Written by Lisa Waterman Gray | Photos provided by California Closets and Inspired Closets
Your ideal self starts with a honed wardrobe and an efficient—and beautiful—way to use it.
here’s a science behind choosing just the right wardrobe for your personal style. And there’s nothing like a well-designed clothes closet to help you attain (and maintain) your best look.
But before you jump into designing your dream closet, assess what you own to see if it’s worth storing. Even large walk-in closets should be culled to contain only the clothes you love to wear.
Personal style (and training from Stacy London of TLC’s What Not to Wear) drives Molly Bingaman’s Ladybird, located in the Crossroads Arts District.
The biggest wardrobe problem Molly’s clients have is lack of clarity about their general style. “Until you really know what your style is, it’s very hard to build a wardrobe,” she says.
Her staff encourages clients to clear out almost everything from their closets. Once they’ve eliminated the clothing that doesn’t have life in it or doesn’t fit anymore, they can rehang the pieces they really love so they can easily see what works together.
“It’s amazing what shedding a lot of items will do,” Molly says. “You should be surrounded by pieces that you love and that really speak to you.”
Good organization can help you maximize whatever amount of closet space you have. Group clothing by category, whether it’s sleeve length, color, or work and weekend clothes. You may prefer to see all your shoes on shelves or to store them in bins. The goal is to create order that facilitates your personal style.
“What you put on your body is part of living your best life,” Molly says.
Once you feel fabulous in a personally tailored wardrobe, your closet should rise to the occasion. Even large closets can be dysfunctional if they aren’t customized to your personal belongings.
Christine and Jim Fee, owners of Inspired Closets Kansas City, customize plans beginning with a description of how you use the closet, what items you own, what works and what doesn’t in the existing closet, and what look and feel most inspires you.
Custom closets of all sizes feature multiple hanging options for everything from blouses and button-downs to formalwear and weekend wear. They also incorporate shelves and drawers, where folded items take up less space.
If space isn’t an issue, try incorporating a vanity for applying makeup and accessories, an island with countertop and drawers, a desk for jotting notes or an ottoman for dressing. Full laundry access with appliances and baskets makes that chore easier, while a coffee station can help you reach full wakefulness faster (thus avoiding poor fashion choices).
And don’t forget interior task lighting! The right illumination can ensure you never accidentally mix your blues and blacks.
For added good looks, consider the boutique-style closet, which showcases favorite items or accessories—like belts or ties—on individual racks.
“Upgrades may be doors with glass,” says Ashley Taylor, sales manager at California Closets–Kansas City. “We do lots of glass and inserts, and may mix shelf finishes with drawers or countertops in a coordinating finish.”
Locally, she sees clients gravitating to more deeply textured materials. Brushed gold finishes and mixed metals are popular. Whites, lighter grays and dark blues are consistent favorites.
Creating a new custom closet involves choosing the right layout, color, finishes, materials and hardware—all of which can vary widely in cost. Installation pricing can range from $1,000 to more than $10,000.
Be prepared to reenvision your space completely and to up-level your lifestyle.
“Having a custom closet is one of the best gifts you can give yourself,” Christine says. “It’s life-changing and starts your day off right.”