“I have nothing to wear!”
Yes, we’ve all stood in front of the wardrobe, huffing and puffing, surrounded by a pile of clothes on the floor, close to tears because from our three bulging wardrobes full of clothes…. we can’t find a damn thing to put on.
Too Much Stuff.
Since 2007 I have seen hundreds of wardrobes. Do you want to know what the problem NEVER was? Lack of actual clothing.
If anything it’s the opposite. Wardrobes stuffed full of clothes…. shoes poking from every crevice, a basket of screwed up scarves and necklaces…. Oh and don’t forget all the coats and jackets in the spare room!
I came up with the term ‘unconscious style’ to describe how women have got to the stage where their wardrobe is full of clothes, yet ironically, they have nothing to wear?!
Sometimes the real reason women feel like they have nothing to wear, and feel lost with their sense of style, is because, they are quite simply, overwhelmed with stuff.
So what is the actual cause of feeling lost with your style?
Personal Style Hates Change
Recently a young mum said to me she goes shopping and just feels completely ‘out of it’. Like she doesn’t fit in with fashion anymore in the places she used to shop, but everything else is too old.
She used to be confident and know what suited her but now feels really unsure and keeps buying the same old cheap crappy jeans and long sleeve baggy jersey tops (which she never feels good in.)
On quizzing her further I found out some important information.
She’s on maternity leave and has a 10 month old baby. She is still carrying baby weight and her body shape has changed. She has very little time to think about what to wear. Whilst she used to spend her days in a creative office, she now spends most of the day changing nappies, doing play dates, or pureeing baby food.
This is where women can feel really lost. They blame their body. They think if they were a size smaller it would solve the problem.
Whilst it might help with energy levels and some confidence because you feel clothes fit better, it will not solve the style dilemma.
The style dilemma is a result that the current wardrobe no longer works for the lifestyle.
This is really, really common and usually happens when you have been through a major change…
The change can be: –
- Weight fluctuation
- The season (some find summer shopping easier, some autumn)
- Change in Lifestyle (e.g. becoming a mum, new job, divorce etc)
- Loss in confidence and certainty about where you’re heading in life
All these things can lead to a complete loss in style.
And style is like a muscle. You have to plan for it, put the time and effort in, and WORK IT.
Redefining Your Style
Whilst this may seem disconcerting, in fact it’s an opportunity to redefine your style for this new phase in your life.
To find a style that you love yet is practical for the life you lead today.
However unfortunately this rarely happens because people don’t tend to think of style and clothes this way.
Instead most people have very fixed ideas about what they wear and where they shop. Fixed ideas about what size they will be and what will suit them.
And this leads to …..
I came up with this term 10 years ago when I was at the height of my styling career (pre-kids).
Unconscious style is when you shop out of habit. Not out of LOVE for yourself, or love for the clothing.
So picture the scenario. You are going shopping. You need something new.
You head to your usual shopping center / town / location. You park your car in the same place. You go in to the first shop (that you always go in) and you stroll around the shop in the same way you always do.
You look at the same types / colours / styles you always do.
Then you say to yourself… I have something like this at home…. I have worn it a lot. So I’ll buy more like it. Worst still you say “this will do!”
What you haven’t consciously thought about is that the things you have been wearing have nothing better or worse than ‘ok’ for the last few years. You’re just thinking ‘yes I wear stuff like that all the time!”
Now you are incapable of feeling anything more than ‘just ok’ in your wardrobe.
Hello wardrobe full of clothes that is making you miserable.
The “New Top” for a Night Out Buyer
Do you have that thing where EVERY time you have a dinner, night out or occasion you have to go out and buy something to wear for THAT night?
I’m not talking a wedding or ball or something really special. I’m talking of those occasions where you want to be ‘dressy’ but not ‘too dressy’. Usually falls in to the jeans and a top category.
But every time you do this, you go out to the shops (same usual shops) and hunt for a top that will feel ok for the night… hopefully it will look good, but in the end, it’s new, so it will DO.
This is what I call drive thru styling.
It’s like a drive thru takeaway. You need to eat, you head to your usual take-away haunt, and buy what you usually have.
You don’t even necessarily really enjoy it. But it filled a hole temporarily.
Same with clothes. Habit, not a proactive, positive choice necessarily.
Sometimes you bag something amazing, but if that’s you 9/10 times, you are probably not still reading this blog 😉
Effects of Shopping by Habit
Unconscious style feels easy. We don’t really have to think of it. We just do what we’ve always done. And women love easy. We’re too drained and busy for anything other than easy.
This is fine when you LOVE your style and want to wear everything in your wardrobe but when you are feeling rather ‘meh’, it doesn’t help at all. It’s doing what you’ve always done, getting the same (ok) results and doing it again.
I’m all about easy. Effortless is my middle name when it comes to style. If it has to be ironed or dry cleaned, forget it. I can’t be arsed.
It’s what I specifically focus on with clients during a wardrobe detox. The main 2 questions we ask is: –
- How do we make this easy and effortless for you?
- Do you feel good or great in this (emotionally and physically)
Everything else matters not.
In a Shopping Style Rut?
So are you in a style rut?
Are you bored of your wardrobe?
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting more of what you’ve got; so by continuing to shop in the same places, for similar things and not learn from the mistakes, you are getting more and more frustrated.
If your wardrobe has just kind of evolved and your image has happened without you really planning it, then you are styling yourself and shopping for clothes unconsciously.
This can be very costly when it comes to your self-esteem (and a wardrobe full of clothes you aren’t wearing) so we need to break you out of this cycle!
So if you’re not feeling great about yourself, the last thing you want to do is spend money on clothes right? That would be a waste until you lose this extra weight, or go back to work (or **insert reason***).
So you might as well shop in the sales, or just grab something cheap to ‘tide you over until ….**finish the sentence***.
A Bargain or a Waste of Money?
Shopping for discounts and sales usually do very little but de-value what style means to you, making your style the very definition of ‘throwaway’.
This is UNLESS you shop with PURPOSE. For example, I’ve just updated my wardrobe with a load of stuff from my favourite brands that were in the summer sale (but with the view to wear it in autumn). So it’s sitting in my wardrobe all ready to go for when kids go back to school. I can’t wait to wear it all.
There are some additions in there as well that weren’t in the sale, but I knew I needed them to make WHOLE OUTFITS from all of my wardrobe rather than simply just buy more clothes.
When things are cheap (and you buy spontaneously without a plan for them) you can afford to buy more, and you DO buy more; but you don’t end up with many outfits.
Does it annoy you when you try that new discount dress on at home and realise that you don’t have the right jacket or shoes to finish it off? I’ll just put it at the back of the closet for now. After all it was only £10.
These are the items I usually find 5 years later LOL. These are the items that the client is like ‘I’m throwing this out – I’ve never worn it!”
But when we actually try it on, I can visualise what is needed to complete it in to an outfit and voila! We start to compile a whole new wardrobe without spending a penny.
Plan to Feel Great
Shopping for a successful wardrobe and image requires thought and planning, but the throwaway culture of high street fashion makes life so much easier (at first) because there is no requirement for sustained thought and decisions. Now you can indeed have “both” as opposed to “which one?” You say to yourself, “it’s only a tenner, who cares if I only ever wear it once” and it turns out you DO only wear it once. Does it still feel like a bargain when everything in your wardrobe has only seen the light of day once (if it’s lucky?) and now looks a bit cheap and tired?
Well, I look at it in two ways. Yes it’s a bargain if you go in to the shop with the idea that you are looking to create a one-off high fashion look that will update your style easily and cheaply. It’s a great way to get a fashion fix and create a specific trend, however if you do this with most of your outfits, over time, you will have a very costly and wasteful wardrobe. Does this sound in any way like you?
In reality girls, if you shop smart and aim for a better quality of garment that suits your body, personality, taste and style, you will find that this will still look stylish for years to come. I still have garments I get complimented on that are 5, 10, 15 years old.
I have found that in reality it’s not that women have ‘nothing to wear’, but more that they don’t have anything they WANT to wear, so before you buy in future, learn from past mistakes. That’s the beauty of fashion faux-pas! They give us the opportunity to get it right next time.
Does this sound like you? Are you guilty of bagging a bargain only for it to never see the light of day?
I’d love to hear all about your Style Dilemmas and Wardrobe Challenges! Write them in the comments below and I’ll write a post specifically giving you some solutions!