Suddenly it’s summer. Bad news: Despite owning well over 3 billion garments, I’ve got nothing to wear. Good news: I finally figured out how to curate my closet. It’s a cliché that we live in a throwaway culture, but this has always struck me particularly hard; maybe because I’m a Londoner, from a family of World War II refugees, so “make do and mend” is in the blood. But (cf. the 3 billion garments), I’m also a voracious hunter and collector. So, how to reconcile the fashion-led impulse to consume with (a) the desire not to waste resources, and (b) a city-sized mini closet space? If you too suffer the clothing confusion of the season switch, here are my 10 rules for culling your closet.
RULES TO LIVE BY
1. Haven’t worn it for one year? No, do not throw it out. You used to like it, you will like it again. If you lose it, you’ll remember it suddenly and grieve.
2. The exception to rule #1: If you wore it to death, you probably can’t look it in the eye again. You may now pass it on.
3. Not worn for two-plus years? Ask yourself why. If it’s not this season style-wise, but you like it, keep. If it never really suited you (three or fewer lifetime outings), pass it on.
4. It’s Celine/Marni/Lanvin/Chanel…keep if you’re still in love, give it up if you’re not. This is why I founded my haute-swap site ReFashioner, so you can give the good stuff away and get equally fancy stuff back.
5. The ratty T-shirt department: Be careful. There’s nothing finer than a worn-in staple. If you have them at all (put-together girls will not), keep. New tees are no substitute.
6. The four-foot stack of slightly wrong tops (or is that just me?) Be ruthless. Goodwill, ReFashioner, or remake. That means cleaning cloths, lavender bags, clothing experiments, you name it…
8. Really can’t decide? Keep it (see Rule #1). I allow myself one large Space Bag per season. They squash down to nothing, and make me feel secure. Repeat next year.
9. Pants. Make cutoffs. Hem them and hit this season’s city shorts trend.
10. Edited down to your capsule? Identify key missing piece, and—yes, I’m biased, but—join ReFashioner! Where five not-quite-right Marni, vintage, Lanvin pieces (my personal cull victims) equals a Bottega purse, Balenciaga sandal, Philip Lim skirt, and Diane von Furstenberg frock.
Happy culling season and God speed!