I have never been more overdue for a closet cleanout than I am right now. Winter is not easy when you live in New York and you're the kind of person who needs to own about 15 coats. But I know from experience that no matter how spacious your closet is, cleanouts are tough, especially when you have sentimental value attached to each and every thing. In need of a helping hand, I turned to a professional, and what celebrity stylist Jacqueline Zenere had to say ended up being a major game changer.
Zenere is most known for styling Olivia Palermo and Ashley Benson to the nines for everything from partnerships to movie premieres to award shows and more. I expected our chat to be mainly centered around items that needed to be tossed immediately but ended up being extremely impressed by Zenere's expertise as she guided me through recovering some items that just needed a little update. In regard to things that needed a toss, I must say that I can't be the only one who's committed these fashion faux pas, so scroll on to find out which items you should get rid of and how to save a few things from your pile of rejects.
Jaqueline Zenere, Celebrity Stylist
THINGS SHE MADE ME TOSS IMMEDIATELY
Toss: Overly Shiny Leather Pieces
Keep: A More Expensive-Looking Take
One of the easiest decisions made between Zenere and me was that it was time to let go of any leather pieces made of cheap material. There are so many great items on the market and even in my own closet, so the clear answer was, "I'm going to say toss."
Toss: Cheap Things You Bought to Test-Drive a Trend
Keep: The Real Deal
Since I spot trends so early, I like to buy affordable adaptations for a little test drive first. So like the leather goodies, I bought into some strappy sandals that weren't quite quality when they first became a trend, and I've had my pair for a bit too long. Although Zenere said, "Normally, I would say take that to a shoe cobbler, your neighborhood guy around the corner, and they'll clean it up and repaint it for you," we ultimately decided to turn to other strappy styles and say goodbye to my old and worn-out pair.
Toss: The It Bag of 2017
Keep: Timeless Handbags
As we now know, I hold on to things, and one of the biggest It bags of 2017 was still taking up closet space. Zenere said, "I just remember one season in New York, it was like every influencer had it. I think there's more interesting stuff out there for someone like you, who's a tastemaker and kind of at the forefront of the industry." I consider all of my readers to be tastemakers, so let's get together and say goodbye to It bags of former seasons and make room for more classic styles.
Toss: Trendy Uncomfortable Boots
Keep: Forever Finds
One of the biggest trends of this year and last is the chunky lug-sole boot. I have quite a few pairs, but one, in particular, has given me blisters since the day we met. "The tread boots were so prominent thanks to Bottega's initial offering and have trickled down to the mass market. I think that by the time this winter's over, next season, there's going to be a new trend. So sell them now while they're still hot." She then convinced me to keep these snake-print boots, and we decided to bring in more timeless pairs.
Toss: Fast-Fashion Knits That Aren't Good Quality
Keep: Well-Crafted Sweaters That Don't Break the Bank
Quite a few not-so-good sweaters lingered in my closet. "They often use polyester fabric, and that's really… It is cheap. It breaks down. We are living in a society where we're talking about sustainability more. So I say go to a Goodwill before that and get something that maybe is a designer. I've found incredible finds at Goodwill that are really high-quality that just needed a dry cleaner, and it's more interesting. It's one of a kind. You're not going to bump in your friend and be like, 'Oh, hey, we're both wearing the same sweater.'" I'll be checking out my local thrift store, but if you're in the market for something new, I can confirm the below are good quality.
THINGS SHE HELPED ME RECOVER
1. A Pair of Shoes That Just Don't Fit
On the first day I wore these shoes, I realized I could barely keep my feet in them. I haven't been able to wear them since and totally thought we'd have to say goodbye to them. Zenere's stylist expertise saved the day.
This is the exact product she uses with her A-list clients. "These guys are amazing. They're adhesive inserts, and you put them in the heel, and they kind of shape. And that little bit of padding is going to push your foot forward. Sometimes I've even doubled them, and because it's a loafer, no one's going to see it. You know?"
2. Timeless Pieces You Might Not Be Wearing Now—You'll Fall in Love With Them Again
I had a few wardrobe staples that are truly timeless, but they haven't gotten many wears lately. In my New York closet, there just isn't much room for them, but Zenere told me to keep holding on.
3. Pilling Sweaters and Blazers
Another thing I thought we were totally going to have to toss included all of my pilling sweaters, blazers, dresses, and more. Zenere pulled out a gadget that will bring them back to life.
"You can get a depiller. I actually have one in. I'll show you. I actually find this highly meditative. You turn it on and go over the fabric, and it basically cuts off all the little nubbins, piled nibs of extra fabric." With all the money it can save you, I think it's worth it.
4. Ill-Fitting Pieces That Have Major Potential
Sometimes an online order doesn't go exactly as planned. Zenere has been there. "I used to do that all the time, buy cheap clothes and tailor to fit. It's a classic material. It's a classic shape, a double-breasted. I am really liking constraint again, but the tightness in the chest, that's not something that you can let out. So that's just maybe an issue with the cut, but in theory, I would definitely say keep."
Many items can be taken to the tailor if they aren't fitting you right, a great example is a dress. "Focus on fit. It's something that I never paid attention to as much before, because I was always just clipping. In L.A., it's all about tailoring and making sure that as they're walking and moving, is there anything that is out of place? Is the hem too low?"
5. Anything Missing a Button or Two
I had a dress I was in love with that lost a button on the first wear. Never thought I would get to wear it again, but Zenere saved the day.
6. That Statement Buy You Haven't Figured Out How to Wear
There was a bright and bold orange top in my closet that I hadn't worn in so long. Orange is seconds away from blowing up, so I'm glad she convinced me to keep it.
"The only thing that's tough with orange is if you pair it with black, which is most likely what you're going to want to do because you live in New York, it goes Halloween. But because it's that neon orange, it kind of doesn't go there immediately. Heron Preston took that orange and made it super cool. That could be really cool with a cargo pair of pants and a pair of heels. I would totally go with that. So I'd say keep." The conversation we had over the top made me decide we need more orange, so I'm buying this top next.