How to reorganise your wardrobe

A wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear! If this sounds familiar, both your closet and your style sense need a shakedown

woman confused about what dress to wearIf you are like most people, at some point in your life, you have felt totally frustrated staring into a closet full of clothes unable to find a single thing you want to wear. If you are one of the lucky ones, this doesn’t happen often to you. However, if this is an ongoing problem you encounter, there is a way to change it.

The problem of having lots of clothes, none of which are suitable to wear is because of bad shopping habits. When you shop for clothes haphazardly, and impulsively without proper thought, your closet becomes a place of confusion. This is a predicament that continues to build unless dysfunctional shopping habits are replaced with well thought-out, organised routines.

When you change the way you shop, your closet changes too. You can wake up to a closet that inspires you to get dressed simply by following these guidelines:

  1. Clear out and take inventory
  2. Mix and match
  3. Restock.

Clear out and take inventory

Begin by removing everything from your closet. Start this task when you have lots of energy and at least a day to do it. It is best to begin in the morning while there is natural daylight so that you can see colours better.

Prepare a space [box or bag] and separate your clothing into four piles:

  • Items that are worn out, badly stained or unfit to wear: these are to be thrown out.
  • Items that are too big, too small, too itchy, of the wrong colour, those you don’t like and those that you haven’t worn in a year or more: these are items that you give away.
  • Items you like but require mending or altering; keep them.
  • Clothing you like and looks good on you and items that need something to go with them to complete an outfit: they will go back in your closet.

Now you are left with only the clothing items you like and wear. The next step is to make a list of all the items you have. For example: black pants [2], white shirts [3], blue turtlenecks [2], black-print shirts [3], grey-tweed jacket [1] black skirts [2], grey pants [1].

Now that you have identified all the keepers, put them back into the closet and arrange them in an order where they can be easily found.

Mix and match

Take the list items you have and decide how many different looks you have by putting tops and bottoms together that match. For example, using the inventory mentioned above, adding a royal blue shirt [or royal blue blouse] will make three new outfits. The royal blue shirt can be worn with black pants and grey-tweed jacket, grey pants and grey-tweed jacket and black skirt and the grey-tweed jacket.

Make the same decisions using accessories. For example, taking into consideration the colours you have in your wardrobe [which shouldn’t just be different shades of one colour but several colours that suit you], you will be able to decide on the colour and type of accessory you will want to add.How many separates can you make into interesting looks by tying them together with a necktie or a scarf? Make a shopping list of all the items you need to complete outfits. It is much easier to make shopping decisions when you are looking at the clothes you have right now.

If not knowing how to coordinate is where you fall short, enlist the help of a friend or professional—basically, someone who knows.


The key to having a functional closet—from where everything gets worn—is to have items that fit well together and are easily seen. There is more than one way to organise a closet; however, the most popular way is by garment—a separate section for suits, pants, jackets, skirts and shirts. Hang ties on horizontal tie racks where they are easy to see. Put accessories in a place that is visible. Organise sweaters, knit shirts and jeans on shelves or store them in containers at the top of your closet.

Those who have functional closets have put time and effort into their wardrobes. Simply having an organised closet will not fix the problem of having nothing to wear, unless all the clothes in the closet are items that fit well, look great on you and are the one you like. When you have that settled, then is the time to add to it again and stay organised. Only add pieces to your wardrobe that look great on you and match at least three other items.

Wardrobe basics

No wardrobe is considered complete without these items.

Men’s must-haves

Blue jeans that fit well: for casual occasions.

A plain t-shirt with a collar: one in a solid colour usually, black / white / blue is a must. Just don’t wear it with a formal trouser.

A white shirt: for all formal meetings.

A good navy blue suit: for formal occasions where you want to really make an impression.

Classic khaki shorts: for the fun times.

Black pants that fit: for office, functions and times when there’s no time to decide your attire.

Trendy trousers / T-shirts: this includes cargos, chinos and any other trendy bottoms and tees [v-neck, boat neck] that are in vogue.

You may also want some traditional dresses like a sherwani, kurtas for traditional occasions.

Four types of shoes: athletic shoes for casual dos; black dress shoe: for every formal occasion; brown dress shoe to match clothing of that hue and for variation; sandals / loafers / flip flops [chappals / slippers] as relaxed wear; trendy shoes to go with the current fashion—toss them out when the fad is done; a pair of black socks to go with black shoes and white with athletic shoes.

Accessories: Black and brown formal belts, classic stripped tie, casual belt, plain white handkerchiefs and a good formal watch.

Women’s must-haves

A white and a black dress: always in style. You can even get traditional wear in these colours. And a pair of black trousers if you dress western.

Dressy traditional outfits: for traditional dos, meetings a well-tailored, outfit with sequins and other embellishment is a must.

Blue jeans that fit well: for all occasions. Stick to blue jeans if you want to get it right.

Basic cotton sari: it flatters a woman’s figure even if you are plus-size.An all-occasion top / kurta / kurtis / tunics: to go with skirt / jeans / salwars / tights / leggings. Shoes: sneakers for picnics, jogs, walks, shopping; formal sandals for all traditional dos, flip flops for casual occasions and closed toe formal shoes / pumps with heels of any type [if you like to dress western style] in black, beige or a neutral colour.

Accessories: hoops, a good clutch, a trendy bag with a strap, sunglasses, a scarf and a watch.

Remember these are the bare essentials, you need to add to it as per what suits you.

— Team CW

Sheila Dicks
Sheila Dicks is an image and wardrobe consultant. Her motto help people reach their full potential and perk up their self-confidence with improved dress sense. She lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.


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