My recent weight gain only amplified the terror of early morning outfit hunting, because some of my outfits just didn’t fit the way they used to and some of them don’t fit at all (gasp!) Discovering the horror of work pants that won’t zip up or a t-shirt that is more cropped than you remembered first thing in the morning is like being woken-up with a bucket of water poured onto your face; it’s not pleasant. So, one of my resolutions this year was to banish morning wardrobe panic forever! Inspired by Gok Wan’s concept of a capsule wardrobe, I decided it was time for a RUTHLESS wardrobe cull. After sorting through every hanger and drawer, I donated three garbage bags full of clothes to charity. I got rid of everything that didn’t fit, was out of fashion, faded or needed alterations that I couldn’t justify paying for.
I used to be the person who hung onto their ‘skinny clothes’ for years hoping they would one day fit again, but I had a big eye-opening moment in December 2012 after losing a lot of weight prior to my wedding. I realised that although I finally fit into my skinny clothes, there was no way I would EVER wear them in public again. Fashion had evolved too far for me to wear those clothes and so had I! So, my advice is get rid of the skinny clothes; they are taking-up space in your wardrobe and not serving you mentally or physically. If/when you get ‘skinny’ again, you’ll treat yourself to new skinny clothes, which will hopefully be your new regular clothes. That’s my plan anyway as I continue my current weight loss journey. Once my wardrobe was cleaned out, I was able to actually see where the real gaps in my wardrobe were. I went out and bought myself the work-friendly attire that I NEEDED not just the pretty dresses that I WANTED. It was hard to go clothes shopping when I wasn’t feeling great about my body but I was determined to look and feel good NOW; not just in six months when I was down a size or two.
Of course, work-friendly attire is something different for everyone. For me, I’m a singing teacher who spends most of my day sitting at a piano so I need clothes that are comfortable yet professional. As I work in schools, I feel more comfortable wearing high-necked tops teamed with straight-leg work pants or just dresses. At my current shape, I look and feel better in loose or a-line cuts. I got most of my new work clothes from a long time favourite store Glassons. I love that they sell lots of versatile basics for affordable prices and their sizes are very consistent. My clothes from Glassons have always washed well and stood the test of time so it was the first place I went when stocking-up on new workwear.
Once I brought home my new clothes and combined them with my current workwear, I drew-up an outfit planner. What is an outfit planner, you ask? Well, for me it is photos and descriptions of my various work outfits which I hang in my wardrobe to inspire me each day. I left a space under each outfit to write the date it was last worn. The idea of an outfit planner was inspired by a very old ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ episode in which I saw Kim taking polaroids of outfits that she was packing for her trip to help her get dressed each day while she away. Yep, I’m not ashamed to say that a Kardashian inspired me to better my lifestyle.The night before each work day, I check the weather report for the next day and then refer to my outfit planner to choose an outfit. I then quickly check my wardrobe to make sure the outfit is washed and ready to wear. I even choose which underwear would be the most flattering under the outfit so I’m fully prepared for dressing the next day. I plan to revaluate my wardrobe planner in winter and add or remove options, if necessary.
I’ve been following this system for three weeks now and so far it has completely eliminated my wardrobe stress. It has also freed-up more time to eat a healthy breakfast and do my hair and make-up properly in the morning, which helps me leave the house feeling much better about myself than I used to. The more I focus on reorganising my life (which was the focus of most of my New Year’s Resolutions), the more I learn that planning out the small details of my day like what to eat and what to wear in advance, really reduces my stress level. I’m finding I have less reasons to ‘sweat the small stuff;’ which for a person prone to anxiety is a wonderful thing.It seems I’m not the only one who equates an organised wardrobe with better mental health; I read the article ‘Do You Have Decision Fatigue?’ in the Body & Soul liftout of the Sunday Herald Sun this week (15th February 2015.) The article basically described exactly how I was feeling for most of last year. It defined decision fatigue as “…a psychological phenomenon in which our productivity is compromised after we become mentally exhausted from the daily decisions we have to make[,]” which wastes valuable brain power we should be saving for more important decisions and activities. The article also explained that iconic figures including Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama and Steve Jobs all have/had very simple and organised wardrobes to prevent the same wardrobe stress which also caused me discomfort in the past. Suddenly, I felt less alone in my quest for a more relaxed morning schedule. While some people may laugh at my pedantic wardrobe planner, it seems my new habits have put me in pretty good company.
There’s an old saying that the state of one’s house is the state of one’s mind. Maybe for me, the state of my wardrobe is the state of my mind and right now it’s looking pretty good and running like a well-oiled machine. Here’s hoping it stays that way.
How do you keep wardrobe stress at bay?
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