This one powerful question can help eliminate the majority of wardrobe clutter, says stylist Brittany Witkin, the author of Closet Organization: The Crash Course. What it means: Does it make you feel good? Do you get compliments when you wear it? Or do you end up tugging at yourself uncomfortably?
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Does It Coordinate With at Least Three Other Garments in Your Closet?
A streamlined wardrobe is like a symphony, with pieces that work together harmoniously in many combinations. Instead of assigning clothing specific roles (This is my interview skirt; this is the sweater I wear with leggings), “try reimagining your closet as a boutique filled with fresh possibilities,” says New York City stylist Kim Naci. (A friend comes in handy here.) Take photos to help you remember new outfits.
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Will You Wear It Again?
Instead of peering into the past with the old “Have you worn it in the last six months?” question, think about the future. Would you don that strappy dress to work if you had the right cardigan to go with it? Note that on a shopping list and save the dress. Let it go if you try to justify holding on to it with the idea that “maybe someday, when I [lose weight/go to a fancy party…].”
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Is It the Best Version?
If the style is passé, the fit is unflattering, or the garment has seen better days (think stains, fading, shine marks on wool, a saggy bum, elbow or knee imprints), it’s time for an upgrade or a trip to the tailor. Sometimes snapping a selfie while wearing the garment will give you a more honest portrayal than your reflection in a mirror.
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Is It High-Maintenance?
If the effort of hand washing or the expense of dry cleaning keeps the article on the hanger, face facts and sub in something less fussy. (This tip does not apply to formal wear.)
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Does It Have Sentimental Value?
You don’t have to part with your varsity-letter jacket or the hat that Grandma knit. Just limit memorabilia to one storage box, says Naci. As for the necklace your ex gave you that was never really your style—just, why? Resolve to move on. Another option for a memento that you can’t part with: Take a photo, then toss the piece.
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How Would You Feel If You Were Wearing It When You Ran Into Your Ex?
Speaking of old flames, Naci uses this line of reasoning when all else fails: “Sometimes people rationalize worn-out or unflattering clothes by saying, ’I’ll just wear them for running errands.’ This question helps to put things into perspective.”
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