The end of summer can feel really depressing. The only good thing about saying good bye to our flip flops is that we get to say hello to fall boots and cozy sweaters. However the transition is not always a smooth one. This is the time where most people go into their closets and realize they are sick of their summer clothes yet not quite ready for jeans and jackets. It is easy to start to panic and think “I have nothing to wear”! There is help. Stay calm and follow a few simple steps to keep your wardrobe and your closet fully functional for fall.
1. Do the closet switch four times a year.
Yes, I realize that sounds like more work but trust me, it’s not. In the northeast part of the country we truly have four seasons, so it’s silly to think that our closet should only have two. Here we are in the beginning of September and we are facing ninety degree days, yet throwing on a sundress just doesn’t seem right. I think it’s important to try and purchase items that we can wear multiple seasons but of course not every item can work in your wardrobe all year round. As a general guideline for fall I recommend putting away anything that is linen, eyelet, or cotton pique, really any pieces that scream beach or summer. In the meantime bring out layering pieces such as cardigans, long sleeve tops and jeans. Hold off on fur, leather and heavier sweaters until we really hit winter. Trust me, with the winters we have had you will have plenty of time to wear them so don’t rush it.
2. Less is more.
We are constantly bombarded with too many choices in all areas of our lives, easily placing our brains into overload. Don’t clutter up your space with too many options. It will be easier to work with less and save you time getting dressed in the morning. Whether your closet is a small armoire or an entire room, try your best to only keep in front of you what you want to wear for the current season.
3. Clean it up.
Take the time now to dry clean any special pieces before storing them. If there is any bit of dirt on the clothes it will attracts bugs like Lindsay Lohan to bad decisions. And now imagine if those bugs decide to stay and start a family – yuck. Remember to take off the plastic drycleaner bags to allow the garments to breathe and get rid of the cleaning chemicals.
4. Keep it organized.
It is tempting to want to throw all the summer stuff into a bin and not have to think about it again until May. But imagine you decide to go away in February to someplace warm and need to go through your summer clothes. It will be a huge nightmare if they are tossed in a wrinkled pile somewhere and you are stuck sorting through bins and bags of clothes. In an ideal world I try to keep it all hanging. Garment racks are great for off season storage. This one from the container store even has shelf room for bins.
The preference is to store clothes where the humidity is under control, and the temperature stays on the cool side. If you are really stuck consider storing inside unused suitcases. Basements, if unfinished are not the best place. You are better off finding options for under the bed or carving out areas of your kids closets if possible.
5. Think ergonomically.
Merriam-Webster defines ergonomics as: a science that deals with designing and arranging things so that people can use them easily and safely. No extra storage space available? No problem. Think efficiently. Summer items (bathing suits, shorts, etc.) go up high while fall items (jeans, sweaters, etc.) come down to lower shelves Plastic bins can work for short-term storage. If it is a reach in type of closet put summery dresses in the back and bring coats and pants toward the front.
6. Don’t forget about your drawers.
Use baskets or containers to swap out things in you keep in drawers. I take out my turtlenecks and exchange them with bathing suit cover-ups. I swap tights with bathing suits. Whatever is not being used goes into a bin. One side of the bin has the summer item listed while the other side has the fall item listed. This way my drawers only hold what is currently relevant.
7. And your shoes!
Shoes are one of the biggest things to switch out for the season. Espadrilles, cork wedges, and thong sandals all start to feel too summery to wear after September. Bring out ankle boots and textured flats to help transition into fall. Make sure to clean and shine any leather pieces, as well as check the soles to see if any of your shoes need a trip to the cobbler.
8. Take inventory.
If something looks like it has been worn to death make sure to place on it on a shopping list for next spring so that you can replace it. You might even be lucky enough to find a replacement at an excellent sale price right now. The same goes for items you bring out. Inspect any sweaters for holes or damages. Make a pile of things for the tailor and a shopping list for new fall items.
9. Take small bites.
Setting aside a whole day for a closet switch is a recipe for disaster. You will burn out and give up half way through. This is why I have clients who hire me just to do this switch in one day and have it done. If you are going at it along give yourself a week or two and do a little every day. You can motivate yourself to clean out your shoes while you catch up on The Real Housewives for an hour. Take the time to it right and you will be rewarded with an easy changeover in the spring.
10. Get dressed!!
Fall fashion is the best, the textured layers, the rich jewel tones and the cozy fabrics all make for fabulous outfits. Check out your favorite bloggers, brands and stores by following them on Pinterest and Instagram to stay on top of what is new and fresh. There are endless sources of inspiration everywhere around you. Find what you love and play dress up every day!
Suzie Gaffney offers a wide range of fashion consulting services that include everything from styling to advice on launching new products (her prices start at $75 an hour).