7 In Wardrobe Wellness

Closet Work: How to Prepare Your Wardrobe for Fall


Wardrobe prep for a new season is essential on BrendaKinsel.com

Preparing my wardrobe so it works for me all fall


Closet work is something I’ve been doing all October for my clients. I’m busy in their closets switching their wardrobe over from one season to the next one.

It takes a fair amount of time. What’s terrific though is if you really hunker down and take advantage of the beginning of a season to edit, sort, plan, and prepare a few outfits, you’ll be so much clearer about what you have to buy to satisfy your needs for the season.

When you invest some time the yield will be great: Getting dressed for fall will be as easy as kicking up colorful fallen leaves in your neighborhood.

I need closet work too

A couple of weekends ago I did for myself what I do for others. The process of packing away one season’s clothes and introducing inventory for the upcoming season is a mixture of wardrobe therapy, outfit prep, coming to terms with reality, and preparing for a bright future.

Are you enticed? How about I bring you into my closet and you can watch the whole process and see if it could work you.

Summer clothes get stored away on BrendaKinsel.com

Saying goodbye to summer clothes


Saying goodbye to summer

Here in the Bay Area, we have a long period of transition dressing. It’s that period when summer hasn’t quite let go but the mornings and evenings are chilly. One day you’re wearing linen and the next day it has to be cashmere.

But in October I had to face facts. I was ready to say, “Okay, Summer Wardrobe, it’s time for me to let go and move forward into fall. I love you, it’s been great, but I must say goodbye. I’ll see you soon enough!”


Closet Work Step One: My first step is to pull out all my summer or summery clothes and get them ready for storage.

This step allows me to reflect on what really worked for me this year and to pay attention to what I didn’t wear.

There’s a little talking going on inside my head as I pull things out of my closet.


Oh, denim tunic, I had so much fun with you this summer!

Orange dress, I know I used you more at the beginning of the season but I think we have a bright future together come next summer.

Taupe duster, I’m not sure why I didn’t wear you this summer but I’m packing you away and we’ll see about next year, okay?


Getting ready to consign some fall items on BrendaKinsel.com

Editing fall items and letting go of what doesn’t work


Closet Work Step Two: This next step requires you to stock up on courage and strength as you prepare to pull out your fall clothes. Before hanging them up in your closet, it’s important to try them all on.


Do they still fit?

Do you feel excited about wearing them?

Are they you anymore?


I got really tough with myself this time.

With every item I tried on I asked myself the question: Would I wear it tomorrow?

If I was on the fence about it, I took that as a signal that it was a no.


What I let go of

One: I discovered I had no tolerance for anything that didn’t feel good against my skin.

Two: I let go of two sweaters that reminded me of the scary month that Mother was in the hospital fighting for her life. I wore them while I sat by her side holding her hand. This year, I couldn’t see beyond the sadness. I knew I wouldn’t want to wear either of them “tomorrow.”

Three: I let go of a couple of dresses that were too small last year (but still adorable) but enough already. Time to face facts. As cute as they are I’m not going to be that size.

Four: I let go of a couple of coats that were too mannish in style. I think I’m more into the feminine, soft side of myself. When I tried them on I felt like I was wearing someone else’s clothes.


My gently worn clothes will be perfect for someone else on BrendaKinsel.com

“Buh-bye! Someone will be adopting you soon!”

What came next?

I bagged up the clothes that I’d said no to – clothes that were current and gently worn – and put them in the trunk within twenty-four hours and dropped them off at the consignment store where others will have a chance to own them.

Closet Work Step Three: Before the end of my closet work weekend, I started making new outfits. I pulled out my Wardrobe Workout Charts and filled in the Key Piece at the top and started writing in the details of outfits I could wear as early as next week.

I could see right away that my styling senses have changed. I’m ready to find a new way to express myself in clothes. A fresh way, innovative, pleasing way. With the past behind me and the ill-fitting clothes out of my closet, I’m excited about my future!


Using Wardrobe Charts to build outfits on BrendaKinsel.com

Start creating outfits with Wardrobe Charts


Next Steps

I started to get a glimmer of what I wanted to add to my wardrobe. I created a shopping list.

This year fashion seems to have gone in a few new directions and I know I need to do more research before investing in much. I want to get it right!

So shopping will probably involve trying on new silhouettes that favor my sixty-years-old-and-then-some body. I’m excited!!

I’ll keep you posted. Will you keep me posted on your plans for fall outfits?



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  • Reply
    Susan Grady
    October 21, 2016 at 4:52 am

    This helps so much Brenda! I have been putting off the much dreaded closet change and am now inspired to do so. The reality of changes in my body and personal style are the big hurdles for me also. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for new silhouettes… Thanks again for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    October 23, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Hi Brenda,
    I love, love, love, your wardrobe charts! We just returned from a month long trip and I utilized your charts for daytime sightseeing ensembles and evening dinner wear.
    You are the best! Your fans will be anxious and excited to see how you will be dressing your beautiful, 60-ish body. Any and all tips to bypass the midriff, eliminate dark and light tones, but still look chic and polished would be appreciated by all.
    A faithful fan,

  • Reply
    October 25, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I’m still thinking about my summer clothes even if I have put them away…..I don’t know why that is, I just can’t get into my fall wardrobe yet. It feels very dour, maybe that’s a sign that I need to add some new colours? When I took out my fall wardrobe it just felt all navy and black.

    • Reply
      October 25, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Rebecca, I had a similar experience. When I hung up the things that were staying I wondered where the splashes of color were. There was no bright orange, pink, Marine blue or bright white. In my newsletter that goes out tomorrow (you should receive it if you’re signed up for the Tips & Teasers) you’ll see how I am starting to introduce a new color into my wardrobe–with a Beauty Bundle! I think finding accessories you like or a sweater or shirt in brighter colors might be good medicine right now.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Brenda, I love your advice. In fact, I’m in Michigan and I really have to get my closet set for fall and winter. I have pulled out all of my fall clothes, but I wasn’t motivated, but now I am. Where can I get your wardrobe planning sheets. I really could use them. Also, I think I need to buy your books.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Joan, you’re in luck! The Wardrobe Charts are on my website along with instructions about how to use them. I think I put a link in that post but if not, this should take you there: http://www.brendakinsel.com/resources/checklist-charts/. Any of the books would give you direction and support. Wishing you a great closet session in Michigan!

  • Reply
    Nancy Madlin
    November 21, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I love your system for Closet Work, and will definitely be including some in my own transition to fall, which is still ongoing… Also love the outfit worksheets!! I’m definitely going to try those, perhaps in conjunction with the Stylebook app. Have you seen it? It’s like Polyvore- digital paper dolls for grown ups – but you make a database of all your own clothes! Thanks again for sharing your ideas.

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