I Got a Wardrobe Consultant's Best Tips So You Don't Have To

I’m a fashion editor, yes, but does that mean my closet is beautifully curated every season with a balanced number of high and low and polished and party pieces with outfits set aside each day for me to slip into? That’s a big no. In fact, despite the amount of time I think about, research, and discuss clothing, I could use a little outside help every now and then. And if you do too, keep reading.

I compiled some of my most common and most annoying wardrobe hangups and turned to someone who not only gets it but could help guide me in creating better shopping habits. Maria Dueñas Jacobs is Stitch Fix’s style expert, and she’s also a former fashion editor. Working with the wildly successful site once referred to as the “Netflix of apparel”, Jacobs was the perfect source to help me, and ultimately you, become a more organized and successful shopper.

According to her, the biggest shopping mistakes occur when we forget the classic “quality instead of quantity” adage and ultimately when we forget to put ourselves first. “If an item is uncomfortable, don’t buy it,” she says. “It’s so important to feel good and confident in your clothes, and when you’re uncomfortable, it shows.”

Below are my own worst habits (maybe you can relate?) and the rest of our expert’s sound advice.

The Problem: Last year I owned tons of dresses but no pants. This year I own approximately 100 jeans and zero tops to wear with them. What are three ways to find balance?

The Fix: Focus on building a foundation of timeless pieces like your go-to jeans, a well-tailored blazer, or the perfect pair of pants. When you have a great starting point, it’s much easier to layer in new pieces and find that balance in your wardrobe.

Learn from a stylist. Use an expert resource, like Stitch Fix, to work with a stylist who can deliver a shopping experience personalized for you. They can help you discover new brands, find pieces that fit you well, and evolve your style by trying things out of your comfort zone at times.

Take a moment to study what is in your closet. If you had to live out of a suitcase for two months, what would you pack? That edited assortment will give you a better idea of what you need going forward.

The Problem: Should I be shopping in outfits or only with a specific occasion in mind?

The Fix: It really depends on where you are at with your wardrobe, but it also depends on what phase of life you’re in—whether that’s starting a new job or becoming a new mom or if you just want a summer refresh with a few new pieces. Our lives (and subsequently, our closets!) are always evolving. There are going to be times when you just need that one specific item, but there are going to be other times when you need more.

The Problem: I tend to be a “love at first sight” shopper. How do I think a bit more rationally?

The Fix: If you’re not 100% convinced about purchasing an item, I always suggest walking away and sleeping on it. If you can’t get the piece out of your mind, then you know it’s a must-have.

The Problem: I just moved and uncovered a ton of clothing I haven’t touched in years (some I still love). I don’t want to wait until the next time to move to find more gems.

The Fix: It can be easy to forget about what you have, so it is important to “shop your own closet”. I reorganize my closet as the weather changes so that my more seasonally appropriate items are at my fingertips. Simply switching up the order in your closet so you have new options to consider can also help on those tough Monday mornings.

The Problem: I’m experimenting with being an outfit planner, and it’s a challenge to say the least.

The Fix: Some mornings I’m not inspired to put together outfits. So when I’m feeling creative, I’ll style a lot of looks ahead of time and make a mini wardrobe. It’s all about setting yourself up for success so you don’t wake up and panic that you have nothing to wear.

(Thoughtfully) Shop These Seasonal Closet Staples