- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 13, 2007

NEW YORK

Out with the old, in with the new.

What a noble thought as we start 2007. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done when you start to think about what you might have to cut from your wardrobe. There are those pointy-toe pumps that make you feel both sexy and powerful and those boot-cut jeans that are so flattering.

Sorry; they have to go, says stylist Robert Verdi. Also, that 1950s-style circle skirt that Sarah Jessica Parker single-handedly brought back on “Sex and the City” looks like a rerun.

“I’m not saying get rid of the skirt, just put it in neutral,” Mr. Verdi says. “You might wear it twice this year. If you do keep that skirt, shorten it to the knee, wear it with black leggings and a ballet flat.”

He adds that fashion has “moved through the boot-cut jean. If it looks good, you can keep it, but put them in the back of your closet. Save them for the days you really want to wear a boot.”

Instead, add straight- or skinny-leg jeans that can be tucked into boots.

But, he adds, don’t bother trying to clear space for low-waisted pants. They’re simply done — at least for the next few years — and they might not have looked as good as you thought.

Each new year, or each new fashion season, doesn’t require a complete overhaul, Mr. Verdi says, but you need to add key pieces and remove other trendy items from the regular mix of your wardrobe.

If you have multiple skinny sheath dresses or heavily embellished tops, neither of which fits into the voluminous-shape or neutral-color trends going forward, save the best one of the bunch and get rid of the rest.

Also on his hit list are all the pieces that trace the body too closely — and those beloved pointy black boots and shoes. “I know, you don’t want to get rid of them if they are expensive, and, yes, they are classic. But they’re not great anymore. You want a round toe, a platform or a wedge in a neutral color. Don’t wear that pointy-toe, 5-inch heel. You’ll be living on last year’s look.”

Also part with handbags with a lot of bells and whistles. Purses are going to be cleaner, sleeker and simpler to complement the volume of the clothes.

“You’ll say you want to keep it because it’s going to come back. Yes, it is going to come back, but it’s never going to look the same,” Mr. Verdi says.

Of course, many women are space-challenged, which in itself is a good reason to purge the old stuff to make room for the new.

Barry Izsak, an Austin, Texas-based professional organizer, would make a case to discard anything you’re not going to wear for years. However, if you insist, he would start by storing those garments on the upper shelves of your closet in either clear plastic or pretty fabric boxes. Those shelves aren’t good for day-to-day items, but they’re the best for what Mr. Izsak calls “rainy-day items.”

What? Those shelves are already taken?

“Move the photo albums, old papers, financial records. That’s all stuff that doesn’t need to be there. Keep your closet a closet,” he says.

In other words, go clutter up somewhere else.

The space under the bed can serve the same purpose as those closet shelves, he says, and if your bed isn’t high enough, you can buy bed risers to raise the frame six or eight inches, plenty of room to slide (and hide) something underneath.

Some closets have two bars — known in the organizing biz as a “double hang” — but if the ceilings are high enough, you might want to add a third. You would have to have a ladder or get a rod with movable arms that pulls down, suggests Mr. Izsak, president of the National Association of Professional Organizers.

Some closet rods are configured to create a right angle, usually in a corner. That probably means a foot of “dead space,” because the items are virtually impossible to get out. It’s a good spot for tuxedos or a red sequin gown that at best you wear once a year, Mr. Izsak says.

Determining what goes in those less-than-coveted closet spots is an activity to do with a friend, says Mr. Verdi, host of TV’s “Full Frontal Fashion.”

Pick a friend who will be objective and honest but will take on this mission with a sense of humor instead of a nasty tone. “You want someone to say, ‘OK, Marcia Brady. You have to get rid of that.’ ”

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