Adventures in Cleaning Out Your Closet!

My mom always asks for my help to clean out her closet. She’s not good at making the tough decisions when it comes to clothes but cleaning out your closet is a necessary task. It should be part of your seasonal cleaning.

Why?  Clothes get worn out. Styles change. That dress you had to have but have never worn needs to either be moved to the front of the queue OR find a new home with someone who will, I don’t know, ACTUALLY wear it. I like to think of the person who finds my cast offs at Goodwill and falls in love with them, giving them new life!

Don’t be intimidated by the task. Here are some tips to get you through the purge.

1. Use the buddy system.

Cleaning out your closet is MORE fun with someone else and we all need fresh eyes sometimes. My mom gets emotional and I get tough and we work. We were even smiling at the end. You need someone to bounce off ideas with and to help you make the tough calls. You may love that dress but it’s never fit you right and you always pass it by when deciding what to wear.

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(The matching Ts were a bonus!)

2. Clean out your closet SYSTEMATICALLY. 

Start with a category, pull out ALL of them, and look at your tops in the context of all of your tops. Do the same thing with bottoms, dresses, pants, suits, play clothes, jammies, or whatever. Doing it this way let’s you see how many chambray shirts you have or how many black pencil skirts you have (hint you probably only NEED one or two of those).


It helps if a small dog can lay on top of the clothes to keep them safe. Thanks for the help, Oscar.

3. Organization is your BFF. 

I know that should be kind of obvious, but an organized closet helps you see what you have and makes selecting pieces simpler. I like to organize it by item and keep it color coded. I know that sounds super OCD but it really WORKS. And, bonus, it’s pretty. Your clothes should NOT be smushed together. It’s not good for the clothes and the last thing I want to do when getting dressed is to realize I have to iron something if I want to wear it and not look like I slept in my clothes.


4. Be ruthless. 

We all fall into the trap of thinking that we will need this one piece and will regret getting rid of it. But the truth is, if you don’t use it at least ONCE a month, set it FREE! You might think but that’s a barely used Calvin Klein or it’s from JCrew. I know you spent money on them. I get it. But if you are not wearing them and they do not work for you, what practical purpose do they hold? Art? I told my mom I don’t care if it’s Valentino, if it doesn’t work, set it free. Someone else will be so THRILLED to have the clothes. Let them go to a happy, useful home.


Oscar agrees. He says now is the time to put on your big girl panties and get rid of that green flannel tunic once and for all.


Though my mom might disagree, you do not need repeat items. For example, you don’t need 5 black shirts. (We both know at least half of them are faded and one probably has a hole in it.) Also think about it in terms of what purpose they serve. For example, bermuda shorts (you know I already don’t love them) don’t need to be in every color. Think about what you use the item for and keep the nicest, most versatile piece.


In this pic, I was trapped in my mom’s cape cod Bermuda short triangle.

Watch out for empty closet syndrome. Just cause there is suddenly space doesn’t you mean you have to fill it. In fact, that’s the worst thing you could do. Instead, savor the space. Think CAREFULLY about holes in your wardrobe. Do you have classic black pants that you can run to in an emergency like your monthly visitor or a missed alarm? That’s a hole you need to plug.

Also, a couple of other freebie tips:

If you keep your shoes in shoe boxes, take pics and put them on the outside so you can SEE your shoes. Putting together an outfit is a visual thing and if you can see what you’ve got, you just might use it. 

ALSO, if you have some pieces that you need to think about, take the time to write on an index cards some ways to style them. This also helps during those rush mornings. It gives you a blueprint and keeps your fashion game on point. 

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I wrote up some note cards for my mom to help her with some of her difficult to style favorites!

Local peeps, I am always game for a closet purge so feel free to use your phone a friend to call me! 🙂

Go forth and PURGE. I promise you feel better afterwards. 


Adventures in Fourth of July Fashion

When I decided to write a post about getting your Fourth of July look, at first I was super nervous because I didn’t think I had anything good to wear. THEN, I started pulling stuff from my closet… white, navy, blue, red… even chambray… before I knew it, I had toooooo many options! It ended up being hella easy to put together some sassy 4th looks for America’s birthday party! Check out my ideas:

Classy and WHITE! This look combines my beloved white shorts and a lace top from Lily Pulitzer from Lily for Target. It starts off very monochromatic, but I was able to toss in some accessories that make it really fun and patriotic! And let’s face it: heels, even in the form of wedge sandals, make your legs look great.


 I took it to a little more of a Boho place. This time those favorite white shorts took a walk on the wild side with my dip-backed tie-died shirt. Again, I used accessories to make it red, white, and AWESOME. I have always loved those red tasseled earrings, and it was so fun to find a new way to wear them. Meanwhile, I found the bag on the back of my door; I forgot I even had it! Altogether, it’s a complete outfit.


Then I took my favorite Minnie Mouse dress and married it with a classic denim jacket and lace, laser-cut flats. I think it’s ladylike, but super fun; a very modern Minnie. While I was updating looks I did my own take on a modern Rosie the Riveter.


In this outfit, I paired my new sassy T from Kate Spade with a vintage-inspired plaid skirt. What finished that look? That classic Rosie bandana with my favorite office BCBG red leather loafers. I think Rosie would be proud!


I think more than anything we need casual outfits for the Fourth; it’s hot out there! Which is why I brought my trusty white shorts back out. This time, I paired them first with polka dots and then with chambray. To make them patriotic-appropriate, I used accessories to up the WOW! factor. My denim jacket, my Rosie bandana, and that long-forgotten red bag.

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For my last look I dug out a favorite work shirt. My friend Amelia would call it “red baby”; it’s cool, it’s loose, and it has neat sleeves. It instantly upgrades any outfit, just like it does in this case with those old standby white shorts.


See how easy it is to take old pieces you’ve had forever and mix them up and get patriotic the Fourth of July? P.S. When in doubt, just use the Rosie bandana!


Adventures in the Chic Shorts Life

Irene, are you serious? Shorts show my whole leg. Um, cellulite, anyone? Not to mention, I have a lot of leg to shave. Whining aside, there is nothing better in summer than rocking a classic pair of shorts.


Before we get started, I want to take a minute to talk about shorts and length. Pleats are NOT your friend except for in very specific circumstances. And length, well it’s sort of like Goldilocks… not too short and not too long. My mom rocks the Bermuda short and it works for her – though we have had the conversation before that I think she can and should go shorter — her legs look great, she ought to flaunt them! But Bermuda is only going to work for women who identify as middle age. I tell my friend Hannah who’s barely in her 30s that she should steer clear of Bermuda length shorts.

Speaking of Hannah, I recently helped her update her wardrobe with a trip to one of Naples’ sweet thrift shops. We had so much fun wading through all the cool clothes and to make some pics that budget and environmentally friendly!

She got three pairs of shorts: jean shorts and two fun patterned shorts. There’s nothing more fun for me than styling others so Hannah really indulged me and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcomes.

We started with the jean shorts. Hannah wasn’t wild about tucking in… but I think the shorts were so classic that they paired really well with a short sleeve chambray top and bright scarf and earrings. We put her hair up and out of her face which has two benefits: shows off accessories and keeps her cool!


Next, we kept in casual with the same basics and just switched out the accessories — see how different this look is?


I like this look because it’s laid back and comfortable but the gold sandals and fun necklace make the look polished. It’s crazy easy to copy too!  I also styled Hannah in a third look in her jean shorts. I wanted to show her how to take a more fall piece — her long sleeve button down — and use it for fall in a fun way. See what we did?


Next we tackled these adorable navy print shorts we picked up for a song! They are a linen blend that are so comfortable and cool! We combined them with her chambray top and a really bold necklace and some fun strappy heels for a fancier look. I thought this look could also rock for the 4th (though I will be doing a separate post about that!).


We dressed those same shorts down a bit and added a bright cardigan (and created another 4th ready look!).


Finally, Hannah and I got these amazing tribal print shorts that were hella comfortable! Hannah liked it untucked and laid back and paired with her new black tank and her latest Rocksbox haul.


I liked it because this outfit because it’s clean and crisp but still with a bit of pizzazz! Finally, my favorite look from the session is what we did with the same top and shorts and just a quick switch of accessories.


I am straight obsessed with this look — the shorts look AMAZING and her top kills with Hannah’s funky wooden necklace. This is the kind of outfit that you can wear in real life but still feel like you’ve got some style going without being fussy or uncomfortable. SIgh, I just LOVE this look!

Here’s a bonus pic of the back of that shirt —


See? Shorts aren’t scary! They are fun and can be such a cool (both temperature and fashion wise) way to dress in the summer.

Don’t rule them out! Have fun with them and enjoy the beautiful summer days!