0 Comments | Sep 29, 2011

It’s a Closet, Not a Museum

De-Clutter and Organize Your Wardrobe

Could your closet use a big purge like the before/after in these photos? Are your closets and drawers a repository for old scout/[insert sport here] /cheerleader uniforms? Do you stash t-shirts from 70’s concerts or every triathlon you’ve ever done? How about disco dresses that are four sizes too small? Or suits from your former corporate life that are ghosts of the 80’s/90’s? Does any item have a white layer of dust accumulating on the shoulders because it’s been unworn for so long? Read on for tossing tips to help you hone your wardrobe and bring it into the current decade. It’s all about looking mahvelous!


The 80/20 rule applies to your wardrobe. Most people wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. And many buy the same few items over and over because it’s safe. Well, why aren’t you wearing that other 80%? Can it leave? I love clothes and looking great no matter where I’m going or what I’m doing. My fashion credo is simple: you deserve to feel great and look good in whatever you put on, for whatever purpose, at any price point. Everything else is a toss candidate. I recommend a twice yearly review of your wardrobe, when the season changes, and that time is now as temperatures will soon cool. Take a hard look at what wasn’t worn all summer before perusing the fall/winter stuff.

In deciding what to keep vs. toss, ask these 13 key questions:

1. Is it my size? If your closet is a warehouse for multiple sizes, get real about whether you’ll ever fit into that size 6 dress or 32 waist pants again.

2. Does the silhouette fit and flatter my body? Best way to tell: look at it in a mirror 8 to 10 feet away to see how it really looks to other people. You’ll be surprised.

3. When was the last time I wore it? I don’t adhere to the “if you haven’t worn it in a year” rule… but if you haven’t worn it in 2 years or more, ask yourself why. Frequently with clients, I can pair an unworn item with something you never thought of, and voila, new ensemble.

4. Does this color/pattern work for me? Clothes should not be so loud that they show up before you do. Otherwise, the clothes wear you instead of you wearing the clothes. And it’s true, not all colors of clothing work with all skin/hair colors.

5. Is it totally out of style, no matter how much I love wearing it?

6. Am I keeping it because I think it will come back in style if I wait long enough? While style trends do repeat, it’s usually decades later, with a new twist. Decide if a) you want to store it for decades, b) you like wearing vintage, c) it will still fit by then and d )it will suit you at that age.

7. Do I feel comfortable in this? Or does it itch, pull, irritate, or otherwise bug you?

8. Does it reflect the authentic me? Or do I feel like a fraud, dressed like someone I’m not? Think about what reflects your personality. What image you want to project, particularly in the workplace?

9. 8. Is this age appropriate? Be especially wary of fly-by-night trends with this question.

10. 9. Am I keeping this for sentimental value? Fight the nostalgia. Take a photo and send it away.

11. Is this quality, or does it look cheap? All the experts agree: buy fewer items of higher quality that are classic, and leave the bargains to a few trendy pieces or accessories.

12. Am I keeping it because it was expensive? Well, haven’t you gotten your money’s worth by now? Or, was it an expensive mistake you feel too guilty to let go of?

13. Is it worn out? Faded, shiny, threadbare, holes, stained, pilled, yellow armpits?

14. Does it go with anything in my closet? Or is it an orphan I’ve never worn and can’t make work?

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