Easy Steps to Makeover Your Closet

Step-by-step instructions determining what to keep, what to toss, what to add and how to organize it all. Plus, our 15 wardrobe essentials. Getting dressed is about to get a whole lot easier.

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First Steps: Detox & Create a Collection

Closet Makeover Lead

David A. Land

David A. Land

No. 1: Detox Your Closet

“Start by thinking about a week of outfits and what you typically wear,” says Anuschka Rees, author of The Curated Closet. As you sort through your clothes, ask yourself these questions:

→ Is it good quality?
→ Is it flattering?
→ Do I wear it often?

If you answered yes to any of the above, keep it! If not, it’s time to start sorting.

Fit matters
Try on anything you’re unsure of to make sure it actually fits and isn’t too tight, stretched out or baggy. 

Time to go?
You’ve probably heard this before, but if you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably never will. If something is new or gently worn, bag it up to donate or sell. 

No. 2: Create a Capsule Wardrobe

These 15 pieces should reflect your style and lifestyle. Keep the color palette neutral to make it easy to incorporate statement and special-occasion pieces. Each versatile piece can be dressed up or down and layered for any occasion. Here are a few of our favorite ways to rock the capsule wardrobe:

  • Midi Skirt + Turtleneck + Sneakers
  • Long Cardigan + LBD + Pumps
  • Chambray Shirt + Jeans + Booties
  • Crew Neck Sweater + Trousers + Sneakers
  • Moto jacket + White Tee + Jeans + Pumps

Pieces 1-9 of your collection 
LBD, cottonon.com, $25. White tee, americanmadesupplyco.com, $24. Trousers, liverpooljeans.com, $89. Blazer, kennethcole.com, $135. Midi skirt, lulus.com, $48. Moto jacket, American Eagle Outfitters, ae.com, $100. Crew neck sweater, everlane.com, $100. Long cardigan, oldnavy.com, $50. Chambray shirt, mott50.com, $78.

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Step 3: Get Organized

Closet Makeover

David A. Land

David A. Land

No. 3: Get Organized

Jessica Grabler, fashion stylist and organizing expert, shares how to design the most functional—and pretty!—closet.

Always fold sweaters— hanging stretches them out. 

Hang tops and dresses on skinny velvet hangers to save space and to keep them from slipping and falling on the floor. Joy Mangano, hsn.com, $24 for 24

Hang accessories like belts, scarves and necklaces on adhesive hooks. Check command.com for a retailer near you, $13 each

→ Separate clothing by style to simplify finding what you need.

Fold and stack jeans, then organize by cut or wash.

Organizing Solutions

Want more ways to maximize your space? IKEA, California Closets and The Container Store are a few companies that can help you create the closet of your dreams.

 If you have the space, dedicate a shelf to the shoes you wear most often. Otherwise, store in clear shoe boxes—they’re stackable and won’t collect dust. containerstore.com, $2 each 

Pieces 10-12 of your collection 
Trench coat, londonfog.com, $165. Booties, thursdayboots.com, $169. Pumps, mgemi.com, $278.


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Steps 4 and 5: Update & Splurge

Closet Makeover

David A. Land

David A. Land

No. 4: Keep It Fresh

“Update your closet at least twice a year,” says Rachel Parcell, founder of the style blog Pink Peonies. Spring and fall are good times to evaluate what you have and what you’re missing. At the start of each season, identify two or three trendy items that you love and would be a good addition to your wardrobe.

No. 5: Know When to Splurge

“People tend to splurge on special-occasion attire that they rarely wear,” says Rees. Get more bang for your buck by investing in the everyday items you know you’ll wear again and again, such as flattering jeans, a cozy sweater and classic black pumps.

Worth It! 
The b(air) jeans from 7FAM (pictured above) have the look of denim and the comfort of leggings. Like a second skin, these perfect pants are sleek and slimming. 

Pieces 13-15 of your collection 
Turtleneck, landsend.com, $30. Jeans, 7forallmankind.com, $179. Sneakers, keds.com, $70

Related: How to Dress for a Week With Our 15 Wardrobe Essentials 

Your Castoffs May Be Someone Else’s Treasure 
After a closet cleanup, it’s time to get rid of the excess. You have two options: Donate to a local charity or sell your items through a website or app. Here are some of our faves.    

Style Solutions
Solve last-minute wardrobe mishaps with these quick fixes.

  • Black+Decker Handheld Steamer heats up quickly to smooth deep wrinkles in a pinch. walmart.com, $6
  • Hollywood Fashion Secrets Temporary Hem Tape is a quick fix for pants that are just a few inches too long. bedbathandbeyond.com, $8
  • The Laundress Sweater Stone removes pilling from sweaters. thelaundress.com, $18
  • Miss Oops’ Deodorant Removing Sponge instantly wipes away white streaks and spots. missoops.com, $10