I am a little obsessed with antique books, and so you can imagine my delight when I stumbled on a leather-bound gem from the 1870s called “Nothing to Wear.” It told the tale, in rhyme, of a young socialite who went around Europe buying everything she saw, only to return home, vast wardrobe in tow, claiming that she had “nothing to wear.”
So, while it’s not a 21st-century problem, it’s definitely a first-world one.
And the more clothes we have, the more of a problem it seems to be.
And there’s a reason for that. A wardrobe that is bursting at the seams is filled with superfluous extras and impulse buys that never quite panned out.
More, in this case, doesn’t mean more options and more choices and more to love. It means more clutter and more headache and more to manage. But how do we end up with too many items and too few choices?
I’ve identified the 5 main causes of closet discontent so that you can spot the problems that are creating your own closet confusion and make a change in the way that you curate your wardrobe.
Your Clothes Don’t Suit You
Buying clothes you spotted on IG or admired on a friend, without filtering through the lens of your body type and coloring, for example, can leave you disappointed, with outfits that seemed good in theory but never actually worked for you.
When you start with yourself, and what you look like, and choose outfits accordingly, you’ll find it much easier and more effortless to pick outfit formulas that suit you.
Your Style Has Changed
Are you still buying clothes for an old version of yourself? I did this for a while, and then I realized that when I bought the types of clothes I’d always bought because I had “always” liked them, those clothes didn’t get worn. They no longer represented my style.
I had an epiphany about this on a recent trip to Target, while perusing their latest designer collabs. I was drawn to the Nili Lotan, which represents an aspect of my current style, but was tempted by Victor Glemaud, which screamed (almost literally) me circa 1989. And so, as tempting as it was to scoop up some Victor Glemaud designs because they resonated with an older part of my style, I resisted. I knew that they no longer suited my personal style or lifestyle. Same with the fun but over the top pieces by designer Sandy Liang.
You Shopped Under Duress
There is nothing less conducive to a well-curated, versatile and wearable wardrobe than shopping “under duress” for special events. Whether it’s the dress you bought for your friend’s wedding or the expensive jacket for the presentation, going from one event-specific purchase to another drains your clothing budget without giving you a workable wardrobe.
Instead, create ready-to-wear outfits for a variety of occasions from your own wardrobe. There is no reason to buy something new for every event! Then, save your wardrobe budget for the staples that you will wear for years to come.
Your Clothes Don’t Fit Your Lifestyle
Sometimes, we shop for the life we have rather than the life that we live. Not only is this depressing, it’s aslo a waste of money. One of my clients had a wardrobe FULL of cocktail dresses, but as a soccer mom, I never saw her wearing anyting other than workout clothes.
A fabulous wardrobe starts with being honest about what you actually want to wear, day in and day out. There’s no point pretending you’re going to wear silk blouses every day when you know that you’re more of a t-shirt kind of girl. Clothes have to fit what you actually do every day, and they also have to be manageable to care for.
I hope you enjoyed these reasons for wardrobe dissatisfaction. These come from years of working with clients, and noticing similar themes in the closets that weren’t working! Which of these challenges is the source of your wardrobe frustration? Let me know in the comments!
Question of the Week
I LOVE this question! I truly believe we don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style, and fortunately, brands seem to agree, because we have more stylish, wearable, and comfortable options than ever before.
In this video from last year, I share my philosophy on comfort and style, and why defining your style personality is so important.
And now for the question.
In the winter, choose a comfortable top with built in support, like this style from J.J. Winks, a pair of polished yet easy elastic waist pants (I like the Jamie pant from J. Crew or the Everlane Dream pant), and a cozy cardigan. A pair of colorful slides completes the look.
A housedress, which I define as an easy-care, uber-comfortable but still stylish dress, is a warm-weather essential. My favorite is the cha-cha dress from Isle Apparel. It’s the perfect go-everywhere dress that doesn’t wrinkle, washes like a dream, and flatters every body. Wear over a snug tank or a Ruby Ribbon cami (which replaces a bra) for a little support, or wear it on your own if you have a smaller bust. You’ll still look chic and modest because the ruffle adds coverage! Another option is a bra-top dress from a brand like Soma Intimates.
My buzzworthy pick this week is an all natural healing ointment that I believe every woman should have in her medicine cabinet. It’s called Golden Salve and it was recommended to my by Crystal Patrick, a longtime member of my Ageless Style Program. It’s full of healing ingredients to sooth bites, burns, and scrapes while preventing scarring.