Identifying The Keepers In Your Closet
These days, Ann Fitzpatrick, director of the personal-shopping team at the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills, cleans out her closet with surgical precision.
Thirteen years ago, before she moved into a home with smaller closets, Ms. Fitzpatrick purged her wardrobe of pieces she no longer needed, including dated dresses from Paris that she still loved but had stopped wearing.
She has regretted the loss ever since. I am still pining for those pieces I let go that are not replaceable, says Ms. Fitzpatrick, who spent many years helping clients shop and weed through their closets and now oversees the service. I wake up in the middle of the night sweating.
As a result, Ms. Fitzpatrick now makes sure to hold onto beloved pieces that are in good shape, even if she no longer wears them or theyre out of date. She has learned, she says, that alterations can easily update looks.
She changes buttons on old cardigans and jackets to create a more modern look and has hemlines taken down or up as the style dictates; on one Calvin Klein skirt, she has let the hem out twice. (When shortening, leave your hems wide for the future, she notes.) If she has a hole in a cashmere sweater, she often looks for an artisan who can reweave it. And she wishes she had tweaked the big shoulders on one of her Parisian dresses instead of giving it away.
Avoiding large purges, she weeds through her wardrobe every season, getting rid of items such as shoes with worn-out toes or chipped heels (shoemakers cant do their magic on them), sweaters that cant be rewoven, cotton shirts worn down by starch and trousers that have been dry-cleaned so much they shine or cant be adjusted to the right length. She also weeds out items that dont fit or have colors she no longer likes.
Shell let her two daughters have first pick of the cast-offs and then will give the rest to charities. Nothing gets thrown away. I believe that there has got to be a home for any of the things Ive owned, Ms. Fitzpatrick says.
As for restocking, Ms. Fitzpatrick says shes always replenishing her supply of cotton shirts, and at least annually, shell buy more investment pieces that serve as the core of her wardrobe (such as a perfect black dress, skirts, blouses, trousers and handbags), and she uses new accessories to refresh them. For instance, she recently bought a Giambattista Valli jacket with a more-structured shoulder, a new look that she thinks will have some staying power.
By adding a belt, putting a great necklace on or dropping a vest over it, you can change that core piece to have a little different look, she says.