Fashion: What’s old is new again

December 28, 2017 Published by
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Each year I do a closet redo; I edit my clothing; I eliminate clothing, shoes, and handbags I have not worn in one year, even if they have a price tag. There are, of course, some exceptions– items I treasure. Over the years all of my treasured items have come back into fashion. Why? I’m a big proponent of NEVER getting hooked on fads. I don’t jump on new seasonal trends. I’m a careful purchaser and make sure if it’s “trendy” it has a great chance of coming back around. Therefore, I am not an impulsive shopper; everything is far too costly. I have to fall in love with the color, the fabric and know the style suits me before I make a purchase.

How do I know what to keep year after year? Instinct, dear readers. I have an eye. For example, I have my mother’s wide black leather belt. Her belt is over 50 years old. I wore it last weekend. I purchased a Gucci flowered handbag 15 or more years ago and this season I bought a Gucci flowered belt that looks almost identical.

Right now there are items in your closet that recently reappeared on fashion runways. This means your old pieces are back in style! So before heading to your favorite shops take some time to go shopping in your closet. Here’s what to look for.

Clothes that are back in style

Wide belts

Wide belts were popular in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘80s and in some circles, they never really left the scene. I love belts and made it a point to keep some in a wider style. So break out those wide belts and use them as an accent piece!

Western

Good thing you didn’t throw away those beautiful leather cowboy boots or western-style belts. But it’s not just western-style boots and belts that are popular for this season, fringe and suede are also very on-trend and you may have those pieces from eras past as well.

Velvet

This luxe fabric has been all over the runways this season and it’s not velvet’s first go around! You may have great pieces from past seasons like jackets and dresses and slacks that you couldn’t bear to part with and will fit right in today. I can’t think of anything more perfect for a holiday gathering than a beautiful velvet dress or pantsuit.

Folkstyle

Read “folkstyle” as “bold embroidery” and I’m sure you have something that you saved. If you still have a beautiful bag from the ‘60s or ‘70s you just couldn’t part with take it for another spin! Often times in the fall and winter we gear towards darker hues for our wardrobe and one of these fun pieces would be a great way to break up all that black you are apt to wear.

Capes and blankets

These are a cozy and an unexpected choice since most people bundle up in sweaters! I have been obsessed with capes and blankets this season. But ponchos and big scarves aren’t new and I have saved several over the years.

Lame and metallics

Shine on dears! If you have blouses in gold and silver tones you are in luck because they are back! I have a gold lame top that is 25 years old that I still often wear.

Remember what’s old becomes new again and again and again. As women over50 let this be a lesson: if you really love something that seems to be out of style hang on to it! You never know when it might come back in style. Or better yet: Do what I do. Just keep wearing it. Make it part of your look and have confidence in your taste. Be vital. Be visible. Be you. Remember you bought it because you loved it.

What do you have in your closet you loved so much you could not part with it hoping or knowing it would come back in style? Have you given any of your favorite pieces to your children or grandchildren to enjoy or to a favorite charity for a stranger to love? Please share your treasures with the community. We cannot wait to hear.

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16 Comments

  • Cheryl says:

    Love your column today! I just picked up my back velvet pants and long duster style coat lined in muted gold silk to wear to an event this weekend. I have had these pieces for at least 25 years and get compliments each and every time I wear them. Happy New Year to you and yours Honey!

  • Susan says:

    Dear Honey,

    I just love your fashion advice! Where could I find a choker like you are wearing with the lame? Oh my goodness that is beautiful.
    Thank you for the encouragement to purge once a year. I know I need to to it too and now I’m going to take the action and get it done.

    Happy New Year,
    Susan

  • Margaret says:

    Wonderful article, thank you so much. I have oldies but goodies & would never part with them. My husband tells me if you haven’t worn it get rid of it, ok maybe a few pieces or a bag & shoes here & there but some, no way!

    • dianne says:

      I agree, I don’t like the “if you haven’t worn it in a year, toss it” mentality! It might work for some people and some items, esp. duplicates – but treasures are treasures! Our society has become a “throw away” society….I don’t live that way – I feel if it’s well-chosen to start with, it’s a keeper for life! 🙂 Or at least a few years! Or it can be passed on. My elementary school granddaughters are already oo-ing and aw-ing over some of my items…I told them once they are grown up, they are theirs! I have already gifted them some fun jewelry quality “younger” jewelry.. I remember going through my grandma’s jewelry box as a teenager, and each visit she’d gift me an item…I still have them, my mom did that for me as well when I was in my 40’s…now I have those items to give to their grandaughters, great-granddaughters, and great-great granddaughters! It’s a bit of history! We can’t keep it all, but we can preserve the special things and use them on occasion and then perhaps pass them on as well. I am sentimental and practical, but trying not to be a hoarder! So I seek to be wise in what I buy, keep and give away! 🙂

  • HelenA says:

    Why didn’t you publish this article BEFORE the Christmas holidays??!!

    In early December, with my sister’s help, I purged 26 bags of stuff from my closets, I miss none of it. I now have no clothes or accessories on the floor on any of my closets and I pointed out to my housekeeper that she is to vacuum in there. Previously, my closet floors were not accessible for cleaning.

    Now that I am retired, I purged career shoes, bags, belts, suits, and clothes. Items were donated to a back-to-work program, hospital thrift shop, and homeless shelter, We reviewed every item in every closet in my home. It took us 5 days to complete the purge, prepare the donations lists for tax purposes (well, hopefully), and to deliver the donations. Many still had the tags still on and were not returnable.

    I did save my Anne Klein black velvet jacket and I “found” a black velvet cape in another closet. I am down to 13 pairs of shoes. I’m test wearing one pair of those per day now, and if they hurt one bit, they will be re-homed.

    I have just returned from a Christmas visit with my sister, where she, her son, DIL, and I, purged 5 long racks of clothing, many household goods that were outdated and living in her basement and garage, along with a huge collection of old tools from a family member who died. All sent to a poverty program in Kentucky or to a back-to-work clothing program in her city.

    It takes a lot of mental strength and manual help from a friend to do deep purges like this. I suggest offering to help a friend if she will help you, especially if you are way behind in regular purges as we were.

    • Mary Poole says:

      I retired several years ago and have done the same. Of course I saved a few items that I would need for special occasions. It is very freeing! And I continue to shop in my closet!!!!

  • Sandra D. says:

    I wore my mother’s 30 yr old pearls with a chambray shirt and jeans last weekend. Also have a red suede blazer that just never seems to go out of style…

  • DC says:

    I can’t believe I have that Western belt that you are showing! Always one of my favorites. Ditto on the velvet-I have a red velvet wrap jacket that I dearly love. Got to make sure to wear it soon.

    • dianne says:

      I am so glad I hung onto my belts over the years. They can take most basic clothing to new levels! And I have some great velvet pieces I have saved from two/three decades ago (those withOUT huge shoulder pads!) and I am so glad I did, added to my basic black items I have a dressier look! Or even with jeans!

  • Sandi Rosenbaum says:

    Accessories, Accessories,Accessories ????????????always!!!

  • dianne says:

    For the last decade (I am 60 now) I have bought with the intent of wearing my purchases for decades to come. I cannot afford designer, but I can afford quality on sale! I like the idea of wearing my current pieces even in my 90s, Lord willing! I am not into matronly clothing, but do like classics that stand the test of time – like riding boots, good quality flannel plaids from Bass Pro or silky utility shirts from The Loft, and a nice (faux) leather jacket (I have several colors from Maurice’s, hold up, and they look like the real thing with the rib panels along the side, that make them great for layering.) I use them as indoor layering! This is my winter uniform along with quality leggings from the Loft! I get so many compliments, I am casually dressed, ready for anything, but pulled together! Some of these pieces I have had for years now, and I just keep adding a piece or two or three a year. I LOVE capes (ruanas, shawls) and have several of those (they are great to layer over my thin “leather” jackets) – Kohl’s has great quality ones, as does Amazon if you read the details closely (Prime members it’s free shipping back if you overestimate the quality of an item). An infinity scarf pulls it all together….I have an abundance of those and I love fingerless gloves as well. I hope none of these things ever go out of style. I will still wear them at home if they do. LOL! I love my layers! Too, I have saved a select amount for years dressier items such a cardis w/fur collars or embellishments, and special brooches and other jewelry, belts, shoes, boots, coats, you name it. I incorportate them into my basics for certain occasions. Timeless! Some things never age…and almost feel like period costuming done in a very classy way. It’s all in the styling…less is more, but a well-chosen item or two is gold! , I am not trying to look trendy or in my 20’s, but yet current and not stuffy! My warm weather “uniform” for most places is a casual dress (I don’t do shorts!) with an interesting belt and light cardigan…again, love Loft! I have all “my” colors in their signature cardigans (thin, cotton). I just add some great sandles and I am good to go! It’s all fun! I do have to weed out occasionally, but that is fun too…my daughter loves a black cardigan I gave her 5 years ago – it’s her “go to” piece! I love when that happens….what I had been hoarding (I have enough blk cardigans!) she gets great use of. Having 2 sisters, and 4 grown daughters all of similar size, it’s fun to see them in my barely used pieces that would have sat in the closet otherwise. My mistakes (cheap or fads) have been gone now from my closet for years now….so now when I give away, it’s something of greater value. That makes the giving much deeper – parting with a well chosen item. I give to charities as well. I don’t need “all the clothes” that suit me. Just enough that I don’t need to break the bank to be stylish when I head into retirement one day! 🙂 Thanks for this article reinforcing that I don’t have to go the way of the runways…that I have better treasures hidden in my dressing room nooks and crannies! Blessings to you!

  • Lulie says:

    Enjoying your fashion sense over and over again! Belts and scarves–purchased in 1980’s that I’ve treasured and am NOW wearing again. My close-to-favorite save is a soft maroon leather clutch Roger’s Grandmother bought me on one of our shopping trips (the leather is as soft and supple as the day she bought it for me)! My most treasured save is a Pendleton Wool pant suit my Mom gifted me–black tweed, narrow lapels, slim fit slacks, perfect for different occasions through the years, I keep Mom’s cleaning tag pinned inside the jacket pocket–1978! CHARMING. So glad you too love these treasures!.

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