Closet makeover

By: Karen Kwinter

Author: Canadian Living


Closet makeover

By: Karen Kwinter

The closet cleanup
Who: Cindy Crean, 44, wife and mother of two.

Background: Cindy used to wear long, loose garments, but over the last five years, she's become more comfortable with a sleek, tailored appearance.

Problem: As a mother and full-time manager of institutional relationships at a large investment company, Cindy is time crunched. She's looking for quick, easy ways to update her wardrobe. Much of her closet does not reflect her style evolution, which makes putting outfits together problematic.

Solution: Streamlining Cindy's wardrobe will make it easier for her to dress the way she wants to without having to spend a fortune on new clothes. Style editors Karen Kwinter and Jessica Slan offer Cindy advice on what to keep, what to throw out, and how to wear what she has so that she looks current and chic.

Closet declutter
•Edit a little at a time. Each month, go through one category -- sweaters, jeans, skirts -- and get rid of pieces you no longer wear. Sorting each section separately will keep you on track and make the task of organizing your wardrobe seem less daunting.

•Try to keep a year-round wardrobe in your closet rather than storing out-of-season items elsewhere. This will force you to keep your wardrobe lean and limited to pieces you actually wear. Bonus: you can donate any excess.

•Think practical. Clothes should fit properly, be comfortable and suit your lifestyle. There is no point in keeping pieces in your closet that don't work with your daily life and demands.

•Arrange items so that you can see them. Visibility is important. If you can't see something, you'll forget about it and won't wear it.

•Don't hang on to something in the hope that it will come back into fashion. When fashion items from the past come into favour again, they have been slightly altered and updated. For example, blazers are back, but now they're cropped and fitted, as opposed to the longer, generous cuts that were popular in the 1980s. Keep only classics. Trends that come back return evolved, modernized, and the old items never look quite right.

•We've all heard the rule -- if you haven't worn something in a year, throw it out. If that seems a bit rash to you, consider discarding (or giving away) pieces that you haven't worn in two or three years. There must be a reason that you haven't worn them. Consider the reason when editing your wardrobe.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover the classic fashion items we kept and the trends we bucked from Cindy's closet on page 2

What we got rid of:
• Purses with a long, skinny strap -- they look dated.
• Boxy oversize sweaters that didn't fit properly or that had lost their shape over time.
• Shapeless floor-length day dresses.
• Long, oversize jackets with big, pronounced shoulders.
• Straight skirts that go to the ankle. The shape doesn't fit Cindy's active lifestyle and actually hampers her movements. (Full skirts are easier to wear than slim pencil skirts. Form-fitting tops set up the right proportions.)

• Stacked heels -- they're not a good silhouette for Cindy. A more sophisticated slender heel is better.
• Wide-toe, mannish shoes. They don't fit Cindy's sleeker style.
• Frumpy shoes.

What we kept:
Classics. Cream leather and brown suede in timeless shapes will never go out of fashion.
• A vintage beaded handbag for evening.
• Classic crewneck sweaters in solid colours.
• Floor-length evening dresses, like Cindy's navy velvet classic sheath. Statement jewelry, like a bold blue beaded necklace, keeps the look modern.
• Mid-knee-length fitted dresses. Cindy is a marathon runner, and her grey wool dress flatters her trim figure. She claimed that she rarely wore it, but once we added a big belt and her black boots, Cindy felt that the dress had new life.
• All of Cindy's pants. Wide-leg menswear-inspired pinstripe pants and clean-cut khakis are classics, as are her midwaist boot-cut jeans.
• Fitted, shorter jackets.
• A full knee-length skirt with volume and movement.

• Loafers that narrow toward the toes. The silver buckle is an eye-catching detail.
• Kitten-heel pumps. The kitten heel has become a modern classic and is a shape that matches Cindy's preferred look.
• D'Orsay-style kitten heels with chic pointed toes.
• Brown suede knee-high boots and flat black leather knee-high boots.

Page 2 of 2

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Closet makeover