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.


Remedy

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.








"On fear and style" will be the next style skeleton blog post. It would mean the world if you gave it a read. Let me know if I can help in any way with your capsule wardrobe, leave a COMMENT and SHARE with whoever might need to read this.


photography@crystalcoronaphotography







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Ha, this one is a close second on my style skeleton list. Standing in front of your clothes, your arms on your hips, poofing out a frustrated breath, this thought sneaks in: “I have nothing to wear…”. Mind you, our shelves and racks are often filled to the brim. As mentioned in my previous post this mental block stems in part from filling our closet for our envisioned life as opposed to our actual reality. Let’s take an even closer look at these old bones.


Have you ever been to one of these restaurants that offer a million and one different entrees on their menu? It's very overwhelming for me personally. I just end up ordering the same chicken and broccoli I always get, because it’s just what I know best. More complicatedly put this is called


“decision fatigue”


Out of sheer option overload you give up before you even fully look at everything because your brain just can’t handle it. So you stick with what’s easy and familiar. That exact phenomenon happens in an overly full, unorganized closet. Too many options are the killer of easy, beloved outfits and the maker of overwhelm.


Besides, the thought “I have nothing to wear” is obviously incorrect (clothes are clearly present). Let’s rephrase it to “I don’t know what to wear”. You have clothes, you just don’t always know what to do with them, how to pair them to make an outfit that holds up your personal “this is what a well-dressed person looks like” standards.


Remedy

I gave you my thoughts on dealing with our fantasy thoughts last week.


Healing decision fatigue can happen in multiple ways.

Step 1 is to clean out our closets (I do it every Spring and Fall when I change things up for the new season anyway). After the harder decisions of keep/toss/repair/donate are done with, your second phase here is to actually reorganize in a way that works best for you (hint, hint, I can help with this).


If this is too daunting and overwhelming for you, aside from getting professional help, you can also start by rearranging everything at least a little bit (as in: put the short dresses in the spot where your tanks used to be and put those tanks where your pants where previously folded and so on). This might not solve the full dilemma, but it will at least give you a fresh perspective and might set in motion a step-by-step closet make-over.


Our changed phrase “I don’t know what to wear” is a bigger can of worms. You might think it takes a lot of learning about shapes, proportions, cuts, colors, patterns. That is certainly helpful. And yet, understanding style principles before you dive deeper into what it is that you actually desire is jumping the gun.

“The happiest people discover their own nature and match their life to it.”

said Ray Dalio and - to me - the same holds true for your style. Figuring out who YOU are and how YOU feel, what YOU like and dislike, and then matching your clothes authentically is the backbone of great style.



Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What interests do you have? History, art, food, music, hobbies, culture - think of anything that has a special place in your heart and write it down.

  • Who pops into your head as a personal style icon? Audrey Hepburn, Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, Sophia Loren, Jennifer Aniston, Claudia Schiffer, Janelle Monáe, Kate Middleton, Grace Kelly, the list goes on. Simply googling "style icons" is a great start as well.

  • Which color have you always been drawn to? Forget for a second about all the things you've heard before - warm, cool, neutral undertones and what not. Which color do YOU love?

  • Which word applies best? Classic, Boho, Edgy, Casual, Glamorous, Romantic, Preppy



The answers to these questions are the beginning of your style study and can become your filter for how to organize your closet and shop for yourself in the future. The more precise you are the better. It is also absolutely ok that these preferences change and grow into something else over time.

Style is the sum of clothes/accessories and the woman wearing them. Once you start regarding the latter as equally important, you stop buying things merely because they look good on a hanger or in pictures, and start getting the pieces the woman will actually wear.



What does your style study look like?



"Wearing the same outfit over and over again" will be next weeks blog post and my #3 style skeleton. I hope you'll give it a read.

If you found this post helpful it would mean the world to me if you would leave a COMMENT and SHARE with whoever might need to read this.


photography@crystalcoronaphotography



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Updated: Apr 29

It starts innocently enough. You walk into your closet in the morning and do what is necessary. “If you are not a nudist, style is for you.”, says Tan France. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any nudists, meaning we all need to get dressed, to cover our body in some form or another.


We have thoughts circulating in our minds that sabotage our true style potential. I picture them as style skeletons.


Some of them literally manifest into a physical form (think that dress I wore 15 years ago to my graduation). Unfortunately, many of them live back in the dusty cobwebs of our brain, leaving us subconsciously unaware of how dirty, old, and blocking they truly are. Following is a written cemetery of the skeletons I encounter most often in my own closet and that of my clients and some thoughts on how to start burying them for good. We'll start with:


1. Living in a fantasy


This is my # 1 because it is by far the one skeleton I meet the most. It rattles its bones like this:


  • “Once I lose 10 pounds, I will go shopping/wear that dress/feel better about myself/dare to wear that shirt."

  • “That dress used to fit and I loved it. It will fit again.”

  • “When I was younger, … (insert what made you happy about your body that you were not grateful for back then).”

  • “Before I became a mom, I wore A/B/C.”

  • “Once I start going out again, … (or right now: “Once this darn pandemic is over, …”).


Have you had any of these “living in the past/future”- thoughts before? Actually, scratch that. I know you have at some point in your adult style life. It is in a way, as they so often say, human nature to strive for more/different/better in the future and to reminisce about the grass that once was greener. Taking a closer look at the initial conditional “Once I weigh less/go out/have time for this... .“, reframes these thoughts into


“I SHOULD weigh less/go out more/be this other woman.”

In short, it’s about who we think we are supposed to be to make us worthy of love and acceptance. As common as these thoughts are, sadly they also waste a lot of mental energy, time, and money. I’m not gonna lie, this stinker is a tough one. Accepting what is in the here and now requires conscious effort, be it for your body or current circumstance.



Remedy:


This problem is so substantial that I see a whole other blog post just about this topic on the horizon, but for now, let’s understand some basics. Here's what happens when we live in fairyland too often:

We start dressing another woman - the woman with the younger or thinner or curvier or whatnot body, the woman who used to work a different job or used to have a different social life, the woman we think we are supposed to be. Turns out our closet has morphed into her closet (we’re addressing this in the next post but as you can guess “I have nothing to wear!” is highly connected to this).


There are several strategies to dress for the life you are living right now, but the first step towards a healthy state of mind is actually recognizing these thoughts in the first place.



Awareness is the first step into style freedom.


Next time you go into your closet:

  • Give yourself 5 more minutes.

  • Put one hand on your heart and one on your tummy.

  • Close your eyes.

  • Take several deep breaths.

  • Listen in.


The idea behind this is signaling to your brain that you are in a safe, non-stressful situation (best place to be for rational decisions as opposed to rash fight or flight selections). Now, ask yourself, how are you feeling at this moment? Be specific. "Good" or "Bad" are mere labels. "Happy", "Frustrated", "Confident", "Confused" and the like are what we are going for. Open your eyes and look at your clothes. Dressing the woman you are today requires that you are able to name how she is actually feeling and detect when these blocking thoughts of inadequacy arise. Meet those thoughts with self-kindness and compassion. If that size 4 dress used to fit 5 years ago then it belongs to another woman. Your action to lift this block is to let go of that dress and to choose something you truly LOVE and feel good in. You deserve that every day.


Awareness + Self-compassion + Action

=

Acceptance and Self-love in the present



On a broader scale, these feelings of “shoulds, ifs, and whens” to "deserve" self-love and being loved are kept in the dark all too often. To let go of them they have to “come out” of the closet (sorry, I couldn't help myself, lol). We have all had these thoughts yet we rarely talk about them. Finding the courage to tell each other our true story ironically gives us the power to reach exactly that feeling of love and acceptance that we all long for. For further reading on this, I highly recommend “The Gifts of Imperfection" by the wonderful Brené Brown. Her phrase "hustling for worthiness" sums up exactly what these fantasy land thoughts are.


"I have nothing to wear./Decision fatigue" will be next weeks blog post and my #2 style skeleton. I hope you'll give it a read.

If you found this post helpful it would mean the world to me if you would leave a COMMENT and SHARE with whoever might need to read this.


photography @crystalcoronaphotography

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