Shop your closet to stretch your dollar

August 26, 2009 4:57:07 PM PDT
Fall is just around the corner, and that means it's time to think about fall fashion. But ladies, before you drag your guys out to the mall, have you thought about shopping your closet? We've all said it at one time or another: "I don't have anything to wear!" But, the truth is, you probably have a lot more than you think and if you just get a little more organized, it's guaranteed to stretch your dollar.

"I will look at something and say, 'This will never work,' so I don't even try it on," Lisa Ramsey said.

When Ramsey walks into her closet, she is overwhelmed with the idea of putting together an outfit.

"It's very daunting," Ramsey said.

It is why image consultant Cathy Fitzpatrick says most of us head to the store to spend unnecessary money, or we end up wearing the same thing over and over again.

"Most of us wear 10 percent of our closet 90 percent of the time," she said.

In the 25 years of assessing closets, Fitzpatrick says most women get it wrong. There are three top mistakes. The first is having too many clothes. Many of those are out of style, don't fit or need to be altered.

"The only thing you really need to keep in there is something you are actually going to wear," Fitzpatrick said.

The second big mistake is having too many replicas of the same thing.

Fitzpatrick said, "We tend to gravitate towards the things we like the best."

And number three is that for many of us, we can't even see what we actually own.

"What you can't see you can't access," Fitzpatrick said.

After you can see what you own, Fitzpatrick says it's time to shop your closet and look for staples you should own.

Fitzpatrick says every woman should have a crisp white shirt, a black blazer, a pair of black pants, a flattering skirt, a little black dress, a little colored dress and a great pair of jeans.

When helping Ramsey, Fitzpatrick said she needed to add a pair of jeans to her shopping list, along with a blazer and a little black dress. Fitzpatrick then looked at what Ramsey owns that she doesn't wear.

She said a multi-colored print top is perfect for a black pair of pants, but because that staple is not in the closet, some items from her wardrobe are collecting dust.

Ramsey had a little red dress in her closet that didn't get much use because it's usually reserved for evenings out. It's a mistake Fitzpatrick says many women make with dresses. She says you can change the look by pairing any dress with a cardigan, a blazer or a jean jacket.

Fitzpatrick says she has what she calls a "three thing rule." Whatever you purchase must go with three things in your existing wardrobe. She also says 70 percent of your wardrobe should be classic, and the other 30 percent can be trendy additions for the season.

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