The Counterintuitive Cure For An Uninspired Wardrobe

Perhaps you have decided that you deserve better than sweaters that are more pull than knit and the shorts that, by some cruel trick of puberty, fit you just as well now as they did in fifth grade. Perhaps watching your impeccably styled peers waltz down Bruin Walk has saddled you with a raging case of FOMO, which demands to be treated with the kind of long, indulgent shopping trip that slaps a bandage on your self esteem and ravages your bank account. Perhaps filling your closet with the latest trends promises to fill the void in your heart. 

Regardless of any precise reason, you may be here because the spark that once existed between you and your wardrobe is fizzling out. Getting dressed each morning is a fight (“There’s nothing here to work with,” you scream; “What more could you ask for?” demands the closet, brandishing ten pairs of identical jeans). Chances are, you are not here to rekindle that spark so much as to blow it out. You are here for closure. You are here for fresh flames. You are here to buy more stuff. 

It seems like a simple fix, doesn’t it? Once you own that checkered miniskirt, you will look just as good as every other wannabe VSCO girl in LA. Once you can tromp around in a pair of platform Dr. Martens, you will have the confidence to ignore the solicitors on Bruin Walk. Once you buy those yoga pants, a Kardashian will descend from the sky and lift your butt with her very own hands. 

I hate to break it to you, but these are delusions. Another trendy article of clothing will not fix your relationship with your wardrobe, and neither will a complete style overhaul. In fact, the key to falling in love with your wardrobe is not to buy more. It is to buy less. 

Before you denounce me as a deceptive anti-capitalist, let me clarify what I mean. Buying less does not equate to settling for less. Rather, it allows you to build a more cohesive, personalized wardrobe, traverse the vast world of fashion at your own pace and invest in pieces that you’ll never tire of.

When you commit to buying less, you give yourself the chance to slow down, sort through the pieces that you already own and assess what works for you. Dig out all of your clothing, and as you go through them, ask these questions:

  1. Do I like this?

    1. If so, why? (Style, function, fit, fabric, etc.)

    2. If not, why? (Style, function, fit, fabric, etc.)

  2. Do I wear this?

    1. If so, how? (Start thinking about how you can style a cohesive outfit!)

    2. If not, why? (This is usually a question of practicality. Is it too hard to wash? Do the straps always slip?)

This activity will reveal patterns in your taste and encourage you to see old clothing in a new context. You’ll have the opportunity to try different outfit pairings and consider, in detail, how you can enhance what you already own. With this knowledge, you’re ready to renovate, not rebuild, your wardrobe!

When you do shop, take the time to explore your options fully. Instead of buying the first drab black cardigan that catches your eye, visit other stores and check out what your favorite fashion influencers are wearing on Instagram. Chances are, you’ll discover a unique, equally multipurpose, and more personalized iteration of the style. Since you chose this piece with care, you are far less likely to want more of the same or grow sick of it after the season ends. Along the way, you’ll flesh out your style and develop a precise criteria for purchases. 

To motivate yourself to curb excessive buying for good, make an ambitious style wishlist. Jot down designers you admire and the couture that you’ve never been able to afford; your goal is to save for these investment pieces. The money you don’t funnel into fast fashion will buy you tailored fits, better fabric and, most importantly, time to make mindful purchases! Challenge yourself to start a luxury fund, and learn how far your savings can take you.

When it comes to building your dream wardrobe, less is always more. Whether you choose to start small or dive in headfirst, getting organized, shopping methodically and saving money are sure ways to refine your style and keep you satisfied.