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Transform your man’s closet on a budget

From old, nubby sweaters to rumpled cargo pants, your man’s closet is probably one big crime against fashion. Kristen Smith-Hilton, a fashion stylist and image consultant with Novella Style Group, LLC, shares some pointers to help you overhaul a disastrous closet without spending a ton of money.

Man in closet

Edit liberally.

First, analyze the current state of the closet in question with a critical eye, editing liberally. “It seems the male clients I’ve worked with over the years have held onto every article of clothing ever purchased, received as a gift, or purchased with the intention of gift-giving,” says Smith-Hilton. “If they bought it, they still have it.” Let go of the old concert t-shirts, college sweatshirts and dirty tennis shoes. The less cluttered the closet, the easier it will be for him to thoughtfully select quality pieces.


Don’t let him talk you into stashing the edited pieces away for a rainy day or other fictitious event. Purging his closet together will be a cathartic and liberating experience. “Taking your treasures to a local consignment shop or holding a garage sale can help stimulate your bank account while freeing up all the items in your closet you should be wearing,” Smith-Hilton suggests.

Make a list & stick to it.

“Make a simple laundry list of must-haves and limit the trendier items that have found a way into your home,” says Smith-Hilton. Things to consider include lifestyle, body type, hobbies, work environment and social habits. The brevity of the list may reveal that he really needs fewer clothes than he thought, which means less money is needed in the wardrobe budget.

Invest in transition pieces.

“Quality over quantity is always the best decision,” says Smith-Hilton. “You are not sacrificing style by having fewer clothes.” Avoid trends and stick to classic pieces such as button-down shirts, vests and jeans in dark and light washes that fit perfectly. Save some cash by visiting a thrift store, but make sure you apply a sharp, fashionable eye. Rather than load up on more stuff, look for vintage treasures like broken-in denim or a cashmere sweater. Also, look for stores that have teamed up with big-name designers to create affordable fashions.

Befriend a tailor.

His closet may be full, but he’s probably not wearing most of it. It is much less expensive to have your clothes tailored than it is to buy more — not to mention, tailoring is an eco-friendly way to turn a struggling wardrobe around. “Take that suit from the back of the closet and ask your tailor to create a pair of shorts,” says Smith-Hilton. “With this simple alteration, your man will actually make use of an item that was just taking up space. To save money, pay attention to the unworn items that can be updated for warm-weather wear.”


Your man may be a stranger to the concept of accessorizing, so gently introduce him to the idea. When you are working with a streamlined closet, a solid mix of belts, ties, hats and scarves can seemingly increase the size of his wardrobe by helping to change up the looks.



Also, don’t miss our 10 ways to convince your man he needs a makeover! >>

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