Styling tricks that will recharge your wardrobe.
Trying to cut down on your shopping this year? It’s easier than it sounds. The key is browsing your own closet. If you can make what you already own seem exciting, you’re more likely to want to wear it, explains Alison Freer, a costume designer and author of How to Get Dressed. Here are 15 ways to take what’s in your wardrobe feel brand new.
1. Get organized.
If you can’t see your clothes, you don’t know what you have. If you’re tight on space, you can use pop-top soda tabs to cascade similar items, says Freer. which will give your clothes room to breathe and make looking through them actually fun.
2. Fix anything that’s damaged.
If you’ve got anything in your closet that is missing buttons, suffering from a rip, or has a removable stain, get it taken care of ASAP. You can even do it yourself. “Spend 10 minutes on the Internet learning how to sew a button, and it’s life-changing,” says Freer.
3. Make your closet gorgeous.
“I have [my wardrobe] organized like it’s a store,” says Freer, who uses rolling racks to display her pieces. “All fashion is art. Treat it like it’s something special.”
4. Use tools to resize accessories.
A leather punch is usually less than $20 and can be used to add holes to belts, shoe straps, and more. “It’s the world’s most life-changing tool!” says Freer.
5. Layer seasonal clothes for extra wear.
Got a summery maxi dress you love? Put a chunky sweater over it. Then, add tights and boots to wear it right now—no reason to wait until tropical temps return.
6. Use Pinterest, Polyvore, and other social networks for styling ideas.
Search for items you have, and you may just find inspiration on how to style it. “It’s validating to feel like, ‘I have that!’” says Freer. “And it gives you a new way to wear it.”
7. Get things tailored.
If you’ve owned a blazer with too-long sleeves forever, take the time to finally hem it. The jacket will look brand new. Tailoring is relatively inexpensive and so worth it!
8. Detox your jewelry.
Clean anything that’s tarnished, detangle necklaces, and steal a few ice cube trays from the kitchen to maintain your organizational efforts. Suddenly, you’ll have a whole new pile of accessories to pull from, which can invigorate an outfit.
9. Ask a friend to browse your wardrobe.
Ask someone who knows you and your style to pull a few outfits from your closet for you. “There is something to be said for the way we see ourselves versus the way others see us,” says Freer. “You might find something you really like!”
10. Look at the color wheel.
Costume designers love color wheels, says Freer. They’re a great tool to find complementary colors for unique outfits. Pick the hue you want to match, and look directly across the wheel to find its pair. “If you have two colors that go together, [the wheel shows you] the third color that makes it really pop,” she says.
11. Dye discolored items.
“Dyeing is way more doable than you think,” says Freer. Consider re-coloring—like taking a faded pair of jeans back to jet black—and updating dingy whites and tans with completely new hues.
12. Document what you wear.
Take a cue from style bloggers and take pictures of everything you wear for a week or two. “We look at ourselves in 3-D, but looking at a flat photo is almost like looking at a magazine editorial,” says Freer. “You can see what worked and what didn’t, and break down what you really feel good in.” You can also get a sense of what’s in heavy rotation in your wardrobe, and what’s not getting much play. So you can mix it up.
13. Capsule your wardrobe.
Challenges like the 30×30 challenge ask you to narrow your closet to 30 items, make 30 outfits, and wear one each day for a month. The limits can help you think creatively about what you include each day. Freer also likes the website Capsules.com, which will create a capsule wardrobe for you from your existing clothing.
You don’t want to wear clothes that look crumpled and wrinkly. Freer recommends getting a hand steamer—in five minutes your clothes will look department-store fresh, she says.
15. Fill your cart.
Go on an online spree of cart-filling, and evaluate what you added. You may find you gravitate towards items that are similar to what you own, and you can copy the site’s styling tricks.