Make your wardrobe grow up with you
Clothes. People tell you clothing is not important and that “clothing doesn’t make the man” and all these other things, but it’s all lies. Clothing is very important, and you know this too.
You know that feeling when you’ve found the perfect item: the one thing your closet has been missing - that perfect tank, or those great jeans. Clothes make us feel good. When we feel good we’re more confident, we look good, we’re happier, heck we feel like we can take on the world!
As we grow up, become more mature, start to aspire to different things … we should also go through this process with our wardrobe.
I didn’t realize how important it was for our wardrobes to grow with us until recently. I had been forced to grow up really quickly after getting married. It felt like the crutch of my parents providing everything for me was literally kicked our from under me and I had to somehow land on my feet.
I did the grown up things - like have a decent job, make better decisions, and start to take care of a home. But, I was still wearing/holding on to the same kind of clothes from my childhood - the ones my mother picked out and the ones my father approved of.
As a child, I didn’t really get to develop a sense of style. I had some freedom between 9 and 11 and then my parents, aunts and uncles pretty much just started buying me things, and I figured I was supposed to like them - except that bright orange lycra suit my aunt gave me. In hind sight I would’ve made the best traffic cone for halloween.
So all these years my style wasn’t really my own. I wore things that my family members said suited my body and that was it.
After decades of people telling us what to wear, my husband and I had an epiphany while aimlessly walking the aisles of Target - we didn’t have a “style”. What was our signature style, what did we want our clothes to say about us? As we were standing in the rows of clothes I actually asked him “how do you want your clothes to make you feel?”
Ask yourself that question, then look in your closet. It’s not just about Marie Kondo’s method of what sparks joy because this isn’t about discarding clothes, it is about creating a new you.
We work so hard on personal development and don’t realize that we also need to allow our style to evolve. Sometimes when we feel like we’ve changed, but also feel stuck I guarantee you it’s your clothing. If you go shopping, figure out how to wear and buy clothes that make you feel like the accomplished, successful, achiever you are, then you wouldn’t feel so stuck.
[note to my people who work from home: don’t just work in your pyjamas everyday. Get dressed for work - maybe not the whole nine yards - but this helps you productivity throughout the day]
A few things:
you can buy clothes and figure out your style based on a number of factors, and I’m sharing a few of mine with you. After you’ve asked yourself how you want your clothes to make you feel, you need to figure out: fit, style and playfulness. Not because you want to present like a “put together” adult means you don’t get to have fun with your clothes. Mix those prints! Wear that funky tie !
My weight fluctuates a lot…when I say A LOT I mean…A LOT. So when I buy clothing I prefer to go for a loose/relaxed fit for most pieces (whether it’s leisure wear, work clothing or event wear). Relaxed chic is my go-to, because if I gain a few pounds it will still work well. My husband on the other hand, uses his clothes as a means of motivation to maintain weight loss. So he buys everything fitted and when it starts getting too snug, it’s a sign that he needs to cut back on something.
Not because something is cheap means it fits. Not because something is cheap means it’s worth getting. Now, don’t get me wrong - I love a bargain as much as the next guy but bargain shopping can ruin your closet. I know because it ruined mine. Now, I have a skirt that I paid probably an insane amount of money for (in my estimation anyway) but I have worn this skirt so many times and it’s such a versatile piece. I could wear it to a wedding, a backyard bbq, church and work effortlessly. These are what some stylists may call “investment pieces”. On the other hand I have cheaper items that I love almost equally and are just as dynamic. Balance and knowing your style (what you want to portray with your clothing, what you want your clothing to say before you even open your mouth) is the key. Getting lost in the “but it’s so cheap” rut is just as bad as being trapped in your childhood closet (metaphorically).
Don’t get caught up with buying by brand. If you tie your personal style to a brand, then it’s not really your personal style is it? You become loyal to this brand and you’ll begin buying what the brand dictates that you should be wearing.Then, you’ll find yourself with a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear…nothing you like, nothing that makes you feel good.
At the end of the day, your clothing is the first thing people see and it is also something you invested time in purchasing, selecting and putting on so it should speak volumes about you. It should project what you want people to know about you (especially the hard work you’ve put in to get this far). This doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive. It just needs to be YOU.
Two parting tips :
Clothes are clothes. Separating work clothes, event clothes and church clothes restricts the versatility of your closet. Wore that dress to a wedding last week? Wear it to work with a different shoe this week. Wore that shirt to work this week? Lose the tie and wear it to the club next week!
I learned this from working with a bunch of amazing women while finishing school some time ago: one way to make purchasing decisions is to assess the “cost per wear”. Take the price of the clothing, add any tax, discounts or other relevant fees and then divide that by the number of times you think you will wear the item in a year.
Happy shopping !