrobe I have continued to wear the first pieces that come to hand.
The treasures I neglected surprised me. They may not have been this season’s but they were classics that stood the test of time. It occurred to me how much I was missing and how much better I could look, simply by “shopping” in my own closet.

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How To Shop The Closet

1. Empty. The first step is to empty out the wardrobes and drawers to see exactly what is hiding.
2. De-Clutter. Once everything is out (this is the stressful part) remove the pieces that really have done their time. There are always some items of clothing that will never be worn. I find it easy to create a “when in doubt” pile to leave until last. That is when ‘ruthless’ needs to kick in.
3. Divide and Classify. Sort clothing into similar sections. For example, I like all my sweaters to be together depending on sleeves and necklines; the same with tee shirts. Scarves I divide by shape, season and fabric. Give the “new” finds their rightful place, on the top of the pile. I like to classify my cupboards by colour; this might be a throwback to my years stocking shelves and arranging racks in fashion boutiques. Colour coding, especially folded items, makes dressing so much easier.
Arrange. Put everything back but not in the same way as before. Let the eye discover old pieces and make them fresh again. Hang the clothing in groups that work for lifestyle; weekend wear, formal wear and office outfits. Change shoes around, bring the heels to the front and put the flats together on one side. Get those biker boots out and on; they can’t do their best hidden away.
Display. Put together outfits for inspiration; bring a portable rack into the bedroom or dressing room if possible and arrange co-ordinating outfits. The best looks come together by a process of elimination; trial and error, when time is not restricted is the easiest way.

 

Shopping the closet is a win/win in my mind and it is surprising how much we loose track of in our wardrobes. Try it, you may be very surprised what fabulous-ness turns up, xv.

images, thecoveteur.com

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35 Comments

Anita Rivera

I just decluttered my closet AND my drawers. I found things in that mess that I haven’t seen in years, and now, I can shop again. GOOD TIPS, Vicki, and enjoy your shopping spree!

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Vicki

On this rainy dismal London day and being blessed with a head cold, my closet is the only shop I am going near.. ;)

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Mimi Gregor

The problem isn’t that you don’t have enough clothes; it’s that you have too much. A good book that explains this is The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz. Our minds can deal with choosing among a few items, but when you have dozens (or even hundreds) of choices, your mind goes into overload. I’ve narrowed my wardrobe into a small capsule wardrobe. Everything I buy must go with almost everything else that’s in there. I don’t buy it if I don’t LOVE it. If it doesn’t fit, is looking peaky, or I just don’t wear it anymore for whatever reason — out it goes. Yes, I frequently wear the same thing over and over again. But I was doing that anyway when I had more clothes, the reason being that when I LOVE something, I wear it to death. Get over your fear of wearing the same thing all the time. No one notices that anyway. They only notice that you always dress well.

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Vicki

I have no fear of wearing the same thing over and over Mimi… I do that so often.. ;)

I was feeling that there are many items in our wardrobes that we love but we forget about.. even to the point where we buy the same thing over and over because quite simply, it slips our minds that we already posses it..

And yes.. only buy what we love.. always and forever more.. :)

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Cathy Wong

After years of wardrobe “planning” and searching for “just the right pieces”, I’ve come back around to the capsule wardrobe too. I always seem to reach for the same favourites over and over and rebuy the same things, so I started trying to work with it. I used to think it was so boring, but now I see the beauty of it, and I do love accessories, shoes etc. (PS am relieved to hear that I’m not the only one who has found forgotten treasures buried in the closet…recently found a lovely black silk blouse-with the tags still on it!….kind of embarrassing really…)

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Vicki

I know the feeling Cathy… that… oh-when-did-I-buy-that-moment… It’a great surprise though… :)
I recently found a bracelet I bought in New York on my trip there earlier this year.. I had put it away, “safely”… forgot completely! Now it’s like a new piece all over again.. :)

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Cathy Wong

Mimi….this is a great point! no one notices that we are wearing the same things…only that we dress well….”food for thought”

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Janet

Wonderful advice, Mimi! And so very true. While I haven’t technically built a capsule wardrobe, I have more or less created one by default as a result of some savage decluttering, downsizing & reassessing. And I wear the same things — & the same “look” — so often that it’s become almost a uniform. Doesn’t bother me because I’m well past the age where I care what other people think, and it just makes life so deliciously simple & drama-free.

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Karena

Oh Vicki I have been meaning to do this for too long!
With fall pieces needing to come to the forefront it is perfect timing and a great project for this week!

xoxo
Karena
The Arts by Karena
Halloween Artistry!

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Laurie McKay

Oh I love this post. I have to shop the closet a minimum of twice a year because my closet is too small to fit everything! So I pack the sleeveless and summer things away in a bin and bring out the sweaters and the boots! My rule is that if I don’t wear it within a year, it gets put in a pile and goes to the Good Will. This includes socks, t-shirts– everything is sorted. I also arrange my closet by color since most of my hanging garments are work clothes. This makes it easier to pick out, mix and match. And I completely agree with you on the classic styles– they are worn out, where the more trendy junior department pieces are more fly by night. Sometimes I take a blouse up to my sewing machine and rework it if it needs a dart or two! I once loved a cashmere sweater so much that I wore a hole in one elbow, so I cut off the sleeves, hemmed, and now it’s a half sleeve sweater, and no one ever will know!

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Lisa M.

Love your postings as I always glean something from them that I can use. I have read several times, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and it’s been an eye-opener. I might not follow her advice to the letter, but it’s the best way of de-cluttering I’ve used to date. I actually wear what is in my closet and I did find some treasures.

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FrenchGardenHouse

After spending some younger years managing a luxury clothing boutique, this is one area in my life where I’m proud to say “I’m on top of it.” Arranged by color, the clothes I own are reviewed twice a year, anything that I just don’t ever wear I donate. Result? A closet filled with clothes I love. There is nothing more thrilling than being able to pull a perfect outfit from your own closet.

It’s actually great fun putting different pieces together for a whole new look. These days with fashion magazines online, fashion blogs, and online fashion everything, there is plenty of inspiration!

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Vicki

The inspiration and content out there in cyber space is truly incredible… I like mixing it up too… although it is so easy to stick with the faithful few… I find my spirt for fashion adventure is equated with my mood.. The brighter and more confident I feel, the more engaged I am with my dressing choices…

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Donna clark

I just WISH I had a closet like that pictured! I used to have one but Alas, I’ve moved into a 600 sq. Ft condo and I’ve had to downsize my wardrobe as well. I agree with Mimi…I purchase similar colors in quality fabrics and switch them around quite efficiently and a change of scarves, shoes/boots or jewelry can completely change the look and no one notices. I have much less of that nothing to wear sensation and it’s actually very freeing!

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La Contessa

How did YOU know………..MY closet is a MESS.
I agree with ALL your tips…………..the hardest part for me is TO START!If only the rain would come then I would have to stay HOME and proceed with caution!xx

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Vicki

Well.. it’s raining here… and I was full of good intentions… but I would rather work here and chat to you… :)

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Cathy C

Hi Vicki,
Shopping one’s own closet is brilliant – and the best part is, it really does necessitate an edit. I have now gotten into a routine of a twice yearly closet/bureau clean out.
The edit pile for years consisted of: “this will look so great when I lose 10 pounds”, “I know it is not my color but it’s cashmere”, “it isn’t my style but it was on sale”. My shoe pile is always “but they were so comfortable in the store”. Thank goodness I am learning to resist holding on to things that will simply not work. I am not 100% there yet, but almost.
Ciao!

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Vicki

I think the “shopping your own closet” comes after the massive edit.. ;)
I agree those piles of ‘not quite right’ need to evaporate.. however tough the decision might be…

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Joanne

I sorted through my closet in the spring. I’ve turned all my hangers backwards and as I wear something I turn that hanger the proper way. This way, by the end of winter, I will know what clothes I really like/love and will donate the rest. Reading your article made me think, ” What if I had a friend go through it with me? She may come up with different combinations that give your clothes a whole new twist.” Hmmm

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Vicki

That is a brilliant idea Joanne… I never thought of turning the hangers… I had the same old order going on every day, every year… I need to get more creative… and yes.. a friend helps although sometimes an extra opinion can be confusing!

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Candice

With a windfall of 2 massive closets one complete with shelve for my purses and shoes, you would think it would be problem free.
I am a little anal about keeping everything in order .. according to season, colors etc … shoes and boots belong in their boxes on shelves .. and then there are the purses .. they get messy and out of order easily. I think they party after I go to bed.
But I have a place for Summer bags, Winter, leather, fabric, straps, no straps, etc … And I am always changing all of that anyway :)

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Vicki

You sound perfectly organised CAndice… and yes, I think those handbags must be partying… ;)

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s. hotchkiss

You left out the last step, which is to take the surplus to charity perhaps one that services women trying to get back into the job market.

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Candice

I do that just about every autumn when I put away summer things. I make bags of clothes for Good Will. And shoes and handbags.

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Nancy HT

Yes! please take your “surplus” to a non-profit like Dress For Success. I volunteer as a “suiter” (and career counselor) at DFS and am often over whelmed by the beautiful pieces that women so generously donate to other women who are trying to get back into the job market. Please know that your old faves can begin a new life! and boost another woman’s self esteem. Thank you in advance.

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Donna

Oh my goodness! What brilliant posts from all! I have so much more to wear now since downsizing my wardrobe! I have a third of what I had before and getting dresses is so less stressful now and much quicker. And I just began reading the magic of tidying. It’s had to put down!!!

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PEGGY BRASWELL

the most expensive thing you have in your closet is the thing you don’t wear! + that is why i don’t ever have a thing to wear….xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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Alisa

Totally looking forward to getting home this evening and pulling everything out of my walk-in! It’s definitely time for a revamp and you’ve given me the inspiration! Thanks!

xx Miss Ali
AllKindsofFabulous.blogspot.com

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Design Chic

It’s definitely on my “to do” list! I love an organized closet and it’s amazing what I can find to wear that I haven’t worn all season when I do it. Count me inspired to do a little cleaning this weekend!

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Michelle

I have intended to better organize my my wardrobe for longest time. Vicki, you have inspired me to do it! I am amazed at some of the long neglected items I sometimes come across in the depths of my closet. Time to put them to use!

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

All good advice and a perfect topic for a rainy day (as it is here in Newport, RI.) Years ago, when there was an annual summer fundraiser that always required a “costume,” I realized that my own closet could be, and WAS, the source for some fabo get ups. Clothes that I hadn’t worn for awhile, paired with something I might have worn last month, could morph into the perfect costume to match that year’s theme…Sharon Stone in “Casino?” over tease my hair, belt the leopard print silk sheath; an animal for the “Endangered Species” theme? zebra print silk skirt, w/black lace overlay, black skin tight T, face-painting a zebra’s stripes, etc.
In short, thank you, Vicky, for pointing out the obvious…with a bit of imagination we could all make do, for any reason or occasion, with only what we have in our closets and never have to shop for at least a year.

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Babs

How to handle weight and belly bloat fluctuations while making the dreaded menopausal changes. I have bottoms (skirts & pants/jeans) ranging in 2-3 sizes with all the different tops, causing a wardrobe to be 3-4 x’s what I wish it was, but b/c my weight can change from 10+ lbs throughout the year (seasons) its freightening to get rid of anything really.

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