Welcome to episode 1 of the Self Styled Podcast! Today we’re diving into the most important place you can look for understanding your personal style and what might be holding your back…your closet.
With the rise of popularity of Marie Kondo and her decluttering method, closet editing has never been more popular. While Kondo’s approach is great for organizing your papers, your kitchen and the other rooms of your home, there are some blindspots in how she guides people to edit their closets. But Kondo’s approach to closet editing– holding pieces in your hand and seeing if they spark joy– is ruining a lot of women’s closets. It’s leaving them trapped in the same cycle of buying and purging and it’s not helping them get any closer to crystalizing their personal style or obtaining any real joy from their closets. In this episode, I’m sharing three ways to approach your closet edit so you can get yourself out of the cycle of buying and purging and bring you closer to a more cohesive sense of your personal style.
Let’s start out by pointing out that It’s pretty hard for something that can only really be assessed on your body and within the context of a whole of an outfit to “spark joy” by simply holding it in your hand.
Your clothes exist within an emotional landscape and your overall identity. If you feel stuck in your life, your closet will be a reflection of that. The yes or no method of closet editing neglects this fact. It ignores some key messages our closet can tell us too. Things like: what areas of your life you’re neglecting/ avoiding by not having the clothes for them? Where are you falling into the false belief that your clothes can only be comfortable or stylish but not both? How willing are you to invest in yourself not necessarily financially but by spending time on yourself.
It’s hard to see the totality of our closets when we look at things one at a time. This is actually why Marie Kondo’s folding method is genius.It allows us to see more of what we own at once.
With that being said, here are three steps to take while you’re editing your closet to move you closer to where you want to be with your style goals.
#1 Don’t Dive Into A Closet Edit Without A Plan
Ideally you would take some time to do some inspiration work like a Pinterest board or screenshot some things you see and like on social media. This will give you a sense of the style you’d like to move towards if you’re not in love with your current closet. It’s really hard to know where you’re headed without a vision. Most people wouldn’t dream of buying all new furniture for a room without a plan of paint colors, textures and even decorative accessories yet they expect to be able to magically have a wardrobe they love with no plan. It doesn’t really make any sense if you think about it. Even if you’re not ready to shop, having a sense of where you want to go with your style and where you actually are can help us be realistic about how much time and money it will take to feel the way we want in our clothes. It can also have the effect of calming the shapeless, but often all consuming, anxiety we have when we get dressed because we have a clearer sense of the actions we need to take to move forward.
#2 Don’t Overwhelm Yourself With Every Piece Of Clothing You Own
Decision fatigue is a real thing and editing all of the clothes in your whole house at once is gonna bring it on real fast. To avoid this only work with one season at a time. It’s too hard to see the gaps if you do everything at once. Edit one category at a time. This will keep your closet organized overall but more importantly it will allow you to see patterns. Do you tend to spend money on the same thing over and over when you shop? Are there things you keep forgetting to buy that’s making it really frustrating when you get dressed? Are your clothes looking like they’ve been loved a lot and you need to refresh your basics like t-shirts or denim.
#3 Figure Out: Do You Have A Styling Problem or Do You Need To Shop?
That feeling you get when you know you have clothes hanging in your closet but you still feel like you have nothing to wear is kind of trite and overused but it’s also real so let’s address that here.
The first reason you could feel like you have nothing to wear is because there is one or more contexts in your life that you repeatedly feel unprepared for or not dressed for at the level you’d like. Notice the times you feel unprepared. These are usually less frequent events in our lives or events that mean a lot to us so they’re emotionally charged. That emotional charge can cause avoidance. I’ll say more about the intersection of our emotions and our clothes in a later episode but for now just notice when you feel less than your best when you’re getting dressed and focus on trying to get a few options that feel good for that context of your life.
When you’re going through each category of clothes, notice if you pull something out and you think to yourself, “I like this but I have no idea how to wear this”, set it aside. If that pile is sizable when you’re done editing, you are likely struggling with putting together outfits and you have a styling problem. Make some time to try to make outfits with those pieces. If you can’t make outfits with what you have, then you know where the gaps are in your closet. Often if styling pieces you own feels hard, it’s because you don’t have enough basics for bolder pieces to stand out against. Notice if there is one category of clothes are overly represented in your “ I don’t know how to wear this pile”. This is going to tell you a lot about where you should be focusing your shopping efforts. Taking time to try to styling pieces you don’t wear much can also help you learn if certain pieces aren’t resonating the way they used to Because your style is evolving.
Last, if you struggle with getting rid of things you own but aren’t wearing I want to remind you that it is cost you something more to keep them than you might be aware of. Keeping clothes you know you won’t wear in your closet is robbing you of being able to show up in your life. It gives us a false sense of what we have when we look in our closet and see clothes hanging there. It demotivates us to shop for pieces that would make us feel our best because our brain says “ well I have clothes in my closet so shopping is wasteful.” But that isn’t accurate if you can’t or won’t wear those clothes. If you had a fridge full of rotten food would you tell yourself that you didn’t need to go grocery shopping? Something to consider.
Ok, that wraps up today’s episode. I hope this way of looking at your closet provided some insight into why asking your closet to simply “spark joy” as you edit isn’t going to get you and your personal style where you want it to be. I also help it gave you a few new ways of thinking about your wardrobe when you’re stuck. I’d love to hear your insights so please reach out and share them with me!