Closet confessions

 

lisa2

It’s a daunting task. One that I should theoretically take on every year. Try as I might, I can’t avoid it.

The culling of the closet.
I confess it’s painful. I have a fairly deep and personal relationship with each pair of shoes and every handbag. But spring is nearly here and Bergdorf’s is sending me daily reminders that to be chic and cool this season, I must buy their new clothes. Or at least toss out those pieces that are hopelessly out of date. So, one day this month, my closet and bedroom turned into a killing field. Here are a few of the guidelines, that back in my working days, I used to try to keep my wardrobe current, classic and chic. Nowadays, it’s just an attempt to keep my wardrobe appropriate for my lifestyle – a work-from-home, mommy and blogger.

If it needs fixed, toss it out.
I can talk about fixing that hem or taking in that waist — but it’s never going to happen. I put them in a pile and chuck them at least once a year. Shoes too. Are you really going to take those old Payless shoes in to be repaired? I never did.  Then why are you sitting on them? Replace them with a quality pair that will instead last for years.

I’m not going to lose that last five pounds.
“Get over it,” I repeatedly tell myself. But I do tend to hold on to that pair of size four jeans or the really pretty cocktail dress with the really short skirt — even though I can’t get them on nowadays. Maybe after a really bad stomach virus, but how often to you luck out like that? If it doesn’t fit you must … well, quit. Toss it or pass it on. Your skinny girlfriends with no children who have wasted their waistlines will love you for it.

If it’s for work, is it chic and classic?
“Elegance is refusal,” Coco Chanel once said. Now, I’m no Coco, but I’m slowly learning that trends have no place in the workplace and, as I move into a full-time gig as an educator -that is doubly true. Trade the leggings for a slim pencil skirt, the oversized plaid shirt for a crisp white button-down with French cuffs. And while I didn’t follow ALL of his rules, I did use Tim Gunn’s book “A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style” to help me out this time around with my full-on closet reconstruction. Just don’t tell the “Project Runway” star that I kept more than a few holey college sweatshirts. Which brings me to…

Casual clothes revamp
Admit it, because I will — years out of college and you’re still wearing your Greek letters or college tees. Usually with some ratty yoga pants. And yes, even though you do feel bad about it, you do wear the combo out in public. But, if you’re like me, you are bound to run into a work colleague, vendor, peer or (worse) your boss while you’re out running errands looking like Britney Spears on a bad day. I love the words of wisdom from the UK’s Trinny and Susannah on their Web site: “Details make all the difference. A chic outfit will be completely degraded by chipped nail varnish.” I think it applies here. As a part of the 2011 cull, I tossed out all but one pair of sweats and yoga pants, now I HAVE to buy nice ones. I’m sure the folks at the Gucci Dillons at Central and Rock will appreciate it. (By the way check out Trinny and Susannah’s feature article: http://www.trinnyandsusannah.com/features/makinganeffort/)

Make sure it works
For me, this is a tough one. I love unusual pieces, I think it’s the “creative” part of my personality. The funky pink skirt with Indian embroidery and mirrors, the abstract print top in bright colors, the acid green floral shoes. It’s much easier to get dressed in the morning if you have a great selection of neutrals (blacks, grays, ivorys, camels, navys, for example) to start with. I’m not there yet, but the closet clean out did give me room to add in at least two new suits. The skirt and the top stayed, but I’m happy to report that the acid green shoes found their way to the DAV.

Speaking of that — where to donate
One woman’s closet clean out is another’s treasure. Make sure you take your (decent and clean) unused items to the DAV, the AmVets or to a Junior League Thrift shop. You might help build the wardrobe of someone a bit less fortunate — and we can all use the good karma, right?

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2 Responses

  1. Hey, lots of people shop at thrift stores, not just the “unfortunate.” 😉

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