9 Signs you Need Help with Your Wardrobe
Are you like me? Do you want to do pretty much everything on your own? Not necessarily by pride, but because you think you'll “be okay”, or you don't want to bother anybody, you can “figure it out”? I'm like that too! And It's always been the case, to be honest. I'm the type that struggles to ask for help, or even recognise that I may need help.
My Mum once told me the story of how she managed to get me to hold her hand to cross the street. I was so sure I could do it on my own, but I was only 4 years old, there was no way she would let me cross like that. Guess what my Mum did? She told me she was feeling unsure and scared and needed my help, and she would like me to hold her hand to help her. Haha! I'm not even kidding! That's how I used to be, and I still operate like this sometimes.
But the struggle can be even more significant when it comes to things we're “supposed” to know; things we've been doing for ages, like doing your hair or getting dressed. “I'm 35, of course, I know how to cook!” – but a cooking class would probably help my skills get better and more advanced? “I've been doing my hair since I was 10” – but I wouldn't say no to an in-depth tutorial of all the different braids and how to grow thick and healthy hair?
Well, it's the same when it comes to getting dressed. It's something we do daily; and in most cases, we'll have to do it for quite a while after today. And since we've started dressing when we were about 4 years old (I mean choosing our clothes), it's hard to believe that we might need help in this area. But my question is this: for something so important that we do as often as eating, sleeping and brushing our teeth, something that reflects our tastes, convey our message and represents our personality, It needs to be well done and accurate. We don't want to misrepresent ourselves.
And there are a few ways to show that we are not doing it in the best possible way. Let me share with you 9 signs you need help with your wardrobe, and what they mean. Ultimately, Identifying these will help you make sure that what you wear genuinely conveys who you are and conveys your personality. Who wouldn't want that? I know I do!
1. “I have nothing to wear”
This one is prevalent actually, and that's probably what I hear the most. And if it's you, don't even worry or feel guilty about it because you're definitely not alone.
But you know that feeling when you stand in front of a wardrobe full of clothes, but you feel uninspired, you have nothing to wear, and you feel defeated. And then you say this dreaded sentence “I have nothing to wear”, as you sit on the bed, and start planning your next shopping trip.
Now, the real problem is probably not that you have nothing to wear, because you do! Buuuut, you have nothing to wear that reflects your personality and how you want to show up. These are two completely different things, and the way to fix this is first to find out how you want to show up. That, my friend, is the key to suddenly finding your wardrobe inspiring again!
2. Your wardrobe is overflowing
This is the direct result of point number 1. Let me explain. You have nothing to wear, you plan your next shopping trip, you're satisfied for a few days, and you add your new treasures to your existing wardrobe. And theeeeen, we don't know exactly how, but we end up with a mountain of clothes, some we like, some we hate, some we forget about. And overwhelm kicks in (absolutely normal by the way..!).
So what's the deal? One thing you can do that'll help with your wardrobe: some people have rules, such as “one in, one out” (every time you buy a new piece, you need to get rid of something); and I think that's a great starting point to reduce the overwhelm. The other thing I would suggest is to create a vision board, get inspired, and portray precisely the kind of pieces you want to be wearing. You can then eliminate and avoid what doesn't fit your message.
3. You have loads of clothes but are always wearing the same 5 pieces
That's also a direct consequence of points 1 and 2. It's quite self-explanatory, but I'll still explain. When you have an overflowing wardrobe and nothing very ‘inspiring' in there, you'll go shopping, as we've established. So you'll buy a few pieces that you feel reflect your personality… and wear them over and over again, until you are tired of them (or until they just give up on life altogether! haha!).
Well, there is a piece of good news, and a piece of bad news. Good news is: you seem to have found inspiration in these key pieces (or at least escaped boredom). The bad news is: everything else is creating noise, and stopping you from having clarity. Your wardrobe needs, as a whole, needs to be a reflection of your style and who you are.
My suggestion is to define your Signature Style as a starting point. And then you can have more than just five pieces aligned with your personality.
4. You have pieces that can only be worn with a specific item
When you go shopping, it's always better to have a vision and know exactly the pieces you want and why. Usually, we go shopping without a plan, and we follow our hearts (ever heard of heartbreaks? I have, and it's never a sweet story, unfortunately). When we buy with our hearts, rather than following a clear strategy, we tend to buy things that'll pair well together, but nothing else in our wardrobe.
If you are into capsule wardrobes, then you know what I mean: to make the most out of your pieces, they need to be wearable with a maximum of pieces in your existing wardrobe (so you can have fun and be creative with mixing-and-matching).
5. You go shopping every time you have an event coming up
Invited to a wedding? I need to go shopping. Going to a fancy dinner party? Well, I need a dress. Going to an important client meeting? I'll need a new blouse for that. You know the drill…
If every important event in your life requires you to go shopping, it clearly means your wardrobe is misaligned. Either your wardrobe and your lifestyle are not matching, or… You are not making the most out of the pieces you already have.
So first, mindset shift. What do I mean? Well, I know I thought for a long time that every occasion required me to go and buy a new “everything”, including shoes and other accessories. I needed to experience a severe mindset shift (and budget restrictions) to realise I wasn't being intentional at all, let alone sustainable! So that's one.
Then, by assessing my lifestyle, I realised how many “loungewear” items I had, compared to work and casual outfits. And let me tell you, I wasn't lounging near enough to justify it – even though I wish I did! I wasn't a big fan of my job at that time… The thing is, there was an apparent misalignment. I needed help with wardrobe balance.
But that was not it! I also didn't know how to create new combinations and associations between pieces. You would be amazed at the number of outfits you can create just with the pieces you already own. If you can't, then you need to define your Signature Style, to at least make sure you have the right pieces that'll allow you to have fun mixing-and-matching.
6. You sometimes find pieces you had forgotten about
Usually, when you start thinking of all the ways you could improve your wardrobe, you decide to perform a closet cleanse (wise decision by the way!), and that's when you find those gems! These pieces you bought and loved… And forgot about. Needless to say, if they didn't miss you, they probably don't reflect your style. If they do, then it's time to make the most out of them.
7. You have items that you've never worn in two years
Now this one is tricky because it touches on our psychology. Let me explain. The main reason you haven't worn these pieces in two years is all in your head. You've convinced yourself of one of the two following lies. a/”I'll keep it because I'll lose weight and wear it again soon.” b/”This piece is so important, for this emotional reason, and there are so many memories around it.”
Now I'm going to be a bit harsh, but it's for your own sake.
If you keep pieces that will “motivate you” and “help you lose weight”, you're abusing yourself. Keeping these items in your wardrobe don't help you love yourself and your body, they maintain you in a shame and guilt state, and I don't want that for you at all. You are beautiful just the way you are… And if you must keep these items, then take them somewhere else. A box under the bed? A bag in the laundry room? Choose your favourite location, but don't make it your wardrobe, because it will take up space, make you feel inadequate, and have a biased view of what you own (you see three pairs of jeans, but you only one is your current size).
Regarding emotionally charged items of clothing now, if you're not ready to go separate ways, just keep them in a different box (outside of your closet), and take your time with them. If you feel you can wear them again, then put them back in your closet.
Ultimately, I managed to shift my mindset and keep these memories in my mind or in my journal – and get rid of the clothes – but if you're not ready to do that quite yet, then it's absolutely fine to have a keepsake box.
Disclaimer: I'm never getting rid of my wedding dress! Haha!
8. You're still wearing what you were wearing 10 years ago
This is plain and simple: if you're still wearing the same clothes you were wearing 10 years ago, you need a style assessment and go back to the drawing board with your Signature Style. There are life stages; your life is evolving, improving, and so is your style.
Now don't get me wrong, you can have a classic, timeless style, but there'll have improvements and small tweaks here and there. In ten years, your wardrobe will need adjustments. Always.
9. You still have items that you'll probably never wear again
Or even worse: items you know you won't wear, but they still have the tag on it. Oops… I know the feeling, the guilt, and the decision that usually comes with it. It sounds something like: “I haven't worn it yet, but I'll take the tag off now, and I'll wear it! I promise!”… It's a lie… Sorry… I know it because I did the same. I just couldn't admit my mistake, I had to prove to myself that I knew why I had bought it, and I was going to wear it… And feel the shame and the guilt again a few months later when I see the same item at the same spot, still unworn. Honestly, just get rid of it: donate it, and start on a clean slate!
There you have it! Did you recognise yourself in any of these points? Just remember, it's never too late to start getting clarity and define your style. Not only does it make your life easier, but it also helps with your consumption habits. Fast fashion is pushing you to make impulse decisions, and it makes you face the same issues over and over again. But needing help with your wardrobe is absolutely fine, and recognising it is the first step towards ditching wardrobe overwhelm, and thriving on clothes that reflect you and who you are. So, did you identify yourself in any of these points? Do you think you need help with your wardrobe?