We have more clothes than our closets have room for, and yet getting dressed in the morning is always a frenzy of trying on and flinging off. In principle, we all agree that quality, not quantity, is the key to a smart woman’s closet. Open the bulging door, however, and “more is more” seems to be the operating standard.
Celebrity stylist Monica Schweiger, who has worked with such stars as Debra Messing, Gwen Stefani and Mandy Moore, believes that a well-edited closet will cut down on morning stress and make you a better dresser. “With closets and drawers bursting at the seams, it can be more difficult to find something to wear,” says Schweiger. “But when there is space to actually see your clothing and accessories, it gives you the opportunity for creativity.”
Identify and evict your wardrobe’s deadwood with these tips:
Main squeeze We cling too much to clothes that cling too much to us. Not only do we believe we’ll eventually fit into that slinky dress once again, we even buy new too-tight items as an advance reward for future weight loss. Weight may fluctuate, but the solution to the sausage-casing problem is clear-cut: Ditch the blouses with buttons that gape. Ditto for those trousers with the too-snug crotch, and jackets that whisker too much in the armholes.
Yesterday’s news Let’s say you’re lucky enough to wriggle into garments from a decade ago. If the miniskirt fits, wear it, right? Wrong, most of the time. If you’re no longer club hopping or attending karate class, you need to dispose of the leather pants and martial arts whites. On borderline cases, seek a second opinion. Invite a friend over to give you tough-love advice on what still works on you.
The frivolous frock Inexpensive garments from fast-fashion shops are easy to part with after a season or two, but what about the teddy bear print designer dress that you splurged on? Put up for sale any designer piece of clothing that you haven’t worn in a year, on an auction site like eBay. This tough bottom line will benefit your bottom line since brand-name labels fetch a premium price.
The sentimental keepsake You turn a blind eye to the hand-knit sweater squatting in your chest of drawers. It was a gift. It was what you were wearing when you met your boyfriend. It’s a family heirloom. The reality is that while provenance is important for artifacts on “Antiques Roadshow,” it is not a reason to harbor a moth-eaten pullover. As long as you have worn the “cherished” piece one time for your friend/boyfriend/relative to see, you’re home-free. Let it go.
Ladies in waiting You’re savvy enough to recognize that fashion is cyclical, so why let go of anything that may make a comeback in, oh, a decade or two? After all, aren’t the neon colors and slouchy boots of the 1980s hot again? True, but style revivals always bear an update. Marc Jacobs’ new line of ’80s getups for fall looks current; the power suit with lumpy shoulder pads from your attic most decidedly does not. Solution: Allot yourself one head-to-toe look of your favorite retro pieces.
Logo OD The college sweatshirt says you love your alma mater. The swim team jacket hints at your athleticism. Clothes make the woman, but it should be the cut and materials of your clothing -- not the advertising plastered on it -- that telegraph who you are. Eliminate any item with a graphic bigger than your fist; keep the rest strictly for runs to the mailbox or corner market.