8 Tips I Use To Shop My Closet For An Inspiration Outfit


learn how to get the look you want with the pieces you already have

I shop my closet First

Inspiration outfits inspire us for a reason: the style speaks to us. Does that mean we have to have the IDENTICAL items to achieve the same look? I used to think so. Every inspiration outfit meant a shopping trip to find EXACTLY the same items. 

Now I know better, and the first thing I do is shop my closet. If I’m drawn to that outfit, it probably suits my style, and that means I likely have similar elements in my wardrobe already. 

Part of the problem was I hadn’t figured out my signature style, so I was searching and trying on other people’s style, so my wardrobe was very eclectic and very..not me. Now that I know exactly what I love and what suits me, it’s rare I see an outfit I would copy exactly, but I can shop my closet for similar items and come up with something perfect for me.

Not sure what your style is? Learn how to customize your classic style with your Style Twist by taking the quiz below. You’ll get the best results if you answer what you would wear in a perfect world, with no limitations.

This article and the video below are taken from the Stunning Style Weekly Style Snack! Join us Wednesdays at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.

how I shop my closet

Even though I create seasonal classic wardrobe guides, the truth is, I don’t have all the pieces from them. Sometimes there are items I LOVE and want, but if it doesn’t fit my clothing budget, I pass on them. I prefer to mix things up and shop my closet first and create that signature look. I love what I already have, so why would I buy a duplicate?

I always advocate shopping your closet before hitting the stores, and I do the same thing myself! Because all the outfits and pieces in the Guide are Minimal Classic, they can be copied exactly or used as a template. In the shopping portal, each item includes links to extra options categorized by Style Twist, brand, plus size, petite, and more, so everyone can get their custom look. 

Whether your inspiration comes from an outfit on Pinterest or one of the Stunning Style Wardrobe Guides, these tips to shop your closet will help you get a look that is perfect for you. Here are eight outfits from a previous Fall Wardrobe Guide when I shopped my closet.

8 tips I use to shop my closet for an inspiration outfit

1. Substitute Pants for a Skirt or Vice Versa

April from Stunning Style wearing a navy sweater and cyan pants inspired by a Society calendar outfit.
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

Even though I have and love this dress (because I collect turquoise clothes like it’s my job), it was at the tailor. I decided to shop my closet and substitute these glorious pants from the Spring Wardrobe Guide. I love that my wardrobe is cohesive from season to season, and nothing is a one-season wonder.

It’s easy to dress an outfit up or down by changing pants for skirts and vice versa. If you see a casual look but work in a professional setting, this is an easy swap to make it office-appropriate.

I stuck to the same color palette and swapped the bottom half for a nearly identical look. I traded the navy bag for my tote because it matches my pants perfectly, and…I just had to.

2. Rely on Old Favorites

April from Stunning Style wearing a denim shirt dress inspired by a fall outfit
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

I shopped my closet for everything in this outfit, including this denim dress I’ve had for probably six years, and I love to wear it! A denim shirt dress is as classic as they come. The classic tall boots have been in my closet for years, so I chose them over the ankle bootie. I already have a structured red bag I love, so this was an easy outfit to pull together.

3. Don't Forget About Your Basics

April from Stunning Style wearing a leopard blouse and black leather moto jacket from an inspiration outfit.
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

This leopard blouse is the special item in this outfit, but if you look past that you’ll see the rest of this outfit is wardrobe staples: black ankle pants, red flats, black bag, black leather jacket. If you don’t have a leopard blouse, do you have leopard flats or bag? A different animal print, or other print altogether – like polka dots or a floral, might feel better. Keep it neutral like the inspiration top, and you’ve got a winner.

Ever since I learned how to build a capsule wardrobe, I’ve been curating my capsule wardrobe essentials. I typically have something similar, or close enough, that I really love, and I wear that instead. These are pieces that reflect my Classic Style Twists, and they are the key dressing in my signature style. Each season I only buy a few items to update my capsule closet.

4. Add Your Classic Style Twist

April from Stunning Style wearing a cyan jacket and magenta top inspired by a fall outfit.
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

Turquoise and burgundy are the perfect color combination for fall, and I love pairing two of my favorite colors in an easy-to-wear, but chic way. The inspiration outfit isn’t edgy enough for me. While I’m always Minimal Classic first, I always need some edge in my outfit. 

I took the same colors and chose items from my wardrobe that bring my edgy style, like the moto jacket, and the navy and black snake skin boots that were listed under the Edgy Classic shopping links in the Guide. I tend to invest in the unicorn items in the Guide, and the ones with unique details that tell my style story. I’ve been hunting navy boots, and these are amazing.

Ready To Unlock The Secret to Your Style?

Join me in my best-selling Masterclass!

5. Combining Old and New

April from Stunning Style wearing a plaid shirt and jeans inspired by a fall outfit.
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

Since I already have a burgundy plaid button up…or two, that I love in my closet, I didn’t need or want to buy another one. I love my version of this outfit just as much. Here it’s the pattern and shirt style I’m duplicating, and pairing with the basics in the inspiration outfit. 

The flats were new to me that season, and I still wear them all the time. It’s a favorite color, and I knew they’d become a wardrobe staple.

6. Focus on the Color Combination

April from Stunning Style wearing a cyan top and jeans inspired by a fall outfit.
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

My dress hadn’t arrived yet when this outfit showed up on the outfit calendar (one of the favorite member perks). It was also quite warm still, so I wore my turquoise button up with metallic magenta sandals and dark wash ankle jeans to get the same look. 

The color combination of turquoise, burgundy, and navy is what makes this outfit special, and I was able to get the same combo with different pieces by rearranging where they go. 

Am I the only one who can’t wear flats when it’s hot? Jeans, yes. Flats, NO.

7. Substitute for Another Color

April from Stunning Style wearing red corduroy pants and a leather moto jacket inspired by a fall outfit.
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

Once you learn how to dress for your body type, some things change because you love how you look. To flatter my pear-shaped body, I typically only wear bootcut pants in darker colors (but not always!). Because I prefer this darker burgundy color for myself, I won’t buy or wear the almost-good-enough item that I won’t feel my best in, even to copy an inspiration outfit. 

I was tempted by these fabulous red cords from the Guide because the color was perfect, but they didn’t flatter me the way a different cut would, so I substituted burgundy cords from a previous Wardrobe Guide. When it was warmer I wore a red skirt instead. I love the look just as much!

I pulled the leopard in with my bag and earrings instead of my shoes.

8. Rearrange the Elements

April from Stunning Style wearing a leopard top with jeans inspired by a fall outfit.
A fall inspiration outfit to show you how to shop your closet.

Even though I LOVE casual dresses, not everyone does, and I’m sometimes asked how to substitute. So for this outfit I rearranged all the elements and wore the same colors in a column of navy, black, and dark wash denim. Instead of leopard flats, I brought in the leopard with my black on navy sweater. 

The loafers have the same sleek pointy-toe and mid-vamp style, but I repeated the shiny black leather from the bag and the trim of my sweater to keep it all cohesive with the inspiration outfit. I’m wearing all the same elements, but I’ve mixed them up with things I had in my closet. 

What do you do when you see an inspiration outfit? Do you hit the stores or shop your closet? 

The Shop Your Closet Challenge Is Back!

I am so excited for another Shop Your Closet Challenge! If you aren’t familiar, this is the perfect opportunity to practice shopping your closet for inspiration outfits. For one week only, let me take the hassle of choosing your daily outfit off of your plate – and best of all, it’s totally FREE to join!

The challenge takes place Monday August 30th through Saturday September 4th. Register today to join in the fun! Each day at 2pm ET, I’ll post a new outfit (in our free Facebook group) for you to shop your closet for getting dressed the next day. Put your own style into it and create an outfit that you love! 

Once you are dressed and ready each day, take a quick picture and create a post in the Facebook group with the #SYCFall2021 and hit submit. That’s it! You’ve earned an entry for one of two $100 Kendra Scott gift card (what woman couldn’t use a new piece of jewelry as the seasons change?). Earn an additional entry for each day you follow the challenge! 

I can’t wait to see what you all come up with, and you can always refer back to this post if you need a refresh on how you can switch things up!

2 thoughts on “8 Tips I Use To Shop My Closet For An Inspiration Outfit”

  1. I had gotten into a slump. Home days usually were usually jeans or short and a tee. Work had gotten pretty casual too. You e inspired me to get up, get dressed and do hair and makeup each morning. By shopping my closet I am inspired to put more thought into my outfits and accessories. Thanks for spiffing me up! I feel better.

    1. Fran this makes me so happy to hear that you are inspired to get up and get dressed and make yourself a priority, and that you are noticing a difference in how you feel! Shopping your closet can be fun and inspirational! You deserve it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It’s not you, it’s the pants Four tips to buy the perfect pants so you never have a muffin top again.

SS NotYou Pants


SS FBCallout
Scroll to Top