I finally got around to picking up my own closet. I know, I know. I do this for a living, but I’ve done about a bajillion closet edits in the last couple of weeks, as well as two bajillion loads of laundry for one husband and two teenage daughters.
I don’t know how so few people go through so many clothes.
Anyway, all that to say that I get that messes happen, and that sometimes, we just need a minute to get our own stuff together. I put away new purchases, steamed some wrinkly items, and generally got my closet back in shape.
Part of this always includes a little purge, something I especially like to do this time of year. I mean, why not add another project to the busiest season of the year, right? Seriously, though, since I believe the most manageable closet edits are the “purge as you go” type, I stay on top of my wardrobe throughout the year.
Purge as you go is as simple as it sounds. As you try things on and reject them throughout the year, add them to a handy-dandy bin that you keep in your closet. That way, you’re never faced with the daunting process of editing an entire closet all at once.
Still, in spite of our best efforts to stay on top of these things, closet stowaways happen. (A stowaway is something that somehow escaped past purges and that has managed to remain in your wardrobe for months or years, usually unworn.) From the odd accessories you bought for the costume party to the uncomfortable shoes you only wore once, these are items that need to be eliminated so that you can see what you have and wear the clothes that you love.
Here, my list of a few of the items that might be lurking in your closet that have definitely overstayed their welcome.
Over The Top Shoes
You know I’m all about a statement shoe, so I’m not rejecting all things fun and whimsical. There are lots of cute and statement-y shoes this season. This pair in particular is making my heart sing. Even the platform is back in a big way (pun intended).
But shoes can make a statement without being tacky. Tacky can totally be a style choice at 20, but in my opinion, the aim should be to get more sophisticated (while still expressing our personal style) as we get older. And some statement shoes are anything but sophisticated. These shoes have a lot going on but lack the sophisticated and modern styling of some contemporary styles.
Never has a trend that is so universally unflattering held on for so long, and there’s only one explanation for it. Comfort.
There are other ways to be comfortable, and I’d choose a great pair of joggers over these leggings-posing-as-jeans any day of the week.
Let’s eliminate the jegging from our lives for good.
Unflattering Sweat Sets
Loungewear is definitely having a moment, and there’s no reason to feel frumpy while lounging. The key to looking chic yet comfy is to elevate your sweats with a flattering fit. Overly oversized sweats will always be hard to wear, so look for a great fit that makes you feel cute. Another strategy for finding cute sweats? Go for a matched set, or try one in a knit as opposed to fleece for a more polished look.
Clothes That Don’t Fit
There’s no room in a great wardrobe for ill-fitting clothes, so ditch the clothes in all of those other sizes that are cluttering your closet and keep that prime real estate for clothes that currently fit. Period. If you’re truly in a transition, or have a medical condition that makes your size fluctuate on a regular basis, than commit to a size (or two or three) and purge the rest.
Nothing is more discouraging than staring into a closet full of clothes that don’t fit.
Round Toe Boots
2010 called and it wants its booties back. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist!) The round toe brown or taupe booties with the stacked heel that we all worn about 10 years ago have been updated. Look for an almond or pointier toe style, or if that’s not foot-friendly and comfortable, then try the trendy new square toes, which offer plenty of wiggle room and are stylish as well.
In my mind, almost every item of clothing is sentimental. I didn’t just save the outfit I wore when my husband proposed (a sweater and pants in purple, which is coincidentally his favorite color) but also the tights I wore on our first date (crocheted fishnets – don’t ask), and the first pair of shoes he bought me (the most amazing black lace Rene Caovilla heels). I’ve also saved oodles of baby outfits from my girls and many of their daddy-daughter dance dresses.
But I don’t keep any of this stuff in my closet.
It’s not that sentimental clothes don’t have a place in your life. It’s just that that place shouldn’t be in your closet. Put them in bins or boxes or attics or anywhere at all that is not the precious real estate that is reserved for the clothes you actually wear.
Worn Out Clothes
Obvious, but judging from past closet cleanouts, also not obvious. If you do dirty work in your life (cleaning up after toddlers or pets, hanging in horse stalls, painting small bathrooms two days before Thanksgiving – sorry that may just be me!) then keep an outfit or two that is cute but past its prime for such purposes. Or an outfit or two that is truly scrubby for the real dirty stuff.
Everything else that is threadbare, worn, pilled, stretched out, or otherwise sad-looking needs to go.
Unless you’re wearing them as a tunic, with leggings, skip the long sweaters. They just don’t look contemporary. Stick to waist-length sweaters or those that hit between the waist and the hipbone.
Long sweaters are out, but long blazers are in. I know it’s confusing. Short, fitted blazers are not currently in style (which is unfortunate because they are easier to wear for most of us!), so stick to longer, slightly more oversized blazers worn over outfits with a defined waist.
They will be back, however, so store your favorite ones elsewhere for the time being.
Cardigans right now are either long (mid-thigh or longer) or waist-length and a little boxy, but the classic fine knit cardigan with tiny buttons up the front looks dated and definitely a little matronly right now. If you want to wear your classic cardigan, button it up and wear it as a sweater.
Stash your favorites in another closet until they return in a season or two.
Cold Shoulder Tops
Sure, cold-shoulder tops allow you to show your sassy side without exposing your arms, but there are fresher and more contemporary ways to do this. Try one of the newer shoulder-baring tops, and retire the tired cold-shoulders you’ve been wearing for years.
While not exactly out of style, tighter boots are taking a back seat to slouchier, chunkier, and wider-cut boots this season. For an update, swap out your classic pair for a lug-soled version or one with a wider fit through the calf.
In my opinion, designers sneakers that come pre-muddied for you are on their way out. Not only does the $500 price tag for dirty shoes leave many women shaking their heads in disbelief, but there are chic-er and more contemporary options available at a fraction of the price.
We’re wearing cardigans, now.
No one is as sad to see the kimono go as this Floridian. Although they’re not always the most flattering option, they are the perfect warm-weather layer.
However, long cardigans look more contemporary now, and come in varying weights for all climates.
The exception? Long, boho style kimonos that look more like dusters. I’ve seen chic and current options from Anthropologie, Free People, and KimandOno.com.
What did you think of this list? And which of these items is currently lurking in your closet? Let me know in the comments!