Fall Closet Sweep:

What to Toss, What to Keep

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by Sharon Mosley

Out with the old; in with the new. It’s time to do a closet sweep before a new fashion season is upon us. As the crisp cool days of fall begin to seep in, and before you hit the stores to stock your wardrobe for the holidays, take a hard look at what’s in your closet now. Then start getting organized. 

Keep classics in your closet to wear this fall.

Here’s a list of what to toss. (Of course, if your clothes are still in good shape, consider giving them to charity or selling them on consignment.) 

Anything that has passed its prime. Fashion trends may tend to recycle, but by the time a fad comes around again, it usually has been updated for a new audience and you can tell if you’re still wearing those faded flare jeans you’ve held onto from high school. Toss them.

Anything that doesn’t fit. Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer, but many of us tend to think that we really will lose those extra 10 pounds at some point in the near future and we will fit right back into that little leather jacket we spent way too much money on just a few years ago. Toss it.

Anything that doesn’t flatter your body type. I’ll admit it, I have some clothes in my closet that actually fit my apple-shaped figure, but admittedly they are not the most flattering silhouettes. Cropped jackets, anyone? I have recycled some shorter jackets by layering longer tanks and camisoles underneath them. But if you’re petite and hanging onto those capri pants that make your legs look like a potted plant from the garden center, toss them. 

Anything weary and worn. Oh my. We may have loved those white linen pants from years ago, but after many dry cleanings, they’ve gotten down and dirty. Ditto for old swimsuits, shiny suits, pilled sweaters, baggy workout wear, grody sneakers, etc. Just toss them! These are only good for the trash pile!.

Anything with bad karma. OK, most of us have had our “bad” fashion moments. Maybe you made a mistake, and bought that maxi skirt that just weighs you down. It may “fit,” but when you wear it, it just doesn’t look like it did on the model in the fall fashion photo spread. It makes you feel bad. Toss it. Then add something in a new fall color that makes you smile.

What to Keep

Anything classic. A black sheath dress, a tailored pair of trousers, a cashmere turtleneck, a well-cut tuxedo jacket, a trench coat, an embroidered tunic—these are all classic shapes and styles that you can wear for years if you keep them in good condition. They will balance out those “trendy” things you may add each season and give you plenty of quality “basics” to build your wardrobe. These are the pieces you spend a little bit more money on. Keep them. 

Anything with a status print. Prints and patterns can be tricky to wear, but if you’ve invested in a timeless print then they will more than likely increase in value and style. Think Hermes or Pucci silk scarves. But there are other prints that keep their fashion value: leopard, houndstooth, Buffalo plaids and polka dots, especially in black and white. Keep them.

Anything vintage with a designer label. If you’re lucky enough to have inherited a Chanel jacket or scored a Mary Quant ‘60s dress or Halston knit in an online auction, then keep these special pieces ...forever. Ditto for accessories such as vintage designer handbags, shoes and jewelry. Add these vintage pieces to a modern wardrobe for a unique, one-of-a-kind look that never goes out of style

Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association. Thakoon for DesigNation floral tunic and ponte leggings are available now at Kohl’s. 

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