We Tame 4 Unwearable Closet Monsters

Forget the bogeyman — on the scale of zero to scary, he rates at about a "meh" when you consider what else is lurking in your closet. The true monsters are those things that leer at you every time you open the door, bearing down on you with the guilt of years of neglect and money gone to waste. Those optimistically purchased but regretfully ignored items are the real closet bad guys, and we're going to get rid of them once and for all.
But, destroying these baddies doesn't necessarily mean tossing them out. For the four staffers in our story, their unworns have too much history to simply be chucked. With a change in perspective and some clever styling tips, we've taken the teeth out of these pieces and helped them (literally) step out into the light of day. After you've seen our exorcisms ahead, leave a comment naming your personal closet monsters — our sartorial Van Helsings are on hand to take a stab.
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Larissa Green, social media editor

Meet the Monster: "I got this jumpsuit from a sale my stylist friend curated at Dusty Rose Vintage in Greenpoint. It was a freezing cold night, and I warmed up with vinyl and some sangria and made a night of it. I looked through her whole section and found this unreal jumper that resembled the inside of an insane asylum from the 1950s — light, muted, washed-too-many-times yellow and mint green, but I LOVED it as soon as I put it on. I love anything comfortable and retro-looking and different, so this truly was the perfect piece AND it was under $50. But, the color makes it a bit much for any season other than summer. The colors just look wrong in the fall and winter."

Larissa's own jumpsuit and shoes.
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The Exorcism, Explained: A jumpsuit is challenging because it's a lot of fabric. The only way to tone down the color is wearing something on top. This lightweight trenchcoat is great for marathon errand-running days, but you can swap it with a long-length cardigan or vest for work and the weekend.

Larissa says: "I love this final outfit because it's SUPER easy and such a genius fix. In the cold, I never really have to take off my jacket, so this is a perfect solve."

Larissa's own jumpsuit, Loeffler Randall shoes.
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Connie Wang, style director

Meet the Monster: "I'm not much into labels, but when I saw the Margiela number grid on these pants at a clothing swap, my heart fluttered. They were made in a thick wale corduroy, were long, slightly baggy, and featured a raw-cut waist. I pictured myself wearing these oversized pants with cropped turtlenecks and low-top sneakers, a la Céline...but because I couldn't belt them (due to no belt loops), these pants made me look like Freddie Prinze Jr. They've never once made it out in broad daylight."

Connie's own pants and shoes.
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The Exorcism, Explained: Hiked up to where they're supposed to go, they actually fit. To fill the waistband, we tucked in a graphic sweater and added some suspenders, which might feel hokey any other time of the year, but seems seasonally appropriate during the holidays. With pants this long, a taller shoe is sometimes non-negotiable."

Connie says: "I had reservations about looking like an off-duty Santa Claus in a Fair Isle knit and suspenders, but I was so surprised about how much I dug this look. Cocktail dresses are not my typical party fare, and this is both festive and fashion-forward."

Connie's own pants.
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Gina Marinelli, associate fashion features editor

Meet the Monster: "This monster did not exactly find its way into my closet by choice. While on a shopping trip to Topshop a few years ago, a friendly but clearly distracted cashier mistakenly threw it into my bag. When I discovered it was in my haul when I got home, I tried to return it. Without a receipt, I was told that as far as Topshop was concerned, the skirt was mine. I felt guilty/woo, unexpected present!

"Although I didn’t intend to buy the skirt, I was convinced I could make this sparkly midi number work just as well for a holiday party as it would paired with a casual tee. I liked that the stretch would allow me to show off my figure, but also make for a nice contrast with something a bit more oversized on top.

"All my ideas were nice in theory, but every time I tried to wear the skirt I felt incredibly uncomfortable. The proportions were never right. I’d either wear it with something too short on top and feel overexposed, or too long or baggy and my entire frame got swallowed by a shiny, blush-colored beast. So, my skirt continued to sit, untouched, in my closet. I was about to finally donate it when Connie offered me the chance to give it one more shot..."

Clu top; Gina's own skirt and shoes.
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The Exorcism, Explained: If you don't already have a "column" shape, a column skirt can feel like a challenge. But, whatever your hip-to-waist ratio, a slim skirt that falls below the knee can make you look taller. Wear it with a long-line vest in a contrasting color and a casual sweater that tones down the skirt's princessy aspects.

Gina says: "I think I finally hit the right proportions with this look. When paired with a thin sweater, the silhouette was still slim-fit, but with the loose and long vest to tie everything together it felt so much more me."

Topshop vest, Gina's own shoes.
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Ana Colon, shopping production assistant

Meet the Monster: "This is a vintage, golfer-print Lacoste bomber, found at a vintage store in Puerto Rico. This was the first vintage store I ever went to (at the time, it wasn't really a thing back home), and I stumbled upon it and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Never mind that it was totally not my style — in terms of prints, I never ventured outside of florals — I convinced myself that this would be the item that would completely revamp my style. Six years later, I've worn it out of the house once. On Halloween.

"It's mostly just a personality thing: I don't have the sartorial confidence to work the jacket with the attitude it deserves. I tend to dress in muted colors (lots of black and gray) and pretty ordinary silhouettes. For me, style risks are more of a fond idea — something I'll tell myself I'll do...tomorrow — than a reality. So, as much as I want this wild print to be the foundation of a more adventurous wardrobe, it just wasn't in the cards. "

Ana's own jacket.
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The Exorcism, Explained: On a petite frame, this jacket can look more boxy than intended. Instead of putting something slimmer on the bottom to balance it out, try going bigger. A midi-length skirt with pleats is the feminine contrast to this tomboy jacket, and creates a nice visual balance.

Ana says: "I was really into it. The pleated midi-skirt felt appropriately sporty with the golfer print. But, the faux leather made the look more luxe, and probably a little more wearable for me. It was just enough of a step outside what I would normally wear, that I could actually see myself wearing the jacket out and about. The heels didn't hurt, either."

Ana's own jacket and shoes.