Spring Fashion: Closet Refresh
Photos by Tessa Berg
The arrival of spring means those lust-worthy items that debuted on fall runways have finally hit stores. It’s a joyous time when sweaters and boots get buried in the closet to make way for lighter threads.
Before you commence the great annual wardrobe purge, we consulted local fashion pros about staple items to salvage from last season, must-buy essentials to keep you on trend and pieces that should find a new home in a bag on its way to a consignment or thrift shop.
Don’t touch those skinny jeans. “Skinny is the new basic of everyone’s wardrobe,” says Elliot Staples, The Limited senior vice president of design. Or try a slim, straight-leg cut for a similar effect.
Anything pastel. Many of these softer shades pair well with the bright colors leftover from last spring and summer, Staples says.
“A hint of animal print is always important,” says Lisa Ermine, designer department head at Saks Fifth Avenue at Polaris Fashion Place. Find a great pair of shoes or a scarf to complete a look.
Leather. Jayjack suggests a leather tank, T-shirt or even a pair of shorts. And if you haven’t already, invest in a classic leather jacket. You’ll wear it for years to come.
Replace a staple black wardrobe item with the same item in navy, Staples says. From a full suit to just a blazer or skirt, navy is a more feminine alternative to basic black. “It’s just as empowering, just as sleek, just as modern, but with a feminine touch,” he says.
Ditch the neon, says Staples. Bright colors are still popular in saturated, muted tones, not the blinding neon of the past.
Toss out your bandage dresses, recommends Jayjack. “It’s a tough style for most women to wear.”
Vintage, burned-out, graphic T-shirts continue to be on-trend for men, says Kevin Van Order of High Street Denim. So hang on to those old Ts. Dress them up with a fitted blazer and dark jeans.
Anything with checks, plaids or vintage stripes is fair wear, Van Order says. “[Men’s shirts] like things that you saw 25, 30 years ago in the way of an Oxford or a railroad stripe.”
Raw denim (untreated denim, stiff when purchased, but becomes softer as it’s worn) is still a mainstay—and one to handle with care. All our pros say it’s a stick-around classic.
Say goodbye to your acid-wash jeans. They may be well-worn and more comfy than anything else in your closet, but the ’90s are long gone. “Dark always sells,” says Van Order, and there’s a reason for that.
“Get rid of boot- cut jeans,” says Eric Hayes, co-owner of Milk Bar in the Short North. If you happen to actually wear boots, Hayes suggests a straight cut. “Straight legs look great all the time, whether it’s a slim straight or a traditional one.”
Embrace the rainbow. Color and patterns are in for men. Just keep it well-balanced, says Tony Mariani, manager of Saks’ men’s department. “For example, if the shirt has a pattern, the tie should have a different pattern or none altogether,” he says, suggesting adding a pocket square. “They should never match the tie directly. Choose a secondary color in the tie for the square or repeat the colors in the tie, just in a different pattern.”
Pick up a pair of non-denim pants, says Van Order, such as twill or linen in a jean cut. They can be dressed up or down, especially earth tones like cream, tan or olive.
Consign or Donate?
Now that you’ve cleared the closet, you’ve got two choices:
Consign if an item has been purchased within the last two years, is a name brand, is still in style and is free of stains or tears. The store will take items it deems sellable, then give you a cut of the final selling price. “We generally sell 85 to 90 percent of the items we do take,” says Chris Swanson, owner of One More Time in Grandview, which will also donate items that can’t be sold to save you the trip. If you don’t have time to run to a consignment shop, call Second Chance, also in Grandview. They offer a free pick-up service.
Donate everything else. Goodwill is committed to recycling all clothes (and we mean all—stains and rips included), and will sell them by the pound to recyclers if they don’t sell on the floor. “We like to say around here, ‘We were green before green was cool,’ ” says Erica Charles, spokeswoman for Goodwill Columbus.
Keep It Clean
After you pare down your closet (finally, a wardrobe of things you will actually wear!), make sure it stays that way. Professional organizer Birdie Brennan shares three ways to keep a closet free of clutter.
“Work with what you naturally do,” Brennan says. If you just kick off your shoes at the end of the day, storing them on a shelf won’t be effective or easy.
Keep a bag in your closet for items you don’t want. “If you put something on and it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t look right, you’ve got a rip, you’ve got a stain, take it off and throw it in the bag,” Brennan says. When the bag’s full, consign or donate the items.
Use clear boxes and bins; if you can see items, you’re more likely to wear them (or remove them if you don’t like them anymore).