A Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear?

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A Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear?

I hear it from clients all the time. “I have nothing to wear.” And that statement is specifically pronounced now as we’re coming out of the pandemic. But first, remember that you’re not alone. You’re not the first person to feel like you have nothing to wear when you’re standing in front of a closet full of clothes. The thing is, you might have something to wear, but it may not be the right thing. What’s filling your closet might not fit right now – and by that, I mean a few things. Your wardrobe may not physically fit your size (if you gained or lost some pandemic pounds). Your wardrobe may not fit your lifestyle (which might have evolved over the past year). Your wardrobe may not fit your current preferences or aspirations (which might have evolved as well). Check out a few of the most common reasons why you may feel like you have nothing to wear – along with suggestions on what you can do to get rid of that feeling, once and for all.

Your Clothes Don’t Fit Your Body

If you’re like most people, your body changes from time to time (and if you’re like me, it’s changed more than a little in the last several months). A few pounds up, a few pounds down, and suddenly styles in your closet that were your trusty go-to’s aren’t as dependable anymore. Or your body proportions have shifted (even without weight fluctuations) due to your exercise regimen or activity levels or just plain age. 

What to Do About It: It’s time to try things on! I know – that sounds like a daunting task, but it’s one that’s well worth it. The goal is to try on anything that you’re not 100% sure fits well – and the results may surprise you. Yes, you’ll discover things that are too small or too big – and these items should either go into a toss pile, an alterations pile, or at minimum, get stored away from the clothes that currently fit. But you also may discover things that you thought wouldn’t fit, that now fit really well. And that’s fun!

And then, when you realize what doesn’t fit, you have a list of things that you need to replace. But here’s a quick tip – before you replace exact items, think through their function. Instead of buying another few pairs of black pants, your true need may be neutral pants in general. So you can try navy, charcoal, olive, etc. And you can use this opportunity to expand your wardrobe possibilities, rather than just create a repeat closet in the correct size. (Click here to read the 10 things I think should be in every woman’s wardrobe.)

A Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear?

Your Clothes Don’t Fit Your Lifestyle

Think about it – you used to work in more dressed up office, but now your workplace is super casual – or it’s your dining room table on certain days. Or your social activities were family-focused for years, but now your social life doesn’t include kids at all. And your wardrobe hasn’t caught up to your new lifestyle and circumstances.

What to Do About It: Yes, you may need to shop for some key pieces that are missing from your wardrobe – but that’s not all you can do. You can re-think how you wear some things, since they may be more versatile than you know. I talk to clients about this all the time – it’s not always the items that are specifically dressy vs. casual, or work vs. weekend – it’s also about how you outfit them.

Take a basic plaid blazer, that used to be part of a work suit. You normally wear it with tailored pants or the matching skirt for big presentations, but those days are long gone. Well, how about taking that plaid blazer and pushing up the sleeves, flipping up the collar, and wearing it with a simple t-shirt and jeans for a regular day at the office? In this case, the blazer is more of a cardigan or lightweight jacket replacement, as opposed to half of your dressiest work outfit (see 3 office outfits I created with the same plaid blazer here). And how about your black leather moto jacket, that you wore to every pre-pandemic concert? You can make it feel a little less edgy by pairing it with a floral dress for your next date night or girls’ brunch.

Your Clothes Don’t Fit Your Preferences

Do you like everything in your closet? You’d probably say that you like most of it, but there are surely things that you like more than others. The general statistic is that we wear about 25% of what’s in our closets – which means that 75% falls into the rarely or never worn category. Think about it this way – if you have 5 tops that serve the same function (for example, 5 silky print blouses that you wear to the office), there might be a few that you always grab. But there are probably 1 (or 2) that you almost never grab, that never ‘win’ their way out of the closet. The items that ‘never win’ are things that you just don’t like enough to wear, or there’s always something that you like better. And if your closet is made up of a lot of ‘never win’ styles, it’s stands to reason that you feel like you have almost nothing to wear.

What to Do About It: It’s time to take stock of what you really like in your wardrobe and what you don’t like enough to actually wear out of the house. When I’m in clients’ closets and we’re having this exact conversation, the response to some of the styles that they don’t wear is, “that was expensive” or “it was a gift.” And my response is a little analogy – think about that item instead as a $100 bill, that you’ve clipped to a hanger and hung in the back of your closet, never to be seen again. It doesn’t make any sense to keep it there, right? So you can sell it or donate it or otherwise remove it from your life.

A Closet Full of Clothes and Nothing to Wear?

Your Clothes Don’t Fit Your Goals

If you’re in transition and evolving – whether it’s in your career or your marital status or family size – your wardrobe may need to transition and evolve as well. And it may need to evolve in advance of any big changes. For instance – if your goal is to expand your previous side gig into a full time enterprise, you may need a wardrobe that reflects how you want to be perceived in a new industry (as opposed to one that works for your current 9 to 5). Or if you’re looking to re-enter the dating world, you need a few things that make you feel fabulous on upcoming nights out.

What to Do About It: It’s time to take stock of your wardrobe, but in a different way than I’ve previously touched on. You need to identify what makes you feel how you want to feel, what communicates the perception that you intend, and what works for where you’re going. These things may already be in your closet, or they may be things that you’re missing (see below).

You’re Missing Something

Many of my clients already have a closet full of fun and versatile clothes before I meet them, but they still feel like they have nothing to wear. But what’s really going on is that they are missing the key pieces to complete their outfits – so it’s less about having nothing to wear, and more about lacking the items to balance what they already have. You may have a wardrobe full of basic, versatile styles, but nothing that adds spice to your outfits. Or you may have a wardrobe comprised of special pieces, but are lacking the simpler staple items to help those pieces stand out.

What to Do About It: To solve this one, shopping is probably on your agenda. But first – take some time to try and create outfits out of your wardrobe (when you have a free hour, not when you’re getting dressed). This will more readily identify your true needs – which is essential prior to a productive shopping trip. (Check out a bunch of client outfits I created by pairing old pieces in new ways.)

Are you looking to eliminate the “I have nothing to wear” feeling and want a partner in the process? Click here to read about the different ways we can work together, and contact me to discuss how we can evolve your wardrobe and your style.


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