How-To, Wardrobe Development

An Improved Closet Leads to Improved Style

Alright, I have to admit that my closet didn’t look like a major disaster to begin with. However, I knew that it was time to reorganize it. As shown in this before-and-after photo, I separated “off” hours knitwear from the fancy stuff. I moved the super relaxed pieces to the lower hanging bar, and folded down all of those jeans and placed them on shelves in the middle of the closet. It might seem weird that the guy you know as a fashion expert could still benefit from an improved closet. But, honestly, it will also lead to improved style. If it works for me, it will most definitely work for you.

Sure, the calendar indicates that it’s still January. But, hope springs eternal that one day in the not too distant future, we will, once again, reach spring. The holidays are over and the winter doldrums tend to set in about now for a lot of us. During this time, there is a fun project that you can work on, maybe as a remedy for cabin fever. Spend some quality time with your closet. Have you ever thought of how an improved closet leads to improved style? Well, it really does.

This is the time of year when many clients ask me to come on over and freshen up their closets. The more jammed the closet, the more work it is to get it pulled together. Just because everything fits into the closet and the door closes does not mean that it’s pulled together. So, if that sounds kind of like your closet, that kind of chaos is wreaking havoc on your style.

Professionally speaking, I totally understand why people who work with me would rather not organize their own closets. They would rather have me do it because they truly cannot handle the chaos that they know looms inside. Also, it takes time, and lots of it. The greater the loss of organizational control, the greater the effort to reclaim it. So, yeah, I said that this is a fun project. And, it really is. But, it’s kind of like getting very dirty from playing mud volleyball. You might not like the idea of getting muddy until you are covered in it. Then, all you want to do is play your heart out. After the game ends, the best reward is getting squeaky clean. This is just like getting into a groove of improving the quality of your closet organization. So, it can be fun!

I wanted to make it easier to put jacket and shirt combinations together. So, I moved the jackets closer to the shirts and moved all of those trousers to a hang bar in the center of the closet. Again, the difference may appear subtle. But, I’ll take all the help I can get, even if I have to give it to myself.

For one thing, it really helps to map out how to use the space you have available. Whether it’s a simple rod, or an organizational system, there’s a way to maximize whatever you have to work with. It’s very important that the types of clothes you wear most frequently are also most readily accessible. Try organizing your closet by thinking about the rhythm you use to pull together a typical outfit. Undoubtedly, this will help you have greater success in organizing your wardrobe. This is an excellent example of how an improved closet leads to improved style. When your clothes are arranged in synch with your rhythm of selecting them, each piece is easier to find.

Another important point is what doesn’t need to be in the closet. You know, when you see random stuff that captures your eyes’ attention because it belongs elsewhere, you give into distraction. The closet should be a serene place. When it’s not, and you’re in a rush to put yourself together, the visual chaos slows you down.

These shelves were not fully utilized and I didn’t like how challenging it was to pull my socks boxes out to find the perfect pair to complete outfits. So, I moved them over to the right-hand side of the closet. In their place, I put the folded down jeans. I also got rid of some stuff that created clutter. The closet feels fresh and now represents the best of me. Without having bought anything new, the closet feels improved, and my spirits renewed.

On Monday this week, I actually took myself to task and tidied up my own closet. I took some photos to show the before and after. Okay, sure, the differences are not mega-major. I take a lot of pride in my closet, and it’s not because I show it off to everyone. I know the value of keeping it organized. After all, an improved closet leads to improved style, even mine. But, it was time to put into practice for myself what I preach.

I do keep only clothing and clothing-related items in the closet. But, things were getting a bit haywire for my liking. So, I did a purge. Pants that I can’t fit into anymore – and that I don’t want to fit into anymore – goodbye! Shirts that just weren’t doing it for me anymore – adieu! Shoe bags that I am never going to use – shalom! I also decided that it was time to say so long to a very cool Jean Paul Gaultier blazer with vested back that I’ll never wear again. Toodles! I also found three sweaters that I’ll never wear again, even though I loved them very much. Their time had passed.

The sweaters, Gaultier jacket, Yves Saint Laurent pants, and the Armani, Brioni, and Turnbull & Asser shirts were all donated. It feels good to let those items go. People will benefit from these pieces by staying warm, or by looking spiffy for a job interview. Plus, there’s an added benefit for me. A clearer closet means a clearer head every single time I open those doors. The tweaking I did to the closet makes everything I own just a little bit more visible to me.

When I was finished with my personal closet project, a sense of relief came over me. No more clutter. Everything is organized and whatever remains in the closet is a true reflection of the present day me. I know that I’m missing some of my clothes because they’re back in New York. But those are mostly my heavier winter shirts, and cashmere knits. I’ll reunite with them in the next three weeks. Over time, because I’ve regrouped, it’ll be easier to maintain two closets on two coasts. The Silicon Valley closet is the main repository, while the New York closet is cyclical and seasonal.

Knowing that an improved closet leads to improved style – even mine – for sure, the same is true for you. When will you plan to rework and improve your closet? If you need a pro to get in there and do it for you, let me know. Hopefully, you feel inspired to enjoy an improved closet, one way or another.