Wardrobe Overhaul 2: The Clear Out


Today’s the day! You’ve blocked out some time, caffeinated with your favourite beverage and turned up the Beyoncé. It’s time to start clearing out that closet! This can be a daunting task, especially if it’s your first clothing-purge rodeo. But let’s pretend it’s fun. This is a big step and you’re gonna feel like a million bucks afterwards.

I often hear, “I’ve got a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear!” You’ve probably got things that don’t fit you, don’t excite you and don’t match a damn thing. They are clouding your style and crowding your closet! Let’s change that. In chapter 1, I shared my personal Wardrobe Overhaul goals. Don’t worry if you can’t articulate your own yet, going through your closet will help you get more specific. Plus we’ll be digging into that more in the next chapter. For now, you can borrow one of my goals - Feel fab in every item of clothing I own. Dreamy right? Jot it down and post it up beside your closet as you edit to help keep your eye on the prize.


Where to start? Take it all out. Off the racks and out of the drawers. So you can really see what you’ve got! I like to think of this as a lightning round. Try to keep the flow going and not get hung up on certain items. Create the following piles for yourself and have at ‘er!


You love it and feel great in it. Don’t be distracted by what to wear it with or where you’ll store it. You can do that later. Give it a hug and keep it with confidence.


If it ain’t doing you any favours, toss it. Whether it’s to sell, donate or give to a friend, say thank you and farewell to your tired, unflattering accouterment.


You’re torn. Set it aside and revisit your maybe pile as a whole at the end of the clear out. Compare them to the clothes you really love from your keep pile. In my experience, maybe usually just means a prolonged no.


Some food for thought while you’re clearing out! If I was beside you, this is what I’d be singing:

Decide what to keep, rather than what to get rid of. Keep only those you love and toss the rest. One of my favourite concepts from “Spark Joy”.

Don’t keep what doesn’t fit. Maybe it was your go-to 3 years ago or you lived your best 22-year-old life in it. It’s ok, your lifestyle changes, your body changes, your outlook changes. Thank your old hot dress for that time in your life. Then toss it and make way for a NEW hot dress that fits you now so you can radiant that confidence today. Design your closet for future you, not past you.


Watch your body language. If you’re trying things on, pay attention to your expression and posture. You know when your friend is trying something on, she comes out of the changing room and you can tell right away if she’s into it or not? I’m usually smiling, grooving or standing a little taller when I’m in an outfit I love. Turn the lens and look for that glow in yourself. Taking photos can really help. “The Curated Closet” book I’m working through, gets you to snap outfit photos of yourself for 2 weeks. I was skeptical at first, but it helped me investigate my style more objectively. And the unexpected result? I noticed my body language did the talking for me on which clothes I felt good in and which I didn’t. As a prime example, and because I love you, I will share with you exhibit A and B:


Relieve yourself of guilt items. You know the ones. Gifts. Hand-me-downs. Things you paid a lot for, but never wear. Think of that stuff actually being worn and loved by somebody else! Donate, sell or give it to someone who you know would dig it. It’s doing nobody any good collecting dust in the back of your closet. Decluttering master Marie Kondo says that people get the most joy from the initial action of picking out and giving you the gift. But by now, they’ve probably forgotten what they even gave you. So let that relieve your conscience. Ta ta hideous gifted shirt!

Snapshot your hell yeahs. You’ve emptied your closet, now one by one put back in just your major keeps. Your this-is-so-me, wear-the-most, feel-great in’s. Take a little mental snapshot of these items. Imagine this is what your closet looks like, only more filled out. Oh la la!


Now give yourself a pat on the back. This is a big job, mentally and physically. You’ve climbed a mountain (of clothes) today! If there’s pieces you’re really unsure about, don’t be hard on yourself. Keep them and revisit them again in a few months to see if you’ve worn them. Editing like this happens in stages. In the next chapter, I’ll help you identify the gaps in your smancy new wardrobe and make you a fool proof shopping plan! But for now, I’ll leave you with my favorite excerpt from “The Little Black Book of Style”. In fact, I’ve read this section so many times, the binding just broke and the pages fell out when I opened it to reference.

Your closet should only contain amazing choices - it is much easier to be inspired when you see 5 remarkable pieces than when you see 25 pieces and 20 of them are unremarkable. Pick out those key items and get rid of the rest.
I don’t care if it is the latest trend or the “must-have” item of the season. I don’t care if you spent a week’s salary on it in 1999 so that you could afford it. If it doesn’t look good on you, it should not be in your closet.
Mornings are rough enough; help yourself out a little bit. Edit your closet, then edit your shopping habits, and I promise you that being stylish will become much easier.
— Nina Garcia