Something that happens to me, and to many people that I know (mostly girls, but not all!!) is the dreaded “closet despair”. You know what I’m talking about- you suddenly feel like everything you own is drab, over-used, and makes you look like a Frump. Much of it has nothing to do with the actual content of your closet- under another context, you would love that striped sweater, or those cropped jeans. Rather, it has to do with a lack of variety and the ability to express yourself as you desire.
Now, it can certainly be a problem if you are always needing something new. It’s easy to use a new piece of clothing, or a new game, or a new friend as a “drug” to add a kick of excitement to a day that otherwise feels empty. Many celebrities buy designer clothing costing thousands of dollars, wear it once, then discard, sell, etc. O.O This strikes me as wasteful, to say the least.
But variety is also good for us. We need to eat a variety of foods in order to get all of the nutrients we need. We need to read a variety of books and learn a variety of subjects in order to form our minds well. In the same vein, we need a variety of clothing to suit the season, the occasion, and also our personalities. While the first two needs are widely recognized (I dare you to wear a turtleneck in August in Wisconsin), people often ignore the fact that sometimes clothes do not feel right to us. That’s a whole ‘nother post. Right now I’m going to assume we’re all on the same page.
These closet-optimizing tips are to help prevent waste, while giving you lots of great wardrobe options. Try keeping these tips in mind the next time you go clothes shopping:
- Make sure it fits. Completely.
This may seem painfully obvious, but for many of us (dare I say all?) it’s still a huge problem. We buy jackets because they look nice open, even though they pull when buttoned. We buy shoes that techinically fit onto our feet, but produce pain after a few minutes of being ther. We buy a skirt that puckers a litle bit on the side, but who will notice? (you will notice. As soon as you get home.) We buy shirts that look frumpy over a pair of pants, but much nicer when they are tucked in. Taking the time to find something that fits really well is worth it- if something fits open, closed, tucked, and untucked, then you already have four times the outfit potential than if it fit in only one of those ways. Wahoo!
- Count how many pieces that are already in your closet can be worn with this new item.
This builds off of the first point. Given you have an item that fits well for what it is, what all can you wear it with? Does it go with your skirts? How many? With your pants? Or does it only go with jeans? Though I have never done a “capsule” wardrobe, I find that doing a thorough mental crosscheck of my closet and my potential purchase, and only buying items that rank high in wearability, helps me to keep a small, yet versatile closet. If, like me, you often forget half of what’s in your closet, it can be helpful to jot everything down on a notecard and keep it in your wallet for reference!
- Can it transcend seasonal boundaries?
While some items, such as shorts, are clearly made for one or two seasons (although I do sometimes wear shorts with tights in the winter!) there are many items that can easily be worn year-round. A cotton button-down is a prime example:
In the spring or fall, it can be worn as-is; in the summer, roll up the sleeves and wear it over shorts; in the winter, throw a chunky sweater over it. Medium-wash jeans are another example:
they are neither too dark for summer, nor too light for winter. The more you stock up on “transitional pieces”, the more options you will have year-round!
- Buy trendy pieces and accessories by the same principles. Sometimes, we really do need something new. Perhaps we’ve discovered a new style of shoe that’s beautiful and that we’ve been dying to try, and all the shoes we own seems incredibly boring in comparison. In order to spice up your wardrobe but not create lots of waste, chose a version of a trend, or an accessory, that goes with many pieces of your wardrobe. (For instance, gladiators that can be worn with dresses, shorts, and pants!) That way, you get a whole lot of outfits that have new life, instead of one new outfit that makes the rest of your closet seem old. 😛
I hope some of these tips are helpful! Let me know if you have some other tips for making sure you love your clothes long after you buy them.