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Out With the Old, in With a View: Frank's Closet/Garden Metaphor

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for almost two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

Dear Clotheshorses and Owners of Closets,

More than anything else, a move—whether it’s across the country or just across the neighborhood—really puts the state of your closet into perspective.

We just moved—merely across the neighborhood. And, it’s our first grown-up apartment. For the first time “cheap” wasn’t at the very top of the list of musts. It was maybe fourth, after closet space (obviously), a decent kitchen, and no carpeting, ever (is there anything more terrible than wall-to-wall carpeting you didn’t have installed in a home you don’t own?)

Why knock cheap off the top? Move into our old building where ceilings collapse, leaks never end and creatures stampede through the walls while a lackadaisical management staff collectively sighs “meh” if and when you get them on the phone. You, indeed, get what you pay for.

Anyway, we got a great kitchen. And we definitely don’t have carpeting—that would be a dealbreaker no matter how epic a closet might be. And while the closet certainly isn’t tiny, you have to split shit when you’re all partnered up in a real, adult one-bedroom. So, for the two of us and our vast array of shirts and sweaters and shoes (it’s almost sick how many Margiela and Duckie Brown shoeboxes two people who aren’t exactly rolling in dough can amass), it’s tight. And that’s a bit of a bummer—until you walk out on your very own terrace and lose yourself in that view.

We figured it was a pretty fair trade-off.

We’re obviously supplementing with added furniture—no-one’s about to part with any Jack Spade bags or piped Ralph Lauren blazers—but we still had to trim down quite a bit. For yours truly this is a non-issue: Selling off the good stuff and donating or tossing the rejecteds and worn-to-pieces basics and furnishings is a semi-annual event. Making room, recycling, allowing clothes you thought you might love but never really could (we’re thinking, specifically, of a Wesc hoodie, a John Varvatos cardigan, a Rogue’s Gallery polo and a Banana Republic blazer) the possibility of finding that unrequited love in someone else’s closet—well, it feels good. It’s cleansing.

To quote our interview with epic-dresser and advanced clotheshorse Nick Wooster: “A wardrobe is much like a garden. It needs constant tending.” We totally agree.

Others, who shall remain nameless, who may or may not be sharing that terrace, do not. Call it frugality, sentimentalism, a "you never know" mentality, or just plain hording—they simply don't call cleaning out fun or refreshing.

We thought we took care of the worst of it when he moved in to the old place—the tent-like, the unflattering, the worn to bits, the bizarre vestiges of youthful, factory store mis-buying. There were Merrell shoes for goodness sake! Who has Merrells?

Then we found the half-zips; the roll-necks; the washed-cotton thick-knits in the colors of late ‘90s sale racks. There was a ribbed turtleneck sweater. There were mock-necks. There were items so worn-and-washed they were disintegrating. Khakis so wide most could fit both legs down one half. All unworn for years, unwearable forever and collecting dust.

And we’re talking about a person who worships at the altar of Watanabe; a person who clicks through the Paris shows usually before we do; a person who sent around iPhone photos of the new shoes he recently bought at Odin. Shoes we’d already seen. In person.

It was a bit of a battle but most of it is gone (with the exception of some “Sunday sweaters”—more than anyone probably really needs.) And, thank god for that.

Maybe there is some wisdom or at least comfort in keeping a few sad, old things. Or maybe not. Either way, that’s that! And what better after a good purge than a good shop? We have hangers to fill! We need terrace-specific outfits! And all that cash from selling all that John Varvatos is burning a hole in our pockets!

Let’s. Do. This.

· Love, Frank [Racked]