How To Fix Your Wardrobe Holes

I don’t mean holes in your woolen sweaters or underthingies! I’m talking about gaps in your wardrobe: perhaps the pieces you bypass in the shop, then realize later, “I could really use a pink kitten sweater.”


Whether intentional or not, most of us have a sort of “uniform”: some of us never wear jeans and others live in them. Some love bold colors and others run screaming. But the point is, we pretty much know what we love and reach for on a regular basis. We follow our inspirations and aspirations and by age 40 or so, we have self-knowledge and self-confidence.

A corollary to the above is that we tend to gravitate toward the same items repeatedly while shopping. If we don’t stop ourselves we could end up with ten v-neck black tees (ahem, me) or five full skirts (also me) or colorful leather moccasins (not me, but she’s out there). It’s helpful to take pen and paper once in a while and do a quick analysis. Here’s how:

Walk into your closet or throw wide the doors and start coordinating outfits. Keep your “inspiration” vision of your wardrobe in your mind, or on your smartphone. I find this process works best when I toss my clothing on the bed rather than just gawk at the hangers.

You will probably come up with ideas like this: you *love* that plaid blazer (like the one below) but never wear it. What kind of top will make you excited about wearing it? A black silk blouse, a cashmere v-neck, a band tee, or a contrasting floral print? Remember you’re staying true to your own style, not following a checklist or mannequin.

You have this:


And you can fill a hole with one of these:

And while your lovelies are spread out on the bed, see what else a cashmere v-neck would look good with: fill a second closet hole in one swoop. Keep doing this and making note of what might complete, or update, or energize an outfit. Instead of black tees, I found what I needed were graphic tees with cool messages on them (I know, taboo for 60-year-olds, who cares). So I added a James Dean “Fearless” tee and an octopus tee and now I feel more funky in my jeans and booties.

Every time you get dressed for real, make note of your “wish” pieces, as in “I wish I had wedge booties to finish this look.” Then take your list to the thrifts, consignments, eBay, and the shops and make it so.

What do you find yourself “collecting”, and what hole needs to be plugged in your closet?

Stay fabulous,

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  1. I can’t possibly have any wardrobe holes, I have far too many of everything! I’m another impulse shopper who sees something in a charity shop, falls in love, and can’t leave it behind. In my defence, I never spend much money (such a tight arse!) and everything I have is different, there are no repeats in my wardrobe. xxx

  2. LIke Suzanne, I sometimes find things when I am out thrifting that I have no idea how it’s going to fit into my wardrobe, but it’s too cool to leave behind. I’m getting better, in that I find myself sticking to a particular colour palette when I buy basics (grey, black) and then save the colours and patterns for tights and jackets. I never knew I could possibly want a pink Christmas Kitty sweater, but I really like that one!

  3. I definitely lack a Christmas kitty jumper!!!! That one is adorable! I DO love cashmere, but I have now realised, it must be oversized cashmere! I bought a jumper 4 sizes too big and I love it!x

  4. I do believe I remember that skirt. Heh.
    My closet is packed to bursting AGAIN! But I know I have holes. I need black turtlenecks. Mock turtlenecks. There, I’ve said it. Big black cozy neck-hugging, fuzzy black turtlenecks. They are almost impossible to thrift in good condition.
    Great advice, Patti.

    • Truth to that, about finding black sweaters at the thrift in good condition. Lots of pill-ville, yeah?

  5. I only buy from the heart so my wardrobe is stuffed with mad dresses and impractical prints. I didn’t need another psychedelic jumpsuit but I still bought one when i spotted it on a nearby rail on Sunday. xxx

  6. If you looked at my closet you would insist there are no holes to be filled. Yet somehow, when I’m out thrifting I always manage to find some piece that is too wonderful to let it slip through my hands. Did I need a purple leather midi skirt? Nope. But that is what I found last time thrifting. Am I going to make it work? You bet!

    There is no better way to stretch our creative style imagination than by thrifting. It is the equivalent to personal style yoga, making you stretch and move in ways you never thought possible before.

    I love that you bought some graphic tees : )

    These are all great tips. Now I’m off to try to see if I can spot any holes…


    • You have a beautiful wardrobe – and the creativity to find something beautiful any day of the week. Remember that skirt in Vancouver that we were going to pay imaginary thousands for, and it didn’t fit? I still think about that skirt (as I nibble a Ghirardelli bar).

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