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5 Reasons to Clean Out Your Closet

Ditch the old, and make room for the new

5 Reasons to Clean Out Your Closet

Sofie Delauw/Getty Images

Streamline your closet by adding a few must-have basics.

My closet is a mess.

Like you, I'm spring-cleaning and shopping online for new items to fill in the gaps. My practical burbs-living-glamma side keeps saying, "Oh, grow up! You have enough clothes." So why does my inner fashion editor keep clicking on off-shoulder tops, floral midi dresses and appliquéd jeans like I'm back in 1969? Mick Jagger sang, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need." We need to satisfy the urge to purge and snag a few new things that work IRL (in real life). Focus on my editor-approved five items.

White jeans

A high-rise pair (to camouflage muffin tops and tummy), an ankle-cropped length (so any shoe works), a stretchy and thick fabric such as a blend of cotton and 2 percent spandex (to keep our granny panties secret) and the right leg width (to complement your body and balance proportions) are essential. Bigger on top? Slim or straight jeans (aka cigarette style) will flatter you. Bigger on bottom? Opt for wide-leg crops or flares that hug hips and thighs before flowing out from the knees down. Not into jeans? Keep the white color, high-rise waist, stretchy fabric and ankle length concept, but swap in tailored pants in narrow- or wide-leg styles accordingly.

Striped shirts

Statement sleeves and off-shoulder scoops provide arm coverage and sex appeal, but just know that they're trendy and likely one-season wonders. For more longevity and versatility (layering, wearing to work), striped button-downs and wrap shirts that tie at the waist are next in line. Blue-and-white striped tops are a timeless and chic choice, following in the wake of our beloved boatneck sailor tees. Keep collecting ... you can't have too many of those!

A decorative skirt

Fancy skirts rescue and elevate all the plain tees, denim/chambray shirts and draped tops (the ones you're about to toss) to fashionista level. Style up first. If fit and flare dresses are you, midi-length A-line skirts will be, too. Do you prefer tailored sheaths and shift dresses? Seek knee-length pencil skirts. A fan of wrap dresses? Wrap skirts are on the hot list! They come in a variety of colors, patterns and textures — so pass up neutrals for bold florals, brightly colored lace and those stripes again.

A pale pink jacket

Put your cardigans and pashminas back on the shelf. What you want now is a blush-pink topper to grab on breezy days or nights, and for chilly over-air-conditioned workplaces, stores, restaurants and movie theaters. Trendy rose quartz works like beige does, but adds extra warmth and radiance to skin for a postwinter glow. I'd skip the satin bombers and motorcycle-inspired jackets (just like the black leather ones) in favor of a sharply tailored blazer nipped at the waist, or long and loose for a minimalist look. It ices everything from tailored clothes to fancy dresses, jeans or leggings with a powerful feminine flourish.

A jumpsuit

For those of us who love the one-step ease of dresses but not the leg-baring part — this is your solution. Gaining traction from last year's launch, this trend is sticking around. Look for a basic black, belted, button-front style with sleeves you can roll up. It's comfy but has the versatility to go from work to after 5, just like a good LBD (little black dress).

For more beauty and style tips, check The Woman's Wakeup: How to Shake Up Your Looks, Life, and Love After 50 by Lois Joy Johnson and the AARP Beauty & Style Guide app for tablets.