For many of us, there are seasons of life where we look at our closets and realize we really want a WHOLE NEW STYLE. That season came for me when I entered my 30s and then again, even stronger, when I became a mom.
It’s something Laura and I have often commiserated about—wanting a new style that fits this season in life, but still wanting to feel cute and like ourselves. It’s a thing that so many women go through, multiple times, throughout life.
Related: Check out our style archives for hair, makeup, skincare, and clothing posts.
Several years ago, I looked at my closet and felt I had nothing to wear. There were a lot of issues. I had tons of colorful, patterned clothing that I bought more for blog photos than for real life.
I had mainly short dresses/skirts and big heels which I liked to wear in photos, but didn’t always reach for in daily life. I had clothing in so many different sizes, as I have frequently gained or lost weight but was never able to part with my “goal clothes.” At one point, there was probably 50% of my closet that I couldn’t fit into.
I also had a lot of clothes I wore ONE time, whether for a party, a photo, or a vacation, and after that they just took up space in my closet. I shopped a lot of fast fashion, which made it feel easy to buy a lot of clothing that I didn’t necessarily value.
It was definitely a quantity over quality situation. I had probably four times the clothing I have now, but every day when I went to pick out my outfit I felt I had nothing to wear and would end up wearing the same pair of jeans or yoga pants. Womp womp.
I was constantly discouraged trying to get dressed, so I decided to basically start from scratch!
First, I did a HUGE clean out and got everything that didn’t fit me out of my closet. This was HUGE. It felt like a weight lifted off me. I didn’t realize how much stress having a closet full of clothing I didn’t actually want to wear was causing me.
I did save one bag of “goal clothes” (shoved in the back of my closet where I couldn’t see it), but what’s funny is that by the time I did lose weight, I didn’t want to keep hardly any of the clothes. So there was no point!
After my big clean out, I felt instantly better. It was life changing. Next, I spent the past two years doing capsule wardrobes for each season (I sometimes did fall/winter and spring/summer together, or just a smaller version for winter and summer).
This helped me rebuild my wardrobe with basics I could wear multiple ways. My closet became full (although not as full as before) of all QUALITY clothes.
It took me a few cycles to feel like I had all my basics covered, but I finally feel like I have basic outfits for every occasion and most importantly, denim that fits and is flattering for every season.
I am a person who loves change, but it’s been surprisingly challenging for me to break out of my style ruts. I learned I had a lot of assumptions about what “looked good” and what “looked bad” on me that weren’t even accurate.
I definitely believe in dressing for MYSELF so the most important thing is to wear what makes me feel good. With that said, I found that a lot of the clothing in my “comfort zone” was not actually making me feel good (at least not anymore).
It was just what I was used to wearing, and a lot of it turned out to be old styles/habits I didn’t even know I was totally over.
I read and did the homework in The Curated Closet twice (I did it two years in a row as I was trying to redefine my style).
It helped me to narrow down my closet (aka purge), try lots of new styles, and attempt to branch out and also to be super selective when adding new items. I can’t recommend it enough if you are in need of a closet overhaul.
Now that I let go of the baggage and spent the time and energy to FIX my closet, I am so much happier. I actually enjoy getting dressed 90% of the time.
Another big lesson I learned is to lower my expectations. I know that may seem strange or harsh, but I realized I was holding myself to standards that were too high and that I wasn’t actually willing to make the kind of effort it would take to look that polished every day.
I LIKE not wearing makeup half the week. I LIKE wearing “boring” outfits most of the time. So why was I disappointed in myself for doing those things? Well, it was a choice. So, I consciously changed how I thought about these things. I lowered the bar for myself and, to be honest, it felt amazing!
I still like dressing up in cute dresses. But I also like wearing the same top twice (or more) in a week. Now I can do both and feel OK either way. I realized I didn’t need to put so much pressure on myself. I needed style goals that mattered to me personally and fit my current lifestyle.
It’s still a work in progress, but I feel like I am figuring out how I want to dress and am slowly building a wardrobe that’s useful, easy and makes me feel good about myself. What more could I ask for?
If you have any questions or just want to vent about your own closet issues, I’d love to chat in the comments. xx! Elsie