Not surprisingly, wearing the same thing over and over again can be very much connected to our previous skeletons. Landing yourself in a style rut every morning can absolutely be a result of dressing “HER” and not your true present self, of having too many options without a system, or of simply not knowing how you feel and dress. I’m honoring this special bony darling with its own spot on my list because it’s important to give you a little extra information.
First of all, this is only a problem if it truly bothers you. In therapy, if there is no suffering, there is no motivation to find help or change (sociopaths obviously exempt). Many people are completely fine with wearing the same clothes in mild variations all the time. In fact, business giants like Mark Zuckerberg swear by a “fashion uniform”.
Here is why: human brains have to make about 35K decisions every day (meaning teeny tiny micro-decisions like when to go get a drink, not who you’re going to marry). The quality of
these decisions declines throughout the day, like a battery that loses power. Not wasting precious decision battery life on getting dressed in the morning can provide a sense of order, control, stability, and predictability. In short, it saves energy and our brains like that. It’s only when you feel stuck and like this holds you back from living your best life, that repeated dressing becomes unhealthy.
Routine can be a beautiful thing. Once you know your authentic style, how you feel, what you desire, and which pieces flatter your shape, only blessing your closet with items you love becomes easier. Allow yourself the new perspective that you don’t need new and different all the time (a worldview that is challenged by the red carpet, social media, and the fast fashion industry constantly, I realize).
In the 1930s the average woman owned 9 outfits. Quality over quantity was key back then and it should be now.
A beautiful tool for this is the capsule wardrobe. Contrary to what you might read elsewhere I believe there is no set number of pieces every woman should limit herself to. To me, it depends on your lifestyle as to how many items you individually need (After all, if you have 2-3 highly glamorous functions a week, who’s to say you don’t need 9 different dresses? You will just have less of some other pieces).
The basic principle is rather that as many pieces as possible work with each other and make mixing and matching easy.
Option overload is avoided by having fewer pieces and honestly loving everything you own. There are different approaches as to what should go into a capsule wardrobe. To give you some ideas, here is Tan France's suggestion:
A great piece of outerwear (trench coat, an overcoat, a denim jacket, or something heavier-weight)
A leather jacket (always effortlessly stylish)
Button-up shirts (can be used in a very casual, fun way, stick with neutrals)
A great-fitting suit (does not have to be expensive, get something relatively inexpensive and have it tailored)
Knitwear (two pieces, neutral and flattering for your body shape: 1x cardigan and 1x pullover)
T-shirts (simple, keep it neutral: black, white, brown, gray)
Denim (Decide on the shades and fit of denim you like, easy to dress up/down)
Footwear (at least two pairs, such as a white sneaker that goes or a nude/black heel for work or special occasions)
A belt (jazz up your out)
A dress (keep it simple; high-quality material, classic in a color that makes you feel confident)
Again, different stylists will give you different opinions on this. Personally I ask my clients to consider their lifestyle as well:
How often do you dress for the following occasions: Work/Business Casual, Cocktail/Wedding/Event, Laid-back/Casual and Date Night/Night Out? For each of these, multiply the number of days per week by 2 or 3 (depending on your comfort level). Let's say you have to dress business casual twice per week, you'll want about 4-6 outfit possibilities. This serves as a great guideline (I even use it for my kids clothes, lol). Notice you have 20 pairs of business pants while going into the office two times a week? It's probably time to purge some of those energy suckers.
How often do you do laundry? Honestly, this question is one of the best reminders that it's absolutely ok to limit yourself to a certain number. Most of us get all their laundry done probably at least two to four times a month.
Have you found your "fashion uniforms"? I highly recommend putting together outfits in advance for different occasions. The common factor should be that you feel comfortable and confident in them so that you always have a quick go to when in a time crunch. For example, I have fall back outfits for meeting a new client, going on a mom's night out, going to the winery or garden party, going to the playground with my kids, teaching a work shop, going to a business meeting and so on.