Are there hidden costs lurking in you closet?

August 12, 2011

I don’t have time to go shopping and put together a wardrobe.”  I hear this all the time!

Often, what she is really (usually) saying is, “I don’t have time to walk around the mall or a store futilely trying things on that look terrible or don’t fit and then leave the store empty handed and miserable.

Yikes!  Who would want to set aside any time for that kind of punishment?

Yes, we all have super busy schedules often balancing work, family, a few cats/dogs, school, friends…and a host of other responsibilities (take your pick) pulling us in a million different directions.

True, most of us have enough on our plates without adding one more thing – especially when that one thing has historically been unpleasant and often unproductive.  Better just to make do, tuck it under the rug and manage as best you can.  Sure, this will work for a while, but at what cost?

It is human nature to prefer to set aside time to do something we enjoy (or that is urgent) than to do something we dislike.  Why do you think messy basements stay messy, writing a paper for a class we don’t like gets put off to the last minute, or cleaning the refrigerator will not take precedence over taking our children to soccer practice or having tea with a good friend.

There are two very important things to consider here:

1.    Living with a wardrobe you don’t love has substantial hidden costs.

2.    Creating a personal style you love cannot only be fun but can take much less time than you think. (The good news is that when you are efficient and productive you can feel like the time is well spent considering the amount of pleasure the results will give you.  Of course, I understand that what feels challenging is the “efficient and productive” part!)

Let’s look, for a minute, at the hidden costs.  They add up over time and take their toll.

When you live with a wardrobe you don’t love, it:

  • Undermines your spirit. Tolerating an uninspiring wardrobe takes a toll on your psyche.  You get dressed every morning and sometimes more than once a day if you have another engagement that day.  When you start your day off feeling frustrated, annoyed, hopeless or overwhelmed this feeling weighs on your psyche.  When you stand in front of your closet for an hour trying unsuccessfully to create an outfit (any outfit!) you can wear to __________, it zaps your energy. Who wants that?
  • Sacrifices your dreams. Everyone wants to feel good about themselves every time they get dressed.  Some women have had that and lost it over time due to their body changing, lifestyle changes or just general aging (wondering what’s age appropriate, body has shifted a little, etc.) and others never had it to begin with.  In either case, it’s a dream lost…perhaps just buried deeply but it feels lost forever.
  • Wastes your time. When your wardrobe and style aren’t working for you then a significant amount of time is used up trying to make things work when what you really long for is to get dressed effortlessly and, dare I say it, with joy!

Uninspired wardrobes happen.  It has nothing to do with your age, weight, profession, where you live or your financial situation. A frustrating wardrobe is an equal opportunity annoyance!

What Can You Do?

  • Take a few minutes to jot down what having an uninspired wardrobe is “costing” you (refer to the list above and be creative…add your own).  Just let it flow.  As you write and reflect you are certain to uncover hidden costs and frustrations you didn’t realize were bugging you so much!  (We can all be very good at burying those — at least temporarily.)
  • Keep those notes handy and add to them as things occur to you.

Then, stay tuned for the next installment and some fashion tips that offer some relief!

For now, keep smiling and give yourself enormous credit for looking at this deeply.  That’s the very first step (so many women just live with the frustration indefinitely), and you are on your way!

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