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Ask an Expert: Ashley in Spring Valley, DC Asks, “Is a Custom Hall Closet OK for Formal Dresses?”

3 minute read, by Closet America, on Nov 9, 2016

A hall closet is good for more than coats. In today’s “Ask an Expert,” our closet designer discusses ways to turn this space into a storage spot for evening gowns and tuxes.

The closet experts at Closet America want everyone to find the perfect closet solution for their home. In our Ask a Closet Expert series, we answer questions from local DC-area residents about their storage issues, providing insight from our years in the industry.


Today, we answer a question from Ashley in Spring Valley, DC. She says:

“I loved your post about getting your closet ready for gala season. But my husband and I share a bedroom walk-in that’s already pretty full. Is it okay to store gowns and tuxes in a hall closet?”

Thanks for the question, Ashley! I can’t believe it’s already November, which means we’re more than halfway through fall gala season here in DC. And I completely understand your struggle.

What I’ve noticed about homes in general, especially in the Spring Valley area, is that builders are dedicating more space to closets and storage than they used to (according to the NAHB, at least 25-30% more space). This is great news because it means that your hall closet can easily be converted into your very own black tie closet.

And it’s actually a great idea—hall closets tend to have extra height that works well with formal dresses (important, since black-tie events generally require floor-length gowns). Plus, hall closets typically only have a single hanging rod, a much better set-up than the double rows of hanging rods found in many walk-ins, which wouldn’t give your dress enough clearance to reach the floor.

If you decide to move forward with a hall closet redesign, here are some specific options to consider:

Add a Shelf to the Bottom of the Space

If this is going to be a full-on black-tie closet, you need the ability to keep everything in one place, including your shoes. Try adding a shelf to the bottom of your closet so that you can place your silver, gold, or sparkly heels here while still keeping them clear of the floor.

If you’re taller, you can absolutely opt to store your shoes on a top shelf instead. But if you’re short (like me!) and always pressed for time (really like me!), then you’ll want to have shoes in an area that allows quick and easy access as you head out the door.

Add Narrow Shelving to One Side of the Closet

Unless your black-tie wardrobe is quite extensive, you’re likely to have some extra space along your closet walls. Ask your designer to include some narrow shelves that don’t take up a lot of space but still give you essential storage for clutches, evening gloves, and other accessories that might accompany your outfit. This space can also work for jewelry storage, but you might want to make separate accommodations (like a locking jewelry drawer in your walk-in) for more valuable items.

A Closet for Two

If you’re feeling really sweet and want to share the space with your spouse, here are some bonus features that will help a smaller space function well for two people: 

  • A slide-out tie rack. Since your spouse will have either ties or bowties to complement his tuxedos, a slide-out tie rack is worth the space. It will keep his collection centralized and allow everything to be tucked away when not in use.

  • A narrow shelf, just for him. Those narrow shelves we discussed adding? Make sure to reserve a shelf for him, too. Use it to store his smaller black-tie accessories, like cufflinks and tie bars. These are a lot easier to keep track of if they’re all in one place.

  • A double hook inside the door. When you’re getting ready, it’s always great to have a hook on the inside of your closet door so that you can pull out your clothing selections in advance. If this space becomes a space for two, make sure to use a double hook instead of a single hook so that there’s room for your gown and his tuxedo.

These small touches can transform your hall closet into a black tie space that’s perfect for special occasions. I hope these suggestions help, Ashley! And feel free to get in touch for a free design consultation if you’d like more suggestions.


Closet America was able to work with my unique circumstances in order to give me the best use of my space.

Amy B.,
Fairfax Station, VA

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Whether you’re interested in a custom-designed closet, office, pantry, or garage, starting your project couldn’t be easier. Just fill out the attached form or give us a call to schedule your free in-home design consultation. You can download our brochure and you’re welcome to visit our Landover Maryland showroom, to see how beautiful our custom-designed organization systems look in person. We want you to experience the Closet America difference and see how we build organizing solutions for life.

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