Why is it that we keep shopping for clothes yet every time we need to dress up for an occasion we struggle to find something to wear? The reasons for this are simple: we are not organised and we are not intentional with the way we shop. So how do we fix this? Let’s look at five easy ways to deal with having a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear!
- Bring in the basics
You need to consciously think about the individual pieces you are picking up and their function. When we dress up we start from a foundation and then build up from there. For example, on top of our underwear goes a top, a bottom, some footwear and then maybe accessories. This basic structure tells us that there are some essentials that help us to build our outfits. You need a go-to list of essentials that work for most styles and will come handy for a range of occasions. We will talk more about this in our discussion about capsule wardrobes later. Your basics could include:
Tops: plain t-shirts – white/black, white buttoned down shirt, plain sweater, tank top/camisole and a classic turtle neck-black/white.
Bottoms: straight leg jeans-black/ blue, tailored trousers, a pencil skirt, pleated skirt, and denim shorts.
Dress: wrap dress, slip dress and a simple black dress.
Outerwear: trench coat- camel/black/ beige, cardigan, coat and a jacket, faux leather jacket, blazer-black/camel and denim jacket.
Shoes: nude pumps, black pumps, simple black sandals, ankle boots, knee high boots, white trainers, white is classic and flat pumps.
These are the things we need to think of first before branching out to include other trendy pieces. But remember, trends come and go and once you feel that those pieces are out of style, they will just sit in your wardrobe and take up space.
An important tip on picking these basics is to make sure that they are versatile.
You may notice that most of the items listed above are neutral colours, it is essential to buy neutral colours because they are easier to pair and can work for different occasions. Get those down first and then you can by all means add any fun colours, styles and prints of your choice. While you do this, think sustainable, all aspects of it. Buying eco-friendly pieces can be expensive however, you can still save the environment by buying good quality items that will last a long time and reduce the number of times you would need to replace that item.
- Purchase with Purpose
Now that you have the basics, you need to the shop with a plan in mind. You may think that if you can afford it and you think it’s pretty what stops you from buying it? Well, let me tell you that impulse buying is a slippery slope. Look at your wardrobe as a limited space; there is only so much you can put into it before space runs out. Would you rather go through the stress of having so many pretty pieces but you cannot think of ways to pair them with other items in your wardrobe? Or would you rather have a few key pieces that pair easily with others, creating different looks time and again? I am not still on the subject of basics; I want you to buy pretty and versatile pieces. When you are shopping, whenever you pick up an item, think of at least four ways you can wear it and consider what other pieces in your wardrobe that it can go with.
Shopping tip: Think, this blouse can go with that skirt, those shorts and those jeans all of which I already own. I could also layer it over my turtle neck top for the colder weather
Those are four different looks you have created around one blouse. Without this plan in mind you may find yourself picking up items that look like stuff you already own because that is usually the kind of thing you are drawn to and this is not economical.
- Re-evaluate your Style and Fit
Usually when we find out something looks good on us, we tend to buy a lot of the same item. What you will find after a while is that you start feeling as though you look the same all the time. It can be very uninspiring trying to pick out an outfit for an occasion.
Shopping tip: when you pick out an item, think, do I own something similar to this? Is there anything in particular about this item that stands out from the other? If you cannot justify why this purchase is important, please leave it.
Another culprit of why you have nothing to wear is ill-fitting clothing. Remember that blouse that gapes a bit in the chest area but you bought it anyway because you convinced yourself that your other bra flattens your boobs a tad bit so you may wear it with that? Well you found out it doesn’t fit but you still have it because it’s cute and has potential. Sometimes we buy clothes that are slightly too loose or tight with the hope of getting it altered but we never get round to it. Weight fluctuations can also leave us with a wardrobe full of clothes but with nothing to wear. Please do not keep clothing with the hopes of fitting back into them. That is a whole lot of space you are taking up for something that may or may not be. After all you are dressing presently for your now body and therefore of course you are not going to have anything to wear, take those clothes out and focus on what you can wear now.
Shopping tip if you pick up an item and you cannot wear it straight away, you should probably just put it down.
Donate clothes that no longer fit unless of course you have a sentimental piece you need to hold on to. With all the negative pressure we receive from the media about our bodies and how they should look like, the worst you can do for yourself is to dwell on negative emotions because of ill-fitting clothing. If you tummy is bulging in the dress and you don’t like it, get a size up, choose a different style you feel confident in. If you want to wear shape wear go for it. But remember, do it for you. There is nothing as disempowering as sitting at a party with your tummy stuffed into shapewear just so you can fit into a dress but you cannot bear to breath, let alone have fun and woe betides you if you ate. I would summon a Marie Kondo and suggest for you to go through your clothes, if any item does not bring you joy, chuck it!
4. Purge your wardrobe
It is so stressful to rummage through a wardrobe full of clothes that are unorganised to find something to wear. Most of the time you never find certain items which are potentially great because they are out of sight. The chaos can be so uninspiring that you end up picking the same outfit over and over again because you cannot be bothered to rummage through an overflowing wardrobe looking for hidden gems. To avoid an “out of sight, out of mind” situation, it is essential to organise your wardrobe. Begin by getting rid of all the clothes you don’t need. This may include ill- fitting clothes, clothes that have not been worn for a long time as well as clothes that do not make you feel comfortable and confident. Be ruthless. Have a look at what you get rid of and let it guide your future shopping decisions.
Something as basic as an organised wardrobe can be very uplifting. It cuts the stress and time it takes to choose outfits.
5. Design a Capsule Closet
Some organise their wardrobe by colour others by type or even a combination of the two. This is essential because it gives you a visual array of options which helps with the outfit pairing process. For example if you are picking a certain colour of top to go with a pair of jeans, seeing different alternatives in the same colour palette helps you to vary your choices rather than fixating on the one item you always go for. Organising your wardrobe by type gives you a visual guide on where to go to for tops, bottoms or outerwear.
Created with Urstyle
- Build a capsule closet/wardrobe
Once you’ve got all the steps down build a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe, is a collection of rotational pieces made up of your top classic and seasonal items of clothing that you can mix and match to build various looks from. This helps you to be intentional about shopping and cuts down excessive buying.
You can create a capsule wardrobe specifically for work, for a season or for everyday wear. For me timeless pieces like structured blazers and tailored trousers as well as longer length dresses with feminine cuts and billowy sleeves are my wardrobe staples. I do love a classic crew neck t-shirt because it goes with everything. When it comes to accessories, I love gold; gold statement earrings, rings and necklaces. I usually wear pointy toe shoes because whether they are flat, mid or high heeled, they do give you that svelte look with very little effort. With the aforementioned in mind, you will find me wearing men’s tailoring in one look, feminine in another or a juxtaposition of both silhouettes but also making sure to keep my looks classic and season transcending.
With this in mind, I make sure that the items I choose for my capsule wardrobe reflects this. Let your style sense dictate what you include in your capsule wardrobe. For example you can replace plain tank tops with a camisole to achieve a dressy look.
The example below is how you can mix and match basic separates to suit different occasions.
Created with Urstyle
An important addition to your capsule wardrobe should be add-ons, these may include outerwear, shoes and accessories. Add-ons help to elevate a look and give an otherwise boring outfit some character. They can introduce a pop of colour, switch an item from day to night or be the defining factor of what your individual style is.