Day 2 of my commitment to help you give back… One of the most sought out services that my company Grace Group offers is the strangely traumatic, ultimately freeing “closet cleanout”. Like you, I have trouble parting with my most prized fashion possessions, regardless of whether I have worn them in years. I go through the “but what if I want to wear it someday” mental “tete-a-tete” on a regular basis… Now here is the thing, I never end up wearing it and neither will you!!!
Here are some simple rules to live by… If you haven’t worn it for a full fashion calendar (two falls or two springs in a row), it will languish in your closet into perpetuity. If it has sentimental value, perhaps some painfully ugly sweater your ex gave you, trust me, it is time to let go! Look at his or her picture instead, but don’t give up valuable closet space to house emotional baggage. Wouldn’t you rather fill it with new “baggage” instead? If it seems painfully out-of-date, then it probably is. Yes, fashion from other eras is constantly being reintroduced and reinvented, but some fashion moments just don’t need to be resurrected. Look, I am an 80’s child, and I have affectionate memories of Madonna and Pat Benetar-inspired “costumes”, but I promise that although they still serve to be powerful design influences, the real thing is best preserved in the mind’s eye. Finally, get rid of anything overly trendy. Denim can be a good example… Although it seems like a classic item, the wrong jean silhouette will scream out-of-date!
OK, so what should you keep? Don’t part with timeless pieces if they are still in good condition. Good condition means no visible stains, snags, seam pulls, over-pressing marks, etc. Don’t try to convince yourself that no one will notice, as someone will. Wearing damaged goods, chinks away at your personal brand armor, so pay attention to those small details. What makes something timeless? If something is simple, a neutral color, has clean lines, it can be savored as a go-to for years. Best examples for women are the LBD (little black dress), pencil and simple mini skirts, white blouses, cashmere cardigans, a great trench coat, classic flat front trousers (any leg width) and a fitted jacket. These items sound oh-so-boring, but they are quintessential items that not only build a wardrobe, but serve as the base for all fashion experimentation. They should always be replaced as needed…no closet should be without!
Keep special pieces and style builders… They items provide the punch to any wardrobe and although may come and go with trends, in my world they are always relevant and are the source for experimentation and change. Some of my favorite “keeps” are anything sequined, leather regardless of the silhouette, handbags (only if they are in great condition), an amazing print dress, costume jewelry, great boots (I still adore my Chloe boots from two seasons ago) and lace. Everything else should usually go.
Hopefully, you will decide to give the old closet purge a try. If it is just too painful for you, find someone like me to help. Give everything that you don’t keep away. My favorite charity is actually called “Bottomless Closet”…how appropriate?
It is the first workforce development organization of its kind, to address the compelling need for services that would increase the potential for low-income women or those on assistance to achieve economic self-sufficiency. Their main focus is to assist women in the greater New York metropolitan area get back on their feet and to work again; taking women who have been job trained and dress them for economic success; helping them get off welfare and stay off welfare through job retention training and provide the ability to obtain appropriate clothing for work. Job readiness, combined with self-confidence in one's appearance, allows women to focus on learning their jobs, keeping their jobs and advancing to a higher career level and paying positions. Your old clothes will be donated to these women and will be given a chance to be truly appreciated rather than collecting dust in your closet.
Purge, eliminate, streamline and donate! You will feel lighter, you will feel fulfilled and you will feel great about yourself!!!