The first thing I consider whenever I’m invited to an event or presentation is, hmm, what will I wear. I immediately picture my closet and which pieces I would most enjoy wearing that would also be appropriate for the outing.

What to wear has always been a very big deal for me!


Early in my corporate career, I lived two blocks from Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Which means, mere footsteps from some of the best, most expensive fashion on the planet.

Boutiques of every high-end designer lined the avenue and a couple of my friends and I spent plenty of Saturday afternoons in those shops.

It was the height of Sex and the City high glamour so it was fun and somewhat dangerous having all that access to great style.

One day, my bestie waved off a shopping trip. She said, “nope, can’t. This month, I’m shopping my own closet!”


Similarly, I find often my clients don’t really need any new clothes, they already have plenty. It’s just a matter of reworking those great pieces to get much more mileage out of them.

Over the years, I’ve come up with some time-tested ways to spark an interesting outfit using garments you already own, based on decades of shopping my own closet. Here are my tips for how to:

Shop Your Own Closet:

Pair unusual pieces together. Think a floral blouse won’t go with a striped pant? It might, just try it. Consider how men wear pin-striped or plaid suits with floral ties and it looks fantastic.

Mix textures – create visual interest by mixing textures. For instance, pair a nubby wool jacket with a chiffon blouse. The contrast of mixing textures can be very striking and smart.

Challenge yourself to wear a favorite piece in a different way. That one silk blouse you always wear with the long pearls and your black suit could be fun with dark jeans and a funky jacket and heels.

Go a little rogue. Have a favorite concert T you never wear but love? Layer it under a velvet blazer and dark wool pants for a fun look for a gal pal lunch or outing. Maybe even casual or travel day at work.

Stick with the classics. If I’m totally stumped on what to wear, I’ll just jump into something classic, like a white Brooks Brothers blouse with a sweater, jeans and loafers.

Hang outfits together. One of the things we do in my Clear Cull & Create and Style Council packages, is to style a lot of outfits and snap photos to make an album you can turn to again and again.

You can do this on your own by creating a few outfits that work for you and hanging them together on the rail in your closet. So when it’s time to go somewhere, you can just grab and go.

Embrace the power of play. Yep, get in there once a month or so and try things on. Put some playful combinations together. Set a timer and challenge yourself to create two or three different outfits you can rely on for upcoming outings or work.

In the image above, you see one of my clients beginning to plan an outfit. After working with me for a few months, she’s learned how to put together the pieces in her own closet instead of buying something new each time she goes to an event. Her life has gotten so much easier. In her own words:

“I can’t say enough about my ‘new’ closet! Leslie has an incredible eye for taking pieces you already have and putting them together with things you might never consider. I have countelss new outfits without stepping outside my closet! Plus, it’s been cleared so I can see things clearly.”

Consider a virtual one hour Style Council session to make your life so much easier and more fun. You’ll need to shop less and can stop standing there wondering what to wear and instead reach into your curated closet with confidence and clarity.

Clear Cull & Create currently priced starting at $450.