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Closet Clearing 101: Keep This, Not That

To achieve an ageless look, here are five basic items every age-40-plus fashionista should keep in her closet all year long: white T-shirts, dar

Dress shopping

k straight-leg jeans, a classic navy blazer, a wrap dress and a go-to LBD (little black dress).

Having these on hand helps you create a timeless foundation. You can then build on this with trendy pieces from each new season, such as two of this year’s favorite items (so far!): animal-print scarves and slouchy slacks.

Anytime you add a cool new piece to your closet, though, consider tossing out something else to make room for it.

The reigning rule of thumb here — chuck it if you haven’t worn it in three years — is still robust advice. Yes, some styles come back into vogue again — last year’s jumpsuit, I’m looking at you — but do you really want to drag out that disco dress you mothballed in the '70s to prove your retro cred? A newer version would show off your style savvy much more effectively.

>> 9 Nasty Things to Throw Away Today

Here are five things I’ll bet you’ve got squirreled away in your drawers and closets (if you’re anything like me) that should be ditched or donated without delay.

Old bras. Most women wear the wrong bra size — and it shows. A properly fitted bra makes clothes fit and feel better; it can even make us look thinner. So get fitted for a few new bras by a pro.

Even with the right size, most of us need to replace our bras every year. They get stretched out and misshapen from washing and wearing. Solution? Scrap ’em!

Cropped pants. Call ’em what you will — capris, mid-calf slacks, cropped pants — the res

Cropped pants

ult is the same: Unless you’re the proud owner of a pair of long, lean legs, cropped pants — especially those that flare a bit at the bottom, exposing that unflattering spot above the ankle — make us look shorter and heavier. Diagnosis? Discard!

Miniskirts. Wearing a cute skirt or dress that ends two inches above the knees with opaque black tights and mid-heel booties? Fabulous! (Especially when paired with a silk blouse or a cashmere sweater.) Anything shorter than that? Pass it down to the next generation!

Message T's. I have a few message T-shirts I’ve held onto for sentimental reasons: There’s the one I bought in Hong Kong in 1997 on the very day Great Britain ceded the territory back to China, for instance, or the one I picked up at my first Tom Petty concert in 1998. But do I wear them out in public? Not on your life. So keep a few whose memory has meaning. The rest? Recycle!

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Melanie Griffith in Working Girl
Suit jackets with shoulder pads. Squared shoulders are still quite cool, if you ask me. I have a beloved black jacket, for example, that’s a few years old, but its lightly padded shoulders give me a confident air. Any jacket with more than a slight jut to it, however, means it’s time to exorcise your inner Melanie Griffith (Working Girl came out in 1988!). Trust me, you will never wear one of these jackets again — and if I catch you in one, it’s going to get ugly! My judgment? Jettison!

Now, see all that room I just made in your closet? You’re welcome!


We can’t control getting older, but we can control how we do it!

I’d love to hear your style and beauty questions. Tell me in the comments section below for a chance to have your question featured in an upcoming segment of The Best of Everything.

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