“Our clothes truly do more than just clothe us”.
This was the final line in an email I received from a Distant Francophile reader.
And it stopped me in my tracks.
In just nine words, this lovely reader perfectly articulated the thoughts that had been swirling around in my head for ages.
You see, I’ve been seeing a real theme in my inbox lately. So many readers have been sharing their wardrobe challenges. And these challenges have very little to do with the practicalities of dressing themselves.
Rather, they relate to what their clothes say about them and how those clothes make them feel.
I’ve been noticing that a large number of readers seem to have come to a place in their lives where their wardrobes no longer reflect either the woman they currently are or the woman they would like to become.
Somewhere inside them, they fully understand that it is time for change. Their wardrobe represents a past life and does anything but resonate with where they are today.
But letting go of the past and moving toward a new sartorial future is sometimes easier said than done.
Any number of barriers can spring up. And left unaddressed, they can leave you feeling extremely dissatisfied with the way you are dressing.
Four Reasons It Can Be Hard Update Your Wardrobe – And What To Do About Them
Your Memories Of The Past
It is super easy to get sentimental about clothing. That fabulous dress you were wearing the day you met the love of your life. Those clothes you wore and loved before you had kids. The jacket your beloved mum bought for you not long before she passed away. And what about that all those ‘career clothes’ from those days when you ruled the boardroom?
Releasing items that take you back to a time where things seemed ‘right’ is hard for many women. Creative tips to make it easier include taking photos of the sentimental items or turning them into feature artworks. You can get them framed or take a leaf out of design magazines and hang that stunning frock from a picture rail
Perhaps you’ve picked up a few extra kilos over the last couple of years. Your determined to lose them. Very soon. And once you do, you’ll need all those smaller sized items. Or you might have worked hard to lose some weight but you’re too scared to let go of your old clothes in case all those kilos come racing right back.
It can be scary to dress the body you have now. But at the end of the day, you don’t really have any choice. This is where having a focus on the word ‘and’ might make a real difference. You can lose weight ‘and’ buy a few beautiful pieces that you love today. (Don’t forget the power of stunning accessories in this space.) Similarly, you might buy some new items for your new slender silhouette ‘and’ work on trusting yourself (remembering that ‘shape shifters’ – clothes that can be worn across a couple of size can be useful here).
Your finances come into play in just about every area of your life and your wardrobe is no exception. Perhaps you spent what you feel was a small fortune on an item, and despite the fact that the said item is now dated or no longer fits, you are reluctant to get rid of it. You feel like it would be a complete waste of money. Or maybe you don’t believe that you are currently in the position financially to invest in new clothing, so you are better to make do with the pieces you already own.
If you struggle to let go of expensive clothes that have reached their use-by date for you, it might be worth trying to sell them in an attempt to recoup some of your original outlay. Alternatively, donating them to someone who will appreciate them can reduce some of the pain.
If your budget is tight, consignment or thrift stores can be a good options when you are keen to update your wardrobe. And website wish lists that update you when items come on sale can also be very handy.
A Lack Of Vision For the Future
Sometimes you end up in place where you don’t really know how you want to dress. You know the clothes you own right now aren’t working for you, but you are not yet sure who you are evolving into. So in the meantime, you hang onto what you have and what you know, even if you are fully aware that your wardrobe is not inspiring you.
If this sounds like you, it can be helpful to start introducing pieces that can link your former life to your new life. For instance, if you are transitioning from your corporate career to a more casual lifestyle, a pair of brilliantly cut, dark washed jeans that you can pair with your blazers might assist you in bridging the gap between the old and new sectors of your life.
A Final Two-Step Strategy That Can Help You To Let Go
Firstly, get clear on what you want – in life, as well as in your wardrobe.
Before you even think about what clothes you want or need, you have to get clear on how you are living your life today. Take the time to analyse where you spend your time. Consider how much time you spend at work, running errands, socialising, exercising – the whole lot.
Secondly, turn your mind to what you like – and consider what looks good on you.
Are you like me – a lover of the classic Parisian signature style? Or maybe you prefer something a little more dramatic. Perhaps the bohemian look is more to your liking. Magazines and Pinterest are great options for discovering what you like. While you are doing your research don’t forget to think about your body shape and which colours look good on you.
Once you’ve got clear on these elements, it can be so much easier to analyse your existing wardrobe – and potentially let things go. You can measure each item against your current or future lifestyle and quickly understand if it is a match. Once you’ve done this, you’re then well placed, to start creating a wardrobe you love.
Do you face similar challenges when you start to update your wardrobe? Or are you one of those lucky people who can easily let clothes go? Either way, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Until next time – au revoir.