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What’s in and what’s out

Laura A. Ball
Special to the Daily Cassie's closet after, with a lot more room for new spring items.
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My editor calls me. She needs my help. Her wardrobe is looking grim. “Out with the old, in with the new,” I tell her. “We’ll begin with what’s in your closet.” Call it spring cleaning. Call it a makeover. When you’re done, you’ll be looking and feeling fabulous and free, and ready to purchase anew with the knowledge of what you really must have to make your wardrobe complete. But first, grab a friend, preferably someone you trust and whose style you admire. Cleaning out your closet is a lot like shopping; Sometimes you need a second opinion. So, on Wednesday, we skipped out of the office into the sunny afternoon and headed straight for her closet. We opened up the glass doors to her balcony to let in spring and went to work. “I become emotionally attached to some of my clothes,” Cassie says, surveying her closet.

Precisely why you need someone to justify your decisions of holding on or letting go.Step 1: Throw open your closet, pull out your drawers, expose anywhere else you’re clothes may be hiding. Examine your wardrobe by season. Decide what you need to put away from your winter wear and exchange for warmer weather. She pulls out a huge stack of sweaters from the top shelf. One by one, she holds them up.”You can only wear this on Christmas Day, I mean, come on. This is going,” she says, referring to a peach snowflake cashmere sweater from her soon-to-be mother-in-law.

Can you say eBay?Step 2: Trust your gut. Ask yourself these questions when deciding what to get rid of and what to keep.When was the last time you wore it? If you haven’t worn it, why not? Too big? Too small? Too uncomfortable? An unflattering color? Ripped or stained? Outdated? If you haven’t worn it in a year and the answer is yes to any of these questions, put it in the “out” pile.I could tell by Cassie’s quick eye-rolling what she didn’t want. If your first instinct is no, I say toss it.



If you’re not sure, put it in the maybe pile. Cassie had a long, black sweater coat from her college years. It’s still in good shape, but it’s not exactly stylish. Toss it. Burnt orange cable-knit sweater, bad color, toss it. J Crew boxy camel-colored V-neck sweater, she hasn’t worn in 5 years. Toss it.”This I’ve saved for the sole purpose that I might be invited to a luau,” Cassie says, tossing a flowery halter into the “out” pile.Pay attention to what you’re getting rid of so that you don’t make the same mistakes the next time you’re adding to your wardrobe. There were an abundance of turtleneck sweaters in the pile.”How many turtleneck sweaters does one person need?” she laughed.Step 3: Take note. As you’re rotating your wardrobe, Are you lacking winter slacks? Do you have too many cardigans? Is there any spring/summer item lacking or perhaps a trendy item you might want to add. Do you have any white lace? A sparkly beaded belt? What about some embellished wedges? Speaking of sandals, check the life left in your shoes, too.

Hit spring shopping and the winter sales armed with the knowledge of what you need. And what you don’t. As her closet shrank and the out pile grew, we made of list of what she needed:- A few classic black tops, including a cardigan- A few classic white tops, including a cardigan- Basic shelf-bra tanks- Extra long tanks for layering



– Well-fitting jeans- Tailored trousers- Shoes and boots – Long necklaces and a few bold jewelry piecesDon’t forget to go through your socks, undies, camisoles, white tees. Get rid of your less than perfect basics that won’t break the bank. Throw out socks that are ripped, stained T-shirts, etc. Be thorough. Give it gusto. You only spring-clean once a year.

Remember to take stock of the clothes you are keeping, too. Think about new ways you can put the items together to make new ensembles. Cleaning out your closet is an easy way to make life a little easier and you might even learn a thing or two about your style. Cassie had a revelation about layering. She labeled shirts she doesn’t wear because they’re too short, determining that she would look for longer, fitted tops to go with. Step 4: So clean. This is a great time to make a pile to take to the cleaners, whether it’s a cashmere sweater you’ve worn all winter or your favorite flirty summer dress. You’ll be loving it the next time you pick it up to put on and realize it’s actually clean. Take the time to launder at home. Make a pile for hand-wash items and machine wash items that need to be freshened up after lying dormant all winter.

Step 5: What to do with what you’re tossing. If it’s stained or ripped, toss it. If they’re in good condition but maybe not so fashionable as it used to be, give them to charity. The Thrifty Shoppe always has room for more. You could also throw them into the yard sale heap. If they’re still in tip-top shape and still in style, you could make some extra cash by selling them to a consignment shop like Ritzy Recalls in Eagle-Vail or Holy Toledo in Minturn. When you’re done with your cathartic closet experience, reward yourself with shopping.Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14641, or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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