You Asked, Ali Answered: How Do You Create a Cohesive Closet?
You can take the girl out of the fashion closet, but you can’t take the fashion closet out of the girl. goop fashion director Ali Pew reports from her post at home—giving us all the inspiration and styling advice, as well as a peek inside her exceptionally well-maintained wardrobe. Follow us @goop to get your style q’s answered.
What are your tips for someone looking to put together a cohesive closet?
There are plenty of reasons why creating a cohesive closet can be beneficial. But the biggest and, in my opinion, most compelling one: Getting dressed becomes so much easier. Personally, I love knowing that most things in my closet can be worn together. I know I’ll always feel like myself no matter what I put on. Another bonus: Less decision fatigue means fewer headaches and less of a mess later.
Adhering to a calculated approach will also help you sidestep trend traps, giving you clear direction on what you actually need. Like those classic investment pieces you’ll wear on repeat.
PICK A PALETTE (AND STICK TO IT)
It could be neutrals. It could be brights. It could be a healthy mix of prints with jeans, or neutrals and stripes. For me, if something doesn’t fall into my black-navy-white-and-tan color wheel (with hints of French blue), it’s a no-go. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to get creative. I like to add interest by bringing in bold-colored bags; I have a couple of red and mustardy shoulder bags that I break out when I want to switch things up.
KNOW WHAT WORKS
Think about what your go-tos are (i.e., the things you gravitate toward when you’re in a rush to get out the door). They’re the items you feel most comfortable in—the pieces that make sense with your lifestyle. Focus on these silhouettes, the ones that you know work for you. I’m typically drawn to structured skirts with cashmere knits on top. I also love long shorts with a boxy top—and really anything tailored on bottom with a button-down up above.
KEEP YOUR FALLBACKS TOP OF MIND
If you know how a certain designer’s clothes fit and you know what your size is, then you typically know what you’re getting—which can be helpful when shopping online. We tend to do this when buying basics like lingerie, tees, and socks, so why not apply the same rule to the staples you wear all the time? This is especially useful for items like suiting, dresses, and shoes: If you know a certain brand or designer works for your feet, keep going back to them.
For example, I know that Jil Sander’s pants fit my shape, so I stock up every season. And I know that knits from The Row and G. Label and dresses from Loewe will always work.
BUY BAGS THAT FIT YOUR LIFESTYLE
Bags are investments, so you want to make sure you’re investing wisely. I get mine refurbished at least twice a year. Look for styles that address your everyday needs: In normal circumstances, are you rushing off to the office every day? Go for something that’ll hold your laptop. Are you usually chasing after kids? Find one that doubles as a diaper bag.
Finally, revisit rule number two: If you prefer boxy tops, a crossbody might cut across messily, whereas a top-handle bag will complement nicely. If you like tailored silhouettes, a unique-shaped bag will offset masculine lines. And if you’re more of a print person, you may want to carry something neutral; oftentimes black can feel really harsh.
It’s better to buy pieces that you know you’ll get multiple wears out of and work with fewer things in your closet (meaning hold off on the someday-I’ll-wear-it pieces). Whenever I buy something new, I try to wear it within the first few days. It’s a good way to ensure you love whatever it is and won’t wind up regretting the decision later. Sometimes we steer off course when shopping for something specific, like an upcoming trip. Rethink those one-time wears or find something more versatile that you can keep around long after the vacation’s over.
CLEAN OUT OFTEN
Go through your closet piece by piece and ask: When was the last time I wore this? I do this exercise at least every thirty days (I know, but really, it helps). And if I haven’t worn something, I donate or sell it (save for season-specific pieces, like a classic trench coat). It’s therapeutic for me. I love knowing that I wore something to the ground, and when I’m ready to part ways with it, I’ll make room for something else I might get more wear out of.