What Is Your Closet Like?

Updated on February 18, 2013
J.S. asks from Saint Paul, MN
19 answers

Hi ladies,

SO - after spending an hour online shopping clearance items at Coldwater Creek... ordering a few things that I don't technically "need" I am feeling guilty.

I ordered a new dress, a skirt, and a few pieces of jewelry.

I went ahead and ordered them because I do not actually own a skirt that is presentable (or fits), I only have one dressy dress, and I seriously haven't bought any new jewelry since before I had kids (except the one silver (fake) cuff I bought at the thrift store and wear constantly.

So - hopefully the next time I have a dressy occasion I can actually pull together an outfit with the new skirt and a sweater and some matching jewelry! OR if I actually have an occasion to go out really dressed up I have a dress I've been eyeing since the holidays in their catalog that was on sale for a really great price.

My question is (since I need one) what is your closet like? If you have to get dressed up, is it easy for you to go in and put together an outfit without any stress or fussing about it? I am currently unable to do that - just two weeks ago I had to dress up for my nieces baptism and I ended up wearing dressy jeans and a sweater because I didn't have a skirt that was appropriate for a MN winter day.... I have a few spring/summer casual skirts, but nothing dressy.

It seems like EVERY time there is any occasion where I need to wear something more than a long sleeved T and jeans, I struggle to dress myself. My plan is to shop clearance to fill in some serious voids in my wardrobe to prevent the last minute shopping I always find myself doing. Surely I'll save money, right? Perhaps I do truly need them?


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So What Happened?

Thanks guys!

I do have one nice pair of black dress pants I bought at Ann Taylor a few years ago and have worn to every pretty dressy occasion since (3 funerals and 1 holiday party). They are really nice (and they were full price when I bought them). Although, at this point they are getting a little big. Do you think I could have them taken in? I bought them when my daughter was 2 and I still had a bit of baby weight left.

I am hoping the things I bought work out. If they do - I'll wear the dress to a fundraiser/gala coming up in March. The skirt is really basic black and should be flattering... but if it isn't I can return it to the store. You can't go wrong with jewelry on clearance can you?

Thanks again!

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

You can save money buying when they are on sale. When I need something quickly I can't find it. I have to try things on. 5 ft tall, everything's too long.
My boys made me hate shopping because they hated shopping. I am not a girly girl.
I got distracted cleaning my closet, too! It's been 1/2 done for 3 weeks!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

I need a serious closet make over , I have a typical stay at home mom closet. I don't really ever go anywhere that I need to be dressed up . I mean I have a few things that are dressy but I had to go out and buy them for the occasions I wore them for.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Miami on

I'm impressed that you can order clothes online. I never like what I get without trying it on. That said, I have done so much Coldwater Creek shopping - that and Ann Taylor. (I like Ann Taylor pants better than Coldwater Creek's, but they have recently started adopting some of Ann Taylor pants 'strategy' which I like!)

Of course, your closet question is hysterical! I started cleaning mine, got distracted (well, that wasn't hard!!) and now it's worse than before. Okay, I'm going to get my rear in gear and go back in that closet!!!! Thanks for the push!!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I worked for Penney's for 3.5 yrs. When I started I could barely put together a decent outfit. So I watched clearance sales, then got my 20% employee discount, so nice clothes very inexpensive.

So what do I have.....

Except for a very formal Black Tie Event --- I'm covered. I got it with the accessories to go with, shoes , purses, jewelry, sweaters, shawls, jackets and coats.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm a try on type of girl and I don't specifically shop the clearance racks. My view is that they are on clearance for a reason!! Most of what I purchase goes to alterations anyway because I'm hard to fit size 2 petite and perky natural 34DD boobs.

My closet has a lot of White House Black Market ( 3 dresses, 3 pants, 1 colored jean, 6 tops) along with jeans, sweaters from Anthropologie, and a few mixed pieces here and there to even it out.

My everyday wear is cute jeans, tops. With boots, my running shoes or sandals. NO leggings, sweats...EVER

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You do need to fix your wardrobe. The trick is buying the right things. You need to buy things that are of good quality and will last, you need to buy things you will actually wear over and over again, and you need to buy things to fill the gaps in your closet. It's hard to do these three things, I know! I hate it when I buy something I never wear....

I used to have the problem you are having, of not having anything to wear for certain occasions. I did have dressy clothes, so I was fine going to a wedding or something, but I had nothing between that and jeans/tshirts. I wanted stuff to wear for date nights, and for all different occasions.

I started doing a little research, to figure out what pieces every woman needs. I found articles about this at Real Simple and O, and I found books about it, too. I bought one called "The One Hundred," by Nina Garcia, and used that to make a shopping list in my phone. After that, when I went shopping for clothes, I tried to refrain from buying more tshirts or sweaters, and instead looked for dressy black pants, a classic white button down, a silk blouse, a great pair of ballet flats (mine are leopard, which is a surprisingly great neutral), a black belt, and so on.

Now when I go out to dinner, or am going to have a formal observation at work, or am going to a rehearsal dinner, I have the clothes to wear, and dressing is much easier. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I'll check back tomorrow because I just started pulling tons of things out to donate (like 8 feet of closet to donate). I wear suits and dresses for work but I have been hanging on to some of this too long. Although, they are pretty classic pieces. I need more cute jeans!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

If I need something dressy I will go out & get a new outfit/shoes for a dressy occasion doesn't happen often,since I don't like to wear out of style clothng there's alot of waste if I do have a closet choice of dressy clothing.I was just thinking that I need a few button down collared shirts hacen't owned one for a long time.I dress in jeans shirt not T-shirt but more the styles at Old Navy, Target,JC Penny some are plain colored to wear with a colored cardigan shoes I buy frequently need variety.I like to keep it simple not frumpy

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Colorado Springs on

I don't have too much trouble these days... but it took me years to learn a couple of lessons: 1) Know the difference between clothing and costumes, and 2) always try things on before purchasing them.

I'm with you about Coldwater Creek, and I don't need to try them on to know if they'll fit. But trying them on and seeing how they look ON ME does make a difference.

In my town we have really good thrift stores, and that's where I do nearly all my shopping, because my clothing budget is zero. (That's where I find my C. Creek things.) When you shop that way, you *have* to plan ahead. What I could use in summer I'll usually find in winter. (You're doing something like that at the clearance rack.) So I go for a classic style rather than a trendy one. I have a couple of pairs of dress pants, and I pick up a-line skirts when I can find good ones (because I can't wear straight skirts).

I try to get pieces I know will fit right in the mix and go with what I already have. Right now I'm finding good scarves to use as accessories, too. Sometimes I will put an outfit together and set it apart, not wearing those pieces with any others, so I know I have a whole ensemble ready.

Knowing the difference between clothing and costumes has helped me not to impulse-buy many things that would not work in "real life." It may be beautiful, but it has to be able to go where I go. If it just hangs in the closet looking cute because I don't really have a place to wear it among my friends, why did I spend that money?

So I can usually get myself dressed fairly easily, and I dress up the outfit or not with jewelry or other accessories. The exception to the rule is a really-special-occasion event. My daughter was married last summer, and I spent three hours at a department store trying everything on and spending REAL money for what worked best. I wanted to shine as a mother of the bride, and I think I did! But that dress will also work for someone else's wedding or a fancy party for at least the next couple of years. I try to keep up with style changes, but I love it when I can get away with wearing a piece for years.

When your order comes, fix your hair, put on some makeup, try all your new things on (with more or less the right shoes), and look at them as if the woman in the mirror weren't you and didn't buy them on sale. We can usually be more objective about others. Do you think that woman ought to wear that dress? Does it fit well? Is it "her"? If you try to rationalize for her, send that piece back and hold out for something better. You'll find it.

P.S. You might try changing your everyday habits and wearing something that isn't a T and jeans just to do your errands. It will help you think outside the box and handle your wardrobe better. And it might shock your family, which can be a good thing....

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Hi J.-

Invest in a good pair of black pants and a good neutral (tan, grey or navy) colored skirt. Those 2 items will become the workhorses of your closet.

I bought black pants at Target for less than $25. They are slightly bootcut and I had them hemmed for another $10. I can dress them up or down and I've worn them dozens of time. I wash them carefully and hang them to dry so they'll last because I love them.

The skirt should be a medium weight knit, solid colored, lined if possible and straight or pencil cut. It should hit you right at or slightly above the knee. In the fall and winter, you can add tights, a sweater and boots. In the summer, sandals and a blouse.

As for the clothes you ordered, it sounds like you needed a mental pick-me-up. Try them on, make sure you still love them, that they're versatile with what you already own and most important- they're flattering.

Be careful with the last minute shopping. Whenever I do that, I usually buy an outfit I only wear a few times.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I recently borrowed a dress from a friend because my dress I ordered for a nice dinner had not arrived. I have a few go-to dresses that have seen a lot of use so I stalked a ModCloth sale til I found something I liked in my price range (hey, $20 for new dress? I can do that!).

I think having a few go-to items you feel good in is a good idea. You're shopping ahead so you will not be spending extra money on rush shipping, or non-sale prices. I like how What Not To Wear describes wardrobe staples - think of the cost per wear vs the initial cost. If you NEED a nice skirt, then you'll wear it a lot and get a lot of use out of it vs the skirt that you bought in a panic and never wear again.

If you love the pants, get them taken in. My local dry cleaners did 5 pairs of pants for me and I loved having tailored pants. Not something I can do with all pairs but if they are your best pants, get them fitted.

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answers from Chicago on

I am missing dressy black pants. They are not wearable any more (sad face) and I have had a hard time finding a replacement. Oh! I also need to get a new pair of black tights and hose mine ripped over the winter and a new pair of spanx would be good too. However if I had an event to go to I would be able to pull it together, might have to run to WalMart for a pair of tights but overall I try to keep a few things ready for any occasion.
Live Band (local) - check
Concert/Club - check
Local Bar/House Party/Hang Out - check
Holiday Dinner/Photos/Funeral - check
Cocktail Party/Charity Event/Wedding - check
You name it I have something for it. Does that mean I do not look for additional peices? Heck No! If I find something that fits, looks nice and seems classic, I'm in!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Just did this!
I pitched everything no hasn't worn in a year.
I reorganized my clothes, bought hanging shoe organizers, etc.
Now it's so EASY to SEE what I have & find things!
I'm lucky to have a wall length closet to myself, so I'm glad I'm organized now. I can also see what's needed.
Sooooo...yes. I think I could pull something together for anything, except maybe a formal affair!
Clearance shopping CAN be great. OR you end up with stuff that doesn't go with anything else.
Sounds like you just ordered some nice stuff, so get things to complete those outfits, or you'll have the skirt, but no top. Or the dress, but no shoes, etc.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

First, don't feel guilt about buying an outfit. :)

My closet is prepared...at least half of it. MY side of the closet is prepared. I own something for just about every occasion...and most of it never gets worn. I have to replace underwear, bras, socks...but because I rarely wear my "nice" clothes...they don't wear out. They are all also old, and probably not really in style...but they'll work when I need them.

My husband's side, however...okay, this is just for laughs. Last summer he cut ALL of his jeans off at the knee because he wanted shorts...so then, winter came, and he didn't have any pants. We can't afford to just go out and buy three pairs of jeans, so he was stuck wearing shorts half of this winter. We live in MN.

Also, he had a choice between snow boots or crocs for our wedding a few years ago. He wore the crocs. Sigh. A suit with crocs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Love Coldwater Creek sales. It is amazing what you can get. I do not even have to try clothes on.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i still haven't mastered the wardrobe thing...but a few key basics are helpful. like you mentioned in your SWH, you can do a lot with a pair of black dress pants. also a pair of khaki pants. good pairs of brown and black shoes. i have a jeans/t-shirt dress code at my office but we have to dress up pretty frequently. so i have a few basic outfits i can mix and match with so it doesn't get too boring. basic long sleeved sweaters or t-shirts, with a few scarves, can mix it up. and i buy my jewelry on sale usually - nothing fancy, mostly at Deb or Fashion Bug or Lane Bryant. i buy it when it's on sale so then i have a pretty good collection going and can usually piece something together. but it has taken forever - and i still don't have it all together. i am naturally a jeans and t-shirt girl too. good luck to us all!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I just read a good post and wanted to share: per http://stylemeetsbeauty.blogspot.com/

I always say a gorgeous pair of shoes, a jewel clutch or a statement necklace can completely transform an outfit and change it from ordinary and basic into trendy and fashionable. This is why I think it's essential to invest in statement accessories. If you don't know where to start, here are some tips on what to get. These accessories are basic, they go with everything, they are classic and timeless and you can never go wrong when choosing to wear them.

1. Shoes
A lady can never have to many shoes, but black and nude pumps are the pairs to start when putting together a wardrobe. Plus you need a pair of black boots, a pair of over-the-knees and some flats and wedges for comfort. These shoes will go with anything in your wardrobe and will never go out of style.

2. Bags
If you are an active fashionista, who likes carrying her entire existence in her bag, then you will definitely need a tote. Go for the basic black and beige totes because they will go with everything in your wardrobe. And for those special occasions there is nothing better than a bejeweled box clutch.

3. Hats, scarves, belts, gloves, sunglasses and jewelry
These accessories really make a difference in your look. Go for high quality that will last you a lifetime and for timeless cuts.
When it comes to hats, fedoras suit everyone and they complete any outfit from elegant to casual, from girly to edgy. If you are looking for a great pair of sunglasses, but have no idea what will fit your face shape, go for the aviator style. The aviators are a timeless style so make sure to invest in a good quality piece. Leather gloves will keep you warm and stylish throughout the colder months. You can make a statement with a studded pair in a flashy hue or go for a black classic pair. Scarves are wardrobe staple pieces, because they can easily transform a simple jeans and t-shirt outfit, so get as many as you can in different textures and prints.

1There are a few belts that any lady should have in her wardrobe: the bow belt, the simple leather belt, the printed belt and the waist belt. These will add some interest to your outfit and make you look more polished.
As with shoes, a lady can never have to many jewelry pieces. I myself like investing in Sterling silver jewelry. Anyway, when in doubt, go for diamond stud earrings, a cocktail ring and a high quality watch.

Remember accessories will instantly transform an outfit and make you look more put together and polished so invest in as many staple pieces as you can. Hope this post was helpful. Thank you for reading.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I have two pairs of dress pants and tops for warm or cold weather to go with each. I'm not much for skirts in the winter, but I do have a couple nice summer dresses.

A neat and nearly effortless wardrobe trick -

Pull all off-season clothes out of the closet and put them in a bin to get them out of the way.

Then hang the current-season clothes with hangers facing backwards. Each time you wear an item, turn the hanger forward and rehang it that way when it has been washed. At the end of the season, pull out the items that are still hanging backwards and get rid of them. The items you did wear, put those into seasonal storage and then hang the next season's clothes up backwards. Repeat.

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answers from Washington DC on


This is hard for many people. What I ended up doing is taking EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF CLOTHING out of my closet and dresser.

I tried it on. If it fit and liked it - it stayed. If it didn't fit. It was gone. If I had not worn it in the last six months - I wasn't going to wear it again, so it was gone.

Same with your shoes.

Once you have gone through your clothes, separate out to pants, skirts, dresses, tops. Then see what outfits you have with each item.

I have a jean jacket by Tommy Hilfiger that I love. I wear it with black pants and a white shirt. I also have a jean jacket.

When you go shopping - go to consignment shops or even your local Good Will store. You will be surprised at what you find there. Make a list of what you need -


Take your time shopping for yourself. DO NOT BE RUSHED!! I would suggest you go with a trusted friend and make a day of it. DO NOT bring your kids or your husband - this is about YOU and not "are you done yet".

If you don't need anything "dressy" then don't waste your money on it. If you aren't going to be wearing it at least once a month - then you don't NEED it right now.

If you work outside the home - you need a professional wardrobe.

You HAVE to be comfortable. You HAVE to LOVE it. If you don't LOVE it when you buy it - DO NOT BUY IT. You will not wear it and will be wasting your money. Doesn't matter if it's on clearance or not. If you do not love it when you buy it, you will be wasting money.

What does my closet look like? Not the way I want. We bought one of the wire closet systems when we bought the house...and never upgraded...I have a shoe organizer that works for me. It's the wrought iron with material slots. I can see all of my shoes. My boots fit on the top of it.

it's not about what others have or use. It is about works for you and your space!!

I hope you have fun shopping for you!!

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