Ditch These in your Next Closet Clean Out to Look Younger
By Franki Hanke
Between changing weather and the approaching new year, it’s time for a closet clean out.
Between gifts and seasonal sales, you’re sure to collect something new in the next month. Now is the perfect time to address your long overdue closet clean out before New Year’s is upon us.
Steps to an Effective Closet Clean Out
Pull everything out.
It’s easier to judge items when they are already out. Plus, you can re-organize when you add them back in. Pile things up on the bed and get to work!
To keep it from being too much at once, pull things out in sections. For example, start with a chest of drawers first. Then, come back and repeat for your closet.
Fast-track your closet favorites.
The items you wore this week and constantly re-wear, pull them out of the pile. You already know you’re keeping those.
Identify what you haven’t worn.
Once you separated your for-sure favorites, pull out the items you know you haven’t worn. For each one consider…
→ Does it still fit? Do you like how it fits?
→ Does it style with an item from your favorites pile? How?
→ Is it a special occasion item that you haven’t needed to wear?
Try on any items you’re unsure of. If they fit still, but you haven’t worn them, try styling them with items you know you like. This is an opportunity to turn to current fashion trends for inspiration.
Experiment and try to find ways to use this item. If you can come up with outfits you like and are excited to wear now, consider keeping the item. This will give you an opportunity, with new ideas, to actually wear it.
If you can’t do this, sell, donate, or dispose of the item depending on wear.
As you consider your clothing, compare similar items. If you own two leather jackets, are they different enough from each other to need both? What outfits are fit for one, but not the other?
For any items that are so similar they work interchangeably, keep only the one you find more comfortable, flattering, or simply like better.
The only reason to keep near-duplicates is for items you wear so often you need more than one: gym leggings, white-button down tops for work, or t-shirts. Those items you wear likely daily and need more than once in a wash cycle.
Comparatively, you likely don’t need multiple blazers in the same color!
Some items you might not love, but might need for certain uses. For me, high heels are rarely on my feet, but if I donated my one good pair, I’d be stuck next time someone invites me to a black-tie event.
For items that serve a specific function, give yourself just a little leeway to keep them (at least until you find a replacement you do love).
Question your sentimentality.
We all have an item we hold onto no matter what. Maybe it’s an a-line LBD that you wore to your friend’s engagement? Or that cardigan that survived from college?
Ask yourself if you’re keeping the item because you actually like it or if you just feel guilty about getting rid of it. Remember that you can pass on the item without losing the memories of that time. In fact, it can be special to give those items on for a new chapter in their story.
If you really want to keep a sentimental item, consider moving it to a memento box rather than letting it clutter up your closet.
Consider hosting a clothing swap.
Sometimes it’s easier to let go of clothes if we see them going to a friend. Invite over your gals and let them go through your maybe and donate pile to find items they might wear more than you ever did!
Does Age Matter?
Short answer? No.
The long answer is that usually the “problems” people spot older women’s fashion faux-pas are not from their age, but rather from poor fit, incohesive personal style, and overly trendy outfits that don’t reflect their personality or that they don’t look or feel confident in. Research has even linked tailored items with higher self-impressions. There are no real “age-appropriate” limitations on what you wear.
Rather than worry about what clothes work for what age, ask…
→ How does wearing this make me feel?
→ How does this piece fit my body?
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→ How does this piece fit my personality?
→ How does this piece work with my other clothing to create my style?
Well-fitting clothes that fit your body type and a well-defined personal style transcend age and trends. If you look sure of yourself in an outfit, people will assume you’re rocking just what you want to be.
What if I don’t want to “look older?”
It’s absolutely fair to want to communicate a fresher look with your clothes. Aim to balance between current trends and timeless shapes.
Experiment with current trends.
For example, right now, skinny jeans are seeing a low point in popularity. Mom jeans, jeans with a looser fit through the waist and thighs, are having a moment in the spotlight. If you’re in need of a new pair of jeans, try out a pair of high-rise, looser-fitting jeans to embrace the current trend in denim.
Finding which current trends flatter your shape and fit your personal style can bring “youth” and current perspective for your fashion without overtaking your own style.
Opt for “classy.”
While we argue about high-waisted versus low-rise jeans, there are items that are always safe bets. The most popular example is the little black dress, but there are dozens of timeless outfits that we see re-imagined through trends over and over.
→ Button-Up Shirt & Bootcut or Wide Leg Trousers
→ Jeans & A White T-Shirt
→ Turtleneck & Trousers
→ A White Button-Up Shirt & Sweater & Jeans
The core to all these outfits is fit and balance.
The cut of jeans may change, but an outfit with any fit will look finished if there’s a balanced silhouette. For larger pieces, balance them out with a tighter opposing fit, a belted waist, or a tuck.
In the same way, balance necklines. For deeper necklines, balance out the skin showing with more modest coverage on the bottom. For a slitted skirt, balance out with more coverage up top.
Be confident in your choices.
If you love a piece, wear it. Confidence is the timeless accessory. Whether that’s elevated suede shoes or funky colored scrunchies, if you create outfits around the pieces you love, you’ll exude that excitement when you wear them.
Until Your Next Closet Clean Out
To minimize the amount of turnover in your closet, be more mindful with your purchases.
Consider how versatile each item you buy is. Experiment with it to see how layering can change the styling. Items that can be worn more ways add more to your closet than items you can only wear one way.
Shop with outfits in mind.
Rather than shopping piece by piece, shop for outfits. Consider what you currently have and how any new pieces will create new outfit opportunities.
Rather than having one summer wardrobe and an entirely different winter wardrobe, try to winterize outfits as able. You’ll likely still have a tote of swimsuits and sleeveless tops to store over the winter (and a pile of sweaters for summer), but winterizing where you can extends the uses of your items.
→ If you love mini skirts in the summer, add a cute pair of tights for warmth.
→ Layer a shirtdress over leather-look leggings.
→ Add a sweater overtop of your beautiful dress (and style it like a skirt)
→ Use boots instead of heels for that pencil skirt or other long skirt.
Consult a stylist.
If you struggle to use the items in your closet to their full potential, consider consulting a stylist. Once you know the ways to pair items, it’s easier to find excitement in the same items again.
A closet clean out where you discard all your tight-fitting jeans and outdated colors won’t automatically make you look younger but finding the clothes that fit and feel the best will. If you want some more guidance in fashion, continue reading our fashion articles.
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