Getting the Most Out of Your Wardrobe

These days we are all more cost conscious and hopefully on the track to going green.  We use coupons, shop around for the best gas prices, recycle, and purchase energy efficient appliances.  We even buy vehicles based on gas mileage instead of looks alone.  Our wardrobes are no exception to the economy!  I am constantly searching for ways to use pieces in various seasons so I can get the most bang for my buck.  Here are a few things I have discovered along the way:

•     Clean out those closets!
How can you evaluate your wardrobe if you closet is so full that you must wear protective gear and notify a family member before you enter it?  My rule of thumb is that if I have not worn/used it within the last year, it’s time to let it go.  This includes handbags, shoes, belts, jewelry, hats, scarves, and clothing.  Any gently used or even new items that still have tags on them (don’t act like you don’t know what I am talking about!) are perfect to take to a consignment shop.  I personally use the money I make from selling items to reinvest into my son’s wardrobe.  Let’s face it, a seven year old can change clothing sizes overnight!  I also consign items from his closet after he outgrows them.  Shop around for a consignment store that has the overall look of things you like and has the best pay arrangements for you.

•     Organize!
Now that you have your closet cleaned out, take some time to organize your pieces.  This will save you tons of time while choosing daily outfits.  Find the system that works best for you.  For example you may like to separate items by type:  pants, shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, etc.  I prefer to separate my items by season (warm weather items, cool weather items).  I am obsessed with shoes so when I purchase them, I keep the box to store them in.  This way I am not spending time digging through a pile of shoes.

•     Multi-seasonal pieces!
There are many items that can transition into cold weather.  Let’s clear up the first one—white pants CAN be worn after Labor Day… but beware; you have to be brave to pull this one off!  For those of you in the South like me, this has traditionally been a “no-no” and people will look at you funny—be prepared!  Wear white pants with a bold, sassy shirt –and you better have some killer shoes to pull it all together OR a really trendy handbag.  Dresses are a great summer essential, but don’t forget about them during the winter.  Pair them with tights, an ankle bootie or a tall boot, and hit the road.  Sleeveless summer shirts can also be worn in cold weather.  Layer it over a turtleneck or even under a cardigan or jacket.

•     Multi-use pieces!
Work pieces can double for evening, church, or special event attire.  However, there are lots of casual pieces that will not work for the office or other venues.  The best advice I can give here is, if you have to ask if an item is appropriate, it probably isn’t.  Keep multi-use pieces in mind when you are shopping.  If you can wear an item in more than one situation you will get more use out of it, thus it is a good investment.  You can also mix and match office pieces like suit jackets with a great pair of dark washed jeans for a date night—but please, I beg you, don’t forget the heels!

•     Shop end of season sales!
A great way to take advantage of store coupons and discounts are to shop end of season sales.  This is not the time to buy a super trendy outfit that may not be in style the next time that season rolls around though.  (That’s how we all end up with stuff in our closets with the tags still on them!)  Use these sales to invest in classic designer pieces that will not go out of style for a long time.  For example:  pant/skirt suits in clean, classic cuts, cardigans, layering shirts, button up shirts, etc.  Spend some time looking for pieces that transition from summer to winter.  You can also save a lot of money buying things like swimsuits, cover-ups, and summer footwear near the end of summer.

I hope these are some tips that can help you get more organized and realize you have more outfits in your closet that you thought you did.  Maybe you even learned something you can take with you the next time you hit the mall!