Break Into The Fashion Industry

There’s one thing pretty much everyone working in fashion has in common: At one time or another, they weren’t working in fashion. When you’re an outsider, one of the industry’s greatest mysteries is exactly how the most successful people got to where they are.

A little piece of this mystery might have just been solved, courtesy of fashion muse Rita Ora’s longtime stateside stylist, Jason Rembert.

At only 25 years old, Rembert has styled the likes of Ora, Nicki Minaj, Olivia Palermo, Keri Hilson, and many more, and here’s the most amazing part: he did it all in only five years, after making a decision at 20 years old to drop out of college (where he was pursuing a degree in mathematics) and start pursuing his dream of a career in fashion.

We sat down with Rembert—who paid his dues interning at Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, and W—to hear his top 10 tips for breaking into fashion and succeeding once you’re there.

1. Start from the bottom.
You have to intern and learn. You have to put that time in. No one makes it overnight; this industry requires a lot of hard work and you have to sacrifice a lot. Some people think you’re going to get rich overnight, and you just don’t. You work hard, sometimes you work for free to take it to that next level. It’s okay to work for less than you feel like you deserve, if at the end of the road, you’re going to gain much more. You have to think long-term; you can’t think short-term in this industry.

When I was interning at Elle, I worked with a lot of rich girls who were buying $10 salads for lunch everyday. I brought my food from home because I couldn’t afford that. Now I look at those girls, and they’ve humbled themselves, and I think that’s from interning, assisting, and working for people who ready had to make them humble.

2. You have to overcome the fear of failing.
When I first started in the fashion business, I didn’t think it was something I could actually do. I see so many stylists who work so hard and they are really dedicated to it, and they never make it. I think all of us have that fear of not making it or not being so successful. I see fashion assistants in closets for five years. That’s hard. I didn’t know where my life would be; I knew I wanted to do it, but I just had that fear.

You have to get over your fear of failure, and you can make it in this industry. It’s getting over that initial fear of failing. You have to be okay with failing. Failure will eventually become a learned mistake; I fail every week! But I’m learning and happy to learn.

3. You absolutely must have a support system.
So many people get so close to making it, and because of lack of support, and that fear, they never make it. So you have to have someone, whether it’s a friend, it’s your mom, it’s your dad, it’s brothers or sisters, who supports you and tells you, “You can do it.”

4. You have to be ready to put in a ton of work.
This job is so much work. I don’t sleep. Sometimes I don’t eat. I’m dealing with sample trafficking everyday, every moment of my life. I have to be up by four in the morning to answer the Australia, London, Paris, and Italy markets. I get up at 4 a.m. every morning to answer e-mails, because I’m dealing with an international pop star.

I have conference calls and creative discussions all before 8 a.m.—I usually answer 200 emails before noon. If it’s a good day, I don’t have to catch a flight. All day I’m checking clothes in, returning clothes, packaging boxes, moving trunks around, picking clothes up from showrooms. And then there’s appointments and events in the evening. It’s a lot.

5. Achieving a balance is very difficult, but possible.
There’s no time for relationships. You have to be focused. You have to work really hard to balance your career and your personal life, your family. Some days I’m extremely happy about what I’m doing, and some days I’m extremely over it. But at the end of the day, I can’t see myself doing anything else.

6. Study those who came before you.
What’s not publicized about a lot of people in fashion is how they got to where they are. Really read up on the people who inspired you, and learn their journey. Find out about them, and find out how they got from point A to point B. It can be really inspiring.

7. Invest and believe in yourself.
I spoke to one of my friends who’s a really major designer and asked him how he got to here, and he said, “Honestly, I invested in myself. I had a job and I took the money from the job and all my savings and I invested in my career. I had one friend at a big magazine who pushed for me and kept pushing for me. And it worked.”

How many people in this world, when they’re stable, would take their life savings and invest in their dream? Most people wouldn’t. It’s really about investing in yourself, and knowing that you can make it and will make it.

8. Keep your integrity.
This is important. In this industry, there’s so many people who will really try to knock you down, push you down, make you feel like you’re less than what you are, and who will try to make you be something that you’re not. If you keep your integrity, people will love and respect you for you. Nobody wants someone who they can pushover. Nobody wants someone who won’t stand up for themselves. I don’t want someone like that. You really need to keep your integrity and remember who you are, be who you are.

A lot of times in this industry, you have to conform, and it’s so hard to be yourself. But I just look at the people at the top: Patti Wilson, June Ambrose, Grace Coddington. They’re all themselves.

There are some stylists who are very outlandish and out there and who have personality for days, but there are some stylists who are very reclusive and shy and they show their personality through their work. If that stylist who is very shy and to themselves came to this industry and acted fake and outlandish, they’d never make it.

9. It’s okay to be nice.
You don’t have to be a mean person to be a stylist or an editor. I think that’s the biggest misconception of the industry, like “I have to be mean to my intern and my assistants!” You really don’t. It’s okay to be nice. I’m happier being nice.

There’s much more to this industry than what is often publicized. I love the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”—I could watch it every day—but I feel like people only saw the mean and the attitude. I wish they could see that there’s people out there who will send you cupcakes and flowers [when you’re sick]. There’s actually people who care.

Summer Maternity Clothes

Ah, maternity fashion. It’s a land filled with items you would might not elect to wear if not for your burgeoning bump (we’re looking at you, tent dresses and ruched everything), and, when confronted with finding options that suit your pre-pregnancy style in a see of empire-waisted silhouettes, it can feel like hunting down the proverbial needle in a hay stack. And when your to-do list is growing longer each day, pulling together an outfit you actually want to wear shouldn’t be yet another box you need to check off.

But there’s good news for all the style conscious moms-to-be out there. There’s no reason to sacrifice your style. With all the great options on the racks, you might even surprise yourself by loving your maternity wardrobe even more than your pre-pregnancy one. There are tons of great pieces to pick from—and not just at maternity-only companies (although those are a great resource, too). You’ll be surprised by how many of your favorite retailers (think H&M, Topshop—even ASOS) carry their own lines just for moms-to-be. You may even find you’ll want to keep these on rotation long past your due date.

Cut with enough room to grow into, but with all the stylish details of your regular wardrobe, you can toss this sweet shift on over your suit as a pretty beach cover up, or pair it with flat sandals for an easy and breezy weekend look.

To buy: $48; asos.com.

 

These white denim cut-offs have a loose, easy fit (so they’re already comfortable), but add to that the cleverly concealed, nearly invisible elastic side panels, and you’ve got a pair you’ll reach for every weekend. The fresh white color looks great with any top you pair them with.

To buy: $58; topshop.com.

 

Made with enhanced support so you feel snug and secure (even while wearing next to nothing at the beach or pool—no easy feat!), this one-piece suit also has lightly padded cups that create a smooth, flattering shape and adjustable shoulder straps so it fits just right.

To buy: $80; nordstrom.com.

 

Super soft cotton jersey makes this a comfortable pick for warm summer days. Pop it on over a pair of jeans (it works with white or blue denim) as replacement for a basic white tee—the on-trend open shoulder and ruffled sleeves feel fresh and fashion-forward.

To buy: $25; hm.com.

 

Sure, these flowy, striped trousers make for cuter-than-usual loungewear, but top them off with a chambray shirt and a Panama hat, and you have a stylish ensemble perfect for the beach or the boardwalk. A breathable linen construction means you’ll be reaching for these pants on even the hottest days. Also available in white and grey.

To buy: $88; apeainthepod.com.

Slip into these easy-on sandals when all you want to do is be off your feet (but it’s just not possible). The wide leather strap keeps your foot firmly in place, while the elastic band stretches to adjust with your movements. The cushioned sole is the next best thing to putting your feet up. Also available in black

Best Colors You Should Wear To a Job Interview

Sure, prepping to answer tough questions is the hardest part of an interview—but trying to figure out what clothing and color you should wear to a job interview freaks us out, too. Landing a job interview usually leads to the closet war of all closet wars, and totally stresses us out when we should be aiming to feel calm, cool, and collected.

You’ve heard the standard advice: Dress for the industry in which you’re interviewing (there’s a big difference between a job at a white-shoe law firm and a tech startup, and your clothes should reflect that), don’t wear anything too fashion forward (you want to be the star of the interview, not your handbag) and, above all else, don’t you dare wear something sloppy or better suited for a night of cocktails with your friends than a serious job interview. But, what about color?

CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive conducted a study, polling hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes, asking the simple question, what’s the best color to wear to a job interview? Blue was the most recommended color, while orange came in dead last.

Deciding what shade to wear is slightly more complex than just picking blue and forgoing orange, though, as employers reported that various colors send various messages during the interview process. Do you want to come across as organized, for instance? Or creative?

“That first impression on an interview counts so much, and you don’t want to be out of the race before the interview even begins,” said Sherry Maysonave, head of Empowerment Enterprises, an image consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. “That [impression] happens in less than 30 seconds and it’s based entirely upon your attire.”

Here, a breakdown of the messages various colors can send during an interview so you can land the job that you deserve.

Blue is the ultimate safe choice

Blue was the most recommended color by hiring professionals surveyed by CareerBuilder, with 23 percent responding they actually preferred the hue. Shades of blue send the message that you’re credible and trustworthy according to experts. Lisa Johnson Mandell of AOL Jobs writes: “Studies show that navy blue is the best color for a suit to wear to a job interview because it inspires confidence.” Be wary, though, of choosing navy for more creative job interviews, where you could come off looking too conservative.

Avoid brown altogether

Brown doesn’t have negative connotations—you’ll send the message of being comforting and reliable—but it can also convey the image that you are simple and old-fashioned, qualities that aren’t exactly positive in job interviews when you want to convey the message of being forward-thinking and modern. So you don’t run the risk of coming off as staid, just avoid brown altogether.

Black conveys leadership—so save it for interviews for management positions

Besides blue, experts also favor black for job interviews, with 15 percent of respondents from the CareerBuilder survey saying it was their top pick. Still, be careful when selecting black for an interview. Color experts rank black the highest on the authority scale, which means it’s a great color to wear for an interview for a management position, but be wary of the risk of overpowering the person you’re interviewing with if you are applying to be an assistant, for instance.

Kat Griffin of Corporette’s advice on wearing black? Whatever you do, don’t mix and match different blacks. “Please do not try to match different black fabrics to ‘make’ a suit,” she says.

Red sends a message of power, but not in a good way

You’ll definitely convey that you’re both bold and assertive if you wear red to a job interview, but in most cases, hiring professionals think the color can come off as domineering, and even worse, rebellious. There’s an exception to every rule, and red can be a great color in fields like sales and the law, where being aggressive is considered a positive.

Gray is another safe choice

If you want to send the message to your (hopefully) future employer that you are both logical and analytical, then grey is the way to go. The understated shade works well for interviews in just about every field. Applying for a job where you want to show a bit of your personality? Dress up your grey outfit with colored accessories like a scarf or a handbag.

Just say no to wearing orange

Orange topped CareerBuilder’s list for the absolute worst color to wear to a job interview, with 25 percent of respondents saying they associated the color with someone who’s unprofessional. What’s that? You’re dying to finally wear that new tangerine blouse? Save it for the weekend.

Interview day is not the day to get creative or show your prospective employer your ‘fun’ personality,” said Mary Orton of Memorandum.

White sends the message that you’re organized and detail-oriented

Send the message that you’re organized, impartial, and looking to make a clean start wearing white. While wearing a white suit is probably too big of a statement for a job interview, opt for a white blazer over a black shift dress, or a white button-down paired with a pencil skirt to get the benefits of wearing the shade.

Save purple and yellow for interviews in creative fields

For the most part, experts suggest playing it safe with neutrals for job interviews in most fields, but if you’re interviewing for a job in a creative field, don’t be afraid to wear certain colors. Purple sends the message of being artistic and unique, while yellow projects optimism and creativity.

 

Measure Your Bra Size

We’re often taught by lingerie behemoths like Victoria’s Secret that bra size measurements should be left to the professionals—which is why many of us have gone our whole lives relying on others to tell us what size brassiere we should be wearing. This is all fine and well, except that many women get stuck in a rut of wearing the same bra size for years and years, assuming things like, “I’m a 34B; I always have been and always will be.”

This kind of thinking can get you into trouble fast, since (obviously) your bra size changes as your body does. Below, find the definitive five steps you need to follow to take matters into your own hands and measure your own perfectly precise bra size.

1. Grab a tape measure

Make sure it’s soft and pliable, preferably made of fabric. If you don’t have one, head to a local fabric store, drug store, or even a mass retailer like Wal-Mart.

2. Make sure you’re wearing your best bra

You wouldn’t go on a first date without first putting on your best outfit, so don’t measure your bra size without wearing your most well-fitting bra. It should fit snugly, preferably have an underwire, and have no padding. Also, your breasts shouldn’t be sagging; if your nipple isn’t located approximately halfway down the top half of your back, adjust your bra straps to make them tighter.

3. Measure your band size first

As you know, most bras are sized via band then cup. I.e., a 34-D bra is a bra with a band measurement of 34 and a cup measurement of D. But don’t be fooled by appearances: the band size often isn’t precisely the measurement of the circumference of your torso.

Here’s how it works: using your soft tape measure, measure around the trunk of your torso right where the bottom part of your bra clasps around you. Using a mirror, make sure the tape is taut exactly across the middle of your back (not hitting at a diagonal, which can skew the measurement). See where the end of the tape meets at the front of your torso. This is your literal torso measurement. Write this number down. Sometimes, your band size is equivalent to your literal torso measurement. But if your torso measures, for example, 31 inches, you will probably need to round up to a 32 for your band size.

4. On to measuring your bust size

Compared to measuring bust size, band size is a relative walk in the park. Cups are trickier because the size of your breasts can actually change depending on lots of factors, like what day of the month it is and if you are experiencing bloating or not. Try to pick a day to measure your cup size when you feel (relatively) true-to-size.

Your posture also plays an important part in measuring an accurate cup size. To counteract a mis-measurement on account of slouching or standing up abnormally erect, try this: bend forward at your hips before measuring. So your body, from your feet to the top of your head, looks like an upside-down letter “L.” Tina Fey illustrates this forward bend well:

This helps ensure that you are getting all the breast tissue in the tape. Then carefully place the tape so it’s straight across your back (again, you can use a mirror to help you do this) and measure your breasts at the fullest point, which typically is where your nipples are. Take mental (or literal) note of that number.

5. Calculate the cup size

Because in the land of bras, everything is more confusing that it really needs to be, your bust size and your cup size aren’t the same. The bust size is the literal number you just read on the tape measure while contorting yourself into the “L” shape. The cup size, however, is the difference between your band size and your bust size. Here’s a chart of standard size differences and how they equate to cup sizes.

  • If your bust size is less than 1 inch bigger than your band size, you’re a cup size AA.
  • 1-inch difference = A
  • 2-inch difference = B
  • 3-inch difference = C
  • 4-inch difference = D
  • 5-inch difference = DD

Here’s an example from start to finish:
Let’s say you measure around your torso and get the measurement of 33 inches. Because it’s an odd number, you should round up to 34. When you measure around your full bust, you get 36 inches. That means there’s a two-inch difference between your full bust size and your band size. The chart above says a two-inch difference is equivalent to a “B” cup size, so your final bra size is: 34B.

Tips To Wear to A Job Interview

Whether we like it or not, fashion matters when it comes to landing your dream job—and having your closet ready with job interview outfits can help take a little pressure off an already stressful situation.

When deciding what to wear to a job interview, you want to fit in to the company culture—but also, of course, stand out from the pack—and navigating the two can be a challenge. Nowadays, even some of the strictest companies have relaxed their dress codes to adapt to the startup-fueled, tech-first economy, but what’s appropriate still varies from industry to industry—and despite the fact that we’d all like to think our resume speaks louder than our pencil skirt, what you wear during the interview process remains very important.

“First impressions are critical. What you wear is the first thing people see, before you even say a word,” says Barry Drexler, the founder of Expert Interview Coach. “[Hiring managers] evaluate your appearance because they don’t know you yet, and they don’t have a lot to go on.”

It’s during this first interaction that people size you up based on everything from your handshake to your choice of shoes. Whoever is hiring needs to be able to visualize you in the position they’re trying to fill—and, in 2016, that doesn’t necessarily mean showing up in something extra-conservative.

“Recent grads especially are fish out of water,” says Jill Jacinto, media manager for WORKS by Nicole Williams, a company dedicated to helping young women find jobs. “They often get advice from their parents, who say they need a classic suit. My mom, who hasn’t worked in years, took me suit shopping. And I was taking her advice, which now seems laughable. We need to break away from the power suit mentality.”

So, how do we know what’s appropriate and what’s not? “It’s all about understanding the company culture,” says Ryan Kahn, founder of The Hired Group and MTV’s Hired career coach.

That means everything from knowing if the executive team will likely be dressed in hoodies (and what that means for you as a hopeful employee) to understanding what colors are likely to be acceptable—a pink handbag is probably going to look a lot more at home in an interview with Kate Spade New York, for instance, than it will at Bloomberg. “You want to wear colors that show you fit in the company’s culture and that show your personality, but in subtle way,” says Rahel Berihu, a stylist and longtime volunteer at Dress For Success, which provides support and professional clothing to promote women’s economic independence. “You don’t want your outfit to be overpowering or distracting.”

Though everyone we spoke to agreed that overdressed is better than underdressed, neither is a particularly good look. “People in creative firms might see you as less creative, a little uptight, not someone who will roll up their sleeves and get dirty,” says Frank Dahill, senior recruiter and branding expert at Sam & Lori, a New York recruitment firm that focuses on creative industries.

Below, our experts weigh in on how to put your best foot forward, fashion-wise, in a job interview in five different fields.

If you’re interviewing for: a creative job

Examples: writer, editor, photo editor, film, graphic designer, art director

  • While jobs in creative fields give you a bit more leeway to be, well, creative with your attire, here a common pitfall is wanting to show too much personality right off the bat. “I’m not worried about personality in your clothes,” says Dahill. “If you have no personality, clothes won’t help. I’d rather see you be more conservative.”
  • While you shouldn’t show up in a skirt suit, don’t show up in something wild or trend-driven either.
  • Jacinto advises “tone it down and apply the rule of taking one piece off before the interview.”
  • Be comfortable. Jacinto proposes trying your outfit on before the interview to “know how your clothing reacts in different situations.”
  • Shoes should be closed-toe, pants should be black or dark denim, and accessories kept to a minimum.

If you’re interviewing for: a client-based corporate job

Examples: law firm, real estate, public relations, sales, marketing, advertising or account executives

  • Be well-groomed. Don’t wear too much makeup and have your hair clean and simple. Never wear perfume.
  • Invest in a nice blazer. This can be used to dress up anything from simple blouses to well-cut trousers. Again, shoes should be close-toe and no higher than three inches.
  • Keep colors conservative, says Kahn. “Keep it classy. Nothing too vibrant, bright, or distracting.”
  • Berihu advises against “bright colors, distracting prints, or anything lacy, sheer, or low-cut.” Keep the attention on you, not your clothing.

If you’re interviewing for: a fashion job

Examples: fashion editor, buyer, stylist, designer, merchandiser, assistant, sales

  • According to Drexler, a mistake people make when interviewing for a fashion-related job is to make a broad-brush assumption that they should dress edgy or super on-trend.
  • What you wear here depends on the specific job and company you’re interviewing for—keep the aesthetics of the brand in mind while getting dressed, but don’t show up in a head-to-toe runway look.
  • Keep clothes simple and instead make accessories the focal point. Have stylish shoes, a sharp bag and modern jewelry displaying your great taste.
  • Don’t try to be too fashion-forward. You want people to think “she looks presentable and stylish in that dress” as opposed to “wow, that’s a really expensive designer dress.” Clothes shouldn’t be a distraction.

If you’re interviewing for: a finance job

Examples: banking, consulting, hedge funds, accounting, insurance, research analyst, stock analyst

  • In finance—at least at the interview stage—not much has changed. Don’t push the envelope, and appear conservative and professional.
  • Wear a dark, two-piece pantsuit or skirt suit. Lighten it up with a white or softly-colored blouse and conservative accessories.
  • “Look for pants that are fitted and have a bit of a taper,” says Berihu. “And if your suit has a skirt, it should be knee-length or below and tailored appropriately.”
  • If you’re wearing tights, Jacinto suggests bringing an extra pair in case they run. “You never know what will happen the day of, so be prepared.”
  • On that note, don’t wear colorful or patterned tights, open-toe shoes, super-high heels, or low-cut tops.

If you’re interviewing for: a tech/startup job

Examples: engineer, coder, product manager, designer, communications, content strategist, IT

  • Startups often have a young staff and foster a collegiate atmosphere, so the biggest fear people have here is being overdressed in a sea of hipsters.
  • A good rule of thumb is to dress a half-step up from everyone else “so the person interviewing you knows you’re dressed up for an interview,” says Dahill.
  • Coming in wearing a corporate-style suit makes it look like you know nothing about the industry. “If you’re going to a startup in a three-piece suit, you may say the right things, but you look like you’re looking for an environment that’s different, and the company might think they cant offer you want you want,” explains Jacinto.
  • Show that you’re serious about the position without being overdressed. Opt for dark denim and a tucked-in blouse, or a stylish skirt with a chambray button-down and blazer or basic sweater, and accessorize from there.

 

Make Ripped Jeans in 5 Easy Steps

Wearing ripped jeans is a fine art, really. Done right, they look fashioned forward and cool—but one wrong tear and you’re on your way to looking like Donnie Wahlberg during the New Kids on the Block Hangin’ Tough Tour of ’89. So, knowing the exact right way how to cut holes in jeans is obviously clutch.

It’s clear ripped jeans aren’t a new trend—not even close. The distressed style has fallen in and out of fashion favor since the 1980s, but it seems that lately, they’re more popular than ever. Between street style stars pairing ripped up styles with It-bags to celebs like Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, and Selena Gomez wearing torn denim non-stop, holes are pretty much everywhere. That’s why, rather than ponying up $200 for a designer pair, we suggest a little DIY action.

The problem with buying already-distressed denim is that you don’t have much control over the rips themselves. That might sound a little bit like a Champagne problem, but we all have our preferences when it comes to placement, size, and scope of the tears. Do we like two gaping holes at the knees, a few tiny nicks, or a series of serious slashes down the leg?

Plus, shelling out cash for jeans that look as if they’re one step away from the giveaway pile can be a hard pill to swallow. That said, we’ve highlighted 5 simple steps that outline how to rip jeans yourself.

1. Choose your denim

The first step, obviously, is picking out which pair of jeans you want to rip. Tight and skinny, or boyfriend style? Black, white, or blue? High-waisted or mid-rise? We find it’s best to do a few trial runs with either a pair of jeans you don’t really wear anymore, or denim you’ve picked up for cheap at spots like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You definitely don’t want to take to your new pair of $200 J Brands with a scissor just yet.

If you want your jeans to look extra-worn, wash them a few times in hot water and a little bleach before you get started. If not, read on!

2. Gather your supplies to distress and rip

To really make jeans look authentically ripped, it pays to distress them a bit before you start cutting the holes. To do this, you’ll want to grab some sandpaper or a paint-removing block, steel wool, and a pumice stone. For the holes, use a pair of super-sharp small scissors, an X-Acto knife, or a box cutter. We like to use a piece of cardboard or a small wooden block inside the pant legs so you don’t alter the back of the jeans—unless you want to.

3. Put your jeans on to mark

Use a pen, chalk or a safety-pin to denote exactly where you want your rips and/or distressed areas. You might want to grab a ruler, too. It’s key do this while you’re standing.

4. Start distressing

Lay the jeans flat and start rubbing your marked areas with your sandpaper, steel wool, and the pumice stone until the denim starts to really thin out and look worn. Obviously, the time it takes to do this step depends on the thickness of your jeans. If you really want to go for it in the knee or butt area, tape some sandpaper to the floor, put the jeans back on, and slide around on the paper.

5. Start making your holes

After your jeans are sufficiently distressed, take your scissors or knife and use the edge (not the tip) to start horizontally scraping the area where you want your rips to be. If you don’t want holes all the way through, scrape enough that you start to see the white horizontal threads beneath the denim’s surface. Once you’re there, you can start using a tweezer to fray the threads. If skin is what you’re after, start cutting the distressed areas with your knife or scissors.

 

Simple Step Guide to Figure the Rid of Clothes

We have a feeling you’re pretty familiar with the act of cleaning out your closet—unless you’ve been blessed with a space that’s big enough to hold warm-weather clothes, cold-weather clothes and everything in between. That said, you might also be familiar with the act of standing knee-deep in mounds of shoes, shirts, trousers, sweaters, and sequined dresses, only to realize they’re doing nothing for you but taking up valuable real estate. Time to get rid, ladies.

Sure, you could shove everything back into your closet with the hopes of liking it better in a year or two (won’t happen), but by doing that you’re only working against yourself. Meaning, by hoarding clothes you never wear, you’re likely to start drowning in stuff, which makes it more difficult to find things to wear. Luckily, we’ve put together a 10-step guide to help you understand when to get rid of clothes. Trust us: Your closet will thank you.

1. It’s truly stained.
The fact is that—with a little effort—most stains can be removed (have you seen our handy guide to stain removal?) whether it’s via a professional or by employing clever tricks. However, there are things that can’t be fully removed—intense ink stains, bleach, dried paint, large oil stains, and certain dyes, for example—so it’s best to bid adieu to garments marred by these offenders, suck it up, and buy a fresh piece.

Keep in mind that thrift stores don’t want irrevocably stained items any more than you do and won’t put them out to sell, so it’s best to recycle them, as opposed to donating them.

2. It smells odd.
Certain materials hold onto certain smells longer than others no matter how many times you wash it. While there are ways to remove musty odors from fabrics (spritzing them with a vodka and water mixture, for example), there’s no guarantee all scents will disappear. If your piece smells of must, food, or body odor even after you’ve washed it, it’s time to replace it.

3. It’s damaged beyond repair.
While a tailor can replace a zipper, a button, or even the lining of a coat, they can’t fully fix a gaping tear on the side of your silk blouse, or a huge hole in the middle of a wool skirt. Denim, however, is a different story thanks to spots like Denim Therapy so if you’re in love with a pair of jeans that are starting to rip, you may want to hang on to them and get ’em doctored.

4. You wouldn’t buy it right this second.
When it comes to getting rid of clothes, the true litmus test isn’t whether you’ve worn an item in a year, but rather if you were out shopping right this second, would you buy it? If the answer’s no, out it goes—even if it’s only a month old. We’ve found this method to be highly successful, and can effectively cut down your closet by 25%.

5. It doesn’t fit.
Some women keep too-tight clothing with the hope they’ll lose enough weight to wear it again, to which we say: why? It’s silly let a dress or one pair of pants pressure us into dropping pounds, especially since it might not be weight we’ve gained, but our bodies have shifted, causing older clothes to fit differently. Getting fit for yourself is fab, but not for a cocktail dress when there are 100 just like it waiting for you in your size. 

Same goes for items that are way too big: Unless you really love it and plan to pay to have it altered, why not use your closet’s real estate for awesome pieces that look amazing on you now?

6. It doesn’t convey the message you want it to.
Let’s not kid ourselves: We all use fashion as a means of sending unspoken messages about who we are, or—at least—who we want to be. Oftentimes, that message changes as we get more mature, as we come into our own, or as we experiment with different styles. Certain pieces simply no longer remain relevant to the image we want to portray and that’s okay, but—unless it’s a piece that will appreciate in value, or something of sentiment—it means it’s time to part with these pieces.

7. You equate it with bad memories.
If you look at a wool overcoat and automatically associate it with the winter you lost your job, faced a family hardship, got dumped, or simply were going through a particularly rough patch, toss it. Same goes for pieces left behind by painful exes, friends, or anyone negative. Purging your closet of bad memories can be powerful, and it’ll force you to buy new things you really love (and are totally baggage-free.)

8. It’s simply not trendy anymore.
We’ve all bought super-trendy items that simply don’t stand the test of time, like that pair of clunky sneaker wedges you swore you’d wear every day, or a pair of neon floral jeans. Of course, if you still love and wear these items, by all means, don’t stop! But if you’re over them and know you won’t reach for them, it’s time to let ’em go. Same goes for items that might not ever have been trendy, per se, but those you loved a few years ago and think they look dated/frumpy/matronly today.

9. You keep trying it on but never actually wear it.
You know those pieces that you always seem to try on at home, but never seem to grab when you’re actually getting dressed? Odds are, you’ll never wear them outside of your bedroom, so why are you still hanging on to them? Better to use the space in your closet for  things you’ll actually reach for regularly.

10. It’s totally stretched out or pilled.
One surefire way to not look chic and pulled-together? Wear clothing that’s stretched out. Sure, the laundry can help certain pieces retain their shape, but when you wear items often, they do stretch. If your trousers have sagging seats, your sweaters have necklines that are stretched or sleeves that are pilled, a coat doesn’t fit the way you want it to anymore, or your bras and underwear are totally shapeless, it’s time to get new ones.

Special Key Tips From Fashion Icon Iris Apfel

You might call 92-year-old Iris Apfel somewhat of an expert on personal style; the former interior designer and now-icon got her start collecting knick-knacks and building her accessories collection as a small child in New York’s Astoria neighborhood, where she would frequent thrift shops and home décor stores on the hunt for little items that excited her.

“I used to cut classes every Thursday afternoon and get on the subway and go some place else in the city,” Apfel told us. “I fell in love with the Village. In those days it was really interesting and very Bohemian. I’d look in all the shops.”

As such a longtime adamant collector of pieces she uses to embolden her wardrobe and express herself, Apfel is the perfect person to speak on how to inject your personality into your style. Below, find her tips for going for the gold every time you get dressed, and how to find your personal style.

1. First and foremost, know thyself.
“If you know who you are, and what you can carry off, and what you’re going to be comfortable with, you do it. Go for it. Don’t be afraid. The fashion police won’t haul you off if you’re doing something that doesn’t turn out so well. But if you’re happy with it and it’s not totally freaky, just do it.”

2. Go with your gut, and be open to new and different things.
“Everything with me is very, how shall I say, visceral. I look at things, even if I don’t know much about them, and if I like them, I learn about them later. I like things that speak to me. I don’t have to know everything about it before I [wear] it—I think that makes things a little bit uptight. I’m always open to something new.”

3. Pick pieces that excite you.
“People have told me how much happier they feel having pieces to express themselves. Clothing and how you dress can be a creative form of self-expression. I’m not a person who lives by plan. It takes time and it takes effort and experimentation; it doesn’t come all at once. You really have to do it yourself, because everybody’s style is individual. That’s what makes it style. You have to live with yourself and go to bed with yourself every night. And you have to do things that you feel comfortable with. If you want to please everybody, you’ll end up pleasing nobody.”

4. Know what you can pull off—and what you can’t.
“A normal Chanel suit is very nice, but it doesn’t do anything for me. There are just certain beautiful things that just don’t look well on me. You have to know how much color you can carry off, and so forth. Otherwise you can end up looking like a Christmas tree or very dowdy. I think you have to be true to yourself, and not try to be six different people because that’s the look that’s on-trend now. I mean if something is in-trend and it looks good on you, by all means—but just because it’s a fashionable designer, if he doesn’t suit you, or something is very “in,” don’t wear it if it’s not you.”

Some Questions to Ask Before Buying Something Expensive

There a comes a time in every shopper’s life when the idea of splurging on a designer piece arises. With so many gorgeous bags, shoes, and clothes out there, how could it not? But, in order to ensure you’re shelling out your hard-earned cash for the right reasons, there are a few things you should take into consideration. Namely? The below 10 questions to ask yourself before buying anything expensive.

1: Do I already own something like this?

First things first: Take a cold, hard look at your closet and see if you already own something that resembles your potential pricey purchase. If the answer’s no, move along to question two.

If the answer is yes, there’ a little more work to do. Let’s say the item in question is a fabulous black designer cocktail dress. Do you own a million similar less expensive black dresses that you love and find yourself reaching for often? If so, you might want to skip shelling out big bucks for a new one unless you’d rather get rid of those, and only have one. Why? Because it’s a known fact that the more you own, the less you wear.

2: Do I love shopping? (Or: Am I addicted to fast fashion?)

This is a big one, ladies. We’re not going to condemn you for shopping often for things you probably don’t need—we’re totally guilty—but we will say that when comes to spending on an investment piece, you might want to think about whether you’re still going to want other items in the same fashion family.

For example: If you buy that $3,000 Céline bag, do you foresee yourself not buying any other bags—no matter how cheap or trendy—for the next year or two? When someone buys a new car or a new house, they don’t buy a bunch of smaller, cheaper houses and cars a few months later, right? We like to use the mentality for fashion items. If you know you’re someone who likes to own a huge variety of bags, maybe buying a super-pricey one isn’t the right move.

3: Will this item cause problems for me down the line?

Another thing to figure out: Will this expensive purchase cause real problems for you down the line? Meaning, will that pair of Isabel Marant boots set you back far enough that your phone bill or student loan payments won’t be met this month? If so, it’s a good idea to let them be for now, and start saving a little every month so you can eventually buy them guilt-free (the best way!)

4: If the label was cut out, would it still be my taste?

As fashion lovers, it’s a given that our inner Sybarite will occasionally emerge. Nothing shameful about that—most designer things are beautiful—but if you’re buying simply for a label and the item isn’t really your taste, well, isn’t that silly?

5: If Instagram didn’t exist, would I still want it?

We hate to assume you’d buy anything expensive simply so people know you own it, but alas, this is the world in which we live. Are you buying that Balenciaga bag because you really, really love it, or because you want others to know you have it?

If you buy those designer shoes, will you be able to truly enjoy them without posting them to social media (“artfully” hiding them behind a vase of peonies counts as posting, people.) If the answer is no, you might have some thinking to do.

 6: Is this an impulse buy?

Like social media, today’s world is also jam-packed with online promotions, flash sales, and deals. While these can be a fantastic if you’re legitimately in the market for something, they can be pretty dangerous for the casual shopper who—when she woke up this morning—had no idea she needed or wanted, say, a $600 Phillip Lim blouse until she got an email that it’s 20% off.

If you’ve been itching for a certain pair of designer jeans and you fortuitously see they happens to be on Gilt today, or they’re 30% off at Barneys, go for it. But if you’re ready to pony up for $500 in five minutes for a pair of shoes you’ve never seen before, well, you might want to step away from the computer for a few hours and revisit the item when your dopamine levels recede. After all, most impulse buys end up causing serious cases of buyer’s remorse.

7: Will I realistically use it often?

There’s nothing wrong with treating ourselves to special-occasion pieces now and again, but with truly expensive buys it’s worth calculating the cost per wear—especially if the item might not fit into your lifestyle.

Are you a pre-school teacher who would never wear heels to work? You might not want to shell out $600 for those Manolo Blahniks right now. Are you an attorney at a conservative firm? You probably won’t get much wear out of that bold printed Kenzo suit. Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will just sit in your closet?

8: Am I buying because [insert blogger/street style star here] had it?

Any street style addict knows that there are certain personalities that simply kill it every time they’re photographed. However, just because you saw Miroslava Duma, or your favorite fashion blogger draped in Miu Miu, Stella McCartney, or Valentino—or because you’ll be in New York during Fashion Week and want to get snapped by a street style photographer—isn’t a great reason to go out and splurge on the same stuff.

Don’t forget: Several big street-fashion players, editors, and bloggers get sent designer stuff for free to entice folks like us to go out and buy it. Others are, well, richer than us and it’s their day job to flit around the world in the latest designer clothes, which is fun to admire but not necessarily healthy to emulate.

Instead, seek out lesser-priced pieces of things you admire on street style stars, and out your own stamp on it—and splurge when it’s something you really want, not something you really want to copy.

9: Can I get it for less?

As with any big purchase, it pays to price-shop a bit before biting the bullet. For current items, check out department stores, boutiques, and every online shop you can find. For vintage or discontinued items, call your local consignment shops, or scour eBay, Etsy, and Craigslist. If it’s a new item that you really want but don’t necessarily need this second, sign up for site like Shop it to Me, which scours the web for every discount from brands you specify. Otherwise, check out these 10 places to buy designer bags for less.

10: Is this item a one-season wonder?

Let’s be clear: We certainly don’t think every spurge needs to be something “classic” that’ll last forever and ever (where’s the fun in that?) but we do think dropping a ton on something that’s so obviously the “it” item from one collection (ahem, Alexander Wang‘s $1,000 Parental Advisory sweatshirt,  or Givenchy’s $900 floral Birkenstock-style slides ) is silly.

Why? Because there’s an excellent chance that, after the season is up and the luster starts to fade, you might start to feel that your splurge was partially due to the immediacy of having something covetable, rather than having something you absolutely adore.

Break Out of a Style Rut

Staring at your packed closet for 20 minutes and still maintaining you have nothing to wear. Suddenly hating everything you own. Getting unusually upset at your reflection. If you’ve done any or all of these things lately, you might be stuck in a serious style rut, ladies. The good news? Breaking out doesn’t have to be a big song and dance that involves overhauling your entire wardrobe and spending an ungodly amount of money on labels.

In fact, all it really takes is a few thoughtful tweaks to totally transform your look and break out of that style rut for good. Read on for 9 easy tips to try this second!

1. If you normally wear heels, start to wear flats—and vice versa. It’s useful to think about the power footwear can harness when it comes to changing our look. After all, our clothes typically fall in line with the shoes we wear, so switching things up can lend a totally unexpected twist to pieces you already have. If you’re someone who’s in heels every day, start testing out this season’s amazingly chic flat shoes like pointy loafers, Birkenstock-style slides, or slip-on sneakers. You’d be surprised how different your clothes start to look. Basic pieces like black ankle trousers or a short swingy skirt could look preditable with heels, but think about how they’ll appear with a pair of checkered Vans—totally reinvented and very modern. Likewise, if you’re someone who’s always in flat shoes, try reaching for a pair of cool heels a few times a week, even if your outfit is just jeans and a tee. Your clothes will hang differently, and you’ll look taller, both of which can shake up your look.

 2. Pair up colors with colors … Even if you’re someone who isn’t afraid of color, odds are you still rely pretty heavily on the neutral players in your wardrobe. That said, it’s amazing how refreshed your clothing can look when you start pairing up colors with colors. For example, instead of wearing those slouchy lavender trousers with a basic black top, why not try them with that awesome yellow blazer you have or a baby blue cashmere sweater? Designers often pair their colorful pieces together on the runway, which gives collections an amazingly modern feel, so why not try it out with items you already own?

3. … Or really amp up your neutrals  If you’re not someone particularly into wearing a great deal of color—red and fuchsia isn’t for everyone, we know—why not really amp up your use of  neutrals instead? It’s very easy to break out of a style rut using very basic pieces styled in new ways. For example, buttoning up your white blouse to the top and pairing it with black or navy trousers that fit perfectly or high-waist black shorts will give your look a modern minimalist vibe that’s simple but incredibly cool.

4. Replace old accessories with trendy accessories.  Trendy has become something of a dirty word, but in truth, there’s nothing wrong with embracing the ones you truly like. That’s what makes fashion fun, right?  If you really feel like you’re in a style rut, why not seek out updated versions of accessories you already own and wear, which will absolutely make your clothes feel more now. For example, if you’re someone who loves flip-flops or flat gladiators in the summer, try replacing them with a pair of flat pool-style slides, which are trendy right now but look quite modern. Same goes for smaller accessories like sunglasses—this year, we’re seeing tons of cool pastel shades that’ll instantly lend any outfit a cool-girl vibe. Sick of your oversized work satchel that felt fresh a season or two ago? Replace it with an of-the-moment leather bucket bag. The best part? Fast fashion emporiums like ASOS, Forever 21 and Zara are packed with these on-trend items at comfortable price points, so you won’t run the risk of being a slave to fashion (i.e., shelling out crazy cash for items you know might not be in your arsenal next year.)

5. Start wearing bold lipstick. The cheapest and easiet way to break out of a style rut? Play with bold lipstick shades, like matte orange, bright red, or flamingo pink. You’d be amazed how something so easy can transform your look.

6. Join Pinterest Honestly, what better way to break out of a fashion rut than by keeping looks you love in one place? Pinterest is an amazing tool for finding and organizing inspiring photos of outfits, accessories, hair, makeup, and more. Plus, when you’re standing in front of your closet with nothing to wear, a quick check of Pinterest provides instantaneous outfit ideas to copy.

7. Put another piece of jewelry on before leaving the house.  You know that hackneyed fashion rule that states women should take off one accessory before leaving the house? It’s lame! As fabulous women like Iris Apfel have proven time and time again, piling on the bling can be fabulous and totally idiosyncratic.

7. Don’t separate your “dressy” and “casual” pieces. A modern trick to looking like the most effortlessly stylish girl in the room: Pair dressy bottoms (a maxi skirt, a leather or beaded skirt, silk or metallic pants) with a casual top (a plain gray sweatshirt, a graphic tee, or a broken-in denim shirt.) Not only will this create a parade of new outfits to try, but it’ll allow you get more wear out of pieces that might sit in your closet until you have someone fancy to go. 

8. Part your hair on a different side. Obviously cutting and dying your hair are real style-rut remedies, but did you know experimenting with a brand-new look can be as simple as parting your hair on one side if you’re normally a center-part gal? In fact, it turns out there’s a science to figuring out which part flatters your facial features most. Eufora Global Educator and Stylist, Jeffrey Mayo, gave our sister site Daily Makeover his tips on how to get your most flattering part with a few easy steps. A total game changer!

9. Fake a bold brow Even if you don’t have super-thick eyebrows, using right tools to darken and thicken them a smidge can change up your whole look—it makes your face look stronger, and—if you have lighter hair—brows a tad darker can look incredibly chic. The trick is finding a natural-looking shade that’s a degree or two deeper than your normal color. Right now, we’re partial to Dolce and Gabbana’s amazing Brow Liner pencils ($45), which go no smoothly and don’t require sharpening. If you’d prefer a powder, check out Anastasia’s Brow Powder Duo kits ($23.) Oh, and put down the tweezers.