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DCGF Q & A: Push through the “noise” in your closet

Kaarin Moore Closet CaucusWith Earth Day just around the corner, I’m thinking a lot about repurposing and recycling—naturally, in my closet. I got in touch with Kaarin Vembar, stylist-in-chief at Closet Caucus, to find out how she helps her clients clean up their closets without tossing more trash in our landfills. She’s got tons of tips you can use, so read on:

DCGF: Helping clients reevaluate their wardrobes often involves getting rid of a lot of garments that just don’t work anymore, right? What do you advise your clients do with the clothing that no longer fits their life and style?

KV: Yes! Many people can’t see what they have because of the “noise” in their closets. My most popular service is a wardrobe edit where we go through a client’s entire closet and decide what to keep, what to donate, what to consign, and what is missing according to his/her overarching style objectives.

Most people have items in their wardrobes that are great candidates for donation. A certain piece may not be a perfect fit on an individual, but can be given another life when it is donated. After editing a closet we create an itemized list to prep items for donation. It’s a fun and cathartic experience!

DCGF: What criteria do you use to help clients figure out what to do with the clothing or shoes they don’t want anymore?

KV: One of the main questions that I receive is the difference between an item that can be consigned versus donated. Consignment policies vary from store to store, but across the board they tend to want pieces that were produced within the past two years. If clothing has been in someone’s closet longer than two years, we put it in a donate pile. It’s a good rule of thumb, but most people want to donate everything! People really see it as paying it forward and want their items to find a new home.

DCGF: Do you agree that we can be just as stylish with fewer pieces of clothing in our closets? What staple items help a small wardrobe appear larger?

KV: I really see a trend in clients wanting to minimize their closets. It makes life easier, it makes mornings more manageable, and is great for the earth and everyone’s personal budgets.

The big thing I recommend is getting exceptional basic pieces, because they go very far in mixing and matching. For a woman’s wardrobe, a black sheath dress is something that can be worn over and over again while always looking on-point. You can put a button up shirt under it or over it. You can add a cardigan. You can put a belt over the cardigan. You can belt it. You can wear it with a blazer. I refer to it as a “Dr. Seuss” piece of clothing: you can wear it with a fox, you can wear it on a box…you can wear it here or there, you can wear it anywhere!

DCGF: You’re pretty thrifty yourself—how do you style Goodwill bargains for yourself to make sure you shine on the job?

KV: A huge chunk of my wardrobe is thrifted. Every time I go to Goodwill it is a learning experience for me professionally because it’s a crash course in experiencing different styles, fabrics, cuts, and pieces from various decades. It keeps me sharp professionally by training my eye. Thrift stores are also a way for me to stretch myself sartorially. I can take great risks with clothing without taking a large financial risk. It has made me bold and has pushed my own personal style. Plus, it’s just a ton of fun!


How do you decide what pieces from your closet are ready to be donated or consigned? Leave your tips in the comments!

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1 Comment for DCGF Q & A: Push through the “noise” in your closet

Meg G.
April 10, 2013

Just read this! great advice! Since I just scored three great things yesterday, and it is getting warmer now, I am in the mood to pare a little and also think of packing up the heavier things. YEAY!!! Since most of my closet has already been thrifted, I can only re-donate a little! My advice is more along the lines of that. Please do not donate what really has no new “life” left! I am surprised at some of the things that I see out on the sales floor sometimes. The line between trash and treasure really gets blurred! With that said, I still really enjoy that “treasure hunt”!

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