Clearing the Clutter

Cable knit sweaters, tall boots, and layered looks…ahhh the
wonderful wardrobe options that fall and my fashion Bibles Elle, Bazaar, and
Vogue September issues bring!  Most of us
are constantly adding new pieces of clothing to our closets but how often do we
weed through the used and abused and remove them from the masses?

It’s time to rid of the old to make room for the new.  Since we all don’t have Madonna sized walk-in closets, I believe that twice a year, it is necessary to spend a few hours with your closeted loved ones and bid farewell to the misfits and well worn that might have overstayed their welcome.

While watching the Today Show last week, fashion expert and author of I Have Nothing to Wear, Jill Martin suggested that women search through their belongings and dispose of at least 75% of their wardrobe. 75%!!!
For those of you who might be secret closet hoarders, 75% is probably a
good suggestion and necessary amount; however, I thought about what my closet
would look like if I disposed that much of it and found her suggestion to be
too much for me.  Jill stated that there is a bonus of eliminating such a large amount of clothing. With all that you part with, you are then, able to restock with fresh, in-season merchandise!  My sensibility started to kick in at that moment when I thought about just how much money restocking my only 25% full closet would be.  And truth be told, I don’t dislike, don’t use, or really need to rid of ¾ of my look. Therefore, in my opinion, an average individual who cleans their closet at least once a year, need only to recycle anywhere from 25%-50% of closet (the percentage decreases the more you clear the clutter).

Now on to the de-cluttering…

We all tend to develop sentimental attachment to our clothing (i.e. why some women spend obscene amounts of money on their wedding dress). This is mainly due to the memories we have when we’re wearing them whether it be numerous compliments on how great you look in a particular shirt or heartwarming flashback you have when you step into an old pair of jeans.  Nevertheless there will come a time when it doesn’t fit properly anymore or has been “loved” so much that it needs to be retired.

This week while cleaning out my own belongings, I found it difficult to make cut throat decisions on whether or not to discard of some items. So, I created 3 little piles; a pile for keepers, a pile for those leaving my closet for good, and a pile for the things that I was undecided on.  I found that by putting these things in a
separate pile allowed me to think it over again and really focus my attention
on what needed to stay and what needed to go.  There comes a time when you’re going to really contemplate on giving something away but it’s important to take a step back and be honest with yourself. Are you really going to wear that shirt again? Or did you just pay too much for it, only wear it once, and therefore don’t want to let it go? Cut your losses and clear up some space.

Some basic rules to go by:

1.  If you haven’t worn it in a year or more – it’s time to bid it adieu.  Face the harsh reality that as much as you love the garment, it can be better appreciated by someone else.

2. If it’s stained, holy, or torn – toss it in the “Bye bye” bag.  We’ve all bought items that were one triple clearance because of a tiny hole we knew we could fix with a needle and thread; however, if it hasn’t been fixed yet, or has a stain that is irremovable, get rid of it!

3. If it has had a well worn life, and you can visibly see that – give it a purple heart for bravery and let go. This goes for shoes as well. I once kept around a pair of heels that I wore more times than I can remember but none of which were in the past few years. After looking at their sad soles, I reminisced about the good times we shared and gently put them in the donate pile.

After you have your 3 piles narrowed down to 2 (keepers and those who didn’t make the cut) it’s time to pack them in your car and rid them from your house for good.  There are a few different options you can do with the items you’re giving up.  As always, you can take them to the nearest Goodwill or Salvation Army and donate your wonderful things so that others may enjoy them at ridiculously low prices, you can donate them to your best friends for free, or you can take your lightly worn items that are still in very good shape to a local consignment shop where they will then re-sell them and you reap a percentage of the profits!  The last option won’t give you enough money to re-stock your closet with the goods now gone, but it will help in mending the pain of them leaving your home forever (and support a new pair of jeans, most likely, which also helps).

So get to it! Spend one afternoon de-cluttering your closet and your life and prepare yourself for the wonderfully bulky sweaters, chic hats, and fashionable coats for fall!

Mod Fever

If I were to ask you what you thought of when I mention the 1960’s, what would you say?  Perhaps Martin Luther King Jr., the first moon landing, and Vietnam? Or would you think more about the pop culture surrounding the time such as the Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy craze, classic cars, and rock n’ roll?

Well, this fall you might be seeing a bit of the swinging sixties in stores with mod dresses making a popular comeback.  Fashion in the sixties was innovative, creative, bold, and brash, but it wasn’t our American celebrities that were setting the trends. No, sixties fashion belonged to, my favorite city, London, England.  Just as politics ushered in an attitude of “anything goes” fashion was breaking all the rules with influences from The Beatles and Mary Quant.  Now, I’m sure most of you know who The Beatles are (and if you don’t, shame on you) but some of you might be oblivious to who Mary Quant is.

Mary Quant is a British designer born in 1934 who, almost solely, was responsible for popularizing the sixties trends, including the miniskirt.  It was her instant success that made other, more cautious, designers re-think their designs and how it would appeal to the now, important youth market who set trends on fire.

Even today, we are seeing designers and businesses such as Derek Lam and Target re-invent their clothing lines or add a new line to their brand name such as Pendleton’s, The Portland Collection, to appeal to a more contemporary market.

Just as the clothing in the sixties was meant to offer a carefree attitude in a time of controversy, I think mod dresses today have the same meaning for 2011.  Mod dresses are easy to wear, comfortable, and can be fashioned several types of ways from pairing them with tights and a blazer to flats and a jean jacket to a turtleneck and boots!  Also, you can find them in tons of different colors and prints. Most popular would be the color blocking pattern of the sixties but also
ones donned with floral sequined patterns. We’re shedding the pastels of spring
and making a bold statement into fall with statement colors like red, black,
and white.

Calvin Klein Fall '11

Victoria Beckham Mod dress

Contemporary mod dress

While the cut has not changed so much, the fabric used for current day shift dresses has.  More and more we are seeing items of clothing, dresses especially, made out of nothing other than…Ponte-knit material! Why, you ask? Because of the comfort and ease of movement this fabric offers.  If I haven’t convinced you yet to step out of your polyester box, run to the store, and purchase a piece of Ponte-something, I’m not sure what else I can do.  Don’t expect this fabric to go away anytime soon.  I feel it is one to stay around for a very long time.

Twiggy in 1966

From Twiggy to Anne Hathaway to Victoria Beckham this dress is a must-have for fall. So, step back into the “modern” ages with a mod shift dress.  Experiment with a new color, pattern, and fabric, and as always, pile on the glam accessories!