When you are searching for what brings joy to your life, sometimes it can be helpful to take a look at what doesn’t bring you joy and let it go. For me, that would be shopping for trendy clothing. Actually, shopping of any kind drains me of joy, but for this post, I’ll focus on clothing.
When I was a child, in the 70s and 80s, there was a clothing brand called Granimals. Each clothing item had a tag that you matched together to form a color coordinated outfit. Tiger pants went with tiger shirts, lion shirts went with lion skirts. It was a no fail system that made shopping easy, gave you several options , and elimiated decision fatigue. My dream is for Granimals to return with a similar system for adults!
All my life I have stuggled with fashion and style. Until about 8th grade, my style was determined by my mom and there were plenty of battles. If I was brave, I would post my 7th grade school picture and you could get a good laugh. I wore a giant plaid bow around the collar of my discount Ralph Lauren oxford and my new hair style was far overdue for a cut. My 8th grade picture was a little better. I had a fresh hair cut and was allowed to wear make up. My outfit was from the mall, chosen by me. It was a only one of a few of outfits over many years that I really liked and felt comfortable in.
As the years went on and I was given more independence in choosing my clothes, I never seemed to figure out my style, which made me very self consious. Style only got more challenging and confusing as I got older. My high school class had over 600 students and there was a myriad of style groups, the cowgirls, the modern girls, the nerdy girls, the beachy girls, the girls that wore big bows, the ones that wore all black, and then there was me. I really never fit in with any one group although, I tried almost all of them. I remember one year I got a pair of white boots with fringe. I thought they were awesome and proudly wore them to school. My self-esteem was quickly deflated when a group of girls made fun of what I thought was trendy and cool. Just more evidence that I was not cool and really didn’t fit it anywhere when style was concerned.
You know, that part of your brain that puts together cute outfits and accessories? Mine is almost non-functioning. I want to look put together, but shopping for clothing is not at all fun for me, it’s torture. The sheer volume of options overwhelms me. I remember one year when I was in my 20s, my mom took me on a shopping spree, we went to boutiques, the mall, and outlet stores. She was surprised when I was ready to throw in the towel after only 8 hours! My sister shares my mother’s enthusiam for shopping and putting together outfits. Going to TJ Maxx, combing through all the racks, and putting together an outfit is exhillerating to her. Whereas for me, its like a visit to the dentist (I’d actually rather go to the dentist!). Luckily, my sister has taken me under her wing and been my shopping companion for many years. But a year or two ago, I found something that saved me….the capsule wardrobe and Project 333!
I first discovered the capsule wardrobe on Pinterest. I was able to see a lot of examples; however, my closet was so out of order after years of buying random items that were on sale or well advertised and I didn’t know where to begin. I tried to pair down to only a few items but was still overwhelmed. I then discovered Courtney Carver‘s Project 333. It was the plan I needed on how to make it all come together. Having only a few items in my closet that you could mix and match was something I could go for. I took her microcourse called “Dress with Less and Create Your Capsule Wardrobe” and since then, my closet has had a major overhaul. It’s still under construction, but most items are ones I love wearing and I feel comfortable in. If they start to become uncomfortable I know they are either worn out or I need to cut back on the cookies!
Because summer is coming soon and I won’t be working, this is a great time for me to complete my closet project. I’m not including winter clothing because I have already packed most of it away. I’ll revisit that in the fall.
Here is a breakdown of what is in my closet right now:
- Accessories: 4 pair of earrings, 10 necklaces, 3 bracelets and 1 purse.
- Shoes: 20 pair. I live in the country and its really dusty and sometimes muddy, and then there is the cow poop. This is the reason I have to have a set of shoes that can get dirty and a set that stays clean. Cowboy boots (a weakness) 5 pair, Sneakers: 4 pair, Sandals: 2 pair, Dress shoes: 5 pair Flats: 3 pair, Rain boots: 1 pair.
- Dresses: 3 – 1 little black dress, 1 summery dress, 1 dressy dress
- Pants: 4 Pair. I hate pants unless they are jeans. I only wear these to work and I hate them. I haven’t found any pants that I like. Did I mention I hate pants!!
- Jeans: 7 pair. I really only wear 3 pairs regularly. I have found that Gap jeans fit me better than any other jeans I have tried. I can go in and find my size or order them on line and know that when they will fit.
- Shorts: 4. 2 casual and 2 very casual. It’s actually time to get new shorts.
- Jackets/Cardigans: 6. I’m always cold, but I don’t know that I really need 3 black cardigans.
- Shirts: 30
- 7 graphic t shrits
- 12 button downs
- 6 Casual tops:
- 6 Knit tops
- Suit: 1. I bought this years ago for a job interview. I don’t even know if it still fits.
So here is my plan: Pull everything out and try it on. If it doesn’t fit, its out. If it is worn out, its out. If I don’t LOVE it, its out. If I haven’t worn it in 3 years, its out. That is an easy way to start.
I still have some work to do pulling it all together but I feel so much better not trying to follow a trend and feel like I have developed my own comfortable style that I can dress up when needed. I no longer search for items and try on 15 things when I’m getting ready in the morning. I get up pick out what I want to wear for the day and and if I want to dress it up, I have found that red lipstick is a great accessory!
If you are like me and shopping and fashion aren’t your thing, Don’t let fast fashion and mass marketing make you feel like you don’t fit in. Declutter your closet, only buy clothes that you think are beautiful and that are comfortable and fit well and I bet you will end up finding your style one step at a time.
Until next time…..Be Well!