How To Create Outfits From Clothes You Already Have

As a fashion blogger, I’m often asked how I manage having so many clothes to create my different outfits. The truth is, I don’t have a huge closet full of clothes. Big-city living and the space restraints that come along with it, plus being budget conscious has forced me to be creative in creating a ton of different outfits from the clothing that I already have.  If you look closely, all of the outfits on my blog are made up of the same articles of clothing, just mixed-and-matched differently to make them appear like new!  I’ve learned a lot since first starting to put together outfits, and now am confident in creating multiple outfits all from the clothing that I already have.


1. Purge Your Closet

I know that this may seem counter-intuitive, but having too many clothes actually makes it harder to piece together different outfits from what you already have.  Spend a solid day going through every article of clothing you own and scrutinize it to see if you really need it in your closet or not.  My rule of thumb is that if it doesn’t fit, is damaged, or if you haven’t worn it in over a year then set it aside to be donated.  I actually unload my entire closet and drawers onto my bed so that it forces me to take a hard look at every single piece of clothing. If you decide to keep a piece then hang it up back in your closet – otherwise, set it aside in a pile to be donated.  Once you’ve gone through your entire closet, take your discarded clothing to be donated right away – the less clutter, the better!  Once you’ve purged your closet, you’ll be left with a wardrobe full of pieces that you love, that fit, and won’t have the bulk you once had to act as distractions.


2. Avoid Season-Specific Clothing

One of the biggest barriers to creating different outfits from the clothes that you already have is if you have a different pieces of clothing for every season.  Every time I buy a new piece I always ask myself if I could wear it throughout the entire year and if the answer is no then I’m probably not buying it.  Season-specific clothing is your big bulky sweater for the winter, anywhere to light and pastel pieces for the summer.  Instead, focus on medium to lightweight clothing that can be easily layered to get you through all seasons.


3. Don’t Be Afraid To Mix Patterns

One of the my biggest tips that helps me to create different outfits out of the clothing already in my closet is to mix patterns.  Taking two patterned pieces in your closet and pairing them together creates such a striking and interesting contrast  – it’s the best way to disguise the fact that you’re just mixing pieces that are already in your closet!  Some of my favourite pattern combinations are stripes and florals, plaid and stripes – even the same pattern mixed together will create the same effect.


4. Hats and Scarves

If there’s any accessories that can quickly and inexpensively change up an outfit it’s hats and scarves. Take even the simplest of black dresses and alternate between different hats and scarves and it looks like you have a completely different outfit every time.


5. Selfie It

I make it a practice to take a quick selfie of every outfit I put together.  Collect all of your outfit photos at the end of the month and store them in a file together.  I often refer back to my collection of outfit photos for inspiration on those days where I just don’t know what to wear.  The benefit to creating a look book of sorts made out of your own outfit-selfies is that you’re drawing inspiration from your own closet.  A selfie look book also makes creating new outfits super simple as you can visually see what can be added or switched out from a previous outfit to create something completely new! Dig into your own closet and see how many different outfits you can create from clothing that you only have!

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By Joëlle Anello

Joëlle is a twenty-something wife, working professional, and personal style enthusiast living in Toronto, Ontario. Her blog, La Petite Noob, covers everything to do with exploring personal style, beauty and lifestyle, as well as documenting her list of 30 things to do before 30. She is an aspiring world traveler, obsessive Instagrammer and will never say no to a good gin and tonic.

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