I’m a small town girl who wants a city girl’s closet. I want it to be Instagram worthy, to drip with luxury and feel like a little boutique. Plus, September is here: time for pumpkin spice, Ugg boots, chunky sweaters, mittens, and (obviously) new clothes. But how on earth are more clothes going to fit in that already crammed to the max, messy closet?!
My sister recently wrote a post about how to organize your closet (right here), and I was inspired to give my own a makeover. I followed all of her recommendations and my closet was monumentally better. But as I looked at my “after” picture, I realized it was actually just a new “before” picture–there was more work to be done before Martha would approve.
As I cleaned I realized something. Have you noticed how amazing it feels to shop at a clean store like Bergdorfs or Saks Fifth Avenue? Those stores don’t over-stuff their racks with clothes and everything just looks amazing. On the other hand, shopping at bargain stores is often aggravating, with hangers tangled together and the clothes crammed onto overflowing racks.
I want my closet to be a Bergdorfs, not a discount store! So here, from my own closet cleaning experience, are my meticulously nitpicky tips to take your already clean closet to Bergdorf Goodman sales floor level perfection.
One: edit edit edit. Get rid of things you aren’t currently wearing. If you have temporarily gained or lost weight and have clothes that don’t fit at the moment (but that will soon because you have goals and you’re going to accomplish them!) put them somewhere else. You don’t have to get rid of things, just pack away what you’re not using regularly, even your nice stuff. You won’t forget about it.
Two: organize by sleeve length. You’ve already organized your clothes by colour, now sort each colour by sleeve length: black long sleeves together, black short sleeves together, black sleeveless together. It looks much cleaner than having the odd naked hanger sticking out.
Three: organize by length. Look at the bottom of your clothes. If there are a few dresses that are much longer than everything else, separate them and put them together either at the end of the rack or on their own separate rack. It looks more uniform and also allows you to use the floor space. I find that furs look best grouped together on the end as well.
Four: stuff your boots and handbags. Use newspaper or tissue paper or custom pillow inserts or even pool noodles to keep your boots and handbags expanded. They just look frumpy when they are soft and slumped over, and it’s better for them to be upright without any creases.
Five: use your hangers wisely. Using the same hanger for all your clothes makes the hangers disappear so your eye just sees your wardrobe. But also, many hangers have little hooks on them–use this for the coordinating skirt, pant, scarf, or tie. You can hang the whole outfit together so long as it still fits into the colour scheme and follows the length rule. And if you have any clothes with a built in belt, don’t wrap the belt around the top of the hanger, that looks messy. Drape it over the inside of the hanger or on that little hook instead.
Six: organize your shoes. Shoes can be organized first by type (high heels, boots, flats) and colour, then by heel (stiletto, wedge), toe (open, closed, round, pointy), or ankle (strappy, mid calf, bootie). Just do what makes them look good. The vast majority of my shoes are sky high heels because “I can’t concentrate in flats” (Victoria Beckham) and “I would hate for someone to look at my shoes and say, ‘Oh my god! They look so comfortable!” (Christian Louboutin). Words of truth!
Seven: iron. I can’t stress enough how important it is to iron or steam your wrinkly clothes. It has an immense effect on how put together you look. Otherwise people will not be able to look past the wrinkles and crooked collar–what a waste of a good outfit. Since your clothes rack isn’t jammed packed, they won’t get wrinkled in your closet. Make ironing a part of your house cleaning routine and you won’t regret it, you may even find it meditative.
Eight: maintain the clean. Get into the habit of keeping your clothes and shoes arranged this way so your closet is always tidy and your clothes always look wonderful. If you have a vanity with all your makeup in your closet, keep that area especially clean so you are not tracking powders or creams anywhere, and don’t get into the habit of shoving things messily into a drawer. Channel your inner Bergdorf sales lady and keep things spotless!
Nine: add glamour. There are a few things the most pinned Pinterest closets and the most liked Instagram closets have in common. They are usually white. There’s a sexy rug on the floor and a glittering chandelier on the ceiling. There is always a splash of colour, whether it’s a collection of orange Hermès boxes or a bouquet of pink peonies. There is always a beautiful little chair or stool tucked away in a corner. There’s often an island covered with scarves and accessories. There is an ornate mirror (or two). Perfumes and makeup are always displayed beautifully. And, of course, they are organized and spotless!
Ten: add some personality. I have a few little spots in my closet that have special things. My makeup brushes are in a Marilyn Monroe glass my brother gave me next to the Christian Louboutin nail polish from my sister. My 4th anniversary forever flowers from my husband rest on the pen we signed our marriage license with from my godfather. My rings are in a jewelry box given to me by my mother and my earrings are in a mirrored jewelry box given to me by my graduate school roommate. My clutches are in front of a Royal Wedding commemorative cookie tin from London given to me by my best friend. My Sex in the City blue Manolo Blahnik inspo high heels my then fiancé gave me for Valentine’s day are in the middle of my shoe shelf. And my style bibles by Victoria Beckham and Rachel Zoe are close at hand. So special things are all around!
It was a lot of work, but I got my luxury closet. Follow these tips and your closet will be a style oasis, too!
Zebra Rug: no longer available from Jysk, but this Z Gallery rug is similar
Chandelier: Canadian Tire
Vanity, Stool, Mirror and Shelf: IKEA Micke, Nils, Ung, and Billy
Chanel Clutch: vintage, but this Chanel looks similar
Louise Vuitton Handbag: vintage, but this Louis Vuitton is very similar
Michael Kors Signature Hamilton Large Saffiano Tote: no longer available, but this Michael Kors is a similar size
Michael Kors White Signature Handbag: no longer available, but this Michael Kors is a similar idea
Longchamp Le Pliage Handbag (large): Longchamp
Longchamp Le Pliage Handbag (medium): Longchamp
Kate Spade New York Ashton Montford Park Satchel in Giverny Blue: no longer available from Kate Spade but here’s one on Amazon
Sex in the City Blue Manolo Blahnik High Heels: The real ones are available at Bergdorf Goodman, a nice “inspired by” version is on Amazon
Chanel Coco Noir Eau de Parfum: Chanel and also Hudson’s Bay
Chanel Chance Eau de Parfum: Chanel and also Hudson’s Bay
Chanel Coco Eau de Parfum: Chanel and also Hudson’s Bay
Christian Louboutin Nail Polish: Christian Louboutin
Urban Decay Naked Palettes: You can get these from Urban Decay here and here or Sephora here and here
Smashbox Palette: no longer available from Smashbox but here’s one on Amazon
RCMA Palette: Beautylish
Ben Nyes Palette: Camera Ready Cosmetics
Victoria Beckham’s book: “That Extra Half an Inch”
Rachel Zoe’s books: “Style from A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty and Everyday Glamour” and “Living in Style: Inspiration and Advice for Everyday Glamour”