Wardrobe makeover can cause some pain

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NEW YORK - Winter is a good time to redo your wardrobe.

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Stylist Robert Verdi says pointy high-heel shoes are "last year's look" and should be discarded.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Stylist Robert Verdi says pointy high-heel shoes are "last year's look" and should be discarded.

Unfortunately, that's easier said than done when you start to think about what you might have to part with 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've got 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 now looks like a rerun.

"I'm not saying get rid of the skirt, just put it in neutral," Mr. Verdi said. "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 added that "we've 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 fit 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 anything that traces the body too closely - "Tight ain't right for the moment," Mr. Verdi said.

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 a 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."

And 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 said.

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 Iszak, an Austin, Texas-based professional organizer, would make a case to discard anything you're not going to wear for years. But, if you insist, he'd 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. Iszak calls "rainy-day items."

Under the bed can serve the same purpose as those closet shelves, notes Mr. Iszak, and if your bed isn't high enough you can buy bed risers to raise the frame 6 or 8 inches, plenty of room to slide 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.

And 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. Iszak says.

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

Pick a friend who'll be objective and honest but who'll 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!' " he said.


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