Closets are sadly underrated places. They’re usually hidden away, doors shut to prying eyes, with everything from shoes to skeletons stored inside. Disguised as utilitarian storage space, they’re the place we go each morning to decide what armor we’ll wear to face the day. They might be messy and unkempt, but they house the keys to our personal style.

So when we started brainstorming ideas for this issue, we knew we didn’t just want to chat with people about their style — we wanted to go straight to the source. We wanted to dive into their closets like they do each day, to get the stories behind their favorite pieces, to understand that private process of putting a look together. Luckily everyone involved was more than happy to humor us.

Narrowing down the list wasn’t easy — there are so many stylish people we wanted to snoop on. But we settled on a group of five whose approaches to style are as varied as their wardrobes. We fingered furs, fondled jewelry, and even (tentatively) touched a bullfrog that had been turned into a purse, and we came away with a deeper appreciation of each one of these people. We hope you do, too. —EJC

Chassity Evans

Blogger, Look Linger Love,

Chassity Evans opens the door to her Mt. Pleasant home wearing a pair of bright red cropped pants she blogged about a few weeks before. Her closet, a roomy walk-in that she shares with her husband, is filled with pieces many loyal readers will recognize as well: dresses she’s worn for photo shoots, shoes she’s lusted after, jewelry from her sponsors. Thanks to her blog Look Linger Love, Evans’ life seems like an open book, and we couldn’t resist a closer peek inside.

KJ Kearney

Streetwear Blogger, H1gher Learning,

KJ Kearney’s Hanahan apartment looks like he just moved in. The walls are bare, the furniture is sparse, and most of his clothes are stored in plastic bins and hampers beside his bed. But that’s just the way he likes things. On the home front, he’s a bit of a minimalist, but his personal style is a little bit more complex. As founder of the style blog H1gher Learning, Kearney writes about streetwear trends and dissects them on an academic level. Though he’s pared down his wardrobe in recent years, it still reflects his passion for streetwear.

Harper Poe

Designer, Proud Mary,

If you’ve ever sat in one of the sunny window booths at Hope and Union, you have likely rested your back on a Proud Mary pillow. Harper Poe sources handmade textiles from indigenous cultures in South and Central America and Africa to produce pillows, bags, and, come April, scarves for her company, so we were excited to see what kinds of bright patterns her closet would hold. Besides, anyone who uses the words “yummy” and “saucy” to describe fabric deserves a spot in our Style Issue.

Jamie Lin Snider

Designer and Owner, JLINSNIDER,

Jamie Lin Snider doesn’t just have a closet — she also has a spare room where she stores jam-packed racks of clothes and a tall shelf of shoes. She also has a sewing room where she keeps her original designs, and then there’s her King Street boutique, JLINSNIDER, where she stocks a whole lot of other clothes that, if she loves them enough, she ends up keeping for herself.

Brett Carron

Owner, Indigo and Cotton

Brett Carron’s closet, not surprisingly, looks like a miniature version of his Cannonborough menswear store, Indigo and Cotton, minus the antique stadium seats in the dressing room and the cool art on the walls. The former Manhattanite is all about high-quality, classic pieces that will last a lifetime, and his personal style reflects the stock at his store.