3 Surprising Truths for Creating a Wardrobe

July 31, 2015

Ginger BurrWe live in a society that values quick fixes, instant gratification and a faster daily pace than any other time in history. Have you felt the continuing trend towards more…faster…better? It’s enough to make your head spin!

While those things are all wonderful and they have their place, expecting to build a wardrobe of your dreams instantly (or even close) does nothing more than set you up for disappointment.

Does that mean you have to fuss, primp and shop constantly to create a workable wardrobe? No. But, if you do not currently have a wardrobe you love then something needs to change.

The problem is that many times the people who want the instant fabulous wardrobe are those who don’t enjoy (or haven’t had much success with) the process of creating a wardrobe they enjoy.

Sound familiar?

Creating a wardrobe you love and feel great wearing is a worthy goal since it very often affects your self-confidence and overall wellbeing. It also has the potential to impact decisions about what you do and where you go. I have too often heard from women who don’t pursue job opportunities or go to events because they feel uncomfortable about what to wear.

Having a wardrobe that empowers you changes all that and knowing the three truths to creating a wardrobe you love will help you along your journey. Get ready to rethink your wardrobe building experience.

1. It Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Wouldn’t you love a fashion fairy godmother who could swoosh her wand and fill your closets with clothes you love? Aaahhh, think of the ease and joy that would bring. Sadly, however, it’s highly unlikely that will happen anytime soon. Of course, makeover TV shows, while great for offering women hope and inspiration on building a viable wardrobe, have given the unrealistic impression that you can create a full wardrobe (including accessories and tailoring) in an hour. Sure, logically we know that’s crazy, but that is what we see and what we want!

I guarantee that what they show you on the show is only a tiny snippet of what went in to creating the final wardrobe and that’s with expert support and guidance.

Think of building a wardrobe as a lifelong journey…because it is. Yes, I know it would be lovely if you could buy your wardrobe once and be done with it forever. I feel the same way about laundry. But, sadly, it does not work that way. Your wardrobe (like you) is constantly evolving and things you wore 5 or 10 years ago might no longer appeal to you, fit your current body or lifestyle or perhaps even still be in style.

If your past experience has been that getting dressed and shopping for clothes is just shy of torture then it is understandable that you will either rush through it or procrastinate forever.

While it could be that some of your resources need to change or your information needs updating and fine-tuning about how to create a wardrobe that works for your body and lifestyle, it is also possible that you are trying to rush everything to get it done so you don’t have to think about it again.

Rushing it, especially when you don’t feel confident about how to build a wardrobe you love it, will only increase the discomfort. Take a breath, slow down and consider #2…

2. A Great Wardrobe Takes Thought

Not only does a great wardrobe not happen overnight, it also, dare I say it, takes some degree of energy and effort. But, this is true of anything worthwhile we do in our lives.

For instance, the last time you ate dinner did you open the refrigerator and pull out whatever was most handy and call that your meal? Probably not. If you did it is very likely you consumed a dinner of mustard, lettuce, coffee grounds and leftover mystery food. Instead, you put some energy and thought into it. You considered how hungry you were, what meal you were fixing and what appealed to your taste buds and perhaps even what was nutritious. And, don’t forget, you had also done some preliminary work by grocery shopping to have the things you like and need to create a delicious meal.

Of course, whether you enjoy the process of making a meal (or creating a wardrobe) or not is what colors your thoughts about the amount of effort you want to put into it.

Building a wardrobe you love is the same as making a meal you enjoy. Although you do not have to shop as often for clothes as you do for food (aren’t you glad!), the same thought process is behind it. You think about the event/occasion for which you are dressing (whether it’s going to the office, a wedding or to bed), the weather, what’s comfortable and, hopefully, what makes you feel good.

If you only had olives and oatmeal in your refrigerator, I doubt you’d be very happy for very long. And, if you only have black pants and t-shirts in your closet, you are probably feeling the same way.

Creating a practical and pleasurable wardrobe means thinking about what you need and for what occasion…drumroll, please…ahead of when you need it. Otherwise you will always be shopping out of desperation or avoiding situations in which you have to dress outside of your existing wardrobe choices.

Take a moment right now and write down 3 things you know off the top of your head (you know what they are) that you wish you had in your wardrobe for an upcoming event or just in general. This is as good a time as any to start planning ahead.

3. You Have to Try Lots of Stuff On

Men have it easy. They walk into a store, state their various measurements and what they are looking for and they rarely set foot in a dressing room unless something needs tailoring. Women, on the other hand, can try on the same thing in two different colors and the fit will be different! Really!!!

Yes, you can get to know a brand or designer and stick with the same things for years, but eventually even those things change or you change and they no longer work. Plus, nearly every woman who comes to me says she is bored with what she’s been wearing, but she does not know how to branch out.

One of the keys is to try lots of things on. Yes, even on ‘What Not to Wear’ they did that – they only aired a minute fraction of what happened behind the scenes or the show would have gone on for days! Clinton Kelly of ‘What Not to Wear’ fame readily admits, for example, that the women on the show tried on at least 20 pairs of jeans before they found the right pair.

Do you get discouraged and give up after trying on 6 tops that don’t fit or that you don’t like? If so, you will constantly feel disheartened. With the variation in women’s sizing and clothing that doesn’t always have much hanger appeal, trying things on is one step in keeping your wardrobe fresh. Of course, understanding your body, having the tools to create the looks you love and finding the stores that will make that a reality are all part of the journey.

Lastly, the only way you will not get a wardrobe you love is to give up. Rethinking how you approach your wardrobe needs will help you strategize in a way that gives you some peace and makes the journey manageable.

Keep these 3 truths in mind the next time you shop or get dressed:

  1. A great wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. You have to put some thought and energy into it (and, if after trying and trying you are still stuck then getting some support is the answer—even I did that before I discovered how to build a wardrobe I love).
  3. Expect to try on lots of clothes to find the ones you love. Sure, occasionally, you happen upon the perfect items or a designer who seems tailor made for you, but do not let it stop you or feel like something is wrong with you if you have to (or want to) take a number of items into the dressing room. Make it an adventure and, most importantly, learn from each experience. If you are not having luck at the stores you usually go to, find new ones!

Everyone (that includes YOU!) can have a wardrobe they love—In fact, I have yet to meet a woman who cannot…and I sincerely doubt you will be the first.

Follow these 3 truths to give yourself some breathing room and help you realize there isn’t something wrong with you if you don’t have the wardrobe of your dreams right now—simply rethink your strategy and keep going.

You can read past blog posts with helpful practical ideas to guide you here and if you would like to explore more personal support, please fill out my ‘Get Styling Help‘ form and we can talk.

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