In light of the holiday season among us, and instead of falling victim to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday hoopla, I decided to finally do a closet purge and donate all my unwanted clothes. Luckily my office building is doing a clothing/toy drive, and I imagine many are this time of year. I also plan on donating some of my more business appropriate clothing & shoes to the local Dress for Success affiliate in West LA.
To take a step back – I was inspired to go through with my own closet cleanout after reading a style essay in ELLE recounting one woman’s attempt to embrace her thirties. Her mission was simply to clean out all the clothes she had held onto in a desperate attempt to stay young. I suddenly realized that I had been doing the same thing – holding onto clothes that had sentimental value, drumming up memories of my college years or shopping trips in NYC. So one night, I went from rack to rack and shelf to shelf, tossing clothes into bags one after another. I have to admit, it felt damn good – like I was finally going to be free of the past and heading towards being a real thirty-something adult.
If you’re feeling so inclined to have your own closet cleanse, I’ve laid out a fool-proof guide below that lists what I like to call “Closet Offenders” (you know who you are). So go ahead, bite the bullet – I promise it will only hurt a little…ok, maybe a lot.
Exhibit A: The “Mystery Material” Sweater
You totally have this sweater don’t you? The one you impulsively bought from that teeny bopper store, that feels more like cat hair than an actual material that should be worn on your body. Not to mention it balls up something terrible – need I go on?
Exhibit B: The “Maybe They Won’t Notice” Blouse
We’ve all been there – you just bought a new blouse, and you snag it on something stupid the first day wearing it. I know the inner struggle, asking yourself whether or not people would actually see the white line all the way down the middle. Let me help you answer that – they will, and just don’t.
Exhibit C: The “Not So Forever 21 Anymore” Buy
Yep, I do it too. You see a trend and think – oh I’ll just go spend a few bucks on a Forever 21 version of that hi-lo skirt everyone keeps debating about. Then it just sits in your closet, as if only spending 10 bucks on something makes it any less ridiculous to hold onto it “just in case it comes back in style”.
Exhibit D: The “Just in Case You Forgot I’m Italian” Shirt
Ok, so maybe I’m the only one who went through a “I’m Italian and proud” phase in college. But that’s just the thing – it was colleeeeege. Now, go forgive yourself for the poor choice in style, and buy a cute t-shirt like this “ciao bella” one from Banana Republic instead. It’s subtle and stylish, and goes great with a “big girl” moto jacket from All Saints.
Exhibit E: The “Quirky Anthropologie Patterned” Top
Believe me, I know how hard it is to not stock up on tops like these every time you pass an Anthropologie sale, but that’s how I got myself in this mess to begin with. Bottom line, just say no. You’re money is better spent saving up for one of their seasonal dress collections, that you’ll be sure to wear to all those holiday parties coming up.
Exhibit F: The “Once Upon a Time” Favorite
This is a tough one for me, and I’m sure it will be for you too. We all have that one top, or maybe it’s a dress or skirt, that we bought at that cute boutique in that town we don’t live in anymore. This particular one I vividly remember loving it so much that I wore it every chance I could get…when I was, wait for it…24. If it’s going on 10 years – it’s past its prime and time to move on. Think of all the cool and fun tops out there just waiting to be your next “new favorite”. And yes, I talk to my clothes like they are my friends – you don’t?
Exhibit G: The “I’m Gonna Squeeze My %$** Into These One Day” Denim
Now, I’m not against having that one killer pair of “skinny jeans” that motivates you to work out, or not eat that last piece of pumpkin pie or what have you. You know I’m talking about that faded pair of “I don’t know what fit these are” jeans. Except, that’s it – they don’t fit! Just toss ’em honey – there are plenty more where that came from…oh, and I’m not even gonna comment on that denim mini-skirt you just happen to keep sneaking back into the “keep” pile. I see you.
Exhibit H: The “Agency Freebie” Sweatshirt
Ok, so maybe I’m the only one with these – but we used to get like one a week when I worked on the ad agency side. I’m not even kidding – these are like 2 of 200. I mean, I like Lifetime as much as the next girl (not really, but just go with it) – but seriously, do I need to have it monogrammed across my chest? I’ll let you answer that one for yourself…
Exhibit I: The “Not Really Pajamas” Velour Tracksuit
Now you know I saved this one for last for a reason. This puppy has traveled with me from coast to coast, and let me tell you – it’s hard to get rid of something with that much stamina. Seriously, if NASA’s looking for some new space-age material to build spacesuits out of, velour is the ticket man. Ok, I digress. Truth is, as much respect as I have for it, and as many times as I tell myself that “I’m only keeping the pants as pajamas” – velour should have been left behind in the 70s where it belongs. Never – again.