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    7 Things You Should Clean Out From Your Closet This Year

    If you’re anything like me, you have an over-stuffed closet full of things you haven’t worn in five years. I recently went on a closet rampage and cleaned out bags and bags of clothes to send to Goodwill, and If I’m being honest, I haven’t missed anything I gave away. If you’re also about to take on an intense closet intervention or want to embrace the capsule wardrobe trend, here are seven things you should definitely clean out of your closet this year.

    1. The same shirt in 4 different colors
    Yes, I also grew up in an era where if a shirt fit, you had to buy it in seven colors. But you do not need those kinds of options, and they can end up leaving you with an overstuffed closet full of things you never wear. If you have duplicate pieces, pull them all out, line them up, and choose the one you wear the most consistently. There are an infinite amount of outfit possibilities—let’s not limit ourselves to the same T-shirt five days a week.

    2. Clothing that’s too small or too big
    It’s easy to hold out for the day you’ll squeeze back into the expensive sweater we accidentally shrunk it in the dryer. But you’re cultivating a wardrobe to wear now, and unless you turn back time to being 13 or preventing the dryer fiasco, it’s time to let it go. The same goes for the dress you bought two sizes too big because you loved the print. I know it can be difficult to let go of pieces you may love or spent a lot of money on, but it’s important to be realistic and keep in mind the “quality, not quantity” type of wardrobe you want. Look at these pieces and ask yourself what makes them special and worth keeping. Could you get it tailored to correctly fit? Could you resell it online? If not, it’s time to donate it.

    3. Worn-out bras that are barely hanging on
    I’m not talking about your delicate lace bra that gets pulled out on special occasions; I’m talking about the stretched-out T-shirt bra you bought at target two years ago that’s barely in one piece. It’s hard to let go of the bra you’ve been living in for years, but a good rule of thumb is to go through your undergarments once a year to weed out the ones that need to go. Then, treat yourself to a couple of new bras and a proper fitting. You can also drastically lengthen the life of your bra by proper care.
    A few tips:

    Don’t fold your bras to save storage space as it can deform the cups over time.

    Always wash in warm water and rinse in cool. Hot water can warp your bra.

    NEVER put your bra in the dryer. Always hang dry.

    Buy bras that fit snug on the very last hooks. Then while the band naturally stretches over time, you can slowly move to tighter hooks to keep the same fit.

    4. The outfit you once really loved, but is now abandoned in the back of your closet
    We all have outfits we used to adore that we haven’t touched in months. The dress and jacket I once wore three times a week and prized above all are now gathering dust from lack of affection. We all go through style changes, but when it’s clear you’re no longer interested, it’s time to let it go. Pieces can still be versatile and maybe you just need to style that leather vest in a new way, but if you’ve tried it in different outfits and still don’t find yourself utilizing it? Let it go.

    5. All those freebie T-shirts, hats, and tote bags
    Over time, we can easily build up a collection of random shirts, hats, and bags covered in festival logos and local advertisements. You and I both know you stick to the same five worn-in T-shirts. As you go through these pieces, really ask yourself why you haven’t worn it and would you really ever wear it. Yes, it seems nice to have an array of hat options and totes for the unexpected adventure, but by giving away what you don’t need, you’ll open up a lot more space in your closet to see what you have and will actually be worn.

    6. Anything you haven’t worn in over six months
    I understand this is a hard rule with changing seasons. Maybe you just haven’t gotten the chance to rock that sundress since you’ve been stuck in sweaters for months, but I’m talking about the beautiful silk blouse you bought for that date last year that you’ve still never worn. Face it, you’re probably not going to wear it. If you’re still struggling with what to keep, look at each piece and ask yourself these questions:
    Does it flatter my shape or complexion?
    Can I see it pairing well with the rest of my wardrobe?
    Do I still love it?
    Does it still fit?
    Do I feel comfortable in it?
    Would I buy it again if I saw it in stores now?
    Is it damaged?
    Why haven’t I worn it?

    7. Anything that you’ve been telling yourself you would repair and haven’t
    If you’ve had the piece longer than six weeks and haven’t gotten it hemmed, cleaned, etc., it’s safe to say you never will. Don’t hold on to an amazing dress that will just sit in your closet because it’s made for a woman who’s 6’0 and you’re 5’3″. If you love the piece, make an appointment and get the dress hemmed for your height. If you’re holding on to a pair of jeans that need to be patched, get them patched this week or send them to Goodwill. They are just taking up space in your already overcrowded closet.

    Prepare for next year
    To stay on top of your wardrobe, a great way to continue keeping up with getting rid of the things you should is to flip all of your coat hangers in your closet in the opposite direction at the beginning of the year. Every time you wear something, swap it to face the other way. Then at the end of next year, you’ll be able to clearly see the things you haven’t touched and can more easily justify getting rid of them without any debate. More

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    I Finally Organized My Closet—Here’s What I’m Ditching vs. Keeping

    Fun fact about me: I’ve moved 10 times (soon to be 11) in the past nine years. No part of me loves moving… no matter how many times I settle into a new space, I just can’t seem to get the moving process down to a perfect science. To say that it’s one of my least favorite activities is an understatement. But, if there’s one positive to packing up once a year and relocating, it’s having the forced opportunity to come face-to-face with my clothing of “add to carts” past, sort out what I want to keep, donate, or sell, and facepalm myself for not wearing the one item I swore I would get use of upon purchasing.I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a hoarder but I will admit that I have plenty of faults when it comes to accumulating pieces in my wardrobe. First being that I am a sucker for a good sale. The limit to the number of times I’ve bought an item for the markdown alone simply does not exist. When I see a red sticker price, I become blind to reality and will overlook what otherwise would be a wardrobe deal breaker for me (i.e., a far-too-large and non-refundable floral dress from Madewell that mocks me every time I sift through my closet). 
    My second fault is holding on to pieces that “might be useful for a costume party.” Oh yes, ladies. I’m talking mesh, sequins, sparkles, and the whole nine yards. And to absolutely no ones’ surprise, these items sit in the back of my wardrobe, take up prime real estate, and wait longingly for the chance to be loved again. 
    And last but not least, I am a creature of habit. I prefer neutrals over color, opt for comfort, and return to my foolproof outfit combinations time and time again. But every so often, I think, “I should step out of my comfort zone.” That’s when I’ll buy something pink (gasp!), purchase a trendy item that “looked really good on that one IG influencer,” or invest in something I saw our fashion editor rock in the office pre-COVID. While there’s nothing “wrong” with the pieces I add in my feeble attempt to be cooler than I actually am, they simply don’t get as much love as the other pieces in my wardrobe.
    Four hours, two dramatic “I cannot go on” breaks, and a couple of sweat droplets later, I accumulated four garbage bags of clothes to donate, sell, and toss depending on their condition. In an effort to live a more minimalist life (and make room for new pieces, of course), here are the items I’m ditching and the ones I’m holding on to for dear life this season:



    Ditching: Right idea, wrong fit

    When the blazer trend came back with a vengeance, I ran to my local H&M and eagerly walked to checkout with three of them draped over my arm. Unfortunately, I missed the mark on these guys in the size department. I bought each to fit like a glove and I’ve learned after a few seasons of styling that I prefer a larger, oversized fit. I’ve added some mediums to my collection which I’m super happy with but, now, my fitted blazers don’t get a lot of attention. 
    Same goes for this plaid, sherpa-lined jacket that I loved when I bought it. I don’t know if I’ve shrunk it over the years or if I’ve just “grown,” but no matter how cute it is, I simply won’t wear it. Feeling like the Michelin Man when I squeeze into it/having limited mobility of my arms is not the move. 

    Ditching: Mesh

    This one doesn’t need much of an explanation. There was a short period of time in college where the trendy girls wore mesh tops/bodysuits with a black bra underneath. I could never work up the courage to actually wear them and, looking back, I am elated that that is the case. Regardless, I’ve been holding on to them for the off chance that I can use them in some kind of costume setting but I’ve firmly decided that if a costume calls for mesh, it’s not the costume for me! If mesh ever decides to rear its head and come back into style (the only shock left of 2020), I’ll reevaluate at that time.

    Ditching: The quarter-zip that’s seen better days

    Alright, I’m not going to lie… this one hurt. This Patagonia sweater has been with me through many trials and tribulations of life. It’s soaked up tears born from a bad breakup, been wine-stained during iconic pizza nights with my pals, and been washed with darks and denim galore in many unforgiving community laundry situations. Given the fact that this sweater was a beautiful shade of ivory at one point in time, I would deem it to be one of the most worn, sad-looking articles of clothing I’ve ever known. I think I’ve only worn it twice in the past year so I think it’s an appropriate time to part ways. Thank you for your service, you will be missed.

    Ditching: The “it was on sale” Madewell dress

    I bought this floral Madewell dress at their end-of-summer sale and there were three things that doomed this purchase from the start: 1) I didn’t need it (I have an impressive amount of floral dresses), 2) I didn’t really even want it, and 3) it was a final sale item. I know how careless that sounds… but a Madewell dress for $25? I couldn’t pass it up. To my demise, it didn’t fit me right and was non-refundable. Classic.

    Ditching: The trendy splurge item I never wore

    When visiting New York City one summer, I found myself in a trendy, overpriced boutique and was talked into this jacket by one of the sales associates. If I told you how much it was, you would probably spit the contents of whatever you’re sipping on all over your computer screen. The price of this jacket was so absurd but, for some reason, that did not stop me from being persuaded that I needed it. The jacket itself is fine, it’s just not my style. I kept promising myself that I would incorporate it into some outfit formula, but in the four years I had it, I just couldn’t seem to pull it off.

    Ditching: The first-time interview clothing that’s so not me

    OK, to be honest, I never liked any of these items from the start. When the time came for post-grad interviews, I needed a ‘fit to impress my potential employers. I walked cluelessly into Ann Taylor at my local mall and let one of the associates dress me (and by that, I mean that I sold my soul to the Devil). I abandoned my personal style to fit a cookie-cutter look of what I thought was a “professional investment” and honestly, I haven’t looked at them since my first interview in 2016. If I need to interview again at any point, I’ll pick up options that can be dressed down and incorporated into my everyday wardrobe.

    Ditching: The “out of my comfort zone” color I swore I’d wear but didn’t

    I’d say that, in life, I have a good sense of who I am as a person… that is until I find myself adding non-neutrals to my shopping cart. I don’t know what it is, but I’ll just never be a “pink” person. But does that stop me from thinking“wow, Jess looks gorg in blush pink, I should give it a try,” and attempting to swerve out of my comfort zone? Of course not! I’ve found that I can still experiment with other colors (burnt oranges, deep blues, and olive greens) without looking in the mirror and feeling like I’m staring at a complete stranger.

    Ditching: Non-versatile graphic tees

    Don’t get it twisted, I love a good graphic tee. But when I say graphic tee, I mean the ones that are oversized, can be tucked in with mom jeans, dressed up with a blazer, and made edgy with a leather jacket. I’m looking disdainfully at you, I-would-die-for-John-B. long sleeve (pictured below). If it didn’t pass the versatile vibe check, I didn’t keep it.

    Ditching: Unforgiving jeans

    I just simply don’t need the negativity of unforgiving jeans in my life. It is my personal opinion that all jeans should have a bit of stretch. Over the past few years, I’ve gained some weight (pandemic stress eating didn’t help my situation, it is what it is) and while most of my jeans still button, this pair is stubborn as hell. If a pair of jeans can’t handle me post-gnocchi at my favorite Italian restaurant, they don’t deserve me at my best. Bye, Felicia.

    Keeping: Oversized blazers

    If I haven’t yet made myself clear, I am obsessed with oversized blazers and I get so much use out of them. I have two right now (black and plaid) and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. They’ve been the perfect solution to Chicago’s “it’s not cold now but it will be later tonight” woes, will be great for styling business casual outfits we return to office life, and are super trendy with a graphic tee and hoop earrings. 

    Keeping: Loungewear that I’ve worn at least once in the last three months

    I’ve accumulated a lot of loungewear over this past year and I am not mad about it. Staying home during the pandemic has shifted my wardrobe priorities and, right now, my cozy clothes are getting a ton of attention. I’m sure there’ll be a day where I’ll have to sort through and edit out some of my comfy pieces, but thankfully, today is not that day.

    Keeping: Jackets for layering

    Disclaimer: Last year, I had so many bulky jackets that I had no choice but to downsize. At that time, I kept one of each jacket (leather, denim, faux fur, trench, shearling, etc.), so I truly didn’t need to do much organizing in that department this year. Nonetheless, I still did a once-over to see if anything could be sacrificed, but gleefully decided I was happy with my collection as is. 

    Keeping: Chunky knit sweaters

    OK, don’t come for me, but I truly believe there is no such thing as too many sweaters, especially when you live in a climate that threatens sub-zero temps in the wintertime. I kept all of my sweaters with the exception of those that were uncomfortable (yes, they exist) and/or didn’t fit well.

    Keeping: Maxi/midi skirts

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Midi and maxi skirts have changed my life. I’m already phasing them out for this fall (I had a few good runs with a chunky knit sweatshirt + long skirt + sneaker combo) but I am so looking forward to their return when the temps rise again. More

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    6 Fresh Ways to Spend a Girls’ Night In

    Before the world fell apart, my friends and I loved to play this game where we would plan a girls’ night out which, after a few drinks, would time and time again turn into a girls’ night in. As much as I used to love hitting the town with my girl gang pre-COVID, the nights in were the ones that would allow us the true quality time to catch up, laugh at old memories, and look forward to the future. Staying in with my friends is my favorite way to recharge, and while I love vegging out and watching our favorite cringe-worthy reality TV shows, I equally love hanging out with purpose. If there’s one good thing about quarantine, it’s the opportunity to slow down, catch up, and touch base with those closest to you (those being asymptomatic/also quarantined/COVID negative, of course!). Here are six ways to switch up your favorite Netflix binge-a-thon with your besties to foster new conversations, more ways to connect, and extra opportunities to belly-laugh. 
    1. Channel your inner Food Network star
    I consider girls’ night to be incomplete without some yummy, indulgent snacks, and while raiding the grocery store for Flaming Hot Cheetos, Sour Patch Kids, and/or cookie dough might be your first go-to move, opting for ingredients to pop in the oven can be just as magical. Whether you go the Betty Crocker route or start from scratch (I would do illegal things for this double chocolate zucchini bread), roasting your best friend’s ex pairs well with warm, gooey chocolate and is bound to bring your GNI to the next level. 

    2. Host a game night
    I. love. game. night. You could always go the traditional route with an instant, competitive classic like Life, Sorry!, Scrabble, Monopoly, or Settlers of Catan or you could opt for a game that sparks side conversations and is a bit more open-ended like We’re Not Really Strangers, The Voting Game, Hot Seat, Cards Against Humanity, For The Girls, or What Do You Meme (my personal favorite). Another favorite of my friend group is to invest in a huge puzzle and attempt to finish it before the wine runs out. So far, wine 2, puzzle 0.

    3. Get crafty
    Very rarely do I take the time to get crafty, but I love a good excuse to pretend that I’m Martha Stewart. Have your girls pitch in for supplies for a DIY project that can range from home decor and homemade beauty products (like these make-at-home face masks) to chunky knit blankets. You’ll leave girls’ night with more than just a mild hangover, a hoarse voice, and new memories—you’ll have a take-home souvenir, too!

    4. Turn your home into a spa
    Allow me to set this lovely scene for you: you and your gal pals, robes on, feet up, listening to serene music while enjoying the aroma of eucalyptus and peppermint from a nearby oil diffuser. Group manis and pedis are encouraged, but not required, as that would require someone to lift a finger and whether you want to exert the energy is absolutely your prerogative. Reset, recharge, and let the time with your friends set your soul alright.

    5. Make vision boards
    It’s never too late to set intentions for your future and making it visual with your girls by your side can be a whole other experience. You’ll need some sort of canvas, glue, markers, scissors, magazines, and a printer to get started. Pop some champagne, let your hair down, and dream about the future together. If crafting isn’t your thing, try opening up with your friends and asking about their big dreams and life goals. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day drama with friends, but looking forward and discussing the future will leave everyone inspired. 

    6. Write love letters to each other
    We did a version of this in the office on Galentine’s Day and it was quite the treat. We used brown paper bags with everyone’s name on them, threw in little handwritten love notes, and received plenty of words of affirmation towards the end of the day that made us feel so loved and appreciated. It’s a great way to show your friends that you couldn’t do it without them and, if you’re an emotional queen like me, to have an excuse to get a little mushy.  More

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    6 Ways to Tie-Dye Clothes at Home

    It-girl fashion and #OOTD mirror selfies might not come to mind when you think of tie-dye. You probably think of middle school summer camp, crunchy music festivals, or Woodstock and the 1960s. You might even have a couple of old T-shirts stored in the attic that you tie-dyed during a sleepover 10 thousand years ago. But […] More

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    How I Decluttered and Organized My Makeup Stash

    When I first moved into my apartment, I thought I was the luckiest girl on Earth. I looked at—I kid you not—about 25 apartments over a two-month period. I used my lunch almost every work-from-home day to go look at apartments, and my weeknights were booked with apartment viewings too. I spent more time on […] More

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    15 Hobbies You Can Start at Home—Today

    Week two of working from home and, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a tad bit stir crazy. I’ve spent more time in my apartment than I ever thought possible. My studio and I have become so acquainted during this process, that we might actually be … in a relationship? In this period […] More