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Sarah Zengo
Monday, 09 February 2015

Shovel Out Your Closet

By Dressing Well Stylist Sarah Zengo

Shoveling out after yet another snow storm here in New England got me thinking. We clear out the snow so we can hit the road fast and effortlessly. When I first work with a client in their closet, we are often “shoveling out” so that they too can hit the road in record time, regardless of the weather.

Here are five quick tips to help you “shovel out” your own closet (and snow days are great days to tackle this process!)

1. Divide and conquer. If your flirty eyelet summer dresses and saucy tank tops are currently snuggled up next to your suit jackets, sweaters and formal tops, it’s no wonder you’re confused about what to wear in the morning. A great first step to eliminating closet confusion is to identify any off-season attire and move it to another space. Additionally, always consider how you live as you organize your closet. If you work outside your home, separate business clothing from casual wear. Whenever possible, keep only what is wearable in the current season and functional for your day to day lifestyle in your main closet. You get the gist!

2. Consider the 80/20 rule. Most of us can confidently say that we wear twenty percent of our clothes eighty percent of the time. Go through your closet piece by piece and play tough love with the eighty percent that doesn’t owe you a nickel. Our favorite thing to say to clients is “Do you love it? Do you wear it?” The answers will be very telling and once you get going, it will be easy to make good decisions about what stays in your closet. Make piles for tailoring, donation, and also trash—anything stained or beyond repair should be let go for good!

ShovelCloset

3. Shop in your closet first. This is our favorite firm rule of thumb! We often find new winning combinations for our clients that they never would have put together. A great way to start mixing things up while getting a targeted shopping list going is to create complete outfits (try them on head to toe with accessories) and then identify any pieces that would make the outfit even better (a.k.a. these pumps are ok, but booties would make this look fantastic!).

4. Give your shoes a makeover. In New England, our footwear has to work hard for us. Make sure your shoes reflect the same level of polish as your daily professional and personal attire. At a minimum, get a shoe polish starter kit at your drugstore for around $10 so you can quickly remove salt and water stains. For heel repairs, tricky scuffs or hardware issues, find a great local cobbler – they do still exist! Also, pick up a pair of easy breezy commuter shoes—I love Anne Klein’s seasonal and stylish options. If your budget allows, think about purchasing some great weatherproof boots from La Canadienne, Aquatalia, or Stuart Weitzman. All three brands are worth the investment and are on sale now.

5. Sort your jewelry. Finally, getting your jewelry under control is another great snow day activity. Like clothing, separate jewelry by season. For instance, beachy and bohemian jewelry that looks best worn in warm weather can be easily stored in pouches or even zip lock bags and tucked away with other summer clothing and accessories. When you can actually see your winter accessories more clearly, you start to wear them more. Consider hanging necklaces near your main dressing area and finding a good home for earrings, bracelets etc. too so you can easily locate them.

Last Word
When I’m stuck in the snow, tackling closets often leads to other household organizing: kitchen cabinets, medicine closets and the like. It’s a great way to take control of being indoors and create space when it feels like the snow-walls are closing in on us. So get in your closet and start shoveling!

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About the Author

Sarah Zengo

Sarah Zengo joined the Dressing Well team as a stylist in 2011.  Her diverse clientele includes a mix of professionals, stay-at-home parents, retirees and young people just starting their careers. An excellent sense of fashion combined with a strong work ethic and genuine interest in the people she serves, allows Sarah to transform the style of our clients rapidly and with excellent results.  Clients love Sarah and consistently book appointments with her each season, a true indicator that her advice is highly valued and very much appreciated.

Learn more about Sarah »