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What is meant by the expression, “shop your closet”? To me, it means being able to go to your closet and come up with cute, fun, and new (to us) outfits. How can we do this? Hopefully, by reading this post, you’ll come away with several strategies to do this very thing.

How to Shop Your Closet

For as long as I can remember, every spring and fall I have taken a day or two to go through my closet to see what I’m keeping and what I’m donating to my daughters, nieces, or housekeeper. Also I go through my stuff to remind me what I have. It’s easy to forget a cute purse, belt or top, especially if you bought it at the end of the season.

Now unless you live under a rock, you know about the Marie Kondo method of touching every item, to see if it sparks “joy in your heart”. This is supposed to be the determining step as to whether something stays or goes from your closet. I would like to add that before tossing an item that you haven’t worn, but is in good shape and attractive by itself, you consider that maybe the reason you haven’t worn it, is because you haven’t figured out a way to do so, that looks good/cool to you. Enter this post.

Whenever I’m going through my closet, I look for inspiration from various sources. I actually keep a folder of pages torn out of my favorite catalogues, as well as any “how to wear” cards from such services as “Stitch Fix”. These are invaluable, because we’ve all had the experience of buying an item, but then totally scratching our head when we try and wear it several months later. These photos give us the visual image to put the outfit together.

In addition, as I clean my closet, I frequently notice new combinations of old items, which really gets me excited! It feels like I just scored a new sharp look for free! So to remind me of that outfit(s), I do a flat lay of the outfit on the floor of my bedroom. The carpet is solid and light cream so it doesn’t detract from the clothes. Here are two examples I found today when organizing for Spring 2020:

The reason these two outfits are great is that they involve two of the same items (the grey striped tunic and the white ankle pants) but they’re put together with two distinctly different ways. By organizing your accessories, and clothing (see the three recent posts, Messy Closet Cleanup, Part One, Messy Closet Cleanup, Part Two, and More Closet Organizing Tips), you will more readily spot some of these outfit ideas, yourself. Messy Closet Cleanup, Part Two,

Now I’m sure you’ve had the experience of being out with friends, and someone tells you how great you look. That’s the kind of outfit you want to come home and add to your “outfit list”. What’s an “outfit list”? It’s a list that I keep on a legal pad of cute looks, I’ve successfully worn, or that I want to try. I actually update this list from year to year because as some items wear out or get ruined, they need to be deleted. And if I wore a look and didn’t really feel terrific in it, I delete as well. (Thank you Marie Kondo!). Here’s what today’s early list looks like:

In addition to making a Spring/Summer 2020 list, I usually start a list of things I want to shop for to complete new outfits and/or replace items that are wearing out or aren’t as comfortable as I like. This reminds me what to shop for when I’m online or out shopping (some day…). As most of you are probably aware, there are TERRIFIC sales now on line for many fashion related items. Most stores are offering 25-50% off current merchandise and many are offering free shipping and returns. One in particular is a company called Everlane. It (until now) NEVER has site-wide sales. But until this Friday, everything is 25% off. I’m ordering the white court shoes, and a cool bag tomorrow. Here’s a shot of my “to purchase” list:

Where else should you look for fashion inspiration? Consider Pinterest or Instagram of your favorite (ahem) bloggers. On Pinterest, when you see a cute look, you can “pin it” by pressing on “save” and then you can create a “board” called “cute fashion ideas”. Then when you’re looking at your closet and thinking you have nothing to wear, you can look at these outfits and make up something similar from your closet.

Another great way to learn how to wear an outfit or a piece different ways is to ask the sales people how they’ve seen other customers wear something. Try it that way while you’re with the sales associate and have her snap a photo with your phone so you have a visual image to consult once you’re home.

Lastly, ask a trusted fashionista friend to come over and sort your closet out together. I love coming up with sharp looks for my friends. It’s actually fun for me. Plus a friend with a good eye can tell you if something looks too frumpy, or old for your current style.

I hope all this helps. Please feel free to ask me fashion-related questions in the “comments” below.

So that’s how you shop your closet! Happy organizing!!!


Dr. Julie

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