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Do you have a closet full of clothes, yet feel like you have nothing to wear? Is your current clothing closet more of a museum of past lifestyles or sizes? If so, it’s time to reclaim that space. Your closet is for current clothing, shoes and accessories only. It is not a storage space for linens, board games, old VHS tapes or even your luggage. Here are a few tips to rekindle the love for your closet and wardrobe.

  • Start by hauling everything out of your closet, down to the bare walls. When emptying your closet, it is natural to discover those articles of clothing, shoes or accessories that have overstayed their welcome. Thank them for their service, and then banish them from your closet. Donate, throw-out or consign anything that hasn’t fit in more than a year. Do not be tempted to keep “skinny” or “fat” clothes. Only keep what you love and what fits you and your lifestyle now. While culling, you may find a favorite classic or a brand new piece you totally forgot you purchased.
  • This is a great time to add a fresh coat of paint to your closet walls. Color is up to you, but remember, whatever color you choose will cast a slight glow over everything. White, cream or blush are some safe palettes to consider. Black, blue or green may skew the true color of your clothes and make it harder to find complementary pieces when creating outfits.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have a walk-in closet with a window, it is a great source of natural light, but use a shade or an opaque film on the glass to protect your clothing from fading in direct sunlight exposure.
  • Update your lighting with a small chandelier. It’s functional and adds a bit of charm. Choose warm, soft-light bulbs to showcase your wardrobe. Use the same tones throughout the closet, so there won’t be any color confusion when pulling together outfits. Add small track lighting that can be focused on the dark corners of your closet. If you are not able to add hardwired lighting, use magnetic or peel-and-stick light bars or puck lighting that lights up when pressed. There are inexpensive battery-operated lighting choices that are motion-activated, so they turn on when you step into the dark recesses of your closet.
  • If possible, install a retractable valet rod. It creates valuable space for hanging the next day’s outfit, or a weekend getaway wardrobe. These rods are inexpensive, easy to install and so useable.
  • A full-length mirror is a must. Hang it on the wall or door of the closet. It’s essential for helping you see the overall effect of your ensemble. The mirrors are inexpensive, can create the optical illusion of a larger space and reflect light into the room.
  • Add fresh organizational tools. This is the year you get your shoes off of the floor and into clear plastic shoeboxes that will display them and keep them dust-free. Treat your tall boots to the same service. They will last longer and be ready for you when the cold arrives again. Create eye-pleasing continuity by using matching clothes hangers. Plastic tube hangers are great for hanging pants and jeans. Clear plastic hangers with metal swivel heads are sturdy and will not stretch out your sweaters, T-shirts or dresses. Wooden hangers are great for men’s heavier clothing.
  • Once the closet has been updated, turn your attention to the clothing, shoes and accessories that remain. Hang them in order of category (like tops, bottoms and dresses). Then organize each category according to color. This is a great way to know if you have an overabundance of something, such as black T-shirts. If you have room in your closet, hang the current season’s clothing closer to the front of the closet. Store off-season clothing in tubs, or in another closet in the house. Store them with cedar to keep the bugs at bay.

Create new outfits by shopping your current clothes collection with these tips:

  • Look for secondary colors in prints that can be paired with solids in that same color. For example, a navy blouse with a floral pattern of burgundy, orange and red can be paired with bottoms or jackets in those secondary colors.
  • Black-and-white patterned fabric and animal prints are considered neutrals and can be paired with bright or rich solid colors. For example, a black-and-white pencil skirt would look great with a bright pink sweater. A cheetah-patterned blouse pairs well with burgundy pants.
  • Remember the secret of threes. Adding a third piece to an outfit creates cohesion. Add a jacket, scarf or statement necklace to give new life to jeans and a T-shirt. Or wear three of something in the same color to pull an outfit together. For example, flats, a scarf and a bangle in the same color will add cohesion to a simple sheath dress.

Final tip: It’s OK to have some empty hangers or space on the rod. Having fewer clothes makes dressing every morning less stressful. It’s one less decision you will have to make. Knowing that you look good in every piece gives you confidence. 

As a personal wardrobe consultant and owner of Alpharetta-based Fashion With Flair,  Lori Wynne helps people look their best. Connect with her at fashionwithflair.com.

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