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8 Pieces You Should Banish From Your Wardrobe—and What to Wear Instead

An easy guide to upgrading your closet essentials.

By Madeleine Kim

I’m a pretty nostalgic person, sometimes to a fault. For example, my family moved once when I was growing up, and before we left the old house, I bid a tearful farewell—“goodbye, basement” *sob* “goodbye, bathroom”—to every single room. Did I mention we only moved across the street? So cleaning out my closet, saying goodbye to clothes that are tied up in memories, is…challenging. At the same time, there’s no reason to hold onto pieces that have ceased to serve a purpose in my wardrobe. And at the end of the day, I’d rather give my clothes a second life than let them collect dust in my (NYC-sized) closet. 

To make my obligatory New Year’s closet cleanout a tad more bearable, I’ve chosen just eight pieces to say goodbye to this month. I’ll send the items that are in wearable condition to our partners at thredUP, who take care of selling consignment-worthy styles and donating or recycling the rest (and if you redeem your earnings as M.M.LaFleur credit, you’ll earn an extra 15%). Then, I’m going to reward myself by replacing the items I’ve gotten rid of with long-lasting, well-fitting styles I know I’ll wear for years to come.

To help you do the same, we’ve created a cost-saving bundle featuring the styles in this story; buy two or more, and you’ll unlock 25% off. Just add the items to your cart, and the price will adjust automatically. But act fast; this offer expires at midnight on Monday, 1/11/21, which is all the more reason not to procrastinate on your annual closet cleanout.

Here are the 8 pieces I’m purging from my wardrobe right now.

My Super Soft T-shirt...with a Hole in the Armpit

I have this long-sleeved T-shirt that I’ve been wearing since college, and it’s seen some shit. I’ve saved it from difficult stains, stitched up loosening seams, and worn it with every pair of pants I own. But now, it has a rip that can’t be remedied, and it’s time to say goodbye. (Luckily, my local farmer’s market does textile recycling. Love you, Brooklyn!) I’m going to replace my beloved longsleeve with the Marcia T-shirt, which goes with everything and is made from much nicer cotton, anyway. Looking for short-sleeved options? Try the Leslie for a classic T-shirt feel and the Choe top for something a little more substantial.

The Flattering Pants...That Are Way Too Tight When I Sit Down

There was a time in my life when I was willing to wear pants that only fit comfortably when I was standing up. That time has passed—and thus, it’s time for my too-tight trousers to find a new owner. To replace them, I’m finally going to order the Curie pants, which are just as flattering and way more comfortable. Other feel-as-good-as-they-look pant options include the stretchy-yet-structured Foster pants and the elastic-waistband Colby joggers.

The Beautiful Shoes...That Give Me Blisters

Speaking of not suffering for fashion, I’m so over wearing shoes that hurt my feet. Back when I was going into the office, I had this pair of loafers I’d only wear on days when I didn’t have plans after work, because if I walked in them for too long, I’d get blisters. (I don’t know why I put myself through that, but here we are.) Instead, I’ll be wearing the Rowan flats, made from soft, flexible leather that molds to your feet. For other supportive shoe styles, I recommend the Zelda boots and Grace loafers.

The Cozy Sweater...That Was a Gift from My Ex

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with holding onto gifts from past relationships, but there’s something about this one sweater that makes me feel like I’ve reverted into an earlier version of myself. To fill the void it will leave in my closet, I can think of no better option than the luscious cashmere Marnie sweater, which has a subtle empowering message embroidered on the sleeve. Other strong contenders include the (newly restocked!) Sharon top, which is like the turtleneck version of a sweatshirt, and the lightweight Samara sweater, which you can wear all year round.

The Polished Blazer...That’s So Stiff I Can’t Reach the High Shelf

I’m a little ashamed to share that before I worked at M.M.LaFleur, I kind of thought blazers were supposed to be uncomfortable. My favorite pre-M.M. power jacket is beautiful, but it’s so tight in the shoulders that I can’t reach the mugs on a shelf in my kitchen just above eye level. Luckily, M.M.’s Bennett blazer was designed to combat this exact issue, and its seams have stretchy knit inserts that provide tons of flexibility. You could also try the Merritt jardigan for an all-stretch experience, or the O’Hara blazer if you like the oversized boyfriend look.

The “Lucky” Dress...That I Haven’t Worn Since 2015

This one, I have to say, is hard to let go of; every time I’ve worn my lucky dress, something good has happened. But here’s the thing: I haven’t actually worn it in five years, and the last time I tried it on, I realized it was so short I felt too self-conscious to leave the house. As sad as I am to say goodbye to my college go-to, I’m even more excited to treat myself to the sexy, comfortable, and classic Joanna dress, which I’ve been eyeing since it came out. I also love the slinky knit Dylan dress for date nights and the belted Cynthia for any occasion that requires a little dressing up. All’s well that ends well, and I make my own luck these days.

The Luxurious Skirt...That Only Looks Good with One Top in My Closet

Trust me, I’ve tried pairing this skirt with other tops—it just doesn’t work. But it’s a gorgeous skirt that deserves to be worn more than once every few months, so I’m sending it out into the world, hopeful that it will find its way to someone who has more creative outfit-pairing ideas than I do. For my own wardrobe, I’ll be investing in the Harlem skirt in black, which I know for a fact will look good with most of my tops (and shoes, for that matter). If you prefer something shorter, the Noho skirt in crackle and Rowley skirt in sea salt are also famously easy to get along with.

The Sophisticated Going-Out Top...That Doesn’t Work with Any of My Bras

I’ve reached a place in my life where I’m just not willing to wear one of those sticky bras that look like raw chicken breasts. And thus, it’s time to bid adieu to my low-backed top that offers no coverage whatsoever. But it’s okay—I have an even better backup on the way. The silk Marissa top in block print is elegant, fun, and flattering. Just add jeans, and you’re ready to roll (a defining aspect of the going-out top). For more understated options, I also love the machine-washable Nejvi top and the sleek Brodie top—although frankly, once “going out” becomes a thing again, I’ll be so excited I don’t think I’ll care what I’m wearing.

Shop the Upgraded Essentials Bundle and get 25% off two or more pieces.

Madeleine Kim

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is a Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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