With spring quickly approaching, it’s time to consider minimizing your closet, which comes in several forms: first, throwing out the unnecessary items you no longer need, and second, training yourself to recognize the things you need to stop buying, like, now. Well, if we’re being real, the first step is recognizing you have a problem. Solutions come after. Say it with me: My closet needs refining. So let’s get started.
I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve pinned to my Pinterest board of clean, minimalist closets. You know which one’s I’m talking about: The industrial, steel clothing racks with matching hangers, presenting six or seven flawless pieces, and drawers of impeccably folded denim and sweaters below it. And I always tell myself: This is the month that we’re going to organize.
But once I do open up my closet and look at the items hanging, folded, and if I’m being honest, crumpled on the floor, sentiment comes flooding in. That fugly patterned dress that my grandma made me — how can I throw that out? Or the t-shirt that my sister made me when I got my wisdom teeth out? Can’t toss that. She drew butterflies on it, for God’s sake!
After getting over the initial hump of guilt, it’s time to get your purge on. Throw that ish out, you don’t need it. But as I said before, the solution is two-fold: Now comes the “not buying sh*t I don’t need anymore” part. Temptation is strong, believe me, but next time you’re out shopping on a Saturday, remember these rules.
1. The "On Sale" Tank
You’ve caught me. I’m guilty. Guilty of walking into a fast-fashion store, picking up a $7 flowy plain tank, and heading to the register, telling myself, “I’ll wear this to the pool or the beach, or just when I’m lounging around!” I (and you) are not kidding anyone. That tank top is going to sit in your closet, because you’re going to want to wear something so much cooler to the beach.
2. Cheap, No Good Tights
I have a love/hate relationship with tights. On one hand, they let me wear skirts and dresses all year long, because sometimes (all the time), I don’t feel like putting pants on. Tights means that on New Year's Eve and girls night out, I don’t have to be shivering all night long. But on the other, after one wear, they somehow get a hole in them, no matter what you do. So, while I’m a lover of 3 for $12 tights, you might want to consider splurging on a more expensive pair. Ones that’ll actually last you two or three seasons.
3. Costume Jewelry
Listen, I love a statement necklace as much as the next gal. I’m a sucker for accessories, but when they overpower your whole outfit, it’s not a good sign. Instead of going for the costume-like jewelry, it’s time to invest in some minimal, classic pieces that will literally never go out of style. Sure, they might cost you more money now, but they’ll last you a lifetime.
4. The Ultra Cheap Bag
Disclaimer: Most of the leather items in my closet are faux leather, so no, I’m not supporting the use of only real leather. Where I stand against is the faux leather lining that only looks like leather, but actually peels off. I commute to work, which means my bag gets bumped, scratched, and pretty much disrespected everyday.
If you’ve got the means, go for a quality leather or faux leather bag that can not only hold a ton of stuff, but can also take a considerable amount of weight. But if you can’t splurge and instead need to skimp, a canvas tote works just as well, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
5. The Ill-Fitting, "I Just Need These For Work" Pants
We’ve all had our first job interview. Aside from the nerves of having clammy hands, stammering, or giving the wrong answer, one of our biggest worries is how we’re dressed. And if you were broke like me, fresh out of college, you probably bought the cheapest pair of black trousers you could find. Problem is, they probably don’t fit you properly.
I’m putting my foot down. It’s time to stop buying things for your “work” ensembles, and start thinking of your closet as a seven day revolving door of a wardrobe. What if you actually did love the way your black trousers fit? Wouldn’t that mean you’d wear them out, too?
Side note: A good tailor works wonders.
6. “It” Pieces
Here’s the thing about trends: They come, and subsequently, they go. There’s a reason classics are a thing, they never go out of style! And while some trends will stand the test of time (lookin’ at you, skinny jeans and white tennis shoes), others will simply fall by the wayside.
Case in point: The sneaker wedge. Back in 2012, this was hot sh*t. Every fashion blogger had these, and you weren’t quite part of the fashion crowd until you got your own pair. Blame it on Isabel Marant for popularizing these bad boys. Fast forward a few years later, and they’re practically obsolete. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw a pair was over a year ago.
But look, if you really love an item, and will wear it like crazy, go ahead and splurge. Just remember — not everything stays in style.
7. Sky High Stilettos
Unless you happen to have the luxury of being driven, taking Ubers, or taking cabs everywhere, I would highly suggest holding off on purchasing even more super high stilettos. I also want to give a brief shout out to the resurgence of the kitten heel. My feet thank you.
Why is it that there’s this concept that the more uncomfortable an item is, the better it looks? I say we take that down. There are a hell of a lot of shoes that feel much more comfortable than stilettos, but still look equally as cute, if not trendier. Chunky heels are all the rage right now. Let’s embrace that.
8. A Thousand Pairs Of “Cheap” Sunnies
On my first trip to New York City as a teenager, I was in awe of the street vendors selling plastic sunglasses for $5 a pop. Are you serious? You mean to say with just $20, I could buy four awesome pairs of sunnies? Bring it on.
Fast forward to a few months later — all but one had fallen apart on me. Whether it was paint chipping, a screw literally just falling out, or the lenses getting scratched up in my bag, they were all useless. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I took that $20, saved another $20, and bought a sturdier, trustier pair? For sure.
9. The Over-Printed Piece
These days, I try to avoid items with too crazy of a pattern. Yes, I love florals, and yes, I love stripes. That being said, let’s not go crazy. When you’re looking for, let’s say, a winter coat, while the Houndstooth red and black coat looks super cute for now, will it continue to, two, three years from now? For some, yes. For others, not so much. Perhaps going for a solid color, or a pattern that’s super subtle, like speckled wool, might work best. Plus, it’ll go with more things in your closet.
Have you memorized this list yet? Print it out, laminate it, get it tattooed. You could also just buy whatever you want! But if you are looking for some guidance on how to filter through your closet and come up with a sort of uniform that works for you, all seven days of the week, this is a good place to start.
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