Ask an Expert: Janie Stidham

Janie Stidham (Adriana Salazar)What's best — a capsule wardrobe or a colossal closet?

Spring cleaning is coming soon, but before you purge your closet of all but a few items, consider the advice of Janie Stidham, professor of fashion design in UNT's College of Visual Arts and Design. Though a capsule wardrobe of 20 to 30 garments may be popular, Stidham says there's no ideal number. The key is identifying your needs and maintaining your clothing.

"A wardrobe depends on your stage of life," Stidham says. "It's different for everyone; there is no set 'perfect' wardrobe size."

Start with the basics

  • Know your closet. Don't let items get pushed to the back or be forgotten. If you know what you have, you won't purchase duplicate items.
  • Decide on your needs. Your wardrobe will differ depending on the job. Those who work in construction need sturdy pants and shirts, office workers need business attire and students need mostly comfortable clothes with a few versatile pieces.
  • Eliminate. Take clothes out of the closet that you no longer wear, that don't fit or are worn out. This frees up space for clothes that look good, are comfortable and will last longer.
  • Replace. Essential items will wear out, so check a few times a year to make sure they are in good condition. Investing in pieces that can be used for more than one season is worthwhile and will save money over time.

Mix it up

  • Incorporate fun accessories. A wardrobe doesn't need to be 100 percent functional. A seasonal scarf, hat or bowtie can brighten up an outfit.
  • Dress by season. One way to make your wardrobe feel larger is to switch the clothes each season. Use the opportunity to check for quality and fit.

Maintain the wardrobe

  • Store properly. Sweaters often need to be folded and kept in a drawer to maintain condition. Invest in good hangers to minimize wear on garment shoulders.
  • Don't wash too often. Excessive washing wears out clothes and dulls colors. Wash only when necessary so clothes last longer and look nicer.

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