Sometimes we know our wardrobe orphans will never work and we need to pass them on. My wide-leg pants, emerald green camisole and cocktail rings were such orphans and they’ve found a happy home at Dress for Success. Other times, wardrobe orphans get a second chance once we’ve worked out how to wear them. In my case, a potential orphan often gets new life when I’ve purchased a new piece to pair it with, like a pair of shoes, top or jacket.

These are the items in my closet that went from drab to fab over the last year:

  • Bootcut jeans: A pair of chunky, distressed pewter pumps and a welted tunic renewed the look of my bootcuts. I can once again feel great in these jeans, which means I can give my skinnies a rest from time to time.
  • Cobalt blue patent snake-skin tote: I hardly used this handbag in its first year (my cream cracked patent tote was my go-to bag at the time). I bought a retro, cobalt wool coat last Winter which brought the cobalt bag to life. It is now among my favourites because I’m sporting a neutral, textured look more frequently and the cobalt bag offers a fabulous spot of colour, particularly against cream, white and black.
  • Printed yellow and purple shirt: I wore this silky shirt with voluminous sleeves a few times and then promptly abandoned it for a year. But it became a favourite once I had the perfect denim skirt to wear it with. I receive many compliments when I wear this rather hectic shirt and I can’t for the life of me understand why I delayed the look. I suppose I’ve finally found a way to make it feel effortless.
  • Silver sling-back wedge heels: These shoes competed with my cream wedges, which I bought at the same time. I initially favoured my cream wedges while my silver pair collected dust. But they became my go-to Spring and Summer wedge this year and work perfectly with just about all of my outfits. I now can’t imagine my wardrobe without them.

Perhaps you also have pieces in your closet that took a while to get into circulation. I’d love to hear about them because I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in reviving some of my orphaned wardrobe items.