you need: full length mirror, large bags or boxes, marker, pad and pencil, and digital camera (optional)
If you have a friend who understands the image you're trying to project, will be honest about how you look, and is knowledgeable about tailoring (bonus), invite them to help you through the process. If you don't, then do it on your own.
Label your bags or boxes KEEP, MAYBE, SELL, DONATE, DISCARD, DRY CLEAN/TAILORING.
Pull everything out of your closet, piece by piece and ask yourself in the following order:
- Does this fit my desired image? If yes, continue
- Does this fit my lifestyle? If yes, continue
- How do I feel in this? If positive, continue
- Does this fit, or can it be altered? If yes, it's a keeper
- Feel bad about wanting to dress better. You deserve to feel and look your best.
- Let guilt make you keep something based on the amount of money you've paid for it, or because of who gave it to you.
- Keep anything that you don't feel comfortable wearing.
- Rush the process. If you are unsure about something keep it until you can decide for sure, once it's gone, it's gone.
- Make immediate decisions first. Put anything you're unsure about in the maybe pile and keep moving.
- Try everything on!! Your body changes over time, something that may not have fit properly the last time you wore it may fit nicely now (and vice-versa).
- Downgrade. A work shirt is now for whatever reason, not appropriate for work anymore but still fits and you feel good in it. Designate it for weekend or to wear around the house.
- Have something tailored or altered in a way to make it wearable. Shortening a hem or having sleeves shortened to 3/4 length, or having a dress made into a top or skirt.
- Separate out sentimental pieces that you're keeping but won't wear again. These pieces need to be properly stored away, not taking up valuable space in your closet.
Go through bags, shoes, accessories, and undergarments last. Anything that doesn't fit, has holes or stains should be discarded. Some things can be repurposed; cotton socks are great for polishing or as rags for general cleaning.
Take inventory of what's left. Put all the keepers back in the closet by category (shirts, skirts, pants) in color order light to dark. Put a colorful wardrobe in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. You can also break it up further separating work, casual, and dressy. The purpose is to make it easy to see what you have and what you may need.
Find the holes in your wardrobe. Look to your inspiration file to help you experiment combining colors and pieces you may haven't in the past. Take pictures of the outfits you put together - believe me, you will forget. Write a detailed list of anything that will supplement what you have left. Example: "This outfit would be great if I had a light cropped fitted black cardigan."
Before you go shopping, you must learn from the previous mistakes you've made... That's Step #3...