How Stylists Are Clearing Out their Closets in 2021

Olivia Hosken
·4 min read
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images

From Town & Country

November 4th found me elbows-deep in my closet with clothes heaped throughout my apartment, partially obscuring CNN, which had been on for over 48 hours. In the middle of one of the most tense political events in history, I was elbows-deep in my closet pondering whether or not I needed to keep a particularly bland red sweater. This is not unusual. When times get tough some people drink, some people rest, and I decide what I’m going to wear tomorrow.

Photo credit: Keystone - Getty Images
Photo credit: Keystone - Getty Images

Since the pandemic, I’ve gone through no fewer than three closet clean-outs, organizing and jotting down outfit ideas for the rare social outing or plotting my sartorial office return.

Clearly, it was time for professional help. I called Mayte Allende, a fashion editor-turned-stylist and creative director and Bree Jacoby, whose L.A.-based personal shopping and stylist services has clients such as DryBar founder Alli Webb and ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia Pujji. I wasn’t alone in seeking their services during this unusual time. “Clients are looking to me and my team to help navigate them through this ‘new normal,’” says Jacoby. “It can be easy to slip into this cycle of wearing the same pair of sweats and feeling completely uninspired and mundane. We step in to make sure they feel like their best, elevated selves.”

If you need a similar satisfying distraction, here’s how stylists recommend keeping your closet (and sanity) in tip-top shape throughout Covid-19.

Don’t be Afraid to Purge

I was initially hesitant that I would be overzealous in my cleaning; it is difficult to identify which clothes you no longer wear when you aren’t wearing any of them. “There is no better time than right now to start getting rid of the clutter and noise from our closets! Because there is more time and flexibility to focus our efforts on getting dressed, you really get to see which pieces you gravitate towards, and other pieces you won’t even remember having,” says Jacoby. Allende agrees noting that cleaning out one’s closet is a time-consuming process and her busy clients now have more time to reflect on their clothes and play around with new outfit combinations.

Keep Your Closet from Becoming a Time Capsule

As the year rolls on, there are officially things I purchased in 2019 that may not see the light of day until 2022. Will they look out of place? “It is quite the conundrum,” says Allende. “You have to be strategic. When purchasing an item, know if it is a forever piece that you will commit to, or a "one-time" item that you won't be able to wear more than twice. If it’s the latter, choose something that has resale value. It’s not worth spending hundreds of dollars on just any "cute dress" that is going to lose its value immediately and take up space in your closet. You might as well spend a bit more on a "great dress" from a sought-after designer because you will be able to resell it. It takes a bit of discipline but it’s so easy with all these concierge consignment sites.”

It’s Ok to Shop for Clothes Now

For people who love fashion (and use it as a coping mechanism), simply not buying anything for an entire year is not realistic. “We shop a little differently now than we would under normal circumstances,” says Allende. “The whole minimalist aesthetic is not very Zoom-friendly. Minimalism is about the full look! The shoe, the fit, proportions... so from the waist up, it loses its effect and gets boring! Beautiful expressive blouses and great jewelry are key items now.” Allende likes to scour 1stDibs for vintage deals. “It’s always thrilling to hunt for treasures and there is so much online!”

Photo credit: Archive Photos - Getty Images
Photo credit: Archive Photos - Getty Images

All in all, the tenets of managing one’s wardrobe are the same as in any other time, but in this charged atmosphere, it feels different. “Take time to think about what makes you feel good and what makes you feel empowered,” says Jacoby. “Nothing feels better than editing out the old energy and introducing a new, refreshed sense of self to your life.”

There is no guarantee that 2021 will be any less stressful than 2020, but hey, at least we know what we’ll be wearing.

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