8 Tips From Professional Personal Shoppers

Your closet is overflowing, but you have nothing to wear. We turned to pro personal shoppers, who gave us practical tips for building a smart wardrobe stat.

Start in your own closet

Before you head to the stores, figure out what you need, said Alison Guglielmo, wardrobe stylist and personal shopper in Chicago. You should have a 75 percent ratio of tops to bottoms, so at least three tops for every bottom, Guglielmo said. “Sometimes, I go into people’s closets, and they have 50 pairs of pants, and they wear three of them,” she said. “Then, they have only 50 tops, and they don’t have enough.” Next, start tossing out what you don’t wear: If you have 50 pieces of clothing and you’re only wearing 10 of them, then getting dressed is going to be stressful, she said.

Have a bra fitting first

This is the best investment you can make, since it can totally change the look and feel of your clothing, said Rebecca Frey, wardrobe stylist and owner of Seek New York. “Many women aren’t wearing the proper size or style for their body type, and figuring this out prior to a styling session makes the clothes-shopping portion so much easier because everything fits the way it is supposed to,” Frey said.

Figure out your basic color

No, it doesn’t have to be black or gray. Your neutral color could be whatever color you like best, and you can usually figure this out simply by looking through your own closet. “Stay true to your basic colors, and use that as your neutral color for your closet,” Guglielmo said. All the other pieces can work around this color.

See this Wiki Article for choosing color tips.

Invest in good layering pieces

It’s important to have well-made, good-fitting camisoles and T-shirts in a range of neutrals (white, black, gray, brown, navy and nude) and some with small prints and patterns that can be worn with a variety of different looks, Frey said. “Good base layering pieces can add versatility to a wardrobe, giving you more options to pair with your favorite cardigans and jackets,” she said.

Think twice before buying something on sale

Would you have wanted it at full price? If so, then buy it on sale. But if it’s something that you’re buying just because it’s on sale for “buy two, get one free” — do you really need all those tops? “They’re probably going to sit in a drawer and you’re going to get rid of them in five years,” Guglielmo said. Her rule: If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.

Spend less on trendy items

Build your wardrobe around your skeleton pieces that are plainer, which you can wear a multitude of ways, such as a great pair of jeans or a plain top, said Kathy Friend, a personal stylist and president of The Style & Image Institute in Indiana. “Don’t start to build your wardrobe with great printed blouses or wow pieces,” she said.

Consider cost per wear

Think about how often you’re wearing something and how much you’re going to get out of it.

Sometimes, it’s worth it to spend $300 for a great pair of black pants that will last a really long time if they will make you look polished, especially if you plan on wearing them three times a week, versus $60 for a pair of black pants that will fall apart in a few months, Guglielmo said.

Extend the life of your clothing

If you’re investing in expensive pieces, have the heels of your new boots reinforced, or add a protective coating to leather jackets, shoes and handbags. “It might cost a little bit more upfront, but your clothing will fare better in the long run,” Frey said.