Overwhelmed and don't know where to start? Don't have time or money to revamp your closet right now? Here are some easy hacks to a better wardrobe for free.
1. Remove crutches
Most of us have those items in our wardrobe that are ugly, worn out, or just don’t fit right—but that time and time again, we gravitate towards. It may be for comfort or convenience, but it ends up crashing our outfit (often a perfectly good one on its own). For me, that recently included a pair of hideous shoes that were so versatile I’d keep slipping them on and totally bombing what I was wearing. I also still have a jacket in that category.
I call these crutches because we keep leaning on them rather than doing something to improve our wardrobe. Here’s the quick hack: simply get rid of these crutches. If it leaves you missing a critical item of clothing, it will naturally get you thinking creatively about what else in your wardrobe could take its place without being problematic to your appearance. And at the very least, it will force you to make it a priority to add that item to your shopping list.
When I finally chucked the ugly shoes, another much cuter (but just as comfy) pair finally took their place after my next shopping trip. It didn’t seem like a priority until I was missing my usual casual errand shoes.
2. Try new combinations
One of the most common complaints about one’s wardrobe is “not having anything to wear.” Usually the real problem is we feel that we’ve already worn everything we have multiple times and the options seem boring.
Set aside 15-20 minutes. Bring your pants, shirts, shorts, etc. out of the drawers and set them beside the clothes hanging in the closet. Reimagine how certain pieces could go together. As you go through the list below, jot down the ideas you come up with on a notebook or your phone.
- Colors. Which colors have I not combined before that would actually look nice together? (This includes scarves!)
- Textures. What textures have I not combined before that actually might compliment each other?
- Dresses. Do I have any dresses that I can wear as a skirt by pulling a shirt or blouse over it? Try adding a belt to the top to define it. (If the belt is too long, try looping the end over the side.)
- Button-ups. Could I wear these under a sweater, or open over a dress? What about open with the ends tied over a t-shirt in the summer?
- Cardigans. Instead of just wearing it open over a top, try wearing it buttoned up (even partially) and belted, or buttoned with a big scarf to cover a tighter bust area.
- Wrong sizes. Are there some tops, cardigans, dresses, jeans in my closet that I don’t wear because they’re too baggy or long? Pull a few of these on and see if they look better by tucking the front in (tops), adding a belt (tops/cardigans/dresses), or (if you like this style) tying the front (long shirts and button ups). Straight-leg and skinny jeans can be folded up to get them off the floor and looking cute again. In the warmer months, most jean types can also be rolled up into cute capri.
- Jewelry. If you like wearing jewelry, don’t forget to consider your necklaces, earrings, and bracelets when imagining new outfits.
Still stumped with certain pieces? Open Pinterest and search for “how to wear ____” for some more inspiration!
3. Focus on fit
Clothes that flatter you deserve prime space in your closet and drawers. Move anything that is too big or too small (and couldn’t be redeemed using the options above) either into storage for future second chances or into bags to donate/consign. These pieces are currently cluttering both your wardrobe and your mind and they need to be removed from sight!
4. Pare down your wardrobe to favorite pieces
I decided to put this step after trying new combinations because it’s very likely you’d decide to keep some pieces that you’ve reimagined into outfits that you otherwise might have thrown out. Now that you’ve both thought up new outfits and removed baggy or tight clothing from your wardrobe, you want to further narrow down your selection.
You now want to look at those pieces that may fit okay but which you can’t imagine wearing again. Also look through your accessories: scarves, belts, jewelry. Chances are there are several items you never wear. I recommend donating/consigning these pieces (rather than storing them) because chances are you won’t come around to liking them again just because they are in storage for a while.
At this point, you might be panicking because so much has left your closet. It’s okay. Relax. Just realize this: by paring down your wardrobe you haven’t gotten rid of value, you have added value. By decluttering your wardrobe, you’ve removed frustration and made “what to wear today?” a much easier decision every morning.
Even if you are left with very few clothes, it is better that you repeat those clothes more often than wear things that you don’t love or that don’t fit your body correctly. You will also have a clearer view of the holes in your wardrobe that need to be filled whenever there is a budget for it.
5. Arrange by category and color
And finally—let’s make things look pretty. This one might seem obvious, but if your clothes aren’t in order right now, creating combinations will be unnecessarily complicated. Move your blazers/jackets, cardigans, and tops onto the same level. Within the type, arrange them roughly by color. Place pants, skirts, and then dresses onto their own level, or beside the tops at the same level (depending on your closet structure). Arrange these roughly by color as well.
Gather scarves and belts into the same vicinity, whether that’s in a drawer or on a special hanger like the one on the right. I love this scarf organizer on Amazon.
And there you have it. You've just brought order, clarity and value back into your wardrobe without spending a dime. NOW THAT you can do, Mama!
Do you have another idea for improving your wardrobe for free? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments below!
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