tank: Old Navy // skirt: ASOS // shoes: Steve Madden // necklace: The Land of Salt
photos by Chelsea Laine Francis
This is a post I’ve tried to start a couple of times from different angles, but I think I’ve finally gotten down to the issue: I’m in a major closet crisis. I feel like this is style blogger heresy to admit on the Internet, but it’s also incredibly true.
Over the last year and a half, a few things have changed that I think lead to my crisis. First, as I’ve written about before, my body has undergone some pretty big changes in shape and size. Last summer I did a pretty huge purge of my closet because nothing I owned fit me anymore. I continued to purge through fall and winter, and by time spring rolled around, I had hardly any clothing left.
The second factor is the idea of capsule/limited wardrobes. Last spring I did a 30×30 challenge, which ended up being an awesome experience in getting the most out of my clothes. I mixed, matched, and remixed like never before. Unfortunately, by the end of the challenge, most of those items were lost in the Great Closet Purge of Summer 2014. Mid-summer I got frustrated with trying to rebuild a wardrobe through thrifting and I bought a handful of pieces at the Banana Republic and J.Crew outlets. I then shared a 7×7 remix challenge to show how I got the most out of those few purchases. Fall and winter set in, and again I purged previous years’ clothes that didn’t fit, purchased just a few new pieces, and remixed them all season.
As I started adding a few items to my closet for spring, I was struggling: struggling to find things that could wear a bunch of ways, struggling to find things that fit my body the way I wanted, and struggling to find things that fit the woman I am and aim to be. I so associate clothing with being a physical representation and expression of the person I am. There’s a quote from Caitlin Moran’s book How To Be A Woman that I deeply relate to: “When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.'” When I get dressed every day, I think about the kind of woman I want to be that day. The clothes in my closet today aren’t speaking to me the way I need them to. When I pick out an article of clothing in a store lately, I don’t think “That’s the kind of woman I want to be.” I think “Is this the kind of woman I have to be in order to wear this?”
I was looking through my archives recently looking for summer outfit inspiration and what I found were thrifted gems and impulse purchases that I was so excited to wear (example A, B, C and D). I remember never wearing the same outfit twice because I was constantly inspired by my wardrobe and I had endless options to choose from. I miss feeling this way.
Everything I’ve purchased so far this season is either black or blue (in fact, I even have the same top in black and blue). I find myself wearing the exact same version of seven or so outfits every week. I don’t have many options and there are only so many ways I can wear the same few items. The pieces I’ve purchased are too cohesive — I’m just matching everything back to itself and I desperately need to branch out.
But I’m finding that I don’t know how to branch out. Or, maybe it’s that I don’t know what kind of woman I want to be, or rather that I don’t identify with the options retailers are offering for me. I feel like there are essentially three styles lately: The Coachella Go-er, The Every Girl, and The Minimalist. The first is a look that is completely opposite from me: tribal patterns, fringe, crop tops and flowy bottoms. The second can be summed up by floral skater dresses found at Target and fast-fashion trends seen on every girl between 15 and 27. The third is what I’ve been buying into; mostly void of personality, solid neutral-colored pieces in boxy shapes. I feel like I’m being offered the options of a personality I don’t identify with at all or two styles that are plenty accessible but not individual or inspiring.
I guess I’m sharing all of this for a few reasons. I’m a style blogger who has lost her style. Shopping has been totally exhausting the last couple of times I’ve gone (a new experience for me). I’m not wearing new or exciting things to share with you because I’m wearing the same outfits you’ve already seen.
I want to get back into thrifting. I gave up last summer when I was so angry with my body and just needed the solace of clothes existing in my closet without having to put in the work to find them. I want to think about who I am in regards to my style. I want to look at some magazines and Pinterest, but also old outfits of my own that I loved so I can figure out what it is that I love about an outfit. I want to make shopping lists, but also allow myself to be impulsive and buy beautiful things that I’m excited to own, instead of just things that are practical and match my other (decidedly) boring clothes.
Have you dealt with a style rut or closet crisis? How can I fall back in love with fashion?