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Celebrity Stylist Olori Swank Teaches Us How To Master The Art Of A Successful Closet Purge

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We are all guilty of keeping things that we need to let go. There's a comfortability with certain items that causes us to death grip them even though we have clearly outgrown them. For example, that bandage dress that's no longer flattering, or that white shirt that is more yellow these days - it's time to let it go, sis!


Summer will be knocking on our doors come June 21st, and it is our duties to be fully prepared with an effective wardrobe. You should feel joy and excitement to curate a look everyday. Take it from boss babe and celebrity stylist Olori Swank. Olori Swank told us, "Style is how you introduce yourself without opening your mouth. Make sure you're saying all the right things."

In order for you to say all the right things, you need unerring staples that will be indisputable.

Did you know that Olori Swank had dreams of being a doctor? Instead, she opted to heal hearts through fashion. From Teyana Taylor to Lance Gross, Swank is a hot commodity in the fashion industry, so she knows a thing or two about styling and closet purging. Being a serial entrepreneur has also taught her lessons on looking like money without spending too much of it. Swank told ESSENCE, "Being fashionable is really being able to express yourself with what you have. I know people who will spend $10,000 on a jacket and the jacket looks terrible because they didn't know how to put it together. And then you'll have a girl who went to Goodwill and spent $15 on her whole outfit and everyone is asking her where she got it from. There's no direct correlation between how much you spend and how fashionable you are."

We had a chance to chop it up with the blue haired beauty to learn tips and tricks for a successful closet purge. Here's the tea!

Where To Start

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"The one thing is: any item you've not worn in nine months to a year. Nine times out of ten, if you haven't worn it in forever, it's a sign it needs to go. It may not fit well, the trend might be over, it may be damaged, or you may not like even like it; whatever the reason may be, it's time to get rid of it."

The Truth About "Goal" Items

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"Many women see something in a store that they absolutely love but can't quite fit (yet). I do think having ONE goal item is your closet isn't going to kill you; however, if you find yourself in a situation where a lot of the items in your closet are 'goal' items, not only may it discourage you from dressing sharp everyday, it may also cause you to have the 'I have a closet full of clothes, and nothing to wear' syndrome. If you find yourself in this position, it's definitely time for a closet purge!"

The Key To A Successful Closet Purge

"Closet purges are very important! So important that I dedicate a whole section to them in my 101: TheBlueprint For A SWANK Life book. The proper way to purge your closet is to start with items you have not worn in nine months to a year and let them go. Next, let go of items that are too small or too big since nine times out of ten, you will not wear them because they don't fit. Don't fool yourself with the excuse, 'I'll grow into it' or, 'I'll lose weight for it.'

"Another question to ask yourself is, 'What's the likelihood I'll ever wear that item again?' A lot of us have items in our closet that we love; they are so memorable, unique, and distinctive but we are embarrassed to be caught wearing them twice. Unless it's an item that holds extreme sentimental value, like a wedding dress or a vintage sweater passed down from your grandmother, let it go. You should also get rid of any items that are damaged, or don't represent your current style of dress. If a zipper is broken or a button is missing, and you've been saying for the longest time that you were going to get it fixed, and you've yet to get it fixed, most likely you are not going to wear that item again. There's no need to leave it in your closet taking up space when it's not even in the best condition for you to pull out and put on if you feel like wearing it. Also ask yourself, if you were in the mall shopping right now and you were standing in front of this item, would you buy it? If the answer is 'no,' then it is time to let that item go. It's not uncommon for us to love something in the store, buy it, get home, never wear it and then not like it anymore.

"Don't let buyer's remorse be the reason you keep something in your closet especially when you don't intend to wear it. You can donate those items to a battered women's shelter and feel just as good about yourself as the day you bought it. Remember, one woman's 'yikes, I hate this,' is another woman's 'oh my God, I love this.' Lastly, ask yourself if you feel comfortable in an item. If the last time you wore that dress you broke out in hives in front of a dinner party of twenty people, the likelihood of you wearing that dress again, no matter how cute it is, is slim to none."

"One woman's 'Yikes, I hate this,' is another woman's 'Oh my God, I love this.'"

Everyday Closet Essentials

According to Olori, every woman should have these essential items in their wardrobe at all times:

  1. A black suit (comprised of black pants & a sharp blazer that they can either wear together or separately),
  2. A little black dress that makes her feel like a star in any room she walks in,
  3. A white collar dress shirt,
  4. A pair of jeans that fit her like a dream,
  5. A leather jacket,
  6. A pair of classic black pumps,
  7. A pair of nude pumps,
  8. A pair of ballet flats,
  9. A leather daytime bag,
  10. An evening clutch,
  11. And a great pair of sunglasses that suit her face.

The Golden Rule For Maintaining An Effective Wardrobe

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"Buy only what you love and what you feel confident in. Don't feel pressured to follow every single trend. Invest in quality staple pieces that you can have for years, but don't spend too much money on trendier items you know won't last long in your wardrobe."

Want more stories like this? Check out these xoNecole related reads:

Host Kela Walker Gives Us Tips For A Bomb Work Wardrobe

Dress Layering Is A Thing & This Is How You Do It

30 Closet Staples Every Woman Should Own In Their Wardrobe

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