How To Shop Your Closet and Create A Wardrobe That Works For You

by Lloyd Boston

Need a wardrobe and closet makeover? Here are some quick tips to help you turn your cluttered closet into a wardrobe that works for you.

Shop Your Closet

  • Given the state of the current economy, most women don’t have money to buy too many new clothes. But, every woman has a hidden boutique in her own closet.

  • Weditedboutique.gifomen can easily become confused when they have too many clothes in their closet, so editing is key. Have a BFF (best friend in fashion) whose style you admire go through your closet with you and help you decide what to use and what to lose. Let go of pieces that are outdated, the wrong size, or unflattering for your skin tone and body type. Imagine your closet as the perfectly edited boutique where every item fits and flatters just you.

  • Don’t get hung up on items you know shouldn’t be hanging in your closet anymore. Simply keep them as mementos instead of wearing them. Or, think of fresh new ways to work them into your life, like making an oversized caftan into a pillowcase.

  • Make a “maybe” pile of things you might be able to re-work with minor alterations or update with new items. For instance, a mid-calf length skirt can take on a second life with a little hemming. Or cropping an outdated jacket for a modern take. Epaulettes can become belt loops even!

  • Once you have edited down your closet, its time for the fun part – make a list of new items you need to complete your wardrobe. Have an event coming up? Need more clothes that work for day or night? Head to the stores with a list of what you really need and start shopping! You will buy much less than you would in the past. Smarter choices = smarter style.

Organize Your Closet

  • Organize your closet by category and color so you can see exactly what you have. Once you do, you’ll become inspired and find new ways of putting different pieces together and creating new outfits.


  • Women don’t run out of clothes, they run out of ideas. You might be surprised to find that the more organized your closet is, typically the more organized your life will be. Set your closet up like a mini boutique.

  • If you can’t SEE those shoes or that top, you’ll forget about it. Remember, out of site, out of mind.

  • If you don’t have a lot of room in your closet, think about using boxes and containers with pictures of the item(s) on the front of the container.

  • Investing in matching hangers will really make you smile when opening your closet door.

  • Try finding items in your household you may no longer use as organizers. For instance, wrap your belts around an old vase or hang your jewelry in a way that showcases each piece and helps you remember it’s there. Put them together in a way that inspires you to create new looks.

Stretch Your Wardrobe

  • Get more style miles out of your spring wardrobe by only purchasing exactly what you need. Do some homework before you head to the stores. Look up your favorite brands’ websites to get a feel for what’s available, on sale, or for styling ideas.

  • When you get to the stores, look for versatile items. Don’t worry about buying head-to-toe outfits. Think about purchasing individual items that can be worn different ways. In other words, pieces you can wear from the desk to dinner or from work into the weekend. Layering pieces are great, like lightweight cardigans, that can be stretched from one look to the next. I love a bright trench on ladies this time of year. Belts on just about anything – from jackets and sweaters, to blouses and coats too. Wide or thin.

  • One great way to stretch what you already have is to take pictures of the looks you get complimented on, creating your own mini look book. It might give you new ideas to wear what you already own. Flip through magazines for inspiration and tear out your favorites. For example, a photo of a celebrity whose style you admire wearing dark jeans, a white button down, and a navy blazer can easily translate into a look you might have in your closet.


closetcases.jpg Lloyd Boston is America’s (and StyleBakery’s) Best Friend in Fashion, or BFF. He offers fashion advice and tips to millions through his three books and countless television appearances. He’s been a leading voice of New York Fashion Week for nearly 16 seasons and now shares his expert tips on how to clear your closet clutter with his new show Closet Cases, on Fine Living Network. Check it out every Monday at 10PM EST as Lloyd shows you how to shop smart, combine outfits and do more with less!

One Comment

  1. missmoneypenny
    Apr 20, 2009 @ 18:53:31

    Love Lloyd Boston! We don’t get the Fine Living Network here but “Before You Put that On” is one of my favorite books on style. He has so many great ideas for classic yet cute outfits. I hope he writes more for this site and gives more specific ideas on combinations of pieces that work.


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