Chance are, you wake up each morning and stare at your closet, wondering what the heck you’re going to wear today. And then you reach for the same old standbys. “People wear less than one-third of their wardrobe,” says New York City professional stylist Bryn Taylor, aka The Re-Stylist, who restyles clients’ existing wardrobe. In other words, there is a treasure trove of outfits and fresh combinations in your closet just waiting to be worn.
Read more in our guide to restyling your wardrobe.
Stylist Taylor pulls clothes from her clients’ closets and has them evaluate every item, but you can do this solo or with the help of a fashionable friend. As you go through each garment in your closet, think about why you purchased it and what you like or dislike about it. “Ask yourself, ‘How does it make me feel?” suggests Taylor. If the answer is fat, frumpy or fidgety, it’s time to donate or toss it.
Follow Taylor’s trick for paring down your closet, which will leave you with the most functional and flattering clothes: Create three piles on your bed—keep, donate or toss, and maybe. (And for those with hoarder tendencies, no, they can’t all go in the “keep” pile.)
Once you’re done creating piles, reevaluate the clothes in your maybe pile to gauge whether they’re genuinely worth keeping—are they truly flattering and are they in frequent rotation or is it purely an emotional attachment (guilt, wishing you were that weight again) that you need to let go of?
Place the donation items in a bag and out of the way—and get ready to pull together some fresh new outfits! Grab the accessories you’ll need from your closet—shoes, belts and jewelry—to create some easy-breezy, head-to-toe looks.
One simple change—a belt or a piece of jewelry—can transform an outfit. Have an animal print or metallic skinny belt in your drawer? Slide it around your waist the next time you slip on your classic LBD to instantly freshen it up.
Or slide on a statement piece. “You can’t go wrong with a classic gold pendant or a cuff or menswear-style silver watch,” says Taylor. “You won’t look too edgy, but these add something special to the outfits you already have.”
If you tend to pair your bright colored dresses with a neutral belt, mix things up by donning a belt in a shade that’s similar to the dress to create a sleek and sophisticated monochromatic look, suggests Taylor. Finish it off with a pair of neutral heels and some gold bangles—and you’re good to go.
Once you’ve pulled an outfit together that you’re proud of, take a page out of Taylor’s book by photographing the complete look. When Taylor works with a client, she shoots each ensemble and gives her clients a book of the images. It’s easy to create your own personal fashion reference book—and it’s an especially handy tool on those days when you feel like you don’t have a thing to wear (but you do!).
Sporting a menswear-inspired, structured blazer (you can steal it from one of your suits and roll up the sleeves) instantly dresses up any outfit—from sundresses to jeans—and makes you look polished and put together.
Get more mileage out of your existing wardrobe by pairing your fall-toned tops with your white jeans (or silk sundresses). This allows you to rock your favorite summer staples well into fall without your outfit screaming “summer.”
One of the easiest ways to update your wardrobe is with bling. A simple tank (worn under a cardigan or fitted blazer) is brought to life by layering on several necklaces of various lengths.
Taylor recommends letting the jewelry—not your clothes—do the talking to keep your look sophisticated. That means sticking with classic, figure-flattering clothes that you can dress up or down depending on what jewelry pieces you choose, rather than wasting your money on trendy clothes that quickly become “so last season.”
Do you reach for your faithful LBD every time you have a cocktail party or date night? Try one of Taylor’s favorite ensembles—the “urban tuxedo”: Skinny jeans (black, white or grey) and a structured menswear-inspired blazer. You can don a flowy white blouse—or better yet, one with a jolt of color like fuchsia—or a sleek tank top underneath with a chunky statement necklace. Talk about cheap and chic!