When someone is interested in cultivating a new personal style and image, the best place to start the process is by doing a closet audit. A closet audit involves going through all of your clothing, shoes, and accessories and assessing everything based upon your image goals as well as the color, style, fit, and fabric of each item. You then release the items that no longer your body, lifestyle, and style preferences, and compile a shopping list to fill in any wardrobe gaps that have been identified.
An Effective and Liberating Process
The closet audit process is not only highly effective; it is also liberating, cathartic, and empowering. At the end of what can sometimes be a lengthy and tiring process, you’re left with a nicely organized closet filled only with the pieces that support your image and style goals for success in all key life areas.
I feel that everyone can benefit from conducting a closet audit at least once per year. It can be difficult to do because of the emotions that are often attached to our clothing, but it’s my hope that the questions I offer below will help make things easier.
Try Everything On and Ask Yourself These Questions
I suggest that you set aside at least a few hours to go through everything in your closet. Ideally, you should try everything on and ask yourself the following questions.
- Do I love it? (Rate each item on scale of 1-10; if less than 8, alter or donate! See “The Power of Alterations” for information and suggestions on tailoring your clothes.)
- Does it fit? (If it’s too tight, either donate or store elsewhere if you think it might fit again soon. If too loose, consider alterations if you still love the item.)
- Is it flattering? (Does it highlight the parts of your body you love and downplay any areas you might not love as much?)
- Is the color good for my skin tone?
- Is it age-appropriate?
- Is it my style? (If you’re not sure of your style, tear photos out of catalogs and magazines of things you love. Compare to what is in your closet. Also see this article for more tips on finding your personal style.)
- Does it fit my lifestyle? (We often buy things for “someone else’s life.” Your wardrobe should be appropriate for who you are and what you do. More on this HERE.)
- Have I worn it in the past year? (In most cases, barring formal wear and a few sentimental pieces, items not worn in over a year should go!)
- Do I feel good when I wear it? (You want to feel attractive and confident in your clothes and ready to take on life’s important events and challenges!)
- Do I receive compliments when I wear it?
- Would I buy this item today? (Ideally, your answer should be yes! Wardrobe mistakes and outdated pieces should be passed on.)
Perhaps Enlist an Assistant
It can be helpful to invite a friend or family member to assist you with the process (and offer to do the same for him or her), especially if you know that person will offer honesty and constructive criticism. In other words, don’t ask your mother to help you if she thinks everything looks good on you. Remember, you want to edit your wardrobe down to a more manageable size and have it support your image and style goals.
Just Do It!
I hope the questions and suggestions above will be helpful to you when you do your next (and perhaps your first!) closet audit. A closet audit may take a lot of time and energy, but the rewards are extremely powerful. The bottom line is that you should follow the advice of Nike – Just Do It!