One of the most common things I hear from my clients and from women I talk to is that they feel stuck in their wardrobe. They often say things like, "I'm bored!" or "I need new clothes!" or "I don't have any options!" or "I don't know how to put this all together!" or "I have lots of things but feel like I need more."
When I ask them to tell me more about what they wear, I quickly notice a trend:
Women think of their wardrobe in terms of outfits, and every piece has a specific purpose.
What do I mean exactly when I say "think in terms of outfits"?
Let's use an example:
Let's say you have a beautiful blouse that you bought for work. It's common for women to tell me they wear this item in one way, let's say for the work environment only. They wear it with a certain pair of trousers, (and only with that pair of trousers), and a certain pair of shoes. Or, they have a nice dress that they only wear for a date night, and only wear with a certain pair of heels, and a certain necklace and earring set.
You get the idea...
This singular thinking creates a few problems:
Thinking in terms of outfits that can only be worn in one way is a rigid way to think of your wardrobe, that allows for no flexibility...
... Making it hard to get multiple wears out of what you do own
It perpetuates a cycle of feeling like you need to buy more more more to keep your closet interesting
It creates a very full closet of things you only wear one way (yet you still feel like you have nothing to wear)
You miss the opportunity to get more creative with what you have (and what you love!). Essentially, you miss the opportunity to do more with less.
A Desire for Simplicity
Doing more with less. Isn't this what many of us are craving? I've heard this sentiment so many times over the last year. Which is why my closet detox challenges have been so popular! (Learn how to detox your closet right here.) Perhaps it's that the pandemic has taught us what is most important to us and what we want more of, or conversely, what we want less of. In many cases for women, they desire simplicity in all parts of their life - including their closet.
While it may be tempting to solve the problem of feeling stuck or in a rut with your wardrobe by shopping for more things, that is exactly the opposite of what you need to do.
I find this problem of feeling stuck can often be solved simply by getting more use out of what you already own.
My '3 Ways to Wear' Rule
There's this rule I follow every time I shop: Every piece I buy has to be worn in at least 3 ways. Think I'm crazy? Believe me, it's possible! We just have to get a little creative. And, it's the secret to feeling like you have a closet with lots of options, instead of feeling stuck.
Let's go back to that pretty work blouse example. If you were considering this purchase, how might you get more use out of that blouse?
Option 1: Blouse with trousers for work
Option 2: Blouse with blazer and trousers for work
Option 3: Blouse with pencil skirt for work
Option 4: Blouse with jeans and sneakers for the weekend
Option 5: Blouse with jeans, utility jacket and sneakers for the weekend
Option 6: Blouse with jeans and a blazer and heels for happy hour with friends
And on and on... You get the idea. One blouse. MULTIPLE ways to wear it! For those who are visual... here are just a few ways I could see this working below. (You can also click the image to shop anything you see here!)
A few exceptions to the rule
I know some of you may be thinking, but what about special occasion dresses? A beach cover-up. Pearls? Should I wear those multiple ways, too? In some cases, there are a few exceptions to the "wear three ways" rule.
Ninety-five percent of the time, we could be getting more use out of the things we own just by mixing things up and wearing them in multiple ways.
And... AND... we have to stop this habit of labeling certain items as only work, or only weekend, or only party-attire. In modern styling, you no longer have to own "work clothes, " and "weekend clothes." Believe me, I have work a sequined top with jeans for a dinner with my hubby, instead of a fancy party. And I have worn a polished jean look to work events!
A CHALLENGE: What has this blog inspired you to re-imagine in your wardrobe?
I hope many things! This week, challenge yourself to pick just one item you love from your closet, and push yourself to think about how to wear that item more creatively, in at least three ways! Think you're up for the challenge? (Hint hint.... If you choose a blouse, I've already given you a head start!)
If you'd love to enlist the help of a pro to get more use out of your closet, let's talk!
(Schedule a 30-min. time that works for you on my calendar here. It's free!) I help women with complete closet overhauls (I call it a style transformation), seasonal refreshes, capsule wardrobes, and one-time wardrobe needs - such as photo shoot styling, special occasions or interviews.
One of the coolest features of my styling program is that you get your own personal style website, where you get 24/7 access to the outfits I help you create! Often, using items you already own, as well as items I have helped you shop for. It's by far the feature my clients love the most because they never run out of ideas of what to wear.
See a snapshot of the Personal Style Website below.
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