When-I-get-skinnier jeans

Body Image, Plus Size Style, Style

Hi Kate,

I wanted to see how long you suggest keeping a pair of for “when I get skinnier jeans” in the closet? … I have a few pairs in the closet that are just not going to fit anytime soon. Do you suggest hanging on to one or two or should I live in reality and purge my closet of clothes that don’t fit?

Do you remember that Sex and the City episode circa 2003-4 when Berger dumped Carrie with a post-it note? Miranda wore her skinny jeans out that night! Maybe I’ll keep at least one pair…

Yesterday I received this email from Kate (no, I didn’t email myself), asking when you should toss your skinny jeans. Now, I don’t mean skinny jeans like the super straight leg trendy jeans, I mean skinny jeans like I’m-down-ten-pounds-and-can-wear-my-hot-pants jeans. So with that in mind, I’m sure you all know what Kate is talking about – those jeans lurking in the back of your closet that are so close to fitting you just can’t bear to part with them; that dress you can almost zip up; that blouse you can almost close without a button popping off; that jacket you can almost move your arms in. If you’re like most women you probably have one, or all of the above, in your closet right at this moment. So when is the right time to throw out that clothing that’s too big or too small?

I’m probably the worst person to give this advice because I have separation anxiety when it comes to my wardrobe and I keep things for far too long. I always have the fear that one day I will wake up and remember a sweater/jeans/bracelet/scarf circa 2007 that would be simply divine with my outfit that day. However, as I continue to fill up my limited closet space with new purchases and wanting to reduce clutter, I’ve had to be a bit better about my unrealistic fears and purge myself of old, unworn, or too small/too large clothing. My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years and even when I’ve lost weight some of my “I’ll keep these for when I’m skinnier” pants or skirts still won’t fit, and it’s simply because my body has changed. For example, a few years ago my hips weren’t as wide, so even though that size 16 should fit me now, it doesn’t because my body has changed.

Waist MeasurementWhen to Toss Your Old Clothes

I know that many stylists recommend tossing anything that doesn’t fit you in the here and now with the exception of extreme weight loss and pregnancy. You’ll probably have some fluctuations during those two situations and until you’re about a year out from either of those events you’ll want to wait to purge your closet. And even if you aren’t experiencing one of the aforementioned situations it’s probably unrealistic. Who wants to throw out all of your closet that’s too big or too small? It’s like watching dollar bills get bagged and tagged, never to be seen again. And, often times, it can be an emotional experience to part with something. You probably won’t catch me standing in my closet crying over something, but sometimes I find that I’ve developed a certain emotional attachment to something.

Like most women, I have an ungodly amount of clothing, shoes, and accessories in my closet, most of which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I know that in the winter I like to wear looser fitting sweaters and because of all the holidays, I put a few pounds back on, but in the summer I slim down a bit more and can fit into smaller sizes. Because I know that about myself and my body I don’t necessarily toss the larger winter clothes or the smaller summer clothes when the seasons change. I do decide to toss them when I know there’s absolutely no way I’m going to get back into that size. Plus, chances are, if you do fit back into your smaller clothes you’ll probably just want to buy yourself new ones anyways.

So, keep the clothes that will fit as your weight naturally fluctuates, and toss the clothes that are so out of the realm of possibilities it’s not even funny.

The 2 Week Rule

Because I do a lot of shopping (and I do mean a LOT), if I hadn’t started purging and reorganizing my wardrobe, my closet would be an utter disaster. So I’ve started holding myself to the 2-week rule. Basically, I have two weeks from the time I buy something or clean my closet, to decide if I should keep or get rid of the item in question. I don’t really mark a day on the calendar for this but on any given Saturday or Sunday you can find me standing in front of my closet, picking out things that haven’t been worn and will either be returned or permanently evicted from my closet.

My only exception to this is keeping something so extreme or totally random that it might make a perfect addition to a costume one day.

Shopping
If I buy something and don’t wear it within two weeks, I’ll return it. For me personally, I’ve found that if I’ve bought something I’m totally in love with it, I’ll be excited to wear it and will almost always wear it within a few days of purchasing it (special occasions excluded).

Closet Reorganization
If I come across something in my closet that I haven’t worn in months or years I will try to make a decision then but if I just can’t part with it I’ll keep it another 2 weeks and then reassess. Currently, I’d say I have about one pair of jeans and two pairs of pants in my closet that are the “if I just lose 10 more pounds these will fit”.

Purging Your Closet

Once I’ve got some items that I don’t want or need to keep, and that aren’t returnable, I assess them and determine whether to simply donate to a local organization or if I should sell the items. Because a number of items in my closet are in great condition, have a higher value, or are designer, I’ve taken to using an app, Poshmark, to sell my old clothes, shoes, and accessories. It also makes me feel better about getting rid of some of my favorite items that may be too big or too small – I know who they’re going to and that they’re getting a good home.