For the first time in my life, I feel content with my wardrobe; I’m finally satisfied with what I have. This is strange and new. No more anxiety about what to add next. No urge to shop. I’m still interested in design and still enjoy looking at clothes, but I don’t feel that urgency to buy something.
This new ease of mind about my wardrobe started after I purchased the last item in my wardrobe, a simple black dress from Eileen Fisher. It was secondhand, smelled a little funny, but after I got it hemmed and washed, and all hung up in my closet, it was finally done. It felt like that click of satisfaction you get when you put the last puzzle peice in place.
Some people say that contentment is an attitute, a choice to accept and be satisfied with the lot you were given. When I say I’m content with my closet, I don’t mean it that way. I’m not that “good”. What I mean is that I made a lot of neurotic changes to my wardrobe over the course of two years to get myself to the point of contentment.
Looking back at how I got here, I would say that most of the work was actually removing things that I hated and letting go of this mental image that wasn’t truly me. I probably filled like 5-6 ThredUp bags and donated boxes full of other random clothes. I did this over the course of a year. Once that was complete, I had to re-assess what was leftover. I even made an Excel spreadsheet of what I had in my closet and discovered big gaps in my wardrobe. I examined my wardrobe problems to figure out what I needed. For example, I wondered why it felt so hard to put together enough work appropriate outfits to last a whole week and discovered that all I needed was a pair of very comfortable ankle boots so that I can wear my summer trousers in the winter. And voila, now I have lots of outfits ready for work!
Once I identified all the gaps in my wardrobe, I was actually scared to buy new clothes. I had gotten knee deep into the whole anti-consumerism mindset and the thought of buying something new made me feel nervous and guilty. I wasn’t sure if I could trust myself to buy something I’d actually love. But I pushed forward and realized that all that editing I had done earlier (KonMari-ing the crap out of my closet) had taught me a lot about my personal style and I realized that I could trust myself again.
All those years shopping in real stores, feeling fabrics from lots of designers in real life, learning about labels, and watching tons of runway shows taught me a lot about the quality and ethos of various brands. So when it came down to purchasing things online, I already knew what to look out for. I could buy trusted brands secondhand and at least have some gaurantee that I’ll get good quality. I made mistakes though. Bought shoes that were too small for example. But now when I make mistakes, I’m very quick to get rid of the item. I’m talking about deciding within an instant to return or re-sell an item. No more clogging up space in my closet only to be forgotten or placed in the ‘maybe one day’ pile.
As my needs evolve and as the weather changes, I think I’ll still make some changes, but I think it will be at a much slower pace (still saving up for those ES Tilda pants for the summer).
But for right now, I’m enjoying this new found contentment.