Kirsten Angeli

Tired of digging through ill-fitting clothes, broken jewelry and old shoes every time you want to put together an outfit? A messy closet can cause stress, make you late and keep you from looking your best.

To steer you toward shutting the door on closet chaos, SpareFoot chatted with New York fashion stylist Kirsten Angeli, who specializes in helping people “re-energize” their closets. Here, she tells you how you can give your closet—and your wardrobe—a fresh start.

First of all, what is re-energizing a closet?

It’s basically taking control of your closet and knowing what’s in there.

When you go to re-energize a closet, how do you start?

First, you want to get everything out of your closet and you want to be organized while doing it. Because what can happen is, if you don’t keep it kind of organized, you can get pulled away halfway through, because you’re frustrated—and with some people, it stays like that.

So take everything out and put it in piles—things you don’t like in one pile, things you never wear that maybe still have the tags on in another pile, and anything that doesn’t fit in another pile.

Then, take pieces that you love but don’t have an outfit around, and put those in a pile. And take the filler pieces—mediocre pieces that you don’t mind but wouldn’t be worth building an outfit around—and put those in a pile.

huggable hangers

Kirsten Angeli recommends Huggable Hangers for your closet.

So once you’ve got your piles, then what?

First, you want to think about any outfits that you already have. Put them together and hang them in your closet. What I use are those Huggable Hangers. You can find them at The Container Store; they are thin and coated with fabric, and they will double the size of your closet.

Then you go through your pieces that aren’t fitting correctly. This is where it’s good to have a friend or a stylist: You decide which pieces are worth getting altered and which should go in the out pile.

What about the pieces you love that aren’t part of an outfit?

You go through the pieces that you love and decide how you could make them into outfits. And it’s good to go through the filler pile at the same time, because that’s where you’re going to get the pieces to wear with the things that you love. You kind of mix and match with the filler pieces.

And you’re also making a shopping list during this time. The point is, you don’t want to leave something you love in limbo without an outfit to go with it.

When you’re creating outfits, it’s important to create the full outfit. It’s so easy to have everything except the bag. But those little details are every bit as important as the main pieces. Always think of your outfits as a whole.

StreetPeeper

Kirsten Angeli suggests sites like StreetPeeper.com for outfit inspirations.

How do you keep track of all the outfits you’re creating?

It’s a good idea to have a camera. Take pictures of the outfits. Because you might figure out a great outfit, then when you’re in a hurry, your mind is all over the place and you can’t remember what it was.

Do people ever find surprises when going through their closets?

Most people have hidden gems in there. Even people who think they know what’s in there, generally hidden somewhere is a fantastic piece they forgot they even had, like an Armani shirt or a nice necklace.

So, what if you need inspiration to create an outfit? Where can you get ideas?

I would look online at looks for the season. A lot of stylists just put outfits together and post them on their sites. I also have my go-to places—TheSartorialist.com and StreetPeeper.com—with shots of people in cities worldwide in great outfits that can be viewed by city. And there’s mrnewton.net, which is high-end, fashion-forward street style, as well as StyleCaster.com, a fashion website with trends and outfit shots. And Net-A-Porter.com is a shopping site with great outfit ideas built around each garment.

What’s the best way to keep the photos of your outfits handy?

I recommend you print them out, and have all the pages in a book and keep it right next to your closet. Or you can clip each picture to the hanger with the primary piece on it. You also can post all the pictures on your closet wall.

So, what are the benefits of refreshing your closet in this way?

Oh, it’s cathartic. You can walk in and know what’s in there—it’s not this dark hole anymore. It forces you to put together outfits. It makes you more efficient, and it just makes you feel good about yourself.

Huggable Hangers photo courtesy of The Container Storage; fashion photo courtesy of StreetPeeper.com

Allie Johnson