Give Your Wardrobe a Makeover

Life & Beauty Weekly: Hair & Beauty

By Stephanie Tweito Jacob for Life & Beauty Weekly

When you have a packed schedule, the last thing you need in the morning is to dig through piles of sweaters you never wear or agonize over which top goes with your navy skirt.

“I have a serious amount of clothing in my closet,” says Jessica Biffi, fashion designer of the Jessica Biffi label and first place runner-up on season two of Project Runway Canada. “When I am running from the studio to an event, I need to be able to find what I need, glam it up and bounce. If I spend my whole time searching for that certain piece, then I am late for the party.”

Organizing your closet, paring down what you have and mixing in flattering new styles can bring speed and clarity to your morning routine—and make you feel more confident too. Follow these four easy steps:

1. Divide to Conquer

Start by grouping your clothes by season. Next, arrange them by purpose: things you wear for work, weekends, evenings out and so on. Then place all the tops and bottoms in each group together. (For example, put work shirts in one pile and casual jeans in another.) Finally, arrange each group by colour.

As you’re taking inventory, eliminate anything that’s dated, stained, stretched out or ill-fitting. Generally, if you haven’t worn something in a year, you won’t wear it again. If there’s a shirt or dress you can’t bear to part with, you can put it in the back of your closet or in storage—but do consider letting it go if you can. “The general rule is that if you haven’t worn something in three to four months, it should be tossed,” says Biffi. “There are always favourite pieces that maybe you can only wear with certain things, or for specific occasions—don’t feel the need to rush and let them go. But if they are always on the hanger and never on you, it’s a sign that you’ve moved on.”

2. Try on

Anything you haven’t worn recently or aren’t sure you’ll wear again, try on. Keep only those items that flatter your shape. (Ask an honest friend to help.) If something’s more than one size too big or too small, toss it.

With each item you keep, take a moment to determine whether you have something to wear with it. If not, start a shopping list. Take a photo of the item as a reminder, or set it aside to take to the store with you. “Make a point of going out to pick something up for it,” says Biffi. “The thrill of completing an outfit will inspire you and open up new possibilities with that new piece.”

3. Rearrange

Put this season’s clothing and shoes front and centre in your closet and dresser—put everything else in the back or into storage. “It might sound tedious, but switching from spring/summer to autumn/winter will save you time, effort and stress when dressing for that special event or during your mad rush on a busy day,” says Biffi.

4. Refresh

Now it’s time to hit the stores and fill in those wardrobe gaps. If you’re not sure what to pair with a particular skirt or top you already own, bring it along and ask a salesperson. Keep your closet streamlined by focusing on items that work for more than one season. A chunky dark wool sweater may look cozy now, but you won’t be able to wear it as long as, say, a lighter-weight sweater you can layer on cold days and wear by itself as the weather warms up. “Items like a great fitting pair of jeans or leggings are pieces you can build your seasonal wardrobe around,” says Biffi. “That simple dress that fits you so well, or that lightweight over piece—these are the kinds of things that help you get new pieces to freshen your looks.”

Stephanie Tweito Jacob is a freelance writer who specializes in beauty, fashion and health. She has held editorial positions at Allure, More and O, The Oprah Magazine.