What Decade Does Your Closet Reflect?

Earlier this year, I spotted this photo in an on-line obituary for the actress Katherine Helmond. I loved Helmond’s performance in the satirical TV show Soap which ran in the late 70s and early 80s. This photo is from her subsequent hit show, Who’s the Boss, which ran from 1984 to 1992. Helmond is in the center with Tony Danza on the left and Judith Light on the right.

What struck me about this photo was how outdated the women’s clothing looked. Tony Danza is wearing a classic outfit that would not look out of place today, even though the photo is around 30 years old. Helmond’s outfit is slightly out of date — the wide shoulder pads and pleated pants are a giveaway that this is not a current picture. However, Judith Light’s outfit is distinctly from a different era.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has taken shoulder pads out of old dresses or blouses to try to make them look more modern. Even without the shoulder pads, however, they still look wrong, and I end up giving them away.

Have you ever held onto an outfit that was too tight, in the hope that you would lose weight and be able to wear it again? If it’s more than 10 years old, don’t bother. It’s already out of style.

Some of my clients justify keeping these old items by saying that everything comes back into style eventually. Perhaps that’s true, but do you really want to hold on to something for 30 or 40 years just in case it comes back into style? Most of us just don’t have the closet space for that. And if it’s an outfit like the one Judith Light is wearing in this photo, I don’t think that will ever come back into style!

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