A disorganized closet can cause SUCH style woes. Feel like you’ve got nothing to wear? That could be because you can’t find anything in that muddled mishmosh of a wardrobe. At a loss for inspiration? Well, if you could see colors and textures spread out before you, your eye and imagination wouldn’t have to work so hard. Wearing the same combinations over and over? Maybe if you grouped your garments a little differently you’d be inclined to mix it up a bit more.
And it really is all about grouping. Yes, labeled storage bins and fancy hangers and neatly folded sweaters on well-spaced shelves are all grand … but many of us lack the money, time, and inclination to completely remodel our closets. If you’re looking for an easier way, here it is:
Group by type
Pants with pants, button-downs with button-downs, cardigans with cardigans. Seems ridiculously simplistic, but we’re starting with the basics, here. If you’ve got all your pants living harmoniously together in Pantsville, you know where to go when you’re planning a pants-based ensemble.
Group by fit
I keep all of my shorter sweaters together because they’ll only work with skirts. I keep all of my longer tees hung in a specific part of my closet because they’ll only work with pants. I keep all my too-tight-for-wearing-alone tops in a drawer specific to layering pieces. Organizing items by fit will force you to think about which items work together and why, and may even help you visualize previously unworn combinations.
Group by length
Miniskirts, knee-length, floor-length. Pants that only work with tall shoes, pants that work with flats, ankle-length, capris, shorts (if you hang ’em). Grouping this way helps determine shoe and accessory choices.
Group by application
Sequined, low-cut, satin, and anything else formal lives together. Hoodies, thermals, and graphic tees in a group. Work-appropriate dresses separate from dresses that only work on weekends. Now, I mix it up a lot and wear everything all the time … but I still separate my clothes by application. It helps me create balance in my ensembles. After all, I may be delighted to wear something super frilly and fancy to work … but I need to balance it with several items from non-fancy categories to make the outfit work as a whole.
Group by frequency of use
My wedding dress lives with all my other dresses. It is waaaaaaay in the back. Since I don’t wear skirts as often as I used to, they’re crammed in a corner of the closet. Keep the groups that get used most front and center. Attempt to keep EVERYTHING in view, though, so that lesser-used garments aren’t forgotten.
Group by color or pattern
Grouping by color is a dream of mine, but one I’ve yet to realize. I do, however, keep patterns with patterns and solids with solids. Either/both of these will aid in creating outfits that are visually engaging, but balanced.
I’d wager that most people group their clothes by type. But adding several more levels of taxonomy will help you keep track of what you’ve got, and focus on imagining new and better combinations. It’s hard to maximize your wardrobe without familiarizing yourself with your wardrobe. See if it doesn’t help you feel more creative and engaged when choosing your outfits!
Image courtesy rachel a. k.
Originally posted 2009-11-12 07:00:00.