How to Give Your Wardrobe a Free Makeover

No matter what your style one of these tips will help you rediscover the treasures your closet holds.

Photo by Lucas Allen

A version of this article originally appeared on

Whether you live for shopping the latest trends or wish you could spend every day in your favorite pair of jeans and a white T-shirt, your clothes project a message about who you are. The great thing is that you have the power to control that message entirely—as long as what you already own isn’t standing in your way.

From having a wardrobe that’s bursting with every item of clothing you’ve had since childhood to owning a ton of pieces that you never wear (the definition of wasted money), there are many ways your closet can stop you from being the most stylish version of yourself.

To cut through the clutter and help you get the most from the items you already have, here are eight easy, inventive ways for you to make over the closet you have without spending a ton on new trends.

1. Follow the Rainbow

Every day for a week, make sure that your ensemble includes an item of a certain color: week one is red, two is orange, three is yellow, etc. This will encourage you to search through your closet and actually wear the pieces that have been languishing, unloved, underneath your go-to items.

2. First In/Last Out

In her new book, You Are What You Wear Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner says that the majority of people wear 20% of their closet 80% of the time. There are a number of variations on this “first in/last out” wardrobe strategy, which prevents you from wearing a few pieces non-stop.

Instead of wearing the same small percentage of your closet every week, try this: After wearing an outfit, hang it in the most remote corner of your closet, which will force you to see only pieces you haven’t worn recently. If you’re totally uninspired by a piece staring you right in the face, decide whether to consign it or not. Another approach (which might be better if you like to organize by item type—dresses near dresses, shirts near shirts) is to hang each item inside out after you wear it (assuming you don’t have to wash immediately). This way, you can easily see which pieces you’ve recently worn, and which items you may have forgotten about.

3. Write It Down

Keep a journal of what you wear each day, and how it makes you feel. This will help you identify which shapes, fabrics and styles work best for your body and lifestyle, and will prevent you from making purchases that aren’t perfect for you. This strategy is ideal for those who have a ton of clothing but feel like they haven’t yet hit upon a cohesive style.