Having spent years working with clients in their wardrobes and helping them find their individual style, what I’ve noticed is that too frequently what’s in our wardrobe is related to the past, and not to the future.
When you think about moving forward in life, moving towards your goals and dreams, then your wardrobe needs are about what is happening in the future, not what has happened in the past.
Yet, what I experience most frequently is finding that many wardrobes are stuck in the past. Holding onto clothes that remind you of past experiences, people and places. That dress you wore on your first date, the skirt you bought on that holiday to Paris, the jacket your mother gave you before she died. So often, these items are either not being worn anymore and are just taking up space, are worn out, or are no longer related to the current fashion and are making you look out-of-touch.
It’s hard to let go of the thing that holds a memory (trust me, I know this from my own personal experience and am just as bad as many others on letting go as many of you may be). We think that if get rid of the thing, we will lose the memory. Fortunately, this is not true. And we are lucky that we have modern technology that allows us to take photos and preserve memories of things and times so we don’t have to keep everything and let it all build as clutter in our lives (and homes).
When you think about building a fabulous and functional wardrobe, think about making it future focused. This can be hard as there is much research that shows you place more value on items you already own than ones you don’t (it’s called the endowment effect). Letting go is hard. It took you time and energy to acquire the stuff and it can feel like you are dismissing or not valuing that time and energy when you get rid of what is no longer working so well for you.
I know for myself, I’ve held onto garments in colours (like black) that were great when I had dark hair and the Dramatic (Cool and Deep) palette was my ideal. At that time black was a fantastic neutral for me, then I went blonde and now it no longer flatters me in the same way and doesn’t make me feel or look as great as my new lighter colours do. Letting it go has been hard.
Remember that your wardrobe is like a kitchen, and should be purged of the out-of-date and no longer desired ingredients.
When you create a style recipe, it should also be present and future focussed, expressing who you are and where you’re going, the very best version of you that will help you achieve your aims in life. A style recipe should be something that is exciting for you, something that makes you feel that it’s a slight stretch, but a stretch you want to make as it has a very desirable outcome.
When You Go Shopping
The next time you shop and before you purchase, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this garment right for me today and also will it be helping me look my best in the future too?
- Is this garment expressing my future focused style recipe?
Thinking about your wardrobe in a future-focused way will allow you to more easily let go of what was great in the past, but no longer serves you today or tomorrow.
Sorting Out Your Wardrobe
When you’re clearing out your wardrobe, ask yourself:
- Is this an expression of my current style recipe?
- Can I imagine wearing this item again?
- Does this work with my current lifestyle and needs?
- Will this help me achieve my life goals?
- Does wearing this make me feel and look great in the way I want it to?
If the garment or accessory doesn’t meet your criteria, then it’s time to let it go.
If you’re really not sure, then pack it in a box and put it elsewhere, and then in six months or so time, if you haven’t even thought about it, let it go!
The more you know what suits your personality, your body shape, proportions, colouring, scale (and all your other physical features in the style puzzle), this information will help you make good purchasing choices to start with, and will help you understand for those items that you’re not sure about (does it really suit? Do I actually like it? Is it a good expression of my personality? Do I want to keep it in my closet? The answers to these questions are ones that my 7 Steps to Style program participants discover).
Creating the wardrobe of your dreams will take time and having a little more information and a framework to work within helps to make the best choices for you and your life.