We have all heard influencers and stylists tell us to shop our closets. But what does that mean? Isn’t that just wearing the clothes in your closet? Isn’t that what we are all doing anyway? Yes. And no.
Do you ever find yourself in a style rut or in a loop of continuously wearing the same few outfits all while feeling like you have nothing to wear? It happens to us all. We get bored with our same old looks, we start to feel like we are losing our style, and the desire to shop for new things creeps in. Often, when we give into this desire for something new and something trendy, we are not fixing the problem but rather making the problem bigger. More clothes does not equal more style. So what’s a fashion lover to do?
According to Statista, the average Canadian household spends $3,300 to $3,500 annually on clothing and accessories. CBC Marketplace has also shared that Canadians, on average, purchase 70 new articles of clothing per year. The moral of the story? We have enough clothing, we just aren’t utilizing them properly.
Let’s break it down. How can we better shop our closets before going to buy more clothes? Here are five steps to get you started.
clean and organize your wardrobe. It’s impossible to properly shop your closet if you don’t even know what’s in there. If possible and room allows for it, anything not clothing, shoe, or accessory related should be removed from your clothes closet.
take inventory. While cleaning out and organizing, take note of what you have. Did you know you have 5 pairs of black pants? Did you forget about that dress you bought for a wedding two summers ago and have’t worn since?
try on your clothes. Sometimes the only way to form an opinion of a garment is to try it on. This will help greatly with the next step.
edit out items that no longer fit your body or your lifestyle. If you have clothes that are too big or too small and you have no intention of altering them to fit you, it’s time to part with them. Clothes that don’t fit, are falling apart, or you simply don’t like, don’t need to take up space in our closets. If you used to have an office job where suits were required but you now work from home and require a more casual wardrobe, perhaps you could pair down your work wear wardrobe. Get rid of the wardrobe clutter.
merchandise your clothes in a way that makes it easy to find and see everything. We suggest grouping like items together by category and then colour. Fold a stack of jeans with your darkest at the bottom and lightest at the top. Fold all your sweaters in a drawer, Marie Kondo style so you can see them all at once.
bonus: it’s ok to archive some clothes. Perhaps there are some items you love, fit, and want to keep, but just aren’t currently wearing. Pull them from your wardrobe and pack them away. A simple storage bin under the bed will do. Try bringing those items out again in a year or two. They may just feel completely you again.
Now it’s time to do a bit of fun homework. We love to create style boards on Pinterest. Look for items similar to what you own and search. For example, if you have a lovely cream sweater that you just aren’t completely sure how to style other than with jeans, do a Pinterest search for “cream sweater outfits” and find some inspiration. While looking at the images take mental notes (or jot some notes down if that’s more your thing) and see how many combinations you can come up with.
Now that your closet is organized and your personal sense of style and lifestyle is fresh in your mind, shop that closet of yours. Try grabbing that blouse you love but never wear and see if you can give it a cool casual layered vibe. Pull out that dress that feels kinda fancy and pop a chunky sweater over it and finish it off with some boots. Start with one piece and challenge yourself to wear it three times in a week in completely different ways. Shopping your closet is an opportunity to find your style all while making the most of the pieces you selected to add to your wardrobe. You purchased these items because you liked them. Find a way to like them again with some clever styling. See a trend you like? Look for it in your closet. Can you replicate your own version of the trend with items you already have?Being a fashion lover isn’t about always being on trend or having new clothes all the time. It’s about finding a way to exude your unique personal style no matter how simple or elaborate it may be. Shop your closet and become your own style muse. —Jen Pistor