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Readying and Rationalizing Fall: Frank's Guide to Prepping Your Closet for the Post-Labor Day Season

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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 over 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.


Probably time to squirrel away anything with a hot dog or nautical banner motif.>

Dear Owners of Closets and Seasonal Apparel,

I might not seem quite real yet—it had to be 90 degrees here in New York yesterday—but Labor Day and fall are right around the corner. Back to school sales are in full effect; that stuff you've been drooling over in magazines is trickling in to the good and better stores; hell—yesterday I saw someone wearing a leather jacket. He is that ready for the cooler weather.

But it's not just about popping on your leather jacket—changing seasons means changing closets. It's time to prep your wardrobe for fall. And trust me, if you don't do it now you're going to look up and it'll be mid-February. By then you'll just shrug it off—well, it'll be spring soon enough! And I'm already ready already! All without once wearing the corduroy and angora you have vacuum-packed under your bed or somewhere.

Read on for some hints.

1. Treat your summer stuff with some respect! First things first—your summer wares work hard. They're hot, you're hot—put them away right and they'll still be wearable next year. Take any discolored whites and lights that are worth saving to the best dry-cleaner you know and point out the rings around those collars to have them treated. A great cleaner can get those at least a few shades lighter. Likewise, any of those delicate summer items you don't see yourself wearing again this year? Those spider-webby ultra-delicate knits and summery silks? Have them cleaned now. While your at it you'll also want to launder a big load of your purest whites with a big load of bleach to get them as crisp and as clean as you can.

2. Did you make any fresh cut-offs this year? I'm not talking about jeans—you'll want the frayed edges for those. But, rather, have you transformed tailored pants to tailored shorts? Were those just-above-the-knee Bermudas not quite sexy enough? Have your tailor finish them before they become even more unraveled. Likewise—have loose seams repaired and sew on lost or loose buttons (if you can't at the very least sew on a button then get it together because that's ridiculous). Then they'll be ready for you in May.

3. And, finally, pack them away. You'll want to bag or wrap them first if you suspect any issues with moths or other vermin. Include any other purely summer items so they're not cluttering up your life all winter—beach cover-ups, seersucker accessories, picnic totes, swimwear (I do like to keep a swimsuit out and accessible though—in case someone invites me to St. Barths (this never happens)), anything sunflower- or hot dog-printed ? You might also include a chunk of scented cedar or some other bit of naturally (and subtly) scented refresher. If your stuff comes out of storage smelling as clean as it actually is, you won't be inclined to take it right back to the cleaners come Memorial Day.

4. Pull out that cool-weather stuff! To get the most use out of your winter wardrobe, you need to get it out and into the rotation as soon as you can. And, if your storage situation is anything like mine, you can't really put the summer stuff away until the fall stuff is out and about.

But once those bags are up from the basement or out from under the bed, don't just sit on them! Get those sweaters aired out or cleaned if necessary. Steam or iron those wovens and get them on hangers. Have those tailored pieces you've been sitting on shortened or tapered or taken in now so you have a whole season to wear them. Fluff those scarves and bring them in to be spot-cleaned if needed. Get any and all cooler weather shoes resoled or repaired. Once those are home take all your suedes and leathers out to sidewalk and spray them down with a leather protectant that can extend the life of your precious footwear by weather-proofing them. Note: Take any laces out first; and only use waxes if you're looking to truly water-seal (because waxes can totally alter the appearance of leather). And speaking of leather: Now's as good a time as any to get any heirloom pieces to a leather spa for repairs or reconditioning. Of course, if you're going for that weathered, baseball mitt look—then go take a walk in the rain.

5. While you're at it—clean up! All your clothes are everywhere and a total mess anyway. Now's the time to clean out your closet. We've been over this beforefive piles: Trash, Donations, The Middle, The Good Stuff, and Get Off Your Ass (which you're already doing by getting all those items tailored and cleaned and finished so you're golden). And you're doing this because it gives you more room. And more room means new stuff. And there's so much new good stuff right now!

And there you have it. Ready for fall! The good stuff is fixed and pristine and ready to wear. The summer stuff is safely tucked away. The crap is out of your life. Now let's all pop on scarves and go buy cardigans!

· Love, Frank [Racked]