Women aren’t the only ones with professional wardrobe needs. Our designers offer custom closet ideas for men’s clothing.
People tend to automatically associate custom closets with women’s wardrobes. But I’ve worked with plenty of men who take just as much care of their clothes—especially in the Alexandria area. Lots of business travelers own condos here, and when you couple this fact with Alexandria’s proximity to DC, it’s no surprise that a number of men want closet systems that allow them to easily dress for work or pack for trips.
But creating a man’s custom closet comes with its own set of challenges—and sometimes requires you to use closet space in different ways. If you’re hoping to create the ultimate walk-in in your Alexandria condo, here’s what to know before you start.
We Love Shelves, But…
While I firmly believe that no closet should be completely shelf-less, men’s wardrobes typically need less shelving. Items like sweaters can still be folded, but other categories that are often put on shelves (like t-shirts and denim) might be better off elsewhere.
Men’s items are typically a little longer than, say, a woman’s t-shirt or pair of jeans. And since shelves are usually about twelve to sixteen inches deep, this means you may have to fold your clothes more strategically to get them to fit—this generally results in a bulkier fold and less effective use of space. Custom-designed shelves do offer one work-around, but a deeper shelf will still require more maintenance to stay tidy.
Since I’m still a firm advocate of blending shelves and hanging space, I’d suggest using shelving for accessories rather than clothing. Baseball caps, cologne, and shoes are all excellent, shelf-worthy items, as are clothing-care items like shoe horns, shapers, and lint rollers.
So Where Do I Put My Clothes?
If you can’t fold it, you hang it! Men’s closet designs often incorporate quite a bit of extra hanging space anyway, just to make sure you can accommodate items like dress shirts, suits, sports coats, polos, and outerwear.
Since you’ll probably want at least a couple of sections of your closet devoted to double hanging rods, I’d suggest designating a specific category for each rod. This way, all of your blazers, slacks, polo shirts, and dress shirts have their own areas, and you’ll be able to grab, dress, and go a lot more quickly.
What Else Do I Need in My Closet?
Don’t forget your closet accessories. There are a few key items that I believe should be staples in men’s closets:
Belt & Tie Racks: Men usually incorporate belts into their wardrobes more frequently than women, so a belt rack is essential. You can easily see your options, and you’ll be able to put belts away at the end of a long day without much effort.
Ties have the power to give the same suit a completely different look, so my male clients tend to have pretty sizeable collections—especially in the DC area, where you might be required to wear a tie. A slide-out tie rack, again, makes the process of selecting and storing ties much easier.
For both belts and ties, just remember to take an accurate inventory ahead of time. It’s very possible that you’ll need more than one rack to accommodate your collection. And I’d be failing in my duties if I didn’t remind you that color-coding your ties and belts will provide a nice visual impact—and help you find what you need much more quickly.
LED Lighting: If there was ever a space that could use LED lighting, it would be a man’s closet. Men’s dress shirts typically include a range of whites and blues that can be hard to differentiate between in dim lighting; even in good lighting, recognizing the difference between a deep navy and a black blazer can require serious focus.
By adding LED lighting above each hanging rod, your eyes can clearly pick up not just colors, but also textural details (because it might be the subtle details in each of your white button-down shirts, for instance, that made you purchase them in the first place). Installing these lights truly does make deciding what to wear or pack easier.
It’s little details like these that can make a difference between a men’s custom closet that looks good and one that also functions well. We’re experts at achieving both goals. If you dread entering your Alexandria walk-in because it’s a struggle to find what you need, get in touch with us for a free design consultation. We’re here to help!
Lead image credit: Flickr user Ron Cogswell (CC BY 2.0)