How to Overhaul Your Closet

It's a familiar dilemma: You've got a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. Not true, says fashion expert Genny Iannucci. In fact, she's willing to bet there's a fabulous wardrobe lurking beneath the surface just waiting to be uncovered. Cut through the clutter with a closet overhaul and discover your wardrobe's hidden bounty. Here's how.

Woman puzzles over her closet's contents.

1. Edit

Take a quick inventory of your current wardrobe: Pull everything out of the closet, review your stock (including shoes and accessories!) and ask yourself the following questions of each garment:

  • Do I wear it on a regular basis?
  • Does it fit?
  • Is it in good repair? Does it look fresh?
  • Is it in style?
  • Would I buy this piece again?

If you answer yes to all five, the item can go back in your closet. Any less and you need to reassess whether or not the item still belongs in your wardrobe. Some things to consider:

  • Can it be altered to fit?
  • Can this worn-out piece be freshened up somehow?

No? Then it's time to say goodbye. If you feel strongly that an item will eventually fit back into your wardrobe, go ahead and store it with the caveat that if you still haven't worn it in a year, you'll get rid of it. You can donate your discards to charity (some will even pick the clothing up at your house) or try selling more expensive items at a consignment shop.

2. Reinstall

Put your remaining clothing back in the closet. You should now only have pieces that you love to wear and look great on you. A little organization will help ensure that you get the most out of your revamped wardrobe.

  • Create some space in your closet by investing in some narrow flocked hangers and cascading skirt hangers. Donate wire hangers to your dry cleaner.
  • Hang like items together (e.g. skirts with skirts, blouses with blouses, etc.).
  • Break up your suits to maximize their wear potential.
  • Organize clothing from lightest to darkest.
  • Use shelf dividers to neatly store/stack knits and bulky pieces.
  • Keep accessories in plain sight. Hang necklaces, scarves and belts on hooks on the back of your closet door.
  • Shoes need to be seen, whether on a shoe rack or in clear, plastic boxes. If you opt to keep your kicks in their original boxes, stick a photo of each pair on the outside of the box for a quick preview.

3. Shop (Your Closet)!

Now for the fun part! After your initial cleanse and reinstall, you've probably found some missing gems or new wardrobe opportunities. Try out these tips to create fresh, exciting clothing combinations:

  • Look to fashion magazines and the celebrity scene for style tips. Cut out photos and use them as reference points. Do you have similar pieces with which to recreate a particular look?
  • Buy any missing essentials (e.g. crisp, white button-up shirt, fitted blazer, etc.) along with some fun accessories to complement what you've already got hanging in the closet.
  • Go against your gut. Try different colour pairings, mix your metals or pair your prints.
  • Go window-shopping. One of the best ways to see what's on trend is to check out the window displays at your favourite stores. You'll find great inspiration without spending a dime.

Genny Iannucci and Chris.A Canadian fashion-industry insider for over 20 years, Genny Iannucci is an expert in how to flatter your figure and build a strong, versatile wardrobe. Her passion? Helping women look their best on a budget.


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