Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nothing to Wear [and How To Fix It]

The holidays are upon us, and so is the pressure to buy, buy, buy - gifts, celebration food and drink, clothes and shoes for parties and get togethers, the list goes on and on. Though not altogether unpleasant (isn't there just something nice about NEW?), it may be stressful if your budget is already tight. It's not purely a fiscal matter, either, maybe your space is also tight and your closet is bulging. And yet... You have nothing to wear!

The classic problem of "nothing to wear" knows no season or economic status, because it is largely a psychological problem. Yes, there may be times when you literally have nothing to wear. You may have just experienced a shape altering experience such as pregnancy. Maybe your house burned down. Maybe your luggage didn't arrive. Those things happen. This post deals with the more elusive mental side of the problem.

Why do we feel we have nothing to wear when we clearly have plenty of clothing? Several reasons. Maybe your existing wardrobe doesn't really reflect you. If this is the case, you need to be your own personal stylist and figure out your coloring, your body type, and your style personality. Then go through your closet with these things in mind, weeding out what doesn't work for you. This may leave you with a skeleton wardrobe, but I guarantee you that it will be 10x more functional than your previously overstuffed closet of no-go's.

Maybe you are uncomfortable with the way you look. Again, you need to be dressing for your body and your coloring. If you are doing so and are still displeased, examine your attitudes toward yourself. Are you being overly critical? Is there one part of your body with which you just can't reconcile? I knew one woman who would never buy pants because she loathed her hips. Buying shirts was easy because it wasn't emotionally loaded. Eventually, she really did have nothing to wear (on the bottom, at least). Try to love your body, but if you can't, pretend you do and break the cycle by staring whatever it is in the face. There is no such thing as a "perfect" body (in the geometric sense); women the world over have been working with the same basic body shapes since forever. As a result, there are thousands of resources, tricks, and tips out there for minimizing and maximizing, hiding, and otherwise tricking the eye. The Google, ladies, the Google!

Or maybe you're just in a rut. You get dressed and your outfit feels... blah, bored, meh. The magic is gone. Try these tricks and see what happens.

Play dress up. Try new and unusual combos. Be unexpected. You don't have to be anywhere, so relax and have fun. Have a drink. Think you found a winner? Take a pic to get a second opinion (I mean yours, but from a more objective angle) and to remind you of this outfit the next time you have somewhere to be.

Build from the bottom up. Start with a pair of shoes that always makes you feel fabulous, and work from there. Don't underestimate the power of heels, even small ones. If you don't ordinarily wear them, the visual and psychological effects will be even greater. Who doesn't have days when they want to be taller and feel more confident, feminine, poised, and powerful?

Go basic, then accessorize. Build a blank canvas with a monochromatic outfit or a simple dress in a solid color, and go "bigger" than is your norm with accessories.

See in terms of color. Lay out some clothing items on the bed. Ignore what they are (top, bottom, etc) and see if any combos really pop or create a pleasing look. Grab the items and build an outfit around them. An example from [my] real life: A pair of indigo wide leg pants really pops next to a blue and white patterned shirt. They can't be worn together because the shirt isn't fitted enough to wear with those pants. Throw a neutral vest on over the shirt, cinch the sides, and voila, a waist re-emerges. Use your creativity to make it work.

getting that "second opinion"
There is a one pic-per-post minimum, right?

I hope these tips help! Please share your suggestions in the combox!

P.S. I'm over at life in mod. this week with the lovely Camille. Check it out!


  1. Replies
    1. I'm glad, Seza! Thank you for all of your comments! Much appreciated!

  2. i love it too, Mary!

  3. This is a great post! I also love Pinterest for ideas on wearing my clothes in unexpected ways and for creating color combos I wouldn't have thought of...

    1. That's a great suggestion, Erika!

  4. There are two times in the last year that I've taken a couple hours and exhausted my iphone battery to play "dress up"--when my post-baby body finally stopped changing and sort of leveled out and I quit work, and a few months ago, when my belly started showing for baby #2. I literally went from "nothing to wear" to lots of options that I loved, without having to buy a thing! I love your tips about starting from the ground up and being more creative with color...I'll have to incorporate more of those next time ;).

  5. Thanks for commenting, Sarah! I love me some "dress up" too!

  6. thank you Mary! I have just been contemplating this exact issue... as I prepare for the holidays...what to wear for CHristmas parties!!!


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