Why You Shouldn’t Throw These 6 Items Away

In our current, fast-fashion-obsessed times, the trends move so quickly that we can hardly keep up — and that's saying something. In deciding which "of-the-moment" styles to adopt and which ones to ignore, it's difficult to differentiate between an item that's reached its peak and one that might actually make a comeback in a few short seasons. And while we're all for getting rid of closet-space-wasters to make room for pieces you'll actually wear, sometimes, it's a fun challenge to take a piece of clothing that no longer feels relevant and figure out how to make it new again. You might be surprised just how much the right styling can give less-than-exciting tops or pants a second chance. To prove that this isn't all talk, we challenged a few members of our fashion team to show it really is possible to take a few old trends and teach them new tricks. Below, see how we completely reinvented six meh wardrobe placeholders.
Photographed by Collins Nai.
Photographed by Collins Nai.
The Trend: The skinny scarf
The Old Way: Around the neck
The New Way: As a belt
"I was admittedly an early adopter of the skinny-scarf trend, but unfortunately, it just didn't last. When the style first came about, I was all about wearing a plain, black skinny scarf with a tee and an equally on-trend (at the time) button-front skirt. It's crazy how these days, that look feels totally stale. To bring the item back to life, I tied it as a belt around my favorite pair of Levi's and wore it with a pajama-style silk blouse tucked in. I totally dig this, and it's nice to know that with this new way to wear them, my scarves won't end up in a dusty ball at the back of my closet."
— Alyssa Coscarelli, fashion market writer
Photographed by Collins Nai.
Photographed by Collins Nai.
The Trend: The mock-neck dress
The Old Way: Solo with sneakers
The New Way: Over cropped trousers
"Once the temperature drops below 60º F, you can expect to see me in a turtleneck every single day. I love the coverage, the comfort, and the easy, early-aughts, Felicity-esque sensibility it adds to my fall aesthetic. So, when mock necks suddenly became a thing, I was pretty pumped: a turtleneck I can wear YEAR-ROUND? My love for this 2015 trend is documented on this very website. "However, I'm a notorious late adopter of trends: Whereas we observed the first pique in mock-neck interest around April of last year, I would only get around to buying my very first take on this style during Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales. (I'm still contemplating chokers. Does that make me a bad fashion writer?) Anyway, despite my procrastination, I went all-in on this: I had multiple dresses and a handful of tops — enough that I could theoretically get away with never showing off my neck. "Then, the bubble burst, and suddenly, everyone had moved on to slipdresses. I wasn't ready to let go of my precious mock-neck collection (if only because they never got their full day in the sun), so I figured they could use a 2016 revamp. "Dresses-over-pants feels like an appropriately nostalgic foil to the pervasiveness of slinky, silky maxis, so I'm all for it. I'm pretty petite, though, so I was hesitant about pairing two baggy/oversized layers — a shapeless mock-neck dress and kick-flare trousers — in such a way. (I rarely wear pants that aren't skinny fit). However, the cropped length and playful, dangly hem on this black pair pleased me so, and balanced out the trapeze shape of the tunic. Plus, I had a little too much fun shaking around in front of the camera."
—Ana Colon, fashion news writer
Photographed by Collins Nai.
Photographed by Collins Nai.
The Trend: The boxy top
The Old Way: On its own
The New Way: Layered over a long-sleeved graphic tee
"This loose, white, boxy tee has become a layering staple in my closet. With its big sleeves, pairing it underneath sleeveless dresses makes every piece better. But, I don't wear this tee as a top by itself anymore. Even with some good sneakers and a pair of wide-legged pants, as a plain, baggy top, this look isn't bad — but it's also not anything to freak out about. While layering underneath my summery stuff is cool and all, I've found a better way to wear this — over an equally baggy long-sleeved shirt. The short-over-long-sleeved combo is going to be everywhere this fall, so if you were thinking about getting rid of your old baggy boxy tops, don't."
— Rachel Besser, fashion market editor
Photographed by Collins Nai.
Photographed by Collins Nai.
The Trend: The button-up shirt
The Old Way: Open over a tee
The New Way: Tied across the body
"Until recently, I never really put much thought into button-ups. The way I saw it, you put it on and button it up — that's it. But this whole skater trend that's going on right now has shown me the light, so to speak, on all the different ways you can wear it. I found this Chanel button-up from the '80s in a vintage shop, started playing with it, and now we're here. I'm not a crossbody-bag guy, per se, but now I wear it like my own little pageant sash. I like to think it makes me look like a skateboarder (even though I'm playing poser)."
—Landon Peoples, fashion editorial assistant
Photographed by Collins Nai.
Photographed by Collins Nai.
The Trend: The skinny jeans
The Old Way: With a black camisole
The New Way: With a tunic and statement slides
"I'm a dutiful reader of R29 fashion, so I know culottes are IT right now. But there are still days when my legs miss the semi-suffocating cling of stiff denim, so I'm not ready to retire my skinny jeans. These high-waisted, dark-wash Levi's really go with anything, but that doesn't mean the outfits I've put them in are all that inspired. Pairing them with something that's otherwise a too-big shirt, or a shirt dress that doesn't fit exactly right, is a great styling trick: The skinny jeans become almost leggings-like, anchoring the statement piece to my frame underneath, and the tunic top swinging open when I move makes it a much more intentional look than my regular 'this tank is okay I guess' M.O."
— Laura Norkin, copy chief
Photographed by Collins Nai.
Photographed by Collins Nai.
The Trend: The denim vest
The Old Way: Over a dress
The New Way: In a denim-on-denim ensemble with a neck scarf
"The number of times I've cycled a denim vest through my closet is pretty high. It's one of the few trend pieces that comes back every few years, rather than every few decades. However, the latest iteration (tight, cropped, and light-wash) has become super-basic. "A couple of years ago, I would pair this vest with every mini dress and jeans-tank combo I had in my closet. For the vest to make the cut now, I needed to shift my approach. Instead of using it as just a finishing accessory, I decided to make the vest the focal point of my outfit. I left the bottom buttons of the vest undone to give the stiff material more flexibility, and wrapped a thick neckerchief around my neck to play down the tight-looking collar. "Then, so I wouldn't over-complicate it, I treated it like any of my tees and paired it with my favorite culottes and heels. I've had this denim vest for years, but this look definitely felt fresh. Bonus points for staying ahead of the curve, since denim-on-denim is coming again for fall!"
— Ray Lowe, fashion market writer

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