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How to Shop Your Closet for A New Outfit

How to Shop Your Closet for A New Outfit

Guest post by Elysha Lenkin

Personal stylist, Elysha, is here sharing a great post about how to shop your closet for new outfit options. Learning to shop your closet is the perfect way to keep your wardrobe versatile and fresh.

If you are looking to switch up your outfit options, without adding a bunch of new clothes to your wardrobe, Elysha’s post is just what you need! Elysha is a holistic stylist, meaning she helps people live well and look great while doing so.

She’s put together a fantastic post to help you shop your closet for new outfit options. Elysha’s tips show you how to use what you have to make the most of your wardrobe. Use her tips to refresh your wardrobe without buying or adding anything new!

I love how Elysha reminds us that what we wear and how we feel wearing it are important. How we look affects how we feel. And how we feel affects everything we do. Read on for Elysha’s post. And be sure to leave a comment at the end to let us know what you think!

How to shop your closet for a new outfit
Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

How to Shop Your Closet for a New Outfit

Do you wear the same old thing every day? Whether it’s jeans and a top, or a tunic and leggings, you don’t bother to try anything else since you know this outfit – your same old thing – will keep you comfortable and get you out the door on time. Plus who has the energy to outfit plan when there’s house cleaning, meal planning and child rearing to do?

It’s not that you don’t care how you look. You do! It’s just that styling yourself doesn’t feel like a priority when there are so many other (more important!) things going on in your life.

Look good to feel good

But the truth is styling yourself isn’t some superficial thing that you do only in service of your ego. While it certainly does feel good to put on an outfit you love, it also breeds confidence which affects how you show up in the world. And when you’re coming from this place of confidence, you are more likely to look, feel and act as the person you want to be.

So styling yourself isn’t only about how you look, it’s also about how you feel, and the way you move through your life. Therefore, carving out the time to choose your outfits intentionally is really an act of self-care. By giving yourself this attention, you will nourish your authentic expression.

Once you’re ready to put in the time and energy to creating an outfit you love, you may feel discouraged because everything you own feels less than exciting.

As a stylist for over a decade, I’ve spent many hours with women who felt frustrated with their wardrobes. They suffer from the all too familiar fatigue of having a closet full of clothes, yet nothing to wear.

The reality is that most of us probably only wear 20% of our wardrobes which leaves 80% untouched. So rather than go out and buy new clothes to create a new outfit, let’s tap into the 80% of stuff you already own but never wear!

Here are my stylist steps to shop your closet for a new outfit that you’ll be excited to wear.

1. Separate Your Clothes

With a piece of string, ribbon or even dental floss, create a demarcation in your closet. On the right side of the string, place all the items you love, you feel comfortable in, and you wear regularly. On the left side of the string should be everything else. Notice how much is on the left and right. Are you dressing by the 80 / 20 rule where you don’t wear 80% of your wardrobe? No big deal either way. It’s just interesting to note.

Another thing to pay attention to is what do the clothes look like on the right side of the string, the stuff you regularly wear? Are they all black? Are they all tunics? What do these pieces say about you and your style?

2. Choose A Word To Describe Your New Look

Think about your style, and the statement you want your new outfit to make, and come up with one word that captures this expression. You can look at the clothes on the right side of the string to help you figure this out. Are you satisfied with the words you would use to describe your current style and the clothes that you regularly wear? Or are you looking to change it up a bit, and branch out into something new? You may want to sit quietly for a few moments to get crystal clear on how you want to look. By setting this intention, it will be easier to stay on track and create an outfit that you’re excited to wear, and that best reflects who you are.

Once you’ve chosen your word that describes the outfit you’re going to create, use it in an affirmation. Say the words, I AM and then add your word to the end of this phrase.

So if your word is refined, your affirmation would be, I AM REFINED.

Maybe your word is stylish. Then your affirmation would be I AM STYLISH.

Say your affirmation three times, and allow the words to seep into your mind, body and soul.

3. Pick Out Something New

Since we aren’t buying anything new for this outfit, you’re going to choose a garment from the left side of your closet. (Remember there is a string demarcating the left and right sides of your closet.) This item should be something you never or rarely wear, but you must still love it.

Often there are things in the closet that we love, but for one reason or another, we stopped wearing. Maybe it’s because we couldn’t see it since it was pushed to the back, and there was too much stuff in the way so we forgot it was even in there. Or maybe we don’t wear it because we don’t know how to wear it. We’re not sure what to pair it with. If you have things on the left side of your closet that you don’t wear, and you no longer love then it’s time to let these things go.

Pull out a garment from the left side that you love, and are ready to wear again.

4. Add In Something Comfortable

Now that you’ve got your foundation for the new outfit, the garment from the left side of your closet, you must ensure that you’ll actually want to wear it. This is where a comfort item comes into the mix. Choose something that feels soft on your skin like a cashmere turtleneck. Or a pair of flat booties that you could run around in all day. If your foundation piece is a v-neck sleeveless dress, then a cashmere turtleneck would layer nicely underneath. Or if your foundation garment is a little bit sheer, then your comfort item could be a black cami to add an opaque finish. A pair of leggings is also a good comfort piece. No need to over think any of this. Simply go for an item that will make you feel more comfortable.

5. Bring In Your Signature Statement

Your signature statement is what makes the outfit uniquely you. Everybody has a signature statement although not everyone is aware of what it is. To figure out what yours is, go back to the word you are using to describe how you want this outfit to look. This word ties in with your signature statement because although you may not be dressing in alignment with this word all the time, you intend to dress in accordance with this word. Now is the time to express yourself with your signature statement. Pick something from your wardrobe that aligns with your word. If you chose the word chic, do you have a silk scarf that feels chic when you put it on? Or what if you chose the word cozy? Is there a textured sweater you can add to the look? Do this now.

6. Choose Something Special

The purpose of integrating this piece into your outfit is to make you happy. You could choose a sentimental item like a necklace that was once your grandmothers. Or you could pick something that was received in celebration like a birthday present from your husband, or a pair of shoes you bought yourself after landing a new client. When you add this element to your outfit it will remind you of the person or the moment, and this will give you joy.

7. Throw In Something Unexpected

This is where we take your outfit from something that looks good to something that looks and feels amazing. You’re going to step outside of your comfort zone just a bit to be bolder. But you’re not going to veer off into wearing something that isn’t you. So keep your word that describes how you want to look in mind as you pick your unexpected element for the outfit.

If you tend to wear all black, now would be a good time to bring in a pop of color. No need to go head to toe hot pink, but you could introduce a bright accent. Maybe it’s on the collar of the shirt worn underneath your sweater. Or perhaps you put on hot pink socks. Think outside the box of what you normally gravitate towards. And since you’re creating this outfit with only stuff you already own, you may need to dig up something that you haven’t seen in awhile.

To uncover this unexpected element in your outfit, think back to a time that you dressed for fun. It doesn’t have to be a Halloween costume, but when was there an occasion where you wore something that you loved, but it’s not for your everyday? Accessories make great unexpected pieces. And if you really have nothing in your closet then how about hot pink nail polish or a bold red lipstick for that extra pop?

Once you’ve created this outfit, try it on and notice how you feel. Hopefully, the word you used to describe this outfit is in alignment with how you look. Remember, we’re not going for a perfect outfit, we’re simply aiming to express ourselves as the person we want to be.

About Elysha

What to do with clothes you no longer need or love

Elysha Lenkin is a holistic stylist who helps self-improvement seekers live well and look awesome through personal style, holistic fitness and mindful living. Her site, Mind Body Soul Stylist, is a wealth of information and inspiration on styling from the inside. You can find Elysha on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Monday 8th of May 2023

I cannot wait to try this. I think it will be fun and challenging.

Simple Lionheart Life

Tuesday 9th of May 2023

That's great! I'm happy you're excited to try it. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday 27th of March 2018

Wow!! What an awesome way to use clothing you havent worn for ages. I have soo many and i love them all! Iam going to follow this and see what i turn up with. AM EXCITED!!!! Thank you!

Simple Lionheart Life

Wednesday 28th of March 2018

That's so great Heather! I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed this post and it has inspired you to give it a try. That's awesome! Thanks for reading :)


Sunday 25th of February 2018

These are amazing tips! Love that you included words of affirmation. ❤️

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 26th of February 2018

I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the post! I love words of affirmation too, they can be so powerful! Thanks for reading :)

Elizabeth Keene

Monday 19th of February 2018

It can be so difficult some days to find something to wear. These are some great tips/techniques to keep your current wardrobe feeling fresh!

XOXO Elizabeth

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 19th of February 2018

I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed the post, Elizabeth! Thanks for reading :)

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