Finding that satisfying balance between functional and inspiring when it comes to your wardrobe is easier said than done. We’ve all dreamed, at one point or another, of removing every last item from our racks and starting over, adding back only what truly speaks to us. Enter the three-step detox. Here’s how to (finally!) pare down your closet, shop mindfully and make your clothes last.
Step 1: Edit
A curated wardrobe made up of pieces you can’t wait to wear is possible, but you’ll have to let go of a few things first. Here’s how to know when it’s time to say “It’s not me it’s you.”
If you haven’t worn it in 3 months: Hang on! Create a “maybe” section in your closet for the pieces you’re considering giving up. We suggest turning the hangers the other way to track how frequently (or infrequently) you wear something. Set a calendar reminder to reassess the situation in another 90 days so you can be ruthless without the regret.
If you haven’t worn it in 6 months: Think about it. Try it on and seriously consider the practicality (Are the arms too snug? Has it stretched?) and condition (Is it ripped—and not in a chic way?). “You should love everything in your closet,” says Rati Levesque, chief merchant at online consignment site TheRealReal. “If a season goes by and I didn’t wear a dress, I will be even less likely to wear it in the following season.”
If you haven’t worn it in a year: Set it free. “My rule of thumb is: If I’ve forgotten that I own it, it’s time to let it go,” says Coco Chan, head of womenswear at online shopping destination Stylebop. Waiting a full year ensures that you’re not editing your summer wardrobe in the middle of winter, when it can be harder to gauge frequency of wear.
Love it or Leave it? Clutter experts weigh in.
If it no longer fits
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, says organizational designer Laura Cattano. “If your weight fluctuates, treat the clothes like they do fit—as long as they suit your lifestyle.” However, if you get that “ugh” feeling when you look at your too-small clothes, it’s time to move on, says professional organizer Kim Diamond. “Keeping them around won’t motivate you,” she says. And when you’re in doubt, she suggests, ask yourself “If I were shopping right now, would I buy this?”
If you’re holding on for sentimental reasons
“Sentimental value tends to change over time,” says Cattano. “Keep only the things that speak to you in a positive way. It’s okay to let go; you don’t need permission.” Remember: You don’t have to hold on to an item to keep the memory. Cattano recommends taking a photo instead. For special pieces (like your grandmother’s wedding gown), Diamond suggests framing a small swatch of the fabric.
Cartier watches are consistently in high demand on consignment.
Try this: Consigning
Selling your clothes is a great way to refresh your wardrobe: You can use the money you make for new investment pieces. Here are three ways to go about it.
Where: VSP and I Miss You in Toronto, Mine & Yours in Vancouver. Best for: Mid-market and higher end pieces like theory suits, DVF party dresses and that LV speedy you haven’t taken out of its dust bag in years. Inside tip: Consigning locally means that you can often negotiate the price of your items and speak to shop owners to find out what’s selling.
On an App
What: Depop, a mobile app with an Instagram-like interface and 400,000 daily users globally. Best for: Trendy pieces like Adidas Gazelles and that Zara-sale score. Think of it this way: If it got tons of likes on Insta, it will sell. Inside tip: Unlike consignment stores, which can take up to 60 percent, the app’s fee is 10 percent for each item sold (including the shipping fee).
What: TheRealReal, an online luxury resale destination that sees millions of visitors each month. Best for: Heritage brands and iconic pieces. Gucci belts, D&G cocktail dresses and Cartier watches are consistently in high demand. Inside tip: You’ll have to mail in your goods to get appraised, so consult the website first for the brands that make the cut.
Jeans and shoes have the lowest resale value. “The denim market is so saturated, and it’s hard to keep shoes in good condition,” says Levesque. “We don’t price them as high unless they’ve only been worn a couple of times.” There are a few exceptions: Designer sneakers continue to resell at high prices, and classic styles, like Manolo Blahnik slingbacks, sell for hundreds of dollars. Always keep the box, and consider resoling shoes before putting them on the market.
Handbags are the best investments. Levesque predicts that this year’s top It bags—the Gucci Marmont, the Loewe Puzzle and the J.W. Anderson Pierce—will hold their value next year (if you’re the type who buys a new bag every year).
A JW Anderson “Pierce” bag. Image by: Imaxtree
Timing is everything. “We couldn’t sell a blazer last year. And now blazers, especially check ones, have gone up in price by 30 percent,” says Levesque. Consign trending pieces for the most money back.