Your closet may reflect your personal style, but it can also hold you back when it comes to getting dressed in the morning, picking out new pieces, and spending your money wisely.
To help, we sat down with personal stylists (and top-rated Thumbtack pros) Beckie Klein and Martina Gordon, co-founders of The Re-Stylists. In their words, these are the most common wardrobe personalities — and how to fix their mistakes.
The Serial Shopper
This is one of the wardrobe personalities we come across most often. Women get in a rut and fall into a safety trap where they buy the same thing over and over again because they know it works. They set out with the best intentions to buy something new and spice up their wardrobe, but because they don’t know what they need (and that’s where the problem lies), they walk into the store, feel overwhelmed with the choices, and then grab whatever they know works. So when we go to their closet, we see 10 pairs of black pants, 8 pairs of white shirts… lots of repeats of stuff they already have.
Take baby steps. Don’t bust into Barneys saying, “I’m going to be adventurous.” Go somewhere you know you’re not going to break the bank to step out and try new things. If you’re missing that piece that’s going to bring all of your solids together, which could be a printed blouse, go to a shop like Zara and play around with prints there. It’s better to buy a $39 top than a $399 top, so you don’t feel bad if it doesn’t work out.
Then take a hard look at what you already have in your closet and create a shopping list. Go to the store with the intention of finding the pieces you need and only look at what you’re there to get. That way you won’t even go to the section where they just have black pants or cardigans.
The Magpie is someone who is drawn to all of the beautiful shiny, sparkly, interesting pieces that don’t necessarily make sense together. They bring all of these amazing pieces with pattern and shine home, but they don’t wear them because they don’t have the basic pieces to combine them with.
This person is maybe someone who doesn’t necessarily have a “coredrobe.” [db1] Those are the core pieces that work as the glue for your wardrobe. If you have an amazing sparkly sequin top, it’s not necessarily going to go with those fantastic satin stripey pants, so you need that basic black pant or that basic black pump, or that perfect blazer… those anchor pieces.
These might be pieces that bore The Magpie, but they need to be in her closet.
Whereas the healthy shopper walks into a store armed with her list and knows why she is in the store, Bargain Betty is only looking at price tags. She likes something because it’s a deal. It’s either, “I got this Derek Lam piece and normally it’s $1600, but I got it for $150,” or she can’t break free from always shopping at H&M and buying 10 tops there when she could have gotten one really nice top from Vince. She doesn’t care if it is two sizes off; she buys it because it’s a deal, but it just never seems to really work.
For the person that shops sales and only sales, we say, “Stop doing that.” We cannot tell you how many times we see those pieces in the closet with the price tags still on. Bargain Betty feels like, “I got this at a great value,” but there’s no value if you don’t wear it. The value is how many times you wear it (cost per wear). If you don’t wear it, it’s a waste of money.
What you need to start doing is shopping in a healthier way. You need to understand your wardrobe. You have to see what you have. A good first step is to revisit your wardrobe every season; take a look at what you have, and from that make a shopping list. What is it you need to shop for? That way you don’t over-buy or under-buy or buy the same thing over and over.
So much of the solution comes down to having awareness of your closet. You shouldn’t even be in the stores until you’ve got clarity on what you have and what you need.
Hire a wardrobe consultant
Beckie and Martina, both former fashion models, are a New York-based styling team. Looking for more tips? The pair are working on a new book on wardrobe personalities, style advice and shopping tips coming out in 2018.