Spring has arrived, warmer weather is on its way, and your closet … well, it could probably benefit from a good cleaning before sundress and shorts season officially begins. However, organizing all those clothes, shoes, and accessories — and finally parting ways with what no longer serves you — can easily feel overwhelming (something we tend to realize only after it’s all spread out on the floor). So, when celebrity stylist Maeve Reilly offered to share tips on this exact topic, we jumped at the opportunity to ask our questions, including how to begin, which pieces to hold onto, and which ones can be reinvented for 2022.
“I make three piles as I’m cleaning out my closet,” says Reilly, who is the mastermind behind Megan Fox and Lori Harvey’s best outfits. “I’ll do a keep pile, an upcycle pile, and a donate pile, so that I’m really organized and know which pieces I want to refresh or what I’m ready to part ways with.”
Of course, that decision process can be difficult, even for Reilly, who keeps up with current trends for a living. How can we be so sure that what we’re getting rid won’t make a major comeback in near future, similar to the Y2K revival?
“Literally everything comes back, so it really is about using your own [judgement],” she tells InStyle. “‘Am I ever going to wear this again?’ or ‘Is my kid maybe going to want this?’ But, I mean, if you told me in high school that low-rise jeans would be back, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
The happy medium, she suggests, is getting creative with your old favorites.
“There are definitely pieces that haven’t been worn for a while that you can restyle or repurpose,” says Reilly, adding that upcycling your pre-pandemic wardrobe is a good place to start. “I don’t think it’s about necessarily buying new pieces, I think it’s about getting into what you have and restyling in a different way, or adding a pop of color. Or, just wearing something that you wore during the day, bringing into nighttime, throwing it on with a heel. I think that we all have amazing pieces that have, unfortunately, been sitting around for a long time.”
Reilly is also a fan of using OxiClean, a company she’s partnered with. The products, she tells us, are great for making older items look and even smell new again.
“OxiCleanTM White ReviveTM is an amazing product to keep your whites looking super white. I always recommend having a white button-down shirt in your closet, but I always get them dirty. It’s like the one time I wear white, I’ll spill something or my makeup will get on the collar or on the cuff. It’s an amazing product for your whites to keep them really fresh.”
And speaking of of button-downs, that’s the piece Reilly says you can easily revamp, depending on your styling choices.
“It’s so effortless, it’s easy, and when it’s oversized, it hides everything,” she says, while pointing out she wore a comfy one during our video interview. “I have it on with black leggings, and for nighttime, I would wear this with a heel and add a clutch and maybe a bigger earring. You can definitely take statement pieces like this and wear them day to night.”
If you’re searching for more ideas for how to turn basics into a full, eye-catching look, the stylist also recommends social media.
“Go on Pinterest, look on Instagram, see how other people are doing it and get inspired. I know I do it.”
Another trend we wanted the stylist’s opinion on is suits, which seem to be a popular choice among celebrities, but feel somewhat intimidating to wear on a regular weekday. Reilly says there are tons of options available to shop, from fast fashion to luxury, and if you’re looking for a sustainable alternative, you can always borrow from the men in your life.
“Steal one from your boyfriend, steal one from your dad — repurpose a jacket that one of them has worn,” she says. “I, of course, love oversized, so that works for me. I do it all the time. And you can still make it your own; you can belt it. There are a million different ways that you can wear a suit these days.”
There’s also vintage shopping, which is another way Reilly find clothes and accessories that allow her to nail current trends in a way that fits her personal style.
“The cool thing about vintage is it’s not out there [available for everyone to shop] now,” she says. “It’s probably just one of one, and that’s what makes it so special. I love vintage T-shirts. One of my favorites is a Tupac shirt from the ’90s that was one of one — I couldn’t believe I found it. So, I think with vintage, it’s about really finding those statement pieces, something that’s unique and different.”
This is Ask the Experts, where our favorite fashion know-it-alls share their wisdom. Just because you can trust your style instincts doesn’t mean you should have to.