Time on your hands? Tackle your closet
Weeks into this safer-at-home way of life and I’m still thinking I’ll tackle my closet.
Maybe this week. No, definitely this week. We moved about 2 ½ years ago and I culled so much from my closet then. Moving in, I had more than two dozen extra hangers. I use those velvety ones. Well, now I have NO extra hangers but plenty of clothes that I haven’t put on once since we moved. Time to get with it.
I wrote this article in January 2019 for the paper's style section. It’s good information from two of the best local experts in the fashion business.
In a perfect world, the closet would be, well, perfect.
Neat and orderly. Only clothes that fit. Full of everything we love, all in great condition.
In real life, it's anything but that for many.
This is as good a time as any to dig into that closet and decide what stays and what goes.
Cindi Shelby, a fixture in the local fashion business for decades, said she always tells women it's not enough just to look at the closet and think a dress, blouse or pair of pants is a keeper, especially if it isn't worn regularly.
“It's exhausting, but you need to put it on,” she said. “It's easy to look at something and think it's fine, but you need to put it on and find out why you haven't been reaching for it.”
Too many times, women tend to save clothes, thinking they'll come back in style. Even if a style comes back around, it's always changed a little bit, she said. Subtle differences often focus around shoulder pads and button hole placement. The changes are just enough that it doesn't have the same look and feel as the new version. Or it no longer fits because bodies change.
She said sometimes an easy alteration can make a garment great again. Sometimes it needed alterations when purchased, and it just never got done.
If there's something in your closet and you're not wearing it or it's on the verge of being a little tired looking or outdated, make yourself wear it the next day, Shelby said. If it's within season, of course. Shelby practices what she suggests. If she can't wait to get home to rip it off, it's no longer welcome in her closet. If she wears it and feels good and confident, it stays.
“If you can't stand it, it's time for it go. It may be old or something that was a mistake. It's better to own up to it and get it out of there,” Shelby said.
“If it's a mistake, I get rid of it. It doesn't make me happy to look at it. Everything in your closet ought to make you happy and happy to wear it. If you stand in your closet — whether you're going to work or an event or a wedding — and you have to stand there for 10 minutes trying to figure out what to wear, you need some help. It's time to purge. It shouldn't take that long.”
For those with a closet full of clothes in varying sizes, it may be time for some tough love.
“It's hard, but I think one should get rid of apparel that is more than just one size smaller if your weight has changed,” said Eden Turrentine, owner of Eden boutique in Paseo.
A size 6 getting back into a size 2 may take a major life change, she said. Why make yourself feel bad with what may be an unrealistic expectation? What's more, by the time you can wear those smaller clothes again, probably you'll be ready for something new, she said.
It's also important to look at the fabrics when evaluating the clothing in your closet. Some fabrics have a short shelf life. Even if you love the fit or color or it's a favorite basic in your wardrobe, get rid of items that develop a sheen from over processing from the cleaners or if the texture of the materials has developed a worn finish or the fabric is fraying, Turrentine said.
“When I buy black denim, I always know that it has a shorter shelf life of looking fresh and crisp, so I buy it accordingly,” she said.
Don't overlook shoes either. Toss those that don't fit even after adding padding or stretching to increase comfort. If your feet don't feel great, you can't exude confidence in them anyway, she said. And keep in mind that feet can spread with age and lifestyle, often requiring you to size up.