Last weekend while driving up to Iowa, I told Logan that for the first time in…I don’t know…probably the first time ever, I really like my wardrobe. It’s probably been about a five year journey of being more intentional about the clothes that I buy, but the end product leaves me actually spending less time thinking about my clothes. For example, it used to be really common for my bedroom to look like a tornado had swept through it every morning because I’d tried on 10 different outfits before finally getting dressed for the day. Now, I like everything in my closet, so I rarely deliberate before getting dressed. I can just grab anything from my closet and go!
This has been a small source of happiness, as well as a huge relief, so I thought I’d share a couple of things that helped me get to this point. After several years of tweaking my style and shopping habits, these are rules I like to follow ::
This all started when I took a Real Simple wardrobe quiz. Try as I might, I can’t find it in the archives, but the basic idea was to go through every item in your closet, asking questions about each item, in order to know yourself better. You ask things like
- What are the pieces I like best?
- Why do I like them?
- What are the pieces I hardly ever wear?
- Why don’t I wear them?
- What body parts do I like to accentuate?
- What body parts do I like to minimize?
- What pieces make me feel beautiful?
- What pieces make me feel frumpy?
At the end of this arduous process, I had a much better idea of my own tastes and style quirks. For example, I realized that I didn’t wear shirts that were tight around my stomach and that I gravitated toward a classic/edgy look with a strong dose of comfort.
Don’t Buy Anything Unless You Love It
This is actually embarrassing to admit, but before I buy anything, I ask myself if I would feel lucky to own it. For example, I used to look at some styles and think, “That’s unbelievably cute/beautiful/interesting, but I couldn’t pull that off.” Meaning, I didn’t feel cool enough to own such a cool piece of clothing. But that doesn’t make any sense! The only thing keeping me from wearing that cool piece of clothing was my own idea that I wasn’t cool! So, now when I get that feeling of not being cool enough to wear something, I ask, “Do you love it? Then buy it!” (DISCLAIMER: I also take into account things like budget, envy, need/want, etc. but you know what I mean…)
Don’t Dress For A Compliment
I noticed that certain outfits would attract compliments. They were usually outfits that were in some way creative, trendy or unique. But these compliments made me uncomfortable, not because I’m uncomfortable with someone thinking well of me (I promise this is not a problem I struggle with) but because I just couldn’t imagine a scenario in which someone thinking about how awesome my clothes are is a good motive for anything.
Embrace the Uniform
As I gradually edited my wardrobe, only buying clothes that I loved and I knew I would wear, but not dressing for the compliment, I saw certain patterns emerge. I reached for the same things over and over again until all I wanted was to fill up my closet with more of those things. And now, my clothes look much more like a uniform than ever. A button down shirt and jeans can carry me through almost every day of the week, whether I’m hanging out with Valentine at home or speaking in front of a group at church. The outfit isn’t impressive (hardly anyone is going to notice it), but I look presentable and grown-up, and I feel comfortable and pretty. Also, I hardly ever wear color anymore, but that’s just a personal preference.
So, this is what has helped me create a wardrobe that I love with a minimal budget. I’m interested to hear if anyone else has a similar style philosophy? Do you have any style or fashion “rules”? I know for some people, there has to be a lot of color! For others, their wardrobe is a huge source of creativity and they love to try new things all the time. What has helped you find more contentment and happiness in your wardrobe?