Q. After recently investing in an almost totally new work wardrobe, I don’t know what to do now. First question - how do I put together a cute outfit quickly in the morning from my good components, without just grabbing boring standards? My office is business casual and I work with a group of very fashion-savvy co-workers that I try to semi-keep up with (I am not fashion-savvy by nature). And second question - what’s the best way to organize my clothes in my SMALL closet in order to maximize my efficiency and wardrobe hip-ness? Any suggestions?
-Trying to finish what she started…
A. How can you have a new wardrobe and still not know what to put on in the morning? Take an assessment of your new wardrobe: Does it have color? Do you have some great accessories? Do the clothes fit your body well? Do you have a well-balanced mix of classics and a few inexpensive trendy items? You need to mix color with pattern. You need to pair classic pants or a skirt with a casual fitted jacket.
Without knowing what’s in your new wardrobe, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to help you create outfits. Are you good friends with one of these fashion savvy ladies to ask some advice? My best advice is to be a little bolder in your choices and be willing to experiment - not by wearing linen with wool, but by layering on necklaces or putting your hair in a sleek ponytail and wearing a pair of dangly earrings or hoops.
As for your second question, it saves valuable time to organize your closet and keep it neat. I own too much stuff, I admit it, so I keep two wardrobes: one Fall/Winter and one Spring/Summer. I store whichever season is not in use and then go through it each season to separate what I want to keep, what goes to Good Will and what heads to consignment. I keep cashmere sweaters stored in cloth bags and I keep almost all of my shoes, except ones in heavy rotation, in their original boxes clearly marked to remind me what’s in them. I use under-bed storage in canvas storage bags to hold seldom-worn items like ski/snow stuff.
As for the closet, I organize it by keeping like items together - shirts stay together and are organized by color (blues with blues, whites with whites, etc.), pants are together, skirts hang with each other and same goes for dresses. I use good wooden hangers to keep the closet looking nice and the clothes hang better, but you can also use plastic - just avoid wire. I never hang t-shirts, tanks or sweaters, they are always folded and stacked in drawers or on a shelf in the closet, usually above the rack. Look for shoe racks that have 2-3 shelves to use on the floor of the closet or find one that can hang on the back of the door. There are also canvas and metal “closets” that you can find at stores like Bed, Bath and Beyond that can inexpensively give you another closet in about five minutes without any renovation or hammer involved.