Revisiting Your Evening Wear

My niece is getting married next month, and I have been planning what to wear. I rarely get a chance to dress up, so it has been fun reminding myself what I already own.

If you are a longtime reader of my organizing tips, you’ll know that I advocate getting rid of any item of clothing that you haven’t worn in one year — with one exception. That exception is dressy clothing, because you don’t always have the need to wear them every year. However, I provide two conditions for keeping them: they must still be in style, and they must still fit you.

I have three nice dresses in my closet that would be suitable for the wedding, and I’m pretty sure I know which one I will wear. So I started thinking about the rest of the outfit.

I bought a pair of sexy black sandals back in 2013 for a family wedding. My feet are hard to fit, so I went to a shop that features a lot of comfy brands. I was impressed with this fashionable style and also impressed with the different ways to customize the fit of the shoe. I wore them to that wedding and then again in 2014 for another family wedding. I probably haven’t worn them since then.

I tried them on recently, and even though they still looked great, I was reminded that they were really not that comfortable for an entire evening. So I ordered some sandals online and decided on a fun (but comfortable) pair of gold sandals. As for the sexy black ones, I gave them away on Buy Nothing. Good riddance! Life is too short to wear uncomfortable shoes, no matter how sexy they look.

A few days ago, I started thinking about what handbag to wear. I have a few dressy handbags that I keep wrapped in tissue paper in my closet. It has been so long since I dressed up that I didn’t even remember what they looked like! I unwrapped them this morning, and at least two of them are good options for this outfit — maybe all three — so I think I’m covered there as well.

When I’m working with clients on reviewing their handbags, we inevitably come across the stash of dressy purses. Many of them were inherited from mothers or grandmothers, and clients are reluctant to part with them, even if the purses are in disrepair. I have developed a good rule of thumb to help clients decide: is it big enough to hold your smart phone?

Back when our mothers and grandmothers dressed up, they probably took along their lipstick and a few other small things. They didn’t have to worry about smart phones. But most of us will take our smart phone with us even to a wedding, especially if we plan to take photos. So give your dressy purses the smart phone test, and give away any that are too small to fit your phone, not matter how cute the bag is.

So here’s my bottom line on dressy clothes and accessories. You have my permission to keep them even if you haven’t worn them in more than a year (assuming they still fit and are still in style), but you should still review them every year and be honest about what you are likely to wear in the future. Uncomfortable shoes and tiny purses: be gone with you!

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