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How to Maximize Your Wardrobe + Get The Most Out of What You Have!

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Learning how to maximize your wardrobe is for everyone! It’s for the person that wants to be intentional and sustainable. For the person that feels like they have a ton of clothes but no good outfits. For the person whether by circumstances, budget, or choice, wants to learn to be happy with what they have. Or for the person that’s constantly shopping but never really liking anything.

Why learn how to maximize your wardrobe? There are a lot of reasons, but here are my top 3:
-Shop less, but feel like you have more options
-Truly love your pieces instead of getting over them in a couple of weeks
-The satisfaction of saving money and in being intentional

Related: How to Resist The Urge to Splurge

Though maximizing your wardrobe and getting the most out of what you have without the constant shopping is a general theme around here, I’ve never put it all in one post before so I’m doing a quick (or not so quick) rundown of the fashion pillars that make up my general style + shopping habits!

How to Maximize Your Wardrobe

bag c/o | tee | jeans (H&m, similar here and here) | shoes (Target, similar) | hat (Rue 21, similar) | blazer (thrifted, similar)

1. Make an effort to wear pieces you don’t wear as often

There’s a difference between having a wardrobe full of one-off items that you don’t wear and having pieces you love but you just kinda forget about because you just reach for the same one item all the time!

If you genuinely still like the item then you need to make every item count. Rotate through your wardrobe and make an effort to wear all your clothes.

I have a good coat collection and I love them all and don’t want to get rid of any, but yet I still reach for the same one coat over and over again. This doesn’t mean I get rid of all my coats- no siree! This means I’m going to put my cheetah coat away for a bit and bring out the other coats that I don’t wear as much.

Maybe a clothing rack would be good for you to have a visual reminder to wear those specific clothes more!

2. Repurpose things that you no longer wear

In this post, I talk about cleaning out your wardrobe and getting rid of things that just take up space. You know, like the bridesmaid dress from 10 years ago and your million duplicates of paint clothes. Then a reader wrote in saying how she had a bridesmaid dress altered into a party dress and she was able to wear it more. I thought that was a great idea and should be included in this post! What items don’t work for you as they are, but if altered, you could find yourself wearing a lot more? Jeans made into shorts? Formal gown into a party gown? Dress made into a top?

Just be careful that you’re not making excuses and holding on to things you have no intention of ever changing. But repurposing your no longer needed clothes is a great way to get more out of your wardrobe!

3. Get well acquainted with thrift stores

Thrifting and shopping second hand allow you to buy more and shop more frequently! This is great for those that are on a tight budget, care about sustainability, just like to shop, or all of the above!

I know it might seem a little contradictory to talk about shopping less and then tell you to thrift to shop more haha, but for me personally, thrifting and finding things at such a great price means I can bring in more fun pieces to experiment and mess around with. One “new” red blazer for $4.25 all of a sudden gives me tons of new outfit ideas that I wouldn’t have had earlier!

So that’s how thrifting can maximize your wardrobe. New pieces (and I find a lot of quality ones too) can inspire you to create new & different outfits in your wardrobe without having to scrap everything and start over!

Related: Chic On a Budget | Thrift Store Haul

4. Wear pieces in new ways

This tip is different from repurposing because this is taking one item and transforming it without even taking as much as a hot glue gun to it!

Intrigued? Check out this post, this post, and this post.

If you can start thinking in this way of, “How else could I wear this item?”, your wardrobe possibilities are just going to explode…without having to buy anything!

5. Shop your closet first

I mean this tip almost literally! You can’t make the most of what you have if you don’t even know what you have! Pretend your closet is a store. Now go through it item by item. Would you buy what you’re holding in your hand if you were at the store right now? Depending on the answer, you know what to do. AKA…put it back or donate it!

Let’s say you were at the (real) store and found an item you love. You would probably think about how to wear it and if it matched anything in your wardrobe before taking it home (or at least you should!). Now at your “closet” store, you need to ask yourself those same questions. Does it match what I have in my closet?

Take inventory. Just like what stores do. Look through your closet before hitting “submit” on that online order. Do you already have something similar in your wardrobe at home?

Too much of the same inventory and you’re going to have to put it out at a loss. Hmm. Not sure if that one makes sense or not. I’m running out of store analogies but just thought I’d try for one more haha.

Related: How to Put Together a Clothing Shopping List

6. Strive for quality

When I first started fashion blogging I was embarrassed to be seen at thrift stores and I’d make tons of online orders at cheap foreign sites just to have something new. Obviously, things have changed, but what was funny was that I still never felt like I had enough to wear because the cheap items I got looked so bad I would be just as embarrassed to wear them out in public!

Now, I’m not immune to some cheap thrills, but I don’t let them take up the majority of my wardrobe. My favorite outfits are a mix of something like H&M (or similar) + thrifted + high quality anyway!

I make the most out of my wardrobe by focusing on quality basics. This means I can wear something over and over again and I don’t have to worry about it falling apart or a button popping out!

Related: 5 Clothing Pieces to Invest in That You Won’t Regret Later

7. Fill up on basics

Just like how you want to strive for quality, you want to strive for a large part of your wardrobe being made up of basics too. If your wardrobe is full of pretty blouses and funky prints, you’re probably someone that feels like they don’t have much to wear! Those pieces are cute, but there’s not a lot of mixing and matching power in them. You maximize your wardrobe the best by mixing and matching pieces… and that’s easiest to do when you have lots of basics!

Related: How to Build a Wardrobe from Scratch

8. Have fun with accessories + add some flair!

Don’t think that maximizing your wardrobe means being subject to a life of boring prison shades for the rest of your life! Though actually, don’t prison inmates wear neon orange? Anyway.

Have your own fashion flair. When I’m feeling bored with my wardrobe I’ll get a couple of new accessories or statement pieces. Because let’s be honest, camel blazers are great and beautiful, but they don’t crazily excite me! And you may be the same way. Whether you’re a maximalist or a die-hard minimalist, get that _____. Fill in the blank! For me, it’d be a leopard print faux fur coat or pink sneakers. Something just out there and totally fun!

9. Don’t store away out of season clothes

Don’t box up your off-season clothes! If space allows, try to keep them easily accessible. Your summer clothes can still work in winter and vice versa! Talk about maximizing your wardrobe when you can potentially use all your clothes all the time.

Not sure how that works? Here’s one example of what I mean!

chic style and classic outfit

I’ve linked to a lot of other great posts in this blog post, and if you liked those, then I think you’ll like this next one- everything I know on how to look cute on a budget!

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Maximize Your Wardrobe
Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.