Dear Kathi,

I would love to know how to make multiple outfits out of the clothes I already own. As I purge my closet, I am keeping the worthwhile stuff and getting rid of the old, abused or simply awful items. I would like to update my closet and wardrobe with new items but don’t know where to start. Please provide any insight you might have.



Make sure that your wardrobe includes the basic classic clothing elements, among which the perfectly fitting black dress and the critical perfectly fitted black dress trousers.

Base your color palette on one main neutral color: black, navy or brown. Don’t let the black dress and black slack suggestion throw you into a black frenzy. Those two items are simply wardrobe basics that every woman should own and build from.

Keep in mind that black is generally not the most flattering color, especially if you are over 30, and applies to both males and females. We often get stuck in the “black rut” from our younger days and never leave it. As we age, so does the tendency to look washed out and old in black. The exception to this rule is if you are a true “winter” in the “Color Me Beautiful” color system.

Choose your color palette based on your eye and hair color and skin tone. If you are in doubt about what color to choose, ask a friend to help you decide.

Once you choose your color palette, stick with it for all of your wardrobe essentials. Buy your suits in brown, or navy or black. Accent these basic items with complimentary colors. For navy, choose cream or white. With brown choose cream or fall colors with rich tones.

I applaud you for actually going through your closet and keeping only the pieces that really work for your figure. As you discard the items that are old and tired, you gain clarity of what you need to complete your wardrobe.

To decide what to buy in the future, keep a running list of the essential wardrobe elements that you own or are missing. When you shop in the future make sure to focus on completing your wardrobe by including the essential elements.

Once you have only items that work for you, you can begin to accent them with trendy accessories. Blouses or jewelry will provide an updated look.

You will begin to understand that with a simple color palette and classic items, almost every item in your closet compliments another. It will become very easy for you to mix and match outfits after you complete this project. Have fun!

Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

Please submit your questions to: [email protected]. San Diego Professional Organizer