Start the year with a clean slate–or at least a clean closet.
Surely there are items from 2008, or perhaps even years earlier, that you’ll never wear again. Some of them should go straight to a local charity or Goodwill, but some might be worth boxing up with care and putting into storage for the next generation to enjoy.
Often, your best bets for heirlooms are the classics, the items that would be hard to date simply by looking at them, says Melanie Charlton Fascitelli, author of "Shop Your Closet" (HarperCollins).
"Think of things that repeat themselves over time–your favorite Lilly Pulitzer dress. I kept one that my mom wore when she was pregnant with me. It was yellow with a cape; I’ve worn it to a Halloween party and a cocktail party."
Pucci also holds up its value because people collect the prints, she says.
Other designer items can be trickier, though. A high price tag doesn’t mean an item is an heirloom, explains Fascitelli, who also has a closet organizing business called Closette. It’s worth keeping if it’s a piece that helped define either the design house or the look of an era: For example, a Tom Ford Gucci piece is likely more valuable, both monetarily and as a keepsake, than a garment by his short-lived successor Alessandra Facchinetti.
Things that other people are clamoring for might be the ones you hold on to.
Constance White, style director for eBay, says that old European brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton never lose their cache, and right now Balenciaga and Lanvin are equally hot.
Versace garments–again, especially prints–as well as Jean Paul Gaultier are other labels that could be prized possessions, White says, and she makes the case for plaid pieces. "Anything plaid always comes back around," she observes, "especially a jacket in a classic tartan."
Eveningwear also doesn’t date as easily as trendier everyday clothes.
"Vintage–done well–always comes back in style in eveningwear," White declares.
There are some key menswear pieces worth storing–properly!–including suits from Ford or Giorgio Armani. "If you can afford one of these now, keep it for your son," says White. "Or, in this era of the boyfriend jacket, keep it for your daughter. It’s worth spending a little on the tailoring."
Fascitelli, however, thinks the next generation will be more interested in a leather jacket, which she describes as "a style that keeps up forever and doesn’t have to fit perfectly."
Also on her list of what today’s teens will want from their parents are Loro Piano and Barber jackets, luxury watches, a college sweatshirt, Judith Leiber and Hermes bags and good jewelry, especially a Cartier Love bracelet or silver pieces from Tiffany’s.
Hello Kitty- and Barbie-branded things also make the cut. "If you have stuff that is still boxed, some of those items are worth keeping. They can be sold for hundreds of dollars later on," Fascitelli says.
Artwork is subjective so it’s hard to predict whether or not there will be interest later on, but "there are some things you kind of know," she adds. "If you inherited a Warhol serigraph, obviously hold on to it."
Same with wedding china with a high-end name, including Wedgwood, silver tableware and crystal glassware.
The one thing Fascitelli is pretty sure no one will want down the road is CDs.
"I was a culprit of this myself but get rid of your CDs. Put them in a digital library, otherwise it’s a waste of space when you could recycle the containers."
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.