Shopping Your Own Closet

My name is Terry, and I’ve, sadly, come to the realization that I have too many clothes.   I’m serious.  I have too many clothes and a very crowded closet to prove it.   And of course, always feel I have Nothing to wear, and usually wear the same clothes (around the house, not for work functions, because I still journal those outfits, so as not to constantly repeat my same favorite outfits) .   My friend Coleen suggested I start to “Shop in my own closet”, and find the hidden treasures I haven’t worn for months, even years.  I have found that advice to be Priceless, and just a month ago wore a favorite pink and black giraffe-print pencil skirt, that I’ve had since 2003.  Discover All The Great Outfits You Already Have…Learn How to Shop In Your Own Closet!  Brilliant!

Shopping your closet seems to be the new way many people choose to shop.  There are books and articles everywhere regarding this subject, so researching the specifics was easy, fun and an eye-opener!  Given the state of the current economy, most people don’t have money to buy many new clothes. But, every woman has a hidden boutique in her own closet.

Women (and men) 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 Let go of pieces that are outdated, the wrong size, or unflattering for your skin tone and body type.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, donate them, or sell them on eBay.

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.  Remove shoulder pads from jackets and blouses (and I’m aware some people still have these items), or cropping an outdated jacket or a pair of pencil pants  for a modern take.

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’ll be surprised at how little you actually need to buy to achieve the looks you want.  Smarter choices = smarter style.

(Source:  Lloyd Boston…style guru)

So… how do you shop in your own closet?

Start by taking the picture of the outfit you like (whether it’s from a magazine or just a mental snapshot), and head to your closet to see if you can re-create the look from the pieces you already have. You may not be able to replicate the exact ensemble, but you may find that you can approximate the look by using a blue jacket instead of black one, for example, or a pair of ankle boots instead of a pair of knee-length boots.  You can replicate the look with similar items in your own closet.  The items don’t have to be an exact match.  Have fun finding “The replacements”.

Or you may find that you need to buy one thing to pull it all together instead of six things to start from scratch. Either way, you’ll probably find that you can evoke the new look without buying it all from head-to-toe.  Hence, shopping in your own closet.  This outfit below is a prime example…I have very similar items in my closet, but never thought of pairing a sparkly top with these type of jeans.’s my staple! 🙂

Now this theory assumes  that you actually KNOW and can see the contents of your closet. Many women can’t. In fact, they can barely squeeze one more hanger onto the rack, let alone move them around freely enough to flip through their inventory. So they’ll swear up and down that they don’t have anything like what they’re looking at, buy it, bring it home, and are completely shocked to find that they already have something similar.  Welcome to a day in the life of Terry O’Brien.

If you haven’t cleaned your closet it a while, chances are very good that you have some duplicates taking up space as well. Take some time to cull through your belongings and organize your wardrobe. Knowing what you have to work with is the first step to putting together a wardrobe that works.  And an organized life is a happy life…or so I hear! 🙂

Next, take some time to flip through fashion magazines, stroll through the mall, or click around online to get some ideas of different ways to wear things. Rip out magazine pages, print off web pages, peruse Pinterest, or make a mental note of the outfits that strike your fancy while you’re window or internet shopping . Then see if you can replicate the look by shopping in your closet FIRST. You may be surprised by what you already have or conversely, by how poorly all that impulse shopping has served you over the years. Always strive to fill your closet with pieces you can mix and match easily for maximum wear.

Mix and match them in new ways, or use the picture pull out/print off/mental snapshot approach to see how you can transform your old favorites into current looks. A snazzy new pair of hose and a great new necklace  may be all you need to take that five-year-old little black dress or red velour skirt from ho-hum to WOW!

(Source:  Fashion for Real Women)

Organize Your Closet

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 sight, out of mind.

Top 5 Tips for Cleaning your Closet 

1.  Leave yourself ample time to really review each garment carefully and to complete the task.

2.  Have plenty of large trash bags available for throw-away items.  And make sure to remove them from your house when you’re done!

3.  Inventory whatever you decide to donate or consign.

4.  Sentimental items, such as christening gowns, wedding dresses, and such, should be wrapped in acid-free tissue and stored in an acid-free box.  Don’t hang them in your closet!

5.  Discard all dry cleaner’s plastic and plastic bags.  Do not keep them in your closet

(Source:   Shopping your closet, by Melanie Charlton Fascitelli)

My favorite looks from My look book

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.

I print out pictures of “looks” I like.  I put them on the wall in my closet (or you can print them out and put them in a binder to reference), and find items I already have in my closet, that will help make these “looks”.  And when I’m at a loss as to what to wear, I take a look at the looks I’ve saved, and put together an outfit based on the inspiration of the pictures I’ve printed, and what I have in my closet.

Source:  Lloyd Boston, again…style guru


Chances are, you already have some of spring and summer essential pieces tucked away in your wardrobe. Now is the perfect time to fish them out.

1.  Big Earrings – Always have these readily available!  I’m totally obsessed with this pair.

2.  Chic Shorts – Long and loose.  Dress up or down, pair with flats, sandals, boots (yes boots) or high heels!

3.  Flesh Tones – In shirts, bags or shoes.  I’m Not a fan of anything flesh toned on your lower half, however flesh-toned Pumps are   truly all the rage!!

4.  Pencil Skirts – another great staple…can be dressed up or down!  Pair with a frilly blouse and blazer; a cardigan; or tank or t-shirt paired with a denim jacket.

5.  Bold Belts – Bold, Wide Belts…Affixed with tassels, brooches, or ribbons, belts are an easy accessory to be inventive with, and they update your look in a cinch.

6.  Cardigans – the cozy sweater style is not a sophisticated staple

7.  Pants – this season…Anything Goes!  I’m loving Capri pants with high heels!

8.  Classic Bags – “signature bags with staying power”.  Your handbag makes a statement…Your statement.

9.  Boyfriend Blazers – they are longer and looser, and pushed up at the sleeves.

10.  The White Shirt – a true staple…

(Harper’s Bazaar)

Have a ball playing and shopping in your closet!

Be Well.  Dress Well.




  1. One of your very best T! Especially for me! It’s so much more time-consuming to edit what you already have… as opposed to picking up just a few new little somethin’ somethin’s. Yet, a very good exercise. And YES! I bring stuff home and say, “Self! Self! You already have one just like it!” Hope all’s well in your world.

  2. This just as true for men. I can’t fit another hanger in one of my wardrobes, and the other is close to it’s limit too. Don’t get me started on my shoe closets! Yet I still have days where I am amazed in all that, I don’t have a particular colour I want for an outfit.
    The theory is good, but my problem is, I stroll through the mall looking for ideas and walk out of there loaded down with bags full of ideas!
    I also had a friend come over to help me clean out my wardrobes. This only helps if your fashions senses combine of course. Her idea of what looked good on me differed greatly to my ideas.
    Of course, I always justify my new purchases by pointing out the (extremely) subtle differences in the shade of purple, or the different genus of flower within the pattern.

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