The feeling is a familiar one: You open up your closet and with hands on your hips declare, "I have nothing to wear." What a joke. It seems like your arms are constantly heavy with shopping bags, that all your hangers are taken with dresses and all your shelves heavy with items, yet you can't seem to piece together an outfit you like to save your life. Why? How can that even be possible.
Take it from someone who had an overflowing closet yet made run-of-the-mill looks, the fault isn't with your clothes. It's with you. Before you get defensive, I'm not blaming your sartorial eye or your aesthetic. Rather, your shopping habits and instincts might be what's holding you back from wardrobe bliss. Think about it: Do you dabble in emotional spending? Do you go with impulse or snag things just because they're cute? Do you not worry about the fit and feel of an item in the dressing room, and just assume you'll be okay with wedgies or pinched feet? Do you shop trends but don't think basics deserve your hard earned cash? All these things help to trip up a closet. Below are 11 reasons you have nothing to wear, and how to fix them.
1. You're Shopping Without Thinking Of Outfits
It might seem wild, but instead of picking out stand-alone pieces that strike you as cute when shopping, pick out things with an outfit in mind. Fashion blogger Imogen Lamport from Inside Out Style Blog explained why a closet might seem like it has nothing to offer. And the reason lies with your purchasing habits. "Your clothes don’t match, you can’t create outfits, you’re constantly trying on different personality styles so it’s all a bit too eclectic to really work."
Next time you contemplate buying something, think "What three items in my closet will this go with?" "Does this fit my general style?" "Will this elevate my wardrobe in any way or is it just an impulse buy?" That'll help shave down many mistakes.
2. You're Uninspired At The Moment
Trust me, if you have more than 10 things hanging in your closet, you have something to wear. The issue is you're out if ideas on how to combine them in fresh and out-of-the-box ways. Remedy that by scrolling through blogs or fashion sites and compiling the new inspiration onto a Pinterest board that you can consult every time you want to dress in a more exciting way. Style writer Zephyr from College Fashion pointed out, "I don't mean that you should copy their looks, but try to draw inspiration from them and use them to see your clothes in a new light." You'll be surprised just how many ways you can wear a particular dress or a chambray shirt.
3. You Have More Trends Than Staples
While dabbling in a fun trend is not something bad, buying more trendy pieces than classic staples can put you in an awkward position. What do you think you mix and match those trendier pieces with? Your foundation! Fashion blogger Courtney Carver from minimalist blog Be More with Less explained, "If you bought the latest recommendation featured in your favorite magazine, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go with anything else that you own and if it’s fashion shelf life has expired before you get to wear it."
So how do you make these trendy pieces OK to buy? First, make sure you have all your basics, from shoes to pants. Once you have a solid foundation, buy trends that fit into your aesthetic. For example, think of how many different versions of overalls there are. Buy the fit and look that best fits your image (ex: If you're more preppy, buy them at J Crew. If you're more bohemian, buy them at Free People.) That way it'll stick around long after it's 15 minutes faded.
4. You Keep Buying The Same Items
Are you a sucker for a striped shirt or a floral dress? That's awesome, but if you have about six pairs of each, your closet isn't going to feel very interesting or like you have options. Just think of the pieces you could have bought if you left those five other nautical shirts alone! How can you curb this urge? Lamport suggested, "Make sure you hang all like items together, then you’ll realise just how many of the same thing you have." Being aware of how much you have of something will make you feel silly buying another carbon copy.
5. Plan Ahead
Sometimes we have nothing to wear because we open the closet doors and see the same formulas and combinations staring back at us. In order to shake things up and tap into the potential of the items you already own, think of a couple of places you'll be heading to during that month and whip up fresh new outfits ahead of time. Editor Alia Ahmed-Yahia at Elle suggested, "Make a list of 10 places or activities that you'll have to dress for over the next three months (big meetings, weekend shopping, date night, wedding, brunch) and find your perfect look(s) for each." Then she recommends taking a selfie of each and storing it in an inspo folder on your phone so you can easily bring it up when the moment strikes. This will give you enough time to experiment with surprising new combos and come up with fresh ideas.
6. You're Holding On To Bad Fits
Whether your weight fluctuated, you keep buying pieces that pinch, or nab things you're not entirely comfortable in (hello minis or bold silhouettes,) the feel of your clothes could be the reason you have nothing to wear. The remedy? It's time to get real. Fashion blogger Melanie Kluger at Head Over Heels with Melanie advised, "It’s time to go through your closet asking yourself the same question on repeat. 'Is this something I like on my body NOW.' Not, three months ago, not 4 years ago. Only keep the clothes that work for you now." And then learn from your mistakes! If you never wear your short shorts, feel uncomfy in platforms, or hate the wedgies jumpsuits give you, stop buying 'em.
7. You Have Too Many Choices
More is not better than less! If you have too many options jumping out at you, you'll get overwhelmed and won't be able to notice cool combos or interesting outfit formulas. Carver pointed out, "If you go to a restaurant with hundreds of choices, you can get overwhelmed." So prune your closet and keep only those stand out, perfect fit, true-to-your-aesthetic pieces and chuck the rest. By only keeping items that you're truly excited to wear, your options will be easier to spot. (Because let's be honest, you were never going to wear that ratty tee or the outdated blazer again, anyway.
8. Assign New Jobs To Items
If you're bored with your closet, assign new tasks to different items in your wardrobe. For example, Zephyr offered, "That too-short-for-winter minidress could look fabulous as a tunic worn over skinny jeans." Other ideas? Turn dresses into tops by putting skirts over them or tucking minis into pants; turn rompers into pants and frocks into skirts with layered tops or sweaters; and turn one-piece bathing suits into leotards with the addition of a skirt.
9. You Don't Challenge Yourself
In order to get your creative mind going, challenge yourself to pick up one piece from your closet and create a sleek new outfit around it. Zephyr challenged, "Close your eyes or turn away from your closet and grab something randomly. No matter what it is, your challenge is to make an outfit around it and wear it!" This will narrow down your options with what you can mix and match while also making you look at new combos you might not have before.
10. You've Got A Couple Of Holes
Maybe you're missing a couple of key things that could tie together outfits, like a chambray shirt or minimalist sandals. Stylist Tiffany Ima advised, "Purge your closet and make a list of what you need." Take everything from your closet and organize it back, making a list of obvious holes you're missing. Sometimes you need a couple of key items in order to build the outfits you've always wanted.
11. Organize By Outfits, Not Types
Usually when you think of an organized closet, you think of putting your dresses with your dresses, or your pants with your pants. But in order to reinspire yourself with the pieces you already own and unlock new potential you haven't noticed before, try grouping your closet in outfits. Ahmed-Yahia recommended, "So borrow a trick from some of the top fashion retailers and merchandise your closet in outfits. Hang tops and skirts next to each other that you want to try as an outfit that you've never worn before." Group easy to mix patterns and colors together, and see what magic can happen!
Follow these tips and you'll get your closet game back on track!
Images: @abeautifulmess/ Instagram