Fall outerwear cleanout: tips and tricks

Fall outerwear cleanout: tips and tricks

cleaning out + switching up outerwear for the season

With the change in seasons approaching and the crispness of fall in the air, it's a great time to evaluate your outerwear wardrobe to determine what you need, what you don't, and which pieces could use an update. 

Try on each piece in your coat closet

Evaluate for fit:

  • Are pieces too tight or too loose?
  • Do you have too many long coats, too many short jackets, or too many of a certain style and need an updated fit?

Evaluate for function:

  • Do you have pieces that serve both stylish and practical purposes for your current lifestyle? For example, are you back in the office post-Covid and no longer have a business appropriate coat for fall and winter; conversely, do you now work from/out of your home and no longer need business formal/casual coats?
  • Have you experienced a weight gain or loss, or do you have new outdoor hobbies, such as running, pickleball, or hot girl walks that mean you need a piece with bigger pockets for gear, more stretch for movement, etc?
  • Moved into a state or part of the country with a differing climate?
All of these common factors play a role in what outerwear we'd need and love for the upcoming seasons. 

Evaluate for style and aesthetic:

  • How many outwear pieces currently serve as a completer piece to freshen up and finish a look? I gravitate toward moto, denim, quilted jackets or a blazer to serve this purpose - they're a great no-brainer piece to toss over a simple tee and jeans that instantly elevate a look. If you don't have one of these, add to cart. 
  • Are you happy you own these pieces? Do you look forward to wearing them?

Consider how these pieces work for the place in life you're currently in, and do they reflect who you currently are?

  • How have you grown over this time, and how has your style changed as a result? If you're hanging on to pieces that no longer serve this iteration of you, consider reselling or donating to let someone else enjoy. 

Put pieces back into their proper place

As you weigh these factors and try on each piece, put pieces you intend to keep back in your coat closet in groups of like items. Examples:

  • Vests
  • Lighter weight jackets (denim, rain jackets)
  • Heavier coats
  • Dress or business appropriate coats
  • Casual coats and jackets, such as puffers, fleece, etc.  

Further delineate as needed - for me, I had several pieces in the coat closet that I treated as completer pieces - i.e. I build the outfit around that particular vest or jacket - and wasn’t wearing because I classified them as a vest/coat that i’d put on last before leaving. These pieces (one of my favorites) are now stored in the master closet, where I'll treat them the same way as other pullovers, sweatshirts, etc - they're a piece of the outfit. 

Resell, consign or donate

Now that you've grouped your pieces, look at the quantity in each category. Too many old dress coats from your days at the office? 10 fleece jackets, but no elevated casual for a night out? Lots of vests, no sleeves? All black, no other neutrals, textures or color?

Whittle down your favorites in each category, then determine how you'll let them go. You could re-sell via consignment if styles are relatively current and in good shape - consignment shops typically take 5 years old or newer. Online platforms such as  Poshmark, Mercari, Depop, eBay, etc can get you a few extra bucks out of your items if the pieces are from recognizable, popular or trending brands. 

From here, separate sell and donate piles. Address in a *somewhat* timely fashion - not only for your own sanity in minimizing clutter, but because there’s seasonality involved - if you let your fall and winter "sell pile" sit, it will be spring before you know it and you've missed the window to sell your perfectly good down puffers. Same applies for donations - let items go in the season in which they could be of most use to and enjoyed by someone else. 

Add or replace

Now comes the fun - after you’ve sorted, donated and sold, determine what you’d like to replace or what gaps exist in your outerwear wardrobe. After my cleanout, I’m on the hunt for a vegan leather cropped puffer, an updated vest for hot girl walks (this one has zip pockets to hold my phone in place) and a replacement for my Patagonia Radalie jacket that’s just a bit too small (gah). 

If the rest of your closet’s bursting with jumbled items and a loose organization at best, contact a professional organizer (in Charlotte, Sort + Store will transform your space) to regain control of the clutter.

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