It’s a problem that’s plagued women since the beginning of… wardrobes.
We open the closet door, are immediately overwhelmed by the sheer amount of clothing stuffed in there, and yet reach for the same thing to wear, day in and day out. I mean, it’s not just me, right? Didn’t think so.
As someone with a particularly traumatic past of clothes hoarding (1 Marie Kondo book + 30 garbage bags of mostly unworn clothes = deep regret and the realisation that I could have put a deposit on a house with all I’d spent on clothing) I’m fascinated by why so many of us find it so easy to shop and yet so difficult to dress in more than 10% of what we own.
This is a big topic, so it won’t be the last you hear from me on the topic, however today I wanted to start by honing in on what may be a comedy of errors on your wardrobe — in no particular order. You ready for this?
1. You’re storing a range of sizes
At my wardrobe’s lowest (and fullest) point, I had from size 6s to size 12s in my wardrobe. All of them had fitted me at some point, so I felt justified in keeping them. However, this meant the illusion of many options, when in reality only X% of them fit you.
The fact is, even if you end up fitting them again, often when clothes have been sitting unworn for that long, they lose their appeal. Why not sell or donate the stuff that doesn’t fit now and then next time you change sizes, shop intentionally for some key pieces that you absolutely adore?
2. You’re hanging onto stuff you don’t feel good in
Whether it’s because you used to look good in it, you spent too much on it, or there’s a sentimental attachment to it, we have all sorts of reasons for hanging onto clothing but rarely is it because you feel like a million bucks when you wear it.
Next time you do a closet cleanout, be a little tougher on yourself. If something is super duper sentimental, great — but maybe it belongs in a keepsake box rather than your wardrobe. The rest should only be allowed to stay if you feel fantastic in it OR it’s a uniform essential. No exceptions.
3. You can’t find anything
Believe it or not, more is not more when it comes to clothing. Allowing your pieces space to breathe makes them look more appealing, avoid getting crushed, and most importantly, easier to see when considering your options.
If a small closet is the problem (rather than having too much), then seasonal cycling might help. Ikea can also provide some clever wardrobe organizers that allow for more breathing room. And if all else fails, you can always rely on your virtual wardrobe inside The ‘drobe!
4. You have nothing interesting to wear
If you’re like me, you see “basics” as the best investment, so you buy 1 in each colour only to end up with a wardrobe full of basic (aka boring) pieces and no fun colours, prints, textures or shapes to mix things up.
Every outfit should have some element of “wow” to it. So if you don’t have any special pieces (whether that’s a bright blazer, some fun pants or bold accessories), it might be time to give yourself permission to invest in a few.
5. You don’t have time to experiment
Stylish people didn’t get that way by accident. They create thoughtful outfit combinations, guided by years of trial and error, experimentation and having fun with their clothing.
So how about next time you’re about to sit down for a Netflix binge, you watch 1 or 2 less episodes and have a grand old time inside your wardrobe instead?
6. You’re an impulse shopper
“Ooohhh sequins!” “Ooohhh my favourite colour!” “Ooohhh the perfect cocktail dress!” It’s so easy to fall into the trap of buying pieces that you love on their own without considering the role they’ll play in your wardrobe — then you get home and realise they go with nothing. NOTHING I TELL YOU! 😭
Next time you go shopping, run the item in question through this simple test: Can you immediately think of 3 different ways to wear it? (Whether that’s completely different outfits or ways to accessorise it, multiple outerwear pieces to go over it etc). If not, do not buy it, do not pass go and do not collect $200.
7. You’re a bargain hunter who loves markdowns
Deep down I’m sure you realize this, but I’m here to remind you: When items are marked down, it’s often for a good reason. If you’re lucky, they made too many in your size and it’s a true bargain. However, if they’re sitting on the rack in every size, it’s probably because it’s poorly made, a weird cut, too trend-driven or one of a hundred other reasons it’s not a good investment for your wardrobe.
So here’s the deal: next time you go to nab yourself a bargain, ask yourself, “would I buy this if was twice as expensive?” If the answer is no, there’s a good chance it was the price and not the item that was appealing to you.
8. You’re shopping for your dream life… and nothing else
It can be so tempting to buy that perfect little black dress, the sky-high leopard print pumps or that blingy statement jacket that makes you look like a movie star. But are you reeeally in need of more special event clothing? Or a rocking’ work-from-home wardrobe with some fun date-night options and the odd girls-day-out number?
Grab a pencil and notepad and draw a circle on it. Then I want you to create a pie graph where each piece represents a clothing category you need (i.e. work from office, date night, activewear, black tie, social daytime). Next, run an assessment of your clothing and see if the ratio matches up with your graph. If not, you need to pull back on those over-stocked areas and make sure you fill the crucial gaps.
9. You don’t know how to accessorise
We often blame a boring “base” wardrobe for our lack of fun clothing options, but it’s likely you just don’t know how to make your wardrobe staples look pulled together and a little bit spesh by adding the cherry on top — accessories. So next time you’re feeling a bit bland, instead of pulling out the credit card, see if there’s a fun belt, scarf or bold pair of earrings you can add to your ensemble instead.
10. You don’t have a cohesive colour palette
While there’s no rule that says you can only dress in a set number of colours, you’ll find mixing and matching SO much easier if you create a wardrobe colour palette for yourself as a guide.
You know you can totally create one of those using The ‘drobe, right? Just download the app, sign up for a free account and get palette-ing!
11. You keep buying the same item
Believe it or not, you don’t need 5 pairs of “the perfect work pants”. If you wear them every day, 2 could make sense… but wouldn’t it be more fun to alternate them with a different colour or cut of pants? Or even a skirt?
Remember that if your items are high quality, you don’t need to buy an extra one “just in case”. It’ll last for ages and by the time it’s falling apart, you’ll probably be ready for something new and exciting. After all, styles don’t just change, so does our sense of style.
12. There’s a hole in your wardrobe
Sometimes it’s just one category of clothing that’s missing that can plug a crucial hole in your wardrobe and make all the difference. For us basics lovers, it might be statement pieces. For skirt-lovers, do you have enough tops to mix and match with your skirts?
13. Your underwear sucks
Seriously. I’ve so often gone to wear something that excited me, only to find out that my bra was visible due to the low cut, the skirt required suck-in undies, or you could see my back rolls due to the bra straps. Investing in some good bras and undies will CHANGE YOUR LIFE (and, wardrobe, obvs).
14. You don’t know what you like any more
This is such a big one. Our style tastes evolve over the years, but we tend to use muscle memory to go shopping meaning we buy things we liked in previous decades, but no longer feeling like “us” in them.
While it won’t happen overnight, you can immediately start to improve this just by paying attention to style again. Whether that’s by looking at people on the street and what appeals to you, pulling together a Pinterest inspiration board or window shopping… see what draws your eye in and why. Is it the colors? The cut? The accessories? The fabric?
15. Your self-confidence is being crushed
If you’re into following style bloggers on Instagram, pinning street style fashion in Pinterest, reading fashion magazines or even just have a bunch of stylish Facebook friends, there’s a good chance you don’t even feel worthy of trying to dress your best.
Whether it’s the lack of “perfect” body or high-end clothing that’s holding you back, social media has a special talent for getting us to compare ourselves to what we see on our feeds and it’s crushing our confidence AND creativity.
So instead of being sucked down the social media rabbit hole again, start following every account that ever makes you question your worth. No exceptions. Your future self will thank you for it!
Which one of these sounds the most like you? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to download The ‘drobe for free if you want to start learning how to love your wardrobe again!