Closet “Hang-Ups”

The hangers you choose can make a big impact on how well your clothes retain their shape and good looks. Do yourself and your clothes a favor and get rid of those skinny wire hangers from the dry cleaner.  You can do it with a clear conscience if you take them back for recycling. You’ll be amazed how soothing it is to never again battle with their bending, tangling mess.

It may seem like a pain to change them over, but you have my solemn promise that you’ll end up wondering why you didn’t do this years ago.

So what to substitute?  Even if you are on a tight budget you can swap for the tubular plastic hangers at a bargain price.  Stick with one color for the calming visual effect, but you may want two weights for lighter and heavier garments.

My personal favorite for upper garments is the shaped plastic style with swivel heads.  If you need a bunch, your can get them for about a quarter each in 100-count packs from Of you can find the in smaller quantities at Container Store, Bed Bath & Beyond or Target.


To keep silky garments in place you can add stick-on foam grip-strips.  Those grips even let you hang sweaters without having the shoulders stretch out of shape. So much easier to see them than having them folded in a drawer, and neater than stacking them on a shelf and trying to retain the stack when you invariably want the one on the bottom!

Many clients love the flocked hangers, but to me they grab the garment SO firmly that it is troublesome to get the item off the hanger. Also the hooks don’t swivel very readily and tend to break if you force them to. Their flat profile does take up less width on your closet bar, I’ll admit. Try a few before you go all-in.

flocked hangerI’m really picky about pant hangers.  The clip kind have the annoying habit of tangling with one another on the rod.  Draping pants over the bar of a regular hanger puts the fabric and color so far below the rod they can be difficult to distinguish.   I LOVE the Z-shaped ones with a high profile, keeping the color/fabric visible and maximizing closet space, with a rubber grip to keep the garment in place.  And super-easy to get the garment on and off.


For skirts, I recommend the clamp-style – again no hooks to tangle.  The wooden ones are pricier, but have felt lining to minimize indentations in delicate fabrics. If a skirt’s waistline is significantly wider that the clamp section of the hanger, fold the outer edges in rather than letting them hang over the ends and cause the skirt to droop.  I wish somebody made wider grip hangers — if you see them anywhere please let us know!

skirt hangers


I’m a firm believer in hanging everything you possibly can so you can see all your options. Here’s my favorite trick for hanging even heavier or long-sleeved sweaters:

* Fold the sweater in half lengthwise along the center front/center back.  The sleeves will layer one atop the other making a big “V” shape.

* Place a hanger over the bust/upper arm area so the hook is sticking out at the underarm.

* Fold the body down over the hanger, then do the same with the sleeve.  The fabric layers will grip to one another keeping the garment solidly in place.  Magic!

hanging sweater collage

Check out more great ideas shared by readers in the COMMENTS section below.

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Mary Kutheis on November 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    The folding sweater tip may change my life. 😉 I always fold sweaters and put them in drawers and then promptly forget to ever wear them. Changing that up this weekend. Thanks.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on November 13, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Isn’t that the best? Wish I could remember where I learned it so I could give credit where it is due.

  2. Sue P. on November 14, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    For the big/heavy/long sleeved items, try the biggest tubular hangers. They are often as wide as the shoulder seams of men’s shirts and women’s sweaters, and the garments will hang well even if you don’t have grip-strips for all of them yet. If the hangers are not wide enough, fold as you suggested.

    For quick grip, how about rubber bands laying around the house on the plastic ends of the shaped swivel head hanger? Haven’t tried that yet.

    For one cotton raglan short-sleeved sweater that really pulls out of shape, I use foam insulation for water pipes on a regular size wire hanger. It comes pre-slit to put around pipes. I cut two pieces, one for each side, to extend from the hook all the way to the end of the (short) sleeve. The foam is very bendable, so it’s not too much trouble to manipulate as you put the sweater on the hanger.

    Takes a lot of rod space for this one item, but the garment is completely supported and will not crease. Being cotton, I could not fold it as described above w/o wrinkling.

    If you wish to hang a sweater on a regular size hanger, try hanging it inside out. When wearing, your shoulders will push out the shoulder bumps.

    For skirts, how about clothespins holding a skirt to a Z-style pants hanger? Maybe two skirts to a hanger? Not elegant, but wider.

    Best of all, when one is done getting down to a great wardrobe following your principles, for most of us that will mean 50-75% less clothes, and it will not be a problem buying great hangers 🙂

    Thanks for the great advice!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on November 15, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Great ideas – thanks for sharing. I especially like the idea of using foam pipe insulation tubes — that would be great for beaded formalwear too.

  3. Clothes Hangers on April 19, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Clothes Hangers are a great option and a first step towards maintaining a beautiful sight as you open your wardrobe. They greatly help distinguish every piece without much hassle. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Marlette Louisin on January 7, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    I discovered a hanger on Amazon that has a swivel hook as well as a notch on one side of the shoulder so you can slide that end into the neck of your shirt without stretching the neck to get the opposite side of the hanger into the other shoulder. These hangers have rubberized edges so things won’t slip either. They are thin and I’ve found they don’t poke out the shoulders on most t’s.
    Z haters have been in my closet for years and I love the newer one with the heavier foam cushion. No creases across the pant leg. For clamp style haters, glue a piece of heavy felt or wool from scraps across each inside surface of the hanger so it doesn’t leave an imprint when you clamp it closed on your skirt.
    Love the folded sweater trick too!

  5. Marlette Louisin on January 7, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Forgot to mention that I also found the clear plastic shoulder covers on Amazon, I use them on items worn infrequently as well as those out of season that I have to store in my closet

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