Have you checked your closet lately?
The chances are that you have a number of items that you should donate, upcycle or simply get rid of. We’re particularly looking at pieces that are too dated, are in poor condition or don’t fit you well anymore.
If you’ve been pulling out the same old standbys for occasions over a few years, then there’s a real possibility that your clothes are dated. Those pants you’ve kept because “they’ll come back?” They probably won’t…
We all could use a good closet clean-out every now and then, so here’s how to identify items that might have to go:
Signs that it’s time to clear out your closet
Here are a few signs that you need to start cleaning out your closet:
You’re saving it for a trend to make a “comeback”
In short, that trend isn’t coming back. Fashions don’t come back as they originally appeared – designers work to intentionally make changes. Some styles are not currently in vogue, but they may return cyclically with a different twist.
What we’re talking about here are pieces that can be described as “overly trendy.” If you have anything like parachute pants or wallet chains lying around, these fit firmly into the category of “trends that have died” (and should probably stay there).Fashion trends don’t come back as they originally appeared - stop saving that old item! Click To Tweet
It doesn’t fit you well and hasn’t for over a year
A lot of people have items in their closet that they’re saving for “when I lose a few pounds.” If you have pieces that haven’t fit for more than a year, then the chances are you’re just hanging on to far too much stuff.
Perhaps it will fit you again at some point, but in the meantime, how dated has the piece become? For any pieces that you really love, you could get them adjusted with the help of a tailor. If you’re not going to do this, don’t let them hang around any longer.
You have clothing that is no longer in great condition
If you have pieces that are stained or have irreparable damage, there’s no sense in hanging onto them. If you have clothing that needs repairing, either get that done or get rid of it – those pieces become yet more items hanging around for “one day.”
You haven’t worn it for a long time
Do you have a collection of items that you haven’t worn for more than a year? It’s standard advice to say that these should be on the list to get rid of, but that’s not really a hard and fast rule.
For example, you might have items that really are “occasional” wear. Perhaps you live somewhere warm and don’t have many occasions to wear your winter coat. Putting those sorts of things aside, look at your clothing and ask yourself, “would I buy this again?” If not, that’s a good sign to get rid of it.
The clothing no longer fits with what you do
If you’ve had a career change, it’s quite common to have a lot of clothing that fit with whatever you did before. If you used to be a school teacher, but now you’re in a corporate office, there are probably a lot of items in your closet that you won’t wear to work any longer. They’re taking up space and could perhaps be donated.
6 Dated items to ditch
Do you have any of these items still in your closet? These are our top picks to get rid of (along with some tips for what to get instead):
- Pleated pants – OUT. Think of the lumpy, pleated pant look of the 1980s and 1990s. These have long been associated with the more fashion-challenged man. Pleats may face toward the pocket (reverse pleats) or toward the zipper (forward pleats).In any case, they don’t tend to be flattering and iterations in more recent years aren’t a lot better. The problem is that pleats tend to lead to ballooning around groin area and a general appearance of ill-fit.
Double-reverse front pleat pants from the 1990s. Image source
What should you choose instead? Pants with slimmer thighs and narrower bottoms are in, creating a more flattering silhouette. For example, take a look at the Ballin Soho Slim Fit Comfort EZE Wool Pant below:
- Wide shoulders, long jackets and wide lapels – OUT. These also hark back to the 1980s and were the height of fashion then, making an appearance in the office, as well as every show from Miami Vice to Knight Rider.Like the pleated pant, they’re just not flattering. The excess fabric tends to balloon and you can end up with a disproportionate silhouette (excessive shoulders on a narrow body). Besides that, they can actually be a nuisance to wear! Too much fabric leads to snags.
On the left, Don Johnson shows the long, wide shouldered jacket paired with pleated pants on the set of Miami Vice. (NBC, 1985)
Jackets that are shorter with narrower shoulders and a trimmer silhouette are in. This is a wardrobe staple if you need to replace a dated jacket.
- Patterns – most often OUT. The issue with patterns is that they’re cyclical. From one season to the next they will be in, then rapidly out. Logo embroidered trousers are one example – for a while many fashion houses were producing pants covered in their company logo, or with shapes, even pictures. This is the sort of trend we would avoid in the first place – it was never really a good look, anyway.Stripes are less popular, although it depends upon how you are wearing them. “Less is more” is a good rule of thumb.Neat checks and plaids are a lasting popular pattern. Dress shirts can have a pop of interest with a nice check pattern, while plaid is a solid casual wear staple.For now, colors such as brighter blues are in. For example, look at the blue shade in the Peter Millar shirt below:
- Fuller shirts – OUT. Just like those wide jackets and pleated pants, the fuller shirt does not give the wearer a flattering silhouette. Wearing one can risk making you look like you stepped out of a 1990s television police procedural.What is in? You probably guessed it – shirts that are slimmer fit and have a shorter hem.
- Short socks with your dress shoes and trousers – OUT. Wearing a suit with short socks just does not look polished. In an office setting, it looks a bit like you ran out of socks to wear when people can see your calves.On the other hand, socks that are brightly coloured (and long enough to cover the lower part of your calves) are in. We’re not talking Dayglo or fluorescent bright, but a bit of color can add a small amount of interest to an otherwise classic shade of trousers.
- Logo covered clothing – OUT. Many designer labels plastered their logo all over different styles of clothing, but this is one look that doesn’t last the distance. A more subtle look is favored now.
As a final tip, having a few go-to outfits for dress occasions and date nights is essential. If you open your closet and have to stand there wondering how you’re going to assemble an outfit, it’s definitely time to put together a wardrobe you can mix and match!
You don’t need to have an extensive closet, but taking out the clutter and investing in a few essential pieces will save you time, space and potentially money. There’s definitely a lot to be said for streamlining – you can have the confidence that you’re going to look sharp and you get the sense of freedom from a more “minimalist” approach.