How I Completely Transformed My Wardrobe With One Closet Hack

How I Completely Transformed My Wardrobe With One Closet Hack

Marlen Komar
Oct 12, 2017
(Image credit: Morgan Schemel)

One of my biggest wardrobe "aha!" moments was when I found my sleeveless, mustard turtleneck crumpled on the closet floor next to my white and blue striped shirt. Frowning at the jumble, it was the first time I was thankful for my messy tendencies—the pairing was fabulous. And not something I would have ever pieced together if I was just standing in front of my wardrobe, trying to decide what to style that morning.

That's when it hit me: In order to think of new outfit formulas, you need to shake up the way your closet is organized every now and then. Some people like to group by colors, others like to group by occasions or season, but if you know where everything is, you start reaching for items with muscle memory rather than with a fresh eye. Right after I picked up the turtleneck from the floor, I rolled up my sleeves and took everything out of my closet to reorganize. I had a new idea on how to group my items, and it was going to open the door for many more outfits. I was going to group them according to layers, people!

To me, an outfit is at its peak when it gets creative with its silhouette. Crop tops with high-waist pants, turtlenecks under crewnecks, collared shirts underneath dresses, cropped sweaters on top of maxi dresses—layers have the potential to take something old and overused in your wardrobe and change it into something completely different. But you might not know all the options available to you if they're categorized by color, seasons or type like most people keep things. To really see the potential, you need to group similar layers together. Ahead is what works for me (and might work for you!).

(Image credit: Marlen Komar)

Collared shirts

I never thought to combine these shirts with my dresses or jumpsuits until I started to look at collared shirts as necessary "layers."

Collared shirts look fabulous on their own, but you can also pop them underneath dresses, sweaters, short-sleeve shirts, strapless frocks, and crewneck tops to add an extra detail to an older piece. Because of that, I like to group all of my collars together, no matter what color, print, cut, or season they are. You never know which collar will be the perfect addition to that outfit you're trying to build that morning.

Chambray shirts

These button down shirts are a great neutral in a wardrobe, where you can layer them underneath dresses, match them with busier skirts or leave them open and used as a makeshift cardigan. I like to file these next to my collared shirts, but group them separately together at the end so I can see the different shades of denim in one go.


Since I also like to layer turtlenecks underneath clothes, I collect them next to my collared shirts since they essentially perform the same task. Depending on how thick a turtleneck is, it can be layered underneath a dress when you want to add an extra pop of color, underneath sleeveless shifts to move them from summer to fall, popped underneath sweaters for an extra hue or texture, and underneath jumpsuits or rompers to make them toastier for nippier weather. The possibilities are endless.

(Image credit: Marlen Komar)


In order to see what easy layer you can toss over a dress or top, it's helpful to have your cardis all together, no matter their color, print or season. The reason I like to have them bunched together is because sometimes I have an outfit that's missing something, but I don't know exactly what. I can then glance at all my cardigan options in one spot, and mentally picture which one would tie the outfit together the best. It helps you make some fun, unexpected looks that way!

Sometimes you can even button up the sweater all the way and tuck it into a skirt to transform the cardigan into a top. But if you want to leave it as a layering tool, I like to file my cardigans next to my vests, jackets, and blazers because they all perform the same function.

Crop tops

If you own crop tops, lump them together so you can see what you have at your fingertips to match with high waist pants and midi skirts. But the possibilities don't end there—you can also layer a crop top over a dress to turn the shift into a faux-high-waist-skirt, or layer it underneath overalls for a playful, young look. In order to see all the options, you need to group them together.

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