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The M Dash

Live with purpose.

Five Pieces I’m (Finally) Purging from My Wardrobe

And the way-better styles I’m wearing instead.

By Madeleine Kim

If you’ve been reading the M Dash for a while, you may know that I’ve been on a bit of a journey when it comes to getting rid of clothes. In my early 20s, I held onto everything—tops that were two sizes too small, pants I’d never worn and never would—out of a misplaced sense of guilt. By my mid 20s, I’d improved: I stopped keeping things that had no chance of ever fitting again, and I even purged a few nice but “just not me” items that I’d gotten as gifts. 

These days, I’ve gotten to a place where I like and wear about 85% of the pieces in my closet. Not perfect—but not bad, either. I attribute some of this progress to personal growth, but in reality, most of the credit goes to the fact that many companies—including M.M.—have been embracing and facilitating resale. When I know a piece that’s no longer serving me is going to someone who will appreciate it, I have no qualms about sending it off into the proverbial sunset.

A few years ago, we opened our peer-to-peer resale site, Second Act, where you can buy and sell pre-loved M.M. pieces. And I’m so excited that starting this Earth Day (April 22nd!), Second Act will offer a new trade-in service that makes it even easier to get rid of pieces responsibly. With trade-in, you get to send in your items (or take them to any M.M. store) and immediately receive 15% of the retail price in store credit. From there, M.M. takes care of repairing minor damages, selling, and shipping to buyers. 

As a big fan of resale, I’m feeling inspired, so I’ve decided to share the results of my latest closet cleanout. Read on to find out what I’m purging from my wardrobe, plus how I’m styling the pieces I’m wearing instead.

1. The fun statement blazer that doesn’t work with anything else in my closet.

We’ve all had those pieces that we love in theory but never actually end up wearing. For me, it’s this vintage ’80s gingham-printed jacket with a fun rounded collar and chunky black buttons. I know, it sounds amazing! But every time I put it on with my other clothes, something just feels off. As a result, I never end up wearing it, and every time I see it in my closet, I feel a tiny jolt of regret. It’s a piece that deserves to be loved and worn, so I’m going to sell it and treat myself, instead, to a different statement jacket that I can think of multiple ways to style: the Moreland in light orchid. Here’s how I’ll wear it…

For dinner with people I want to impress.

I’ve always loved the blazer-with-no-shirt look, but my aversion to dry cleaning has stopped me from making it a regular part of my rotation. The machine-washable Moreland jacket solves that problem and offers enough coverage that I don’t have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions. I’ve paired it with pleated chocolate brown corduroys that I found at Buffalo Exchange (similar: The Row) and my wedding shoes (similar: Stella McCartney). I love the combination of light orchid and brown—it’s subtle, but just weird enough to be interesting.

To the M.M. office in NYC.

My next work trip to NYC is in June, and I already know this outfit will be part of my packing list. What you can’t see from these photos is that OrigamiTech is incredibly lightweight—necessary when I’m slogging around the city in the summertime, laptop in tow. I’m wearing it with a satin button-down from Aritzia, my beloved Milo jeans, an old pair of comfortable slide sandals (similar: Carter slides), and hoops.

2. The hopelessly pilled cardigan that I’ve been wearing since college.

I’m all for wearing your clothes for as long as possible…but we all reach a point in our lives when it no longer feels appropriate to type work emails while wearing the sweater that used to be your hangover uniform. Goodbye, 10-year-old Forever 21 sweater; hello, Cookie cardigan. Featuring a cocoon-like fit, the Cookie is deeply cozy—but it’s also gorgeous, thanks to luxe ribbing and playful contrast stitching. A couple ways I’m excited to wear it:

To work from home.

I (usually) try to wear real clothes when I work from home. Comfort is my top priority, which means I end up wearing my Milo jeans and pima-cotton T-shirts on repeat. My new Cookie cardigan makes the perfect topper for such pieces and will likely end up living on the back of my desk chair. Here, I’ve styled it with my Leslie T-shirt, Uniqlo jeans, and Emu slippers.

For a nice lunch.

There’s something about going out for a sit-down lunch that feels so luxurious. On the rare occasion that I do take myself on a lunch date, I like to dress up. For this outfit, I played into the long, elegant lines of the Cookie cardigan by pairing it with white wide-leg trousers (similar: Khaite) and the 365Knit Giulia top (available in a few sizes on Second Act, or try the Choe). Loafers and layered necklaces tie it all together.

3. The sleek knit top that irritates my skin.

Nothing elevates an outfit like a good knit top. But take it from me: If your knit top isn’t comfortable, you simply won’t wear it (nor should you). I have several white knit tops in my wardrobe, and this spring, I’m getting rid of the ones that leave me fidgeting—and doubling down on my all-time favorite: the Choe top. I’ve had mine for about six years, so I can say with great confidence that it’s truly worth the investment. 365Knit is super soft, but structured enough to provide full coverage. If you’re looking for something with the versatility of a T-shirt but the polish of a blouse, the Choe is for you. Here are two ways I’ve been wearing it:

For happy hour.

When I’m playing around with outfit combinations, I often find that the most interesting looks are those that combine casual and formal pieces. In this look, the more formal blazer (similar: Dolly jacket) contrasts the casual denim shorts (Denim Forum), while the Choe top pulls it all together by falling somewhere in the middle. I paired it with my pointy-toe white mules (similar: Stella McCartney) for a feminine vibe, but you could also wear this look with sneakers, loafers, or slides.

From the plane to the office.

On days when I have to head straight from my flight to the M.M. office, I need a very specific type of outfit: something that’s work-appropriate, comfortable, won’t wrinkle on the plane, and layered so I can easily adapt to different temperatures. The Choe top and my Oshima pants (similar: Kick Flare Foster), plus a plush cashmere sweater is pretty much a foolproof combination.

4. The jeans that suffocate me when I sit down.

I have this great pair of straight-leg black jeans that I’ve owned for a while and used to wear constantly. But for the past year or so, I’ve noticed that they don’t quite fit like they used to—they squeeze my waist when I sit down, and they’re never comfortable after a meal. In other words, it’s time to move on—specifically, to the Daria jean, which features the timeless straight-leg silhouette I love, but in stretchy Better Than Denim (and my correct size). A couple ways I like to wear them:

For museum-hopping.

While I was in New York last week, I wore this outfit to visit the Whitney Museum, followed by a matinee of Hadestown (highly recommend!). It’s a relatively simple outfit, but the polished look of the Daria jeans and artistic flair of the Hallie top’s contrast stitching were enough to make me feel confident and stylish everywhere I went that day.

For a weekend night out.

I’m not usually one to show a ton of skin, but there’s a time (the weekend) and a place (whatever bar is playing early 2000s pop hits) for a crop top. This one is from Aritizia, and I’ve paired it with my Daria jeans and vegan leather Sierra shacket for a look I’m definitely going to recreate next Saturday night.

5. The work-to-weekend dress that’s too stiff to move around in.

A dress that you can truly wear to both a wedding and a work meeting is a rare find—so when I found one, I held onto it. The only problem is that the shoulders are just a liiiittle bit too tight, meaning I can’t raise my arms higher than a T shape without feeling like I’m about to rip the fabric. Luckily, we just released the Ciela dress in stretchy ponte, which means it’s time for an upgrade. Here’s how I’ll style it…

For a wedding.

This one’s simple: Just add shoes, jewelry, and (if the wedding is outdoors) sunglasses, and you’re good to go. I went with white shoes for a summery look, but you could also have a lot of fun with a more vibrant color, like yellow, green, or red.

For work.

With the addition of the comfortable Lana boots and a vegan leather jacket (fun fact: the one pictured is an old M.M. sample), the Ciela dress is city- and office-ready. If your office is more formal, just swap the leather jacket for a jardigan like the Evangeline.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

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