5 Workwear Pieces You Need to Get Rid of ASAP

how-to-know-when-to-throw-out-workwear

A while ago, I saw a fun piece on Well + Good called 5 Activewear Pieces You Need to Get Rid of ASAP, and I thought it was interesting enough that we should do our own take on it. These are my best suggestions for the five kinds of workwear pieces you need to get rid of ASAP — what are yours? In general, how do you know when to throw out workwear?

(Throughout this post, I’ve tried to sprinkle suggestions for recycling rather than trashing, as well as adding to the Further Reading section below, but stay tuned: We’ll do a separate post on the best ways to recycle your workwear, because there’s a lot of info. In general, note that each location of Dress for Success has its own guidelines for what they’ll accept; H&M will always accept old clothes for recycling from any brand in any condition in exchange for a coupon; and some cities have special options for recycling clothing. See, for example, this post on the partnership between NYC’s Department of Sanitation and Housing Works, or this piece on clothing recycling in North Carolina — both will hopefully give you a good idea of what to Google in your city.)

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1. Workwear Pieces to Get Rid of ASAP: Anything That Can’t Be De-Pilled.

Take a good look at your pieces made of ponte, tweed, and other knits. On dresses, you may see pilling on the armpits and seat; on pants, you may notice it along the inner thighs as well as the seat. A de-pilling device like this or even this (affiliate link) can work wonders — but if not, it’s probably time to throw the piece away.

2. Anything That Came Back Yucky From the Dry Cleaners

When older suits made of triacetate start coming back “shiny” in spots (particularly at the seams), that can be a sign the garment has seen better days. We’ve talked about how to deal when your clothes smell and drycleaning just doesn’t help, as well, with a lot of great reader suggestions in that post.

3. Anything with Stains That Don’t Come Out

Oil/grease stains, printer ink stains, bleach stains — sometimes you just can’t save an item. Depending on where the stain is, however, you (or some savvy thrift store shopper) may be able to repurpose the piece.

4. Undergarments That You’re Not Wearing Anymore

This one may be a stretch for workwear, but if you have a big division in your lingerie drawer between “daytime/office lingerie” and “date night/bedroom lingerie,” it may be worth assessing separately. Note that sometimes you can donate old bras — Soma often offers a percentage off if you bring in an old bra for donation and is actually holding a donation drive right now. Otherwise, eye them with suspicion and get them out of your closet — even if you’ve kept stuff in hopes of changing sizes, because unfortunately, items with elastics and a high component of stretch in the fabric do not hold up well over time. (Update: It looks like H&M and other clothing recycling programs will even accept old (clean) underwear, so… yay!)

5. “Fast Fashion” Shoes and Bags That Are Falling Apart

We’ve rounded up vegan shoe brands in the past, and there are shoe care products designed for these kinds of shoes — but if you’ve bought ultra-budget shoes from Payless or other fast fashion brands (I’m thinking Zara, Topshop, H&M, Mango, etc.), then a scuff, rip, or other minor damage could be fatal to the shoe and render it unwearable for anyone. Do check out Soles for Souls, though, and see if there’s a donation spot nearby. (I’m curious if anyone’s company has a drive for these kinds of things so that you can make donations en masse!)

Over to you guys: What are your best tips on how to know when to throw out workwear? When you donate old workwear, where do you donate it? When you recycle old workwear and other clothes and textiles, where do you recycle?

Further Reading:

  • An Illustrated Guide to Donating and Selling Old Clothes [Real Simple]
  • Clothing Stores that Recycle Donations [PureWow]
  • Where Can I Donate Business Suits I Don’t Need? [The Balance]
  • Find Your Local Dress For Success Affiliate [Dress For Success]
  • How to Recycle Old Clothing (Even Ratty Ass Old Underwear) [Trash Is For Tossers]
  • How to Recycle Corporate Workwear [RecycleNow]
  • Where to Donate Used or Old Clothes to Charity [Moneycrashers]
  • What Really Happens When I Put My Clothes in a Donation Bin? [Grist]

Stock photo via Deposit Photos / londondeposit.

 

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

The Best Workwear Sales for MLK Day

MLK day sales for workwear

Happy MLK Day! I hope many of you have the day off — but if you’re stuck at work or otherwise stuck at home (perhaps snowbound?) then I thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of the best sales out there right now as every store tries to get rid of its extra winter clothes! There are some crazy good deals that I haven’t seen before, with many stores (including Ann Taylor and J.Crew!) offering a whopping extra 70% off; Nordstrom also has some great deals; Old Navy is having its twice-yearly clearance sale, and even Zappos is having a 40% off sale. Nice! 

  • 6PM.com – Featured deals on heels for $ 49.99 or less (Nine West, ALDO, Jessica Simpson and more) and boots, $ 74.99 or less (Circus by Sam Edelman, Naturalizer and more). 
  • Amazon – Lots of sales on clothes, including 50% off of Timbuk2’s bestsellers (deal of the day). 
  • Ann Taylor – Extra 70% off all sale styles, and an extra 50% off full-price styles.
  • Ann Taylor Factory – Extra 15% off your purchase with code EXTRA; tons of options $ 20 and under.
  • Anthropologie – Ends today! 20% off clothing, shoes and accessories, plus free shipping on $ 150+.
  • Banana Republic – Extra 50% off sale styles + 40% off regular-priced styles with no BR merchandise exclusions. (Gap: 40% off everything, plus 50% off sale. Old Navy: Epic Clearance, up to 75% off! Athleta: Extra 20% off all sale items.)
  • Banana Republic Factory – Extra 50% off clearance!
  • Boden – Up to 60% off clearance! (Don’t forget to check out our roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Boden!)
  • Brooks Brothers – Three days only: take an additional 25% off all online clearance prices! Plus, 25% off select Red Fleece styles, and outerwear and cold weather accessories, 40% off. 
  • Express – 40% off everything (even the new stuff). 
  • J.Crew – Extra 70% off select sale styles. Plus, 25% off full-price styles. Online only!
  • J.Crew Factory – Free shipping today only! Extra 60% off clearance, plus 50% off everything else. 
  • Last Call – Extra 60-90% off everything — plus featured deals on jewelry! 
  • Loft – Free shipping on all orders, plus an extra 60% off all sale styles. 
  • Neiman Marcus – End of season sale, up to 75% off! Also, earn a $ 50-$ 300 gift card. 
  • Nordstrom – Up to 50% off! Great deals on Halogen, Hugo Boss, Theory, Stuart Weitzman, Marc Fisher LTD, 1.State and more!
  • Reiss – Final reductions, up to 70% off !
  • Talbots – 50% off all markdowns, plus take an extra 20% off!  (Don’t forget to check out our roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Talbots!)
  • Victoria’s Secret – Buy 2 bras, get 1 free. 
  • Zappos – Winter sale — up to 40% off select boots, coats and more!

Image via Stencil.

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Design Mistakes for Workwear

design mistakes for workwear

Here’s a fun topic we haven’t gotten into in a while: What are some of the biggest designer mistakes for workwear that you’ve seen? Things that make the garment unwearable, things that aren’t as appropriate for work as the fashion community seems to think, or things that just annoy you to death? In the past we’ve talked about designer no-nos like double-breasted blazers (now, super in!) and hated workwear trends like sharkbite hems and exposed zippers, and more — but what are the biggest design mistakes for workwear that you’re seeing in 2019?

Some of my top designer mistakes for workwear would be:

design mistakes for workwear bell sleeves

1. Full-length bell sleeves, particularly in a dry-clean-only fabric. If you’re eating, writing with ink, or washing dishes, full-length bell sleeves are a pain in the butt. Plus, I have a feeling you’re going to instantly date any item you own with that feature.

design mistakes for workwear - step hems on skirts for work!

2. Step-hems for workwear. Nooooooooooooo. So…. ugly. For denim, I might be able to think of it as fresh and trendy, but for workwear it just looks like a mullet or something.

design mistakes for workwear - faux wrap tops

3. Loose wrap shirts that look like faux wraps but are just entirely open. I just ordered (and sent back) a top that had looked great online but turned out to be totally open in the front. Even when I was a nursing mother I wanted a bit more coverage. 

design mistakes for workwear - satin and other party fabrics

4. Party fabrics for day. We talked about this a bit in our post on wedding wear vs. office attire, but a lot of stores and brands seem to think “workwear” includes fabrics like tulle, satin, sequins, and more. No thank you. I think the only exception here is with a very traditional tweed blazer — sometimes a shimmery thread running through it is okay and gives dimension, but that shimmery thread should feel like less than 10% of the garment — probably a lot less than that. 

How about you guys: What workwear trends make you cringe right now? What design elements and trends do you wish that you could persuade fashion brands and designers away from? 

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

New Year’s Day Sales for Workwear and Beyond!

New Year's Day Sales for Workwear

Happy New Year’s Day, guys! May you have an absolutely wonderful 2019. I thought I’d start an open thread and do a sale round-up… have you found any great deals? I keep buying things from the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale, and the other sales I’d hit first are in bold below. 

  • 6PM.com – New Year’s Sale, lots for $ 20.19! 
  • Amazon – Coats under $ 50, dresses under $ 25, boots under $ 50… lots of options! 
  • Ann Taylor – Extra 60% off all sale styles, 40% off full-price styles.
  • Ann Taylor Factory – End of season sale, lots for 50%, 60%, and 70% off! Must have sale styles starting at $ 17.99.
  • Anthropologie – Winter tag sale — now an extra 40% off sale items!
  • Banana Republic – Today only, extra 19% off, plus three more can’t miss deals. 
  • Banana Republic Factory – Up to 75% off original prices!
  • Boden -Further reductions, up to 50% off sale!   (Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Boden!)
  • Brooks Brothers – Semi-Annual Sale! Up to 40% of limited time value end January 2. Through January 1, get an extra 15% off.  
  • Dillards – New Year’s Day Clearance, save an additional 50% off!
  • Express – 100s of new styles, take an extra 40% off clearance for up to 70% off!
  • J.Crew – Extra 60% off all final sale styles!
  • J.Crew Factory – Extra 60-70% off clearance! Online only. 50% off everything else. 
  • Last Call -Extra 30%-80% off everything! 
  • L.K. Bennett –  Up to 70% off! Tons of great markdowns for work. 
  • Loft – Mystery flash sale — check to see what YOUR crazy-good deal is.  (Mine was 50% off everything.) 
  • Neiman Marcus – Last Call Winter Sale, up to 70% off!
  • Nordstrom – Half-Yearly Sale! Save up to 50% through January 2. See our favorites from the sale here
  • Reiss – Further reductions, up to 50% off!
  • Talbots – Happy New Year’s Day Sale — now an extra 50% off markdowns! (Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Talbots!)
  • Victoria’s Secret – The semi-annual sale — 40-60% off 2000+ styles. 
  • Zappos – The Winter Sale Event! Huge selections from MICHAEL Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Free People, Frye, and Kate Spade New York (100s of options!), and lots of other good options from 1.State, Aerosoles, Aldo, Adrianna Papell, Anne Klein, Aquatalia, Blank NYC, Born, Botkier, Coach, Clarks, Cole Haan, Cosabella, Dansko, Dooney & Bourke, Dr. Scholl’s, Fly London, Free People, Hue, Hanky Panky, Jag Jeans, Kut from the Kloth, Karen Kane, Lodis Accessories, Marc Jacobs, Miz Mooz, Nic + Zoe, NYDJ, Naturalizer, Nine West, Paul Smith, Rieker, Rockport, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sam Edelman, Stuart Weitzman, Ted Baker, Three Dots, Under Armour, and ZAC Zac Posen. Try this link to already be limited to those above brands for women, then limit by size from there… 

Image via Stencil. 

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

All the Best After-Christmas Sales for Workwear…

I hope everyone had a very happy holiday! Here’s a quick roundup of some of the major sales of note right now for workwear — don’t miss yesterday’s roundup of some of the great stuff you can get at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale that just started…

  • 6PM – After Christmas Clearance, up to 70% off MSRP! Lots of good options from Coach, DvF, Kate Spade New York, Loeffler Randall, Ferragamo, Sigerson Morrison, Tory Burch, Vince, and Rag & Bone.
  • Amazon – Year-end deals include New Year Party supplies, 80% on holiday clearance, and select NYT best-sellers on Kindle. 
  • Ann Taylor – End of season sale, 60% off all sale styles, and 40% off full-price styles. 
  • Ann Taylor Factory Store – End of season sale, 50-70% off!
  • Anthropologie – Thousands of fresh new cuts, plus an extra 30% off sale!
  • Banana Republic – Extra 60% off sale styles, and 40% off regular-priced styles. 20% off just-in styles. 
  • Banana Republic Factory Store – Winter clearance event, up to 75% off clearance!
  • Boden – Further reductions, up to 50% off sale! Free shipping over $ 49. 
  • Brooks Brothers – Big Event, Semi-Annual Sale, up to 40% off — and only through 12/27, save an additional 15% online!  
  • Everlane – Choose what you pay! 5 days only. 
  • Express – 50% off everything! Sweaters, tops, outerwear and more on sale, prices start at $ 14.90.
  • J.Crew – Extra 50% off final sale styles (with 100s of new items added). 
  • J.Crew Factory Store – 40-60% off, online only, and an extra 50% off clearance! 
  • Last Call – One day! Extra 60-90% off clearance! 
  • Loft – Thousands of new markdowns, with lots under $ 30!
  • MM.LaFleur – 30% off select items; final sale only.
  • Neiman Marcus – Up to 70% off until noon CT; after that up to 55% off. 
  • Nordstrom – The Half-Yearly Sale has started! Check out our roundups here.
  • Reiss – Further reductions, plus new lines added! Up to 50% off. 
  • Soma – Semi-annual clearance; up to 70% off!
  • Talbots – The Biggest Sale of the Season! Extra 40% off markdowns. 
  • Victoria’s Secret – Entire store 30% off; panties are 7 for $ 28.50.
  • Zappos – The Winter Sale Event! Huge selections from MICHAEL Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Free People, Frye, and Kate Spade New York (100s of options!), and lots of other good options from 1.State, Aerosoles, Aldo, Adrianna Papell, Anne Klein, Aquatalia, Blank NYC, Born, Botkier, Coach, Clarks, Cole Haan, Cosabella, Dansko, Dooney & Bourke, Dr. Scholl’s, Fly London, Free People, Hue, Hanky Panky, Jag Jeans, Kut from the Kloth, Karen Kane, Lodis Accessories, Marc Jacobs, Miz Mooz, Nic + Zoe, NYDJ, Naturalizer, Nine West, Paul Smith, Rieker, Rockport, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sam Edelman, Stuart Weitzman, Ted Baker, Three Dots, Under Armour, and ZAC Zac Posen. Try this link to already be limited to those above brands for women, then limit by size from there… 

Images via Stencil.

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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Black Friday Sales for Workwear!

best Black Friday deals for workwear

There are some great sales out there today! Nordstrom is one of our favorites (up to 60% off, with the best stuff going fast — here are our picks) as well as Ann Taylor, Boden, Theory and several factory stores (ATF, BRF, JCF)! 

6pm – Featured sales on Frye, The North Face, Clarks and “6 Mystery Deals” — plus an extra 10% off your entire order!

Amazon – InstantPot for $ 69, plus major deals on Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, Ring Video Doorbell 2, and more! Plus, crazy deals to be had on Amazon clothing brands like Daily Ritual, Core 10, Lark & Ro, and more!  

Ann Taylor – 50% off everything, including suits!

Ann Taylor Factory – 50-70% off almost every single thing, plus an extra 15% off your purchase!

Anthropologie – 30% off everything!

Banana Republic – 50% off regular priced merchandise, no exclusions!

Banana Republic Factory – 60% off entire store! Doorbusters starting at $ 9.99. Extra 15% off your purchase, including clearance! 

Boden – 30% off plus free shipping over $ 49!

Brooks Brothers – Up to 60% off sale items, plus lowest prices of the year for non-iron shirts: 2 for $ 99! 

Express – 50% off everything!

J.Crew – 50% off everything! 

J.Crew Factory – Online only: get an extra 40-50% off sitewide, with clearance up to 80% off original prices!

Last Call – Extra 40 to 80% off!

Loft – 50% off your purchase!

Neiman Marcus – $ 50 off $ 200 of regulalr priced merchandise, plus up to 60% off (extra 33% off select sale items)!

Nordstrom – One of our favorites! Prices are up to 60% off and there are some crazy deals to be had. Here’s our Black Friday deal roundup.

Reiss – 15% off everything!

Rothys – Extended holiday return window, plus limited styles! 

Talbots – 50% off one item until noon today, plus 40% off your entire purchase.

Theory – Buy more save more: 20% off $ 200, 25% off $ 400, 30% off $ 600!

Victoria’s Secret – All bras 40% off, all sleep and lingerie buy 1 get 1 free, plus free shipping on $ 50!

Zappos – Black Friday sale! Prices up to 50% off!

Readers, have you found any great Black Friday deals today? 

Pictured: Deposit Photos / Ekaterina-P

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Link Love: Workwear Brands to Watch

According to Fashionista, Modern Citizen is the Everlane of women’s professional clothing.

Refinery29 rounds up 5 plus-size-friendly workwear brands.

In this NYTimes piece three brands run by young women share their wisdom on workwear, and where it’s going next.

Fab Links from Our Members

Jessikams likes Universal Standard’s Transformers collection: “Super cool things you can add to your clothes to make them more interesting or fancy. Like Spanx ‘arm tights,’ but way more fun.”

She also thinks the video for Chaka Khan’s song Like Sugar is total fashion inspiration. She adds: “If you watch this one, and also Lizzo’s Good As Hell, while you get dressed, awesome outfits will result. Or at least you’ll have fun dancing around.”

UmmLila likes this ManRepeller/Leandra Medine piece on what maximalism means to her.

La Pedestrienne really enjoyed this New Yorker piece about the costumes and style on the ’90s sitcom The Nanny, starring Fran Drescher. “So many fond memories of that program from my childhood, and it is sooo fun to see the ’90s making a comeback. Talk about maximalism…”

Shevia directs us to this Vanessa Friedman piece in which she compares sneakers to Dutch tulips.

Jenni NZ thought people might like to read about Kelly Coe, designer of Augustine and other brands, whose collections are full of colour and sparkle.

And last but not least, Angie, Alyson from Wardrobe Oxygen, and Kat from Corporette, were interviewed for this New York Times article on what business casual really means.


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