For many of us, there come seasons of life where we look at our closets and realize we really want a WHOLE NEW STYLE. That season came for me a few years back when I entered my 30s and then again, even stronger, when I became a mom. It’s something Laura and I have often commiserated about—wanting a new style that fits this season in life, but still wanting to feel cute and like ourselves. It’s a thing that so many women go through, multiple times, throughout life.
Two years ago, I looked at my closet and felt I had nothing to wear. There were a lot of issues. I had tons of colorful, patterned clothing that I bought more for blog photos than for real life. I had mainly short dresses/skirts and big heels which I liked to wear in photos, but didn’t always reach for in daily life. I had clothing in so many different sizes, as I have frequently gained or lost weight but was never able to part with my “goal clothes.” At one point, there was probably 50% of my closet that I couldn’t fit into—how sad is that?! I also had a lot of clothes I wore ONE time, whether for a party, a photo, or a vacation, and after that they just took up space in my closet. I shopped a lot of fast fashion, which made it feel easy to buy a lot of clothing that I didn’t necessarily value. It was definitely a quantity over quality situation. I had probably four times the clothing I have now, but every day when I went to pick out my outfit I felt I had nothing to wear and would end up wearing the same pair of jeans or yoga pants. Womp womp.
I was constantly discouraged trying to get dressed, so I decided to basically start from scratch!
First, I did a HUGE clean out and got everything that didn’t fit me out of my closet. This was HUGE. It felt like a weight lifted off me. I didn’t realize how much stress having a closet full of clothing I didn’t actually want to wear was causing me.
I did save one bag of “goal clothes” (shoved in the back of my closet where I couldn’t see it), but what’s funny is that by the time I did lose weight, I didn’t want to keep hardly any of the clothes. So there was no point! Moral of the story: Don’t keep goal clothes. It’s too sad, and when you lose weight, you’ll probably want a new outfit anyway.
After my big clean out, I felt instantly better. It was life changing. Next, I spent the past two years doing
It took me a few cycles to feel like I had all my basics covered, but I finally feel like I have basic outfits for every occasion and most importantly, denim that fits and is flattering for every season. Since I’m good on basics now I’m switching to
I am a person who loves change, but it’s been surprisingly challenging for me to break out of my style ruts. I learned I had a lot of assumptions about what “looked good” and what “looked bad” on me that weren’t even accurate. I definitely believe in dressing for MYSELF so the most important thing is to wear what makes me feel good. With that said, I found that a lot of the clothing in my “comfort zone” was not actually making me feel good (at least not anymore). It was just what I was used to wearing, and a lot of it turned out to be old styles/habits I didn’t even know I was totally over.
(details: Top/Zara (old), Pants/
I read and did the homework in
Now that I let go of the baggage and spent the time and energy to FIX my closet, I am so much happier. I actually enjoy getting dressed 90% of the time.
Another big lesson I learned is to lower my expectations. I know that may seem strange or harsh, but I realized I was holding myself to standards that were too high and that I wasn’t actually willing to make the kind of effort it would take to look that polished every day. I LIKE not wearing makeup half the week. I LIKE wearing ‘boring’ outfits most of the time. So why was I disappointed in myself for doing those things? Well, it was a choice. So, I consciously changed how I thought about these things. I lowered the bar for myself and, to be honest, it felt amazing!
I still like dressing up in cute dresses. But I also like wearing the same sweater twice (or more) in a week. Now I can do both and feel OK either way. I realized I didn’t need to put so much pressure on myself. I needed style goals that mattered to me personally and fit my current lifestyle.
It’s now been quite a while since I’ve been living with a closet that makes me happy every day. It’s a great feeling and it was totally worth the long process it took to get to that place. It’s still a work in progress, but I feel like I am figuring out how I want to dress and am slowly building a wardrobe that’s useful, easy and makes me feel good about myself. What more could I ask for?
If you have any questions or just want to vent about your own closet issues, I’d love to chat in the comments. xx! Elsie