It’s that time of year — spring ahead and get a fresh start. Start by cleaning out your closet! It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it, right?
“Cleaning out your closet is always tough, because our clothes hold memories and ignite feelings and emotions,” says Andy Paige, fashion expert and author of Style on a Shoestring. “We all remember the dress we wore for a special date with our honey or the business suit that got us our first real job or the jeans that made us feel like a rock star. Letting go of garments that we don’t wear anymore but still have fondness for can often be bittersweet.”
However, we have to admit that when we’re finally able to see the floor of our closets for the first time in years, it does feel good. The purge is worth it, even if we haven’t lost those 10 pounds and still aren’t able to wear all those “old” size 8’s still hanging around.
“Truth is, when you do lose the weight, the first thing you want is new clothes,” says Paige. “The last thing you want to do is put on something decades old to celebrate your new body. You want new party frocks and sexy modern look-at-me wear, not parachute pants and a dress from the Alexis Carrington Collection circa 1984.”
And the average woman actually wears less than 20 percent of her closet’s contents on a regular basis, according to Paige. “We live with the delusion that we have a much larger wardrobe than we really do,” she says. “We all stand in front of our closet that’s slap full of clothes and declare that we have nothing to wear. Damn that Eve. If she had not eaten that darn apple, then we would be happy as jaybirds, running naked and free.”
OK, so we’re going to ditch the fig leaves and get busy creating our own closet of Eden — the perfect place to get dressed every day. Here are a few tips to get you started:
♦ Yes, you need to try things on if you’re going to keep it in your closet. You’d be surprised how much wardrobe weeding out you can do by just looking in a mirror. We forget why we’ve never worn that jacket with the weird darts or that skirt that hits us at mid-calf. Yuck, get them out of your life. Fit is key, and yes, proportions change regularly.
♦ The “pile” routine really does work. Or you can do the trash bag thing, but I find that it helps to be able to “see” what you’re getting rid of … not just sticking it in a big black bag.
Think a “Donate” pile, a “Re-create” pile, a “Think About It” pile and a “Fits Me Great” pile. Then be ruthless. Yes, you can have some of your things altered, but I often find that it’s better just to go ahead and let it go once and for all, unless it’s just a matter of sewing on a button or having something hemmed.
♦ Have a friend help you. This tip usually does NOT work for me, but one of my best friends loves to have me help her clean out HER closet. There is something about having an outside opinion. But I find that I know my tastes best, and I usually feel pretty confident about my choices of what stays and what goes. But if you need some help, go for it.
♦ Color-code your clothes. This is probably one of my best tips. Group like colors together. You’ll be amazed at how much faster you can mix and match pieces. You’ll also be able to tell immediately if you need new pieces to coordinate with what you already own.
♦ Here are a few “anchor pieces” that Paige suggests keeping in your closet:
• Great fitted suits
• Fitted blazers
• Trousers with straight legs
• A-line or pencil skirts hemmed to the knee
• Basic black dress
• Fitted denim jacket
• Dark boot-cut or straight-leg jeans
• Accessories, accessories, accessories (well-kept scarves, costume jewelry, handbags, belts, and shoes)