29 June 2021

The mistake you could be making with your closet!

Dress | Sandals, here and here | Sunglasses | Michele watch | Pink bracelet | Pearl necklace

The mistake you could be making with your closet!

I’ve been helping quite a few people with their closets lately, both in-person and virtually (more info here). And, what I’ve learned over many many years of doing this type of work is that there are some common mistakes we all make. For example, in almost every single closet I edit, jeans are always the wrong length. No joke! So whether it’s closet design, organization, or what we actually buy, there are a few things worth considering that will make your closet better and more useful — and I’m excited to share them with you!

Recently, I completely remodeled my closet with the help of The Closet Factory, Portland — something I’d dreamed of for years. The entire project exceeded my expectations, and I really had no idea what I’d been missing! I learned a lot along the way, from overall design tips to which valet hooks to choose to the special lighting that helped make the space extra special. Read on to find out which details are worth the money and which aren’t, as well as a few organizational tips I’ve found to be quite helpful.

So, what is the mistake you could be making with your closet? Well, not having the right shoes, keeping denim that’s the wrong length, missing accessories, etc … all of which make getting dressed that much harder. I’m sharing my recommendations below, and I hope you find a few ideas you can incorporate into your own closet!

Previous closet posts:

I tossed half my closet: here’s why!

Don’t buy so much, here’s why 🙂

I completely overhauled my closet: here’s how turned out!


Susie’s closet — thank you Closet Factory, Portland!

Left: Rails cami | Rails skirt | Jimmy Choo sandals here and here | Denim jacket  Right: J.Crew shirtdress | Gucci bag |


Closet details that make all the difference

Cabinet lighting is the detail I love the most — it makes a big difference!

Valet hooks are a game-changer. Add at least two or more, you’ll be happy you did!

Extra-deep cabinets are a detail that makes the closet feel like a boutique (24″ deep)

Special carpet — the antelope pattern hides everything!

Drawer Dividers are the key to fitting all the little things in

Baskets and containers to contain smaller items. I have them behind closed doors

Matching hangers are possibly the most important detail of all 🙂


Closet mistakes you could be making


Pinterest photo | Gucci bag


It all starts with the right bottom!

The single most common thing I see is denim or pants that either don’t fit properly or are the wrong length — sometimes dramatically so! Since the starting piece to every outfit is a well-fitting bottom, make sure yours are stylish and fit properly. My favorite black pant is the Vince Crop legging, because it works with everything and fits most everyone! In terms of jeans, it would be ideal to own faded denim, black (these Levi’s are the best!), gray, and écru or white. Below are current faves.



Current jean favorites



Invest in several neutral colored shoes

They’ll go with everything

The single best shoe you can own, to ensure you’re covered for every outfit, is a “nude.” I realize this might seem a little boring, but trust me, if you have several favorites, you’ll be covered for almost every outfit! I’ve worn these Prada pumps for several years, and feel good in them every single time. These splurge Jimmy Choos are amazing, and the lower heel makes them perfect for jeans as well as dresses. And finally, these sandals by Schutz are so good, I’ve gone on and on about them for the last year 🙂



Have the right layering pieces

Camis and basic tees are the place to start

Recently I was editing a client’s closet and she had loads of white tees — but none of them were quite right. It goes back to the idea of less is more. Purchase a few really good pieces and you’ll wear them ALL THE TIME! To begin with, try the ATM tee in white, it’s really the only one you need! As for camis, this is  another staple that works under jackets, blazers and cardigans. Favorite brands include CamiNYC, L’Agence and Equipment. For an inexpensive bra-friendly style, this one is amazing — it’s $49, and looks expensive!


Start collecting jackets!

Cardigans, blazers and lightweight jackets

Jackets (or the “third piece”) make the best investments. First, typically the styles last a long time, and often you can find pieces that work for most seasons. I love Veronica Beard blazers (here and here) because they’re not too “work looking” and they’re just plain cool. Plus, the hidden zipper allows for endless dickey options, which changes the look completely. For a summer weight cardigan that goes with everything, this one is hands down a favorite (check out this video where I’m styling the Halogen cardigan, a Cami NYC top and Vince pants). Below are current favorites.


Dated handbags actually ruin an outfit

That sounds a little harsh I know 🙂

Having a little black bag that’s stylish and useful is a good place to start. From there, consider adding a non-black, neutral bag, and finally, a tote that will get a lot of use. Whether you’re running to the gym, attending a business meeting or going on vacation, a tote is a must-have in my book!


Accessories take everything to the next level

Scarves, sunglasses, belts and jewelry – you don’t need a lot

The black scarf I’ve worn for the past few years is a true favorite. It works on the plane for extra warmth and in the winter it looks extra chic wrapped over a blazer. A saddle brown belt goes with most everything, and this Madewell one is well-priced. Add your special jewelry and a pair of glamorous sunglasses, and you’ll feel put together everyday. I wear my favorites all the time!


Finally, add the fun stuff!

Pretty dresses, blouses you love and anything else that catches your eye

Often we go for the fun stuff first, I know I do, but it only works if you have everything above!


A special thank you to The Closet Factory – Portland for your kind attention to all the details, and for being willing to work with my indecisiveness (i.e making a second trip to install knobs and extra shelves). You were easy to work with, professional, and patient. I absolutely LOVE my new closet! 🙂