Editing is only one aspect of the closet review process. It is a very big aspect, which is why we spend so much time talking about it, but in addition to editing things out, you need to think about adding things in. So once the edit is complete, your attention should turn to the following question:

What should you add to your wardrobe so that it reflects your current style preferences, lifestyle, environment and climate in the form of great fitting, comfortable and flattering items?

You will be thinking about how to put together your looks for the next few months, the next season, or perhaps even the next couple of years, and building a shopping list for what you need to acquire.

Of course, you were probably already doing this while you were editing your closet because it is natural to think about the adds as you deal with the edits. You probably also created a list of missing wardrobe items along the way. Great idea! But it’s always best to also do a thorough review once your wardrobe is edited and organized.

Without this final review, you run the risk of putting the wrong things on your shopping list, buying up all this stuff, but still feeling like you have nothing to wear. On the other hand, if you have the discipline to take this final step you’ll get a better idea of how your wardrobe items relate to each other, which in turn will help you to make more informed decisions about what to put on that shopping list.

You can think about the final step of a closet review in terms of the following questions:

  • How does each item fit into an outfit, or into several outfits? Are there any incomplete outfits?
  • What are your personal wardrobe essentials? Are you missing any of these items? Do you have any that need to be duplicated? 
  • Have you covered all the wardrobe capsules for your lifestyle? Sleepwear, underwear, lounge wear, socks and hosiery, workout wear and sports gear should not escape the closet review process. Be sure to address those areas of your life too.
  • How does each item fit into a capsule, or into several capsules? Are there any additions you could make to help existing items work with more capsules?
  • Do you need to build onto a particular capsule in order to get more mileage from its components?
  • Do you need to introduce colour and pattern? Do you need to introduce neutrals and solids? 
  • Do you have enough tops for your bottoms, and vice versa?
  • Do you have enough dresses to balance your outfits that are based on separates? 
  • What new styles or silhouettes would you like to try? Can you slot these silhouettes into an existing capsule, or do you need to build one from scratch? And if the latter, can you afford to build a new wardrobe capsule? 

When I review closets with my clients, we answer these questions as we haul out the items and spread them onto the bed. That helps us think of items in the outfit and capsule groupings. Visuals are important! I also encourage clients to try on suggested outfit combinations to make sure that they like the pairings. There is no use thinking up a combination in your head just to satisfy the need of creating an extra outfit when it doesn’t work in real life. Get cracking and try on those outfit combinations.

We end up spending a chunk of time creating outfits with existing items, as well as thinking about how we can create that next level of fabness by adding the right new items into the mix. As we go I capture the shopping list on a piece of paper, but you might want to use your laptop or iPad.

Remember that your shopping list is not cast in stone. You can change your mind as you see fit. But it does help you to focus on your needs when you shop. For example, as much as you love to shop for tops, you might have that covered. And what you really need is to flesh out your assortment of bottoms. If this is reflected on your list, and you make a point of using your list, there will be less dilly-dallying about, looking at tops. You will naturally focus on looking for the right bottoms. 

This process might sound overwhelming and I wish I had a shortcut solution, but there’s no free lunch. If you want to create a fully functional wardrobe in a cost effective manner, closet review discipline pays off. The good news is that the more regularly you review, the faster and easier the process becomes. As practice hones your closet review skills, you will reach a point where editing and adding to your wardrobe becomes much less a process and much more intuitive. When that happens, fashion becomes more fun than ever.