A few months ago, I collaborated with the Tina Adams Wardrobe Consulting ladies on a giveaway for a closet clean-out, which you can read here. I met these incredible women and were blown away by how much they can help both women and men conquer the clutter, find what works for specific bodies, assist with shopping, and then help style all your new looks.
Amy, one of Tina’s fabulous stylists, reached out to me and thought it would be fun to do this with me, so I could learn a thing or two, and hopefully pass on some helpful knowledge to my readers as well. Not one to turn any kind of adventure down, I happily obliged and she came over a few weeks ago to get down to business.
This is the step-by-step detail of Phase One, the Closet Clean-Out.
Amy came to my house and we immediately got to work…her goal was to show me what pieces are right for my age, shape, coloring, personal taste and lifestyle…in addition, she made sure to note that she isn’t interested in the latest trends, but does want me to be current and modern. I showed her the ins and outs of my closet (how I store everything, preferences, what’s in my drawers, etc) and then she advised me on all sorts of tips and tricks to help the initial purging process:
Four Things You Need
1. Full Length Mirror…needs to be 1/4 inch thickness, too (COMPLETE)
2. Camisoles…they provide the right foundation for your clothes to lay on top of. They will drape better, shirts stay tucked in, and there is no gaping across the chest. So she said to be sure to look for camis with finished seams so that when it shows it doesn’t look like you are showing your underwear. (DONE AND DONE…I actually purged a bunch I had because she said you only need three colors: black, nude, and vanilla/white)
3. Matching Hangers…aesthetically it makes everything feel calmer and look cleaner. Everything will hang at the same level. Huggable hangers are great because they are non-slip, they also reflect the slope of the shoulder better than the wire hangers you get from the cleaners. They also don’t take up as much space. (I’m working on this one, slowly but surely…you don’t realize how many clothes you have until you have to buy all new hangers..TJ Maxx has been a great resource for finding these inexpensively)
4. No Plastic Bags…use canvas or cotton garnet bags. Plastic releases toxins, prematurely yellows your garnets and breaks down the fibers over time. (need to stock up on some of these still, but I have removed my plastic dry cleaning bags!)
Amy was great and took notes throughout our purge…. which will then be a part of the custom wardrobe report she creates for me to keep after we are done and helpful so I can be sure to put all of this knowledge to good work!
Next came the real cleaning AKA purge:
First, we pulled all of the summer items out and put in another area of my closet, which will make it easier each day when I go to pick out my clothes…this way, I’m not spending extra time digging through tank tops and short sleeve shirts when it’s sweater/jacket time. Then we separated shirts by type: blouses, layering shirts, sweaters, cardigans, etc. (Hello, why didn’t I think of this previously? I thought I was really “organized” given that I color coded my closet)
We then took items out that didn’t work for my body, weren’t a good color, were worn out, etc and divided them into piles…a giveaway pile and a consign pile. Their philosophy is fewer, but better pieces, and they want to remove barriers you may have in using what you have and only bringing back into your closet what is absolutely necessary! It was scary at first to see how many clothes we were eliminating, but refreshing at the same time, and it made me see certain pieces in a new light.
In addition, Amy said that the goal of good dressing is to create balance and proportion between the shoulders, the hips and the feet with a waist in between. So, scoop and v-necks are more flattering because they open you up and seeing that triangle of skin draws the eye to the center of the body and creates a long lean line (now that totally makes sense…bye bye crew neck). Further, our shoes should have an almond shape or pointy toe but not a “witchy” point toe. We even snapped a picture of me with two types of shoes on, and you can tell this “rule” is indeed true…
lmond/pointy on left-pointy wins!
Here are a few other helpful tips and tricks she shared with me…take note!
- Wear scoop or v-neck to frame the face and “open you up”; few of us look good in crew neck
- Wear blouses with camisoles, and leave the first 2 to 3 buttons open to reveal a small triangle of skin. Popping your collar half-way (not in the ’80’s Dynasty way) frames your face and elongates your neck
- Avoid mock turtlenecks, as they shorten your neck
- Petite frames need to avoid large cowl necks or too many ruffles that overwhelm the face
- Length is important. Not too short (you need enough to “scrunch” around your hips, reinforcing a smaller waistline); not too long (you don’t need to frame the bum)
- Avoid baby doll tops unless you are in fact a baby doll or you are pregnant
- Avoid pockets in general, and specifically pockets that are very small or very large
PANTS & SKIRTS
- To balance the hips, choose a boot cut pant, narrow through the hip and thigh, slightly flared from the knee down. This cut reinforces an hourglass shape
- Skinny pants create an inverted triangle, or the weeble-wobble look. This draws all the attention to the hips
- Pants that are cuffed pull the eye down and shorten the legs. Pleated pants add bulk around your stomach
- Cargo pants add bulk to the worst possible spots – your hips and thighs. Avoid these like the plague. Besides, they are man-pants
- Capris rarely work because they shorten the legs and widen the ankles. Choose a length more akin to a peddle pusher that hits right at the ankle (think Audrey Hepburn) if you must do this look
- Skirts look best at or just above the knee. Choose a pencil if you are comfortable with your waistline. A-line and gored skirts are great for pear and apple shapes
- Wear long skirts (as in below the calf) with boots and make sure they’re cut on the bias so they don’t look frumpy
- Shoes with pointy toes, cut-away arches and those cut low at the toe are the most flattering because they extend the long vertical line of your legs
- Avoid chunky heels, t-straps and ankle straps as they visually cut off the leg
- Throw away all your potato shoes and man clogs. There are other alternatives!
- Choose well-made shoes in good materials – you are taking care of your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back if you do
COLOR & PATTERN
- Pair black with other neutrals (as opposed to primary colors) – white, camel, grey, brown, etc. for a more sophisticated look
- Pair primary colors (pink, blue, green, yellow, etc.) with white or off-white for a fresher look
- As for khaki pants and shorts – this is the color of school uniforms and camp counselors, and restaurant hosts. There’s never a reason for women to wear them!
- Pattern is tricky. Look at the best dressed women – they most often dress in solids and add interest with their accessories. Patterns that are too graphic, too twee, too big or too small are best avoided. Choose statement jewelry instead
Amy was kind enough to show me how to create new outfits with what I already have. It totally made me see older pieces in a new light and I have some fresh choices I never knew existed. Great ensembles for transitioning into fall!
Once we were done, I donated a ton of items to Goodwill/ARC/other local donation companies, consigned other items, and feel extremely happy about the progress we have made so far! The goal is empower everyone to help us know how to shop, dress, and avoid costly mistakes. And just as Amy reminded me, this is a process, not an overnight fix…it’s going to take awhile to get accustomed to my new “system”. Next up, our shopping adventure in a few weeks to add some new essentials to my closet…I CANNOT WAIT!
what great tips, I really needed to read this for my closet. Thanks!
I love reading all the tips except for finding out that I basically need to get rid of everything I have…and then I'm not sure what I could add back. Based on my body type I guess just a potato sack. LOL
This is so fun!!!!!! And, the tips are actually helpful, so thank you! I can't wait to see what you pick up!! Have you tried Stitch Fix at all? (I forget who has and hasn't). I just had my first one shipped, so we will see how they do! I figured it was the best way for me to try something new (instead of my usual GAP Factory outfits – haha!)
I loved all of these easy to follow tips! I'm getting ready to do another closet purge. It's so hard for me to get rid of clothes I have sentimental attachments to, but it feels so good once it's done! Thanks!
Where did that black leather jacket come from? I love it!
did all these necklaces come from market? i want to go next time because i need them. 🙂
This is an awesome post!! So many great tips!
Isn't this process life-changing, Natasha! Wait til you shop with Amy and get our in-store discounts. You'll be amazed at what she can create from a few purchases. Can't wait to see more…
Is it recommended that you only wear black or white pants if khaki is not acceptable? That just seems rather limiting to completely eliminate khaki. Please do not think that I am being rude, I am genuinely curious as to the neutral color options for pants that Amy recommends.
Wow! This is incredibly helpful…and so many of the tips are new to me! Thanks for sharing! And now if you could just send Amy to Texas, I'd really appreciate it! 🙂
Very interesting tips!
this is so fun! you just inspired me to clean out my closet! at our old place i had a huge walk-in closet to myself and now i have an itty bitty closet with 1/2 my things in tupperware boxes. its about time i go through everything and get rid of those items that dont fit, are really worn or are just plain ugly! xo jillian – cornflake dreams
You should look into thredup.com to consign your unwanted clothes. You can get some money back for the clothes you don't want and you might be able to find some new clothes that will meet your needs better. Check it out!
What a great post filled with so much great info!! I think I need someone to come to my closet and help me out!!
Totally disagree abt the cargo pants. I am very skinny and I NEED the cargo pockets to give me some shape. They are NOT man pants. Esp. If you wear them with boots, cute feminine tops and diamonds. Not manly at all.
Love these tips – I feel like my life lately is a cycle of pregnant-losing baby weight-pregnant again so my current closet is mostly made up of loose flowy tops and skinny pants. Looking forward to making some closet changes when I'm back to my normal size again! 🙂
Love these tips! I know what I'm doing this weekend. The V-neck gives me anxiety because I'm not a fan of showing skin. It just makes me so uncomfortable! I need serious help with this lol!!
I was just reading your phase II post and decided to jump back to your phase I post. These are awesome tips! I'm glad they offered to do a session with you so you would be able to share these tips. I sorta want to rush home from work to begin cleaning out my closet. 🙂
18 Comments on Phase 1: The Close Clean-out