Shop your closet and develop your personal style

By Shelley Hill Young

If you’re like us, your closet — and by extension your wardrobe — could probably use a little attention. OK, a lot of attention.

In today’s social media-centric world where someone always has a camera in hand, there’s pressure to look your best whenever you step out. And you need to represent your brand — whether it’s a personal brand or your business.

We think the beginning of the year is a good time to reassess. Does your wardrobe reflect the image you want to present? Does it reflect you? What has to go? What are you missing?

We talked with Andrea Serrano — fashion stylist and the woman behind the popular and oh-so-stylish Charleston Shop Curator blog — for some guidance on how to revamp your wardrobe in the coming year:

The first truth Andrea dropped was that women wear only about 10 percent of what’s in their closets. It’s a good reminder to look to see what’s hiding in the back of yours. As an example, Andrea says she pulled out the black button-down shirt she was wearing when she was looking for something to pair with a new pair of ’80s-inspired jeans with silver sequin stars on them. She doesn’t think she’s worn the shirt in more than two years, but of course it looks fabulous.

Lesson learned: Shop your closet.

Pull a few forgotten items to the front so you add them back into rotation.

Identify what staples need to be updated. Have you worn the little black dress hanging in your closet too many times? Does the style need to be refreshed?

Pull unwanted items that are in good shape to consign, donate or swap. Get rid of clothes that have pills, are faded or haven’t held their shape well after frequent wearings.

Identify items you can fix or repurpose. Andrea says she has a hard time letting go of shoes, so she suggests getting worn-out shoes resoled or dying light-colored shoes black.

Use velvet hangers (Andrea says they’re the slimmest) to maximize space in your closet. Find out-of-the-way places to store out-of-season items, such as shoes and sweaters.

January is a good time to stock up on winter essentials, such as winter boots and coats. They’re on sale after the holidays, and it’s usually just getting cold enough to wear them in Charleston.

Look for versatile pieces. “I”m a fan of transitional pieces that take you from day to night and winter to spring, pieces that take you to the next season or the next hour,” Andrea says. She loves a vintage pastel pink coat she bought from The Trunk Show on Meeting Street, which she says doesn’t feel out of place when it’s still cold in March because of the blush color.

Look for florals and color, which are always big for the spring season.

Andrea says she has most of the clothing staples in her wardrobe, which allows her to purchase the pieces that are different and grab her attention, especially when the price is right. “I’m constantly being tempted,” she admits.

More important than following fashion trends is knowing what styles are flattering for your body type and for your skin tone, and what pieces work best for your lifestyle, whether you’re a mom or an entrepreneur, or both. That means going to stores and trying on clothes. “Unless you go out there, you can’t figure out what looks good on your body,” she says.

How do you develop that personal style? “A lot of it comes from being confident. If you feel good in something, you will look good,” Andrea says. “You’ve got to own it.”