I am officially in my mid 30’s and it’s only now that I can say I’m finally in a place to say that I love my wardrobe. Growing up, I attended private schools where uniforms were required and thus, didn’t spend a lot of money on clothes because I didn’t need “school clothes.” College didn’t afford me a lot of expendable cash to upgrade my wardrobe, and then it was on to a professional career where my paycheck paid for the suits and nice heels I needed to look the part. Now that I don’t have to dress up for anyone since I work from home, I find myself finally finding my own style and more importantly, how to create a wardrobe that I love (and just in case you’re wondering, it does NOT just include yoga pants and T-shirts). I’ve learned it’s not about how much money you spend, but more about your mindset when you actually find the time to go shopping, and being wise with what you purchase. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way!
1. It’s Not About The Money
I’m the mom to a toddler and a wife who needs to work to support our dual income home (i.e, we aren’t rollin’ in the dough). Obviously I’m not shopping Chanel and have no desire to do so. Even if you consider yourself high-style, you don’t have to make big bucks to have a wardrobe you truly love. You just need to be smart about the pieces you choose to spend your money on. I personally prefer to have a nice pair of jeans that will fit me well, make me feel good about myself, and last several years so they may be more expensive. I could care less if I wear flip flops from Old Navy. If you like nice things, that’s ok! Just spend wisely.
2. Don’t Buy It Just Because It’s On Sale
I’ve spent years trying to overcome the habit of buying something just because it’s on sale. I’ve had countless ill-fitting shirts and pants I only slightly like, that end up collecting dust. Sometimes sale items are great, especially if you’ve waited patiently for a coveted jacket to go on sale. Often times, the sale section is packed with ugly colors and styles that actually were never “full price,” but are saved for sales only. For a few extra dollars, you can find a piece that you truly love and will wear often. It’s ok to shop the sale, just only buy things you truly love- no matter the price.
3. If You Don’t Like It, Get Rid Of It
Another habit of mine was keeping clothes I hated. Somehow, I thought the magic of time would morph my closet full of clothes I didn’t really like to become beautiful and fit me perfectly. When you looked at my closet, it appeared I had tons of clothes. But in reality, I wore maybe a 1/6 of my clothes and felt guilty for buying new ones since I already had so many. If you don’t like a piece of clothing, GET RID OF IT. Don’t let it take up space in your closet, and give it to someone else that may love it. Trust me, you will feel so much freer and less depressed when it comes time to getting dressed.
4. If You Find Something You Like, Buy It In Multiples
There comes a time when you find your dream top: it fits beautifully and makes you feel like a million bucks. These garments don’t come along every day, so I’m here to tell you to buy a few of them. Don’t buy all the exact same color or pattern, but buy several that you know will get good use. For example, I found a recent shirt that I love at Target (and I’d looked at all kinds of stores to find this particular style with no luck). It fits great and was very affordable because hey, it’s Target. I bought two colors and have since bought a few more since I know I love it and will wear them all the time. Don’t be afraid to buy something you love, a few at a time, because no one is going to notice but you.
5. When You Spot Your Dream Item, BUY IT
I always suffer from buyers remorse, no matter if it’s something I’ve spent months dreaming about or an item I bought on a whim. But the worst remorse I feel is finding the piece I’ve wanted and not buying it. You will never get a wardrobe you love if you don’t add the things you want! It sounds so simple, but that is the single reason I’ve never liked my clothes until now- I would pass on items because of some lame excuse, and continue to buy pieces I only partially liked. Once I realized I was getting great use out of my clothes, I stopped feeling so guilty.
6. If It Doesn’t Fit, Hurts, Or Makes You Feel Fat- Just Don’t
We all keep clothes around that have seen better days, either because they’ve somehow “shrunk” and we hope one day we will fit back into them, or they are just worn out. If you are allowing clothes to take up space in your closet that are physically hurting you, toss them. How many times have you stood in front of a mirror in a dressing room, squeezing into a pair of pants that cut off circulation? Or what about keeping a shirt that cuts into your arms when you raise them in front of you? Everytime you think about putting on that shirt, you remember how uncomfortable it is and pass on it all together or spend the entire time you’re wearing it trying to get comfy. World-renowned organizer Marie Kondo says that if an item does not bring you joy- get rid of it. The same can be said for your clothes! Think twice before buying a painful article of clothing, or letting it hang out in your closet where it’s probably not bringing you joy.
7. Buy What You Like
At the end of the day, if you’re buying clothes because that’s what’s in style, but you don’t really feel comfortable, you are wasting your money. For example, skinny jeans are all the rage right now, but not everyone feels confident in wearing them. If that’s you, stick with your trusty bootcut! If you love wearing flats and hate heels, then find cute ones that you will actually wear and make you feel good. Clothes aren’t meant to be cumbersome or cover up who you are and they also don’t tell your whole story. They should make you feel confident in being the best version of yourself.