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Sally McGraw

She writes about style and body image.

Underutilized Wardrobe Items: Keep 'em Visible

We all play favorites. We reach for the same skirt, the same jeans, the same flats again and again. And in order to make that reach less time-consuming, we move those favorites to the front of the closet, the nearest shelf, the top of the drawer.

And this? This means that we may be unintentionally creating closet orphans. Why?

Because if you can't see it, you'll forget about it.* That embellished cardigan that you snapped up on clearance after waiting patiently for the price to drop? It's hidden beneath your gray and black ones. That pair of burgundy skinnies you simply had to have? Buried after one wear, overshadowed by its denim-y cousins. And unless you remind yourself - visually - that these items are yours for the wearing, they shall go unworn. And, eventually, you may apply a rule about length of time unworn and donate them without even giving them a fair shake!

If you've got items that still fit and that you still adore languishing unworn, I recommend moving them to the front of your closet, the top of the heap, or even to a wardrobe staging area where they're in plain sight. Getting them out in the open allows you to consider their possibilities, mull how to wear them, consider moving them into rotation.

And if, after a few weeks of this, they still can't seem to worm their way into daily wear OR if you find that instead of sparking your creativity they're simply stoking your guilt, consider your options. Do you want to make a project of this? Set aside some time to workshop a few outfits around these items? Or has this proven to you that they were bought in error and should be donated, handed down, or sold?

Either way, you've just forced a decision. And potentially saved a garment from an orphaned life.

How do you deal with the items in your closet that hide in corners and remain unworn? Does it help to drag them, kicking and screaming, into the heavy-rotation areas of your closet? Or do you just pass them over and eventually stop seeing them there as you reach for your faves?

*Assuming that you have a fairly full closet and are not a minimalist. Some people own 20 total items! They can see IT ALL.

Image courtesy Apartment Therapy.

Sally McGraw is the author of Already Pretty, a daily blog about the intersection of style and body image. 

How to do scarves in summer

Here's the part where I reveal, once again, that I'm a relative newcomer to the world of fashion. I'm pretty sure that scarves were NOT considered to be appropriate summer accessories until about 10 years ago. I mean, aside from the occasional riding-in-a-convertible headscarf. Is that wrong? Have summer scarves been fashionable for ages and I just didn't know it?

Regardless, I love keeping my scarves in rotation year-round, but find them more challenging in hot, sticky weather. So I thought I'd share a few ways that I love to style my scarves during the summer.

Long and loose

I've used this photo in other examples because it was taken on a day that was so hot and humid that the camera lens kept fogging up. See the fog? Yeah. It was oppressive. The scarf was my effort to inject a bit more interest into an otherwise plain outfit. You'll note, though, that I've simply taken a long, lightweight scarf and draped it over my neck. No knots or ties when it's lens-fogging weather, thanks.

As a wrap

This is a very dramatic outfit, but you could certainly use a large rectangular scarf or pashmina as a wrap with more casual ensembles. I love this option for sleeveless or revealing dresses and tops. The looseness of the wrap allows for some ventilation while still providing coverage. A cooler option than even the most lightweight of cardigans.

As a belt

Scarves can make fantastic belt alternatives, especially if you'd like to add more pattern or movement to an outfit. I find that long, slender scarves make the best belts for my figure, but experiment with a few widths and styles to find an option that works well for you.

If scarf-as-belt doesn't float your boat, consider using a scarf as a backdrop for an actual belt. Knot the scarf in back and tuck the ends into the body of the tied scarf, or wind them around the belt. (It won't look totally clean from the back, but believe me, you won't get a ticket from the Fashion Police for this one.)

As an accent

If merely contemplating these suggestions has you breaking into a sweat yet you'd still love to utilize your scarves in summer, consider using them as accents. Slip one through the strap of a tank top, wind one around your wrist instead of a bracelet, tie one to the crown of a brimmed hat, knot one to your handbag strap, use one to adorn a ponytail or bun. There are loads of ways to utilize scarves that don't make the wearer feel all prickly-heat.

And these are just a few! I'd love to hear more suggestions. Do you wear scarves in summer? What's your favorite way to don this accessory when it's sweltering out?

Sally McGraw is the author of Already Pretty, a daily blog about the intersection of style and body image. 

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