This post was originally written and posted for The Minimalist Wardrobe.
A closet full of clothes, but nothing to wear–we’ve all been there. For many of us, that’s what catapulted our minimalist wardrobe journey. But what happens when you have a closet not-so-full of clothes and you still find yourself with nothing to wear? What happens when the closet you so thoughtfully curated down to a specific number doesn’t seem so perfect for you anymore? I’m in the midst of a personal style crisis, and this is what I’m doing to navigating it through it with a bit more intention this time around.
Personal style crises are nothing new to me. I’ve had many throughout my 20s. There was a phase where I didn’t own any jeans and hardly wore any black: I wore clashing prints, sometimes with colored tights and always with some sort of bow in my hair. There was then the phase where I only wanted to wear jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. From there, I wanted to be a bohemian princess for a hot minute before becoming a slave to trends: Bell sleeves, embroidered tops and dresses, gingham, berets, wrap dresses–I owned them all before discovering the magic of having a capsule wardrobe. It’s taken me over a year to carefully curate my wardrobe down to 63 items that work for my lifestyle and flatter my body. I thought my personal style crisis days were behind me.
That is until…at the start of this Fall season, I found myself standing in front of my wardrobe thinking I have nothing to wear! I’m sick of everything in here! My first instinct was to shop and buy a few new things to refresh my wardrobe and breathe some new life into it. I followed this instinct this Summer, and it ended up being a pretty spend-heavy season for me. In my Summer shopping spree, I seemed to refine my style even more: I mustered up the courage to try on jumpsuits and ended up loving them (so much so that I bought myself 3!). I discovered the joy and comfort of wide leg pants. I invested in some minimal slides from Nisolo, and some Veja sneakers. I fully embraced my least favorite season with a better curated wardrobe, and so I wanted to do the same for Fall, my most favorite season. But how could I with a wardrobe of clothes that I was sick of and didn’t appeal to me? The clothes from previous Fall/Winter seasons just didn’t seem to work together with my new Spring/Summer clothes.
Perhaps lucky for me, LA is still quite warm so I am still maximizing my newfound enjoyment of Summer clothing. So I decided to do the unthinkable…I decided to wait. Wait to buy clothes, and wait to purge any from my wardrobe.
I committed myself to a month long Shopping Ban for the month of September so I wouldn’t be tempted by all the pretty and cozy knits that would be tortuous for me to wear anyway. At first, it was really hard to stick to the spending freeze, especially seeing everyone pull out their Fall capsules and bringing in new knits into their wardrobes all over my Instagram feed. But as the relentless heat wore on in LA, the more normal not-shopping became for me. My new normal quickly became finding new outfits within my wardrobe. Up until the spending freeze, I had gotten quite comfortable with uniform dressing and was proudly repeating outfits. No wonder I was sick of my clothes! I was wearing the same ones, and in the same ways, over and over again. I didn’t need new clothes; I needed a new appreciation and perspective of my clothes that I already have.
September has long since been over, but I still have not bought anything new this Fall season yet! Instead, I’ve been challenging myself to come up with at least one new outfit each week. This has been the ultimate test of my capsule wardrobe, and with this new challenge, I’ve also been able to see what no longer serves a purpose in my wardrobe and might need to find a new home for. It might seem counterintuitive to declutter while you’re in the midst of a shopping spree, but it’s actually one of the best times to let go of things you’ve been holding on to but don’t actually need.
Pressing the pause button on shopping was just what I needed to trust in myself again: Trust that I’ve carefully curated a wardrobe for me and my lifestyle, which includes a Fall that is really just an extended Summer. Trust that I know what’s best for me. Trust that I am creative enough to shop my own closet. Trust that I have the patience to wait to buy what I truly need. (And if that’s not enough–then trust that a fresh haircut is all one really needs to breathe some new life into your style.)
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