After you’ve organized and cleaned out your closet (see this post for tips), you actually have to wear everything you kept. About two months ago I did an initial sweep of closet, but I noticed last week that there were still things I kept that I should have donated. I went through my closet again and ended up with another huge stack of items to give to my sister and to donate. Once you’re sure you’re down to items you’ll actually wear, it may be helpful to use this post to put together new outfits and to rotate items through so you aren’t wearing the same things over and over again.
1 - CLOSET INVENTORY
If you have a great memory, you may be able to recall all the items you have in your closet. If you tend to forget about items you own (especially seasonal items you don’t see for a while), a closet inventory app is a good way to catalog everything you have.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
Inventorying your closet using an app is also great for getting rid of even more things. As you’re snapping photos or sorting through, you may discover that upon second look you’d rather donate an item than keep it.
Once you have a grasp on the clothing you actually own, you need to start thinking of ways to incorporate the pieces into outfits. Any clothing or shoes you’ve kept but know that you still don’t wear that often should be prioritized. The easiest way to rotate all items through your wardrobe and to keep things from getting to uniform-y is to use inspiration photos.
2 - REALISTIC INSPIRATION
Pinterest is a double-edged sword when it comes to wardrobe inspiration. You can pin things you just think are pretty (but know you’d never wear), or outfits you’d love to wear (but you don’t have the pieces to wear it) or outfits that use similar pieces to ones you already own.
I suggest making two Pinterest boards (or one secret one, if you don’t want everyone creeping on outfits you plan to copy).
- Outfit Inspiration - Pin outfits here that feature items you don’t own but may want to buy.
- To Wear - Pin outfits here that are made up of similar items that you already own.
For example, if you like the look of maxi dresses but have never worn one and don’t own one, pin a photo of that to your Outfit Inspiration board. If you wear pencil skirts and blouses every day to work and you spotted an outfit that is pairing prints or colors together in a way you hadn’t thought of, pin that photo to your To Wear board.
3 - MAKE YOUR “TO WEAR” BOARD MORE USEFUL
Instead of pinning practical outfits to your To Wear board and just letting them languish, use these tips to follow through and actually wear them.
- In the description of each pin, write out the specific items you own that you’d use to re-create the outfit. (i.e., “J.Crew print top, LOFT skirt - black, Target pumps - black”) You can scroll through your closet inventory app to get ideas of what you could use too.
- If you prefer having the images closer at hand for getting dressed in the morning, print out the Pin (open the pin in a new tab, click print). Get a folder organizer that you can mount to the wall and place it in your closet. Organize your printed pinned images by occasion: Work, Casual, Date. Or by season/weather: Winter, Spring, Rainy, etc.
- After you’ve worn an outfit, mark the printed page with any notes. Did you have to wear a specific type of undergarment with the outfit to make it work? Did you hate the way it looked on you? Would a different pair of shoes have looked better?
4 - A FEW LAST WORDS
I’ve noticed that sometimes I don’t wear things I like because I don’t have the right accessories on hand. Here are a few things to have nearby that will make getting dressed less annoying.
- Keep all belts in the same location. If you hate all your current belts, donate them and get a few new ones. Gap has dozens of belts and with their frequent sales, you can pick up several. Target also stocks tons of great belts. A cream one, black and brown leather ones, a cognac braided belt and a few bright skinny belts will go almost any outfit.
- If you have the drawer space, fold your scarves into thirds and tuck them into drawers like t-shirts. It keeps them from getting crushed or tangled on a hanging contraption. I like seeing all my scarves at once too.
- It seems obvious, but make sure you have underwear that works with any dress or pair of pants you own. Whether you need a neutral thong or a seamless bikini, don’t avoid wearing something because you know it shows panty lines.
- Strapless bras, bandeau bras and bralettes are good options for wearing with summer tops. I tend to forget where I’ve stashed them when summer starts, so make sure you know where they are before you have to start wearing sleeveless or low-back tops and dresses.
- I just picked up a few of these knit tube tops from Aerie ($10). They’re very thin knit and will be perfect under sheer tees or blouses.
- Wearing a slip seems so…mature, but there are some dresses where it makes all the difference. If you buy one that is also shapewear, you get both extra coverage AND a smoother silhouette. Get one in black, one that’s nude and a half-slip is good for wearing skirts.
- Get rid of any bras you don’t wear. If you don’t remember the last time you wore it, if you’ve worn it once since you bought it, if you’re waiting for the perfect top to wear with it, get rid of it. If you have any that don’t fit, those need to go too.
- Throw out any tights or leggings with runs or rips or holes. If they’re looking a little ratty, don’t keep them. Tights and leggings are inexpensive and easily replaceable.
I hope this helps! Good luck with your spring cleaning! Do you have any other tips?