Contributor: Jill DeWan of Flair Shopping

As a Personal Stylist, I hear so many women complain they have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. Trying to decide what to wear can cause unnecessary stress in your life.

In fact, according to Dr. Kristen Race, decision-making is one of the most exhausting tasks that our brain performs.  So overloading our brains with all of those fashion choices actually does trigger unnecessary stress. Your closet and wardrobe should bring you joy, not anxiety.

Fashion and style are supposed to express how you feel on the inside and provide a way to represent your unique self to the world around you.  Taking charge of your closet and taking the stress out of getting dressed are not impossible tasks. There are three steps I walk through with my clients to achieve those goals.  

#1 Purge

For this process you may want to grab some water (or wine!) and a snack. It may take some time, but it is so worthwhile and rewarding. The purge can also be quite cathartic!  

Start by going through each item in your closet and ask two simple questions: “Would I wear this out with friends today/tonight?” and “Would I pack this for a trip?” If the answer is “no” to both questions – ditch it, if “yes” to either question – it stays. If the answer is “yes, but…” it typically means that you don’t have the right shoes, jacket or pants to pair with the item. Start a shop-list for those items you may be missing from your wardrobe. 

If any item does not fit, put it to the side to either purge or, if you love it, save for the future if you are working towards a body change. Grabbing a pair of pants and struggling to button them is no way to start the day – who needs it! Dress the body you have, not the body you wish you had. When you are comfortable in your clothing, you exude confidence. 

When you are done, donate your “ditch” pile to a local organization or goodwill.  For any nicer, gently used or items with tags still on them (it happens), considering bringing them to a consignment shop or consigning online.  Consigning or reselling the pieces no longer right for you is a great way to build a fund for step #3 below, shop!  

#2: Organize

Separate your clothing into functional categories. Think about the different areas of your life. Do you work? Are you a mom? Do you have a lot of social events to attend? Work clothes belong in one category, casual clothing in another and dressier clothing in another. Sifting through your weekend wear on Monday morning to find that silk blouse adds unnecessary time to start your day. 

Color-coding is also super helpful. Organize the colors in each category from light to dark. Start with tops: tank-tops, short sleeves and long sleeve tops; next are pants, skirts and dresses; finally, “Completers” jackets, blazers and open sweaters. This simple organization will help pull your outfits together – quickly! 

Shoes worn most frequently should be visible, easily accessible and out of their boxes. Take a trip to a specialty storage store and invest in a shoe organizer and felt-covered hangers which are a big space saver and your closet will have a more uniform look. If cocktail attire is not part of your weekly or monthly lifestyle, then it should go in another closet or the very back of your closet. This is true for vacation/beachwear as well. 

Dressing now makes sense, and you have reduced your daily stress by creating a fully edited and organized closet. 

#3: Shop!

Now the fun part! 

You noticed some gaps and created a shop-list. Maybe it’s “girl’s night out” attire or some other part of your life where you struggle finding outfits. It could just be a few pairs of shoes or better fitting jeans. Make a budget and prioritize your needs. If you love certain brands, know the sizes and understand your body type, on-line shopping might be easiest for you (and there are always sales).

Shopping at discount designer stores also stretches your budget. When you shop, do not purchase anything unless you are so excited about it you want to wear it ASAP. The goal is to build your wardrobe with stylish new additions which easily integrate and complement the pieces you already have.

Whew! Now you can open your closet door and breathe. Your entire wardrobe is organized and easily accessible. You will have fun putting yourself together and creating new looks you may not have thought of before. No more rushing out the door in a frenzy. You have made a positive change in your life and wherever you are heading you will leave the house feeling stylish, comfortable and confident. 

Congratulations!!

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