If I asked you to describe the clothing hanging in your closet right now what words would come to mind? Nourishing, fulfilling and sensual? Or would it be better described as unsatisfying, disappointing and always leaves you wanting more. Now make a mental note of these words, thoughts and feelings and notice how you feel.
Many people joke about fast food saying there's a secret ingredient that makes it addictive. While I'm not sure what goes into it, I'm pretty sure I know what's missing - real, whole foods that nourish the body and leave you feeling great. After eating a fast food meal, although we've often surpassed our daily calorie and fat quota by a stretch, we're still left wanting more because essential needs aren't being met such as vitamins, minerals and just the feel good factor of having sat down to a nourishing meal and enjoyed it with the company of friends and family.
Our wardrobes can have the same effect. There's no coincidence that cheap, mass-produced clothing is referred to as 'fast fashion'. It's quick, easy and inexpensive, much like a Happy Meal, but is too soon forgotten. It may not wash well or may pill more quickly than we'd like, leaving us to buy more clothing to replace it.
Now don't get me wrong - I tell my clients it's perfectly ok to have some 'fast fashion' in their wardobes but knowing how it fits in is key. When a wardrobe is built on good-quality core items then it can be updated seasonally by bringing in said fast fashion to give it a current look, inject some color and bring in some personality. But the differentiating factor is that these pieces are not purchased to last for several years. They're planned for, they're bought for the current season and they're discarded once they've passed their prime.
Having a wardrobe that is built on fast fashion (inexpensive items, sale items that aren't quite right or other items that were bought in the heat of the moment) will always leave us wanting more, causing us to over-buy (or overeat) because we never get what we need and are never really satisfied. Even when our closets are stuffed to the gills and we have so much clothing that we can't even get to it, we never feel that we can go to our closet, choose the perfect outfit time after time and emerge looking and feeling great. It's always a stress-filled endeavor.
So what's the remedy? Easy, my dear. A diet. But since I'm not a big fan of this four letter word I prefer to use the term 'strategy'. Here is my remedy for a junk food wardrobe:
1/ First, bust the clutter. Go through your closet and weed out anything you can part with, items you no longer wear and those pieces that pilled after the first washing. Take note of labels, how long you've owned the garment, and what attracted you to it in the first place. This will serve you well in the future.
2/ Now assess what's left. Are there some good, nourishing core items in there that you forgot about? Did you find some hidden gems in the midst of the clutter? Or will you be starting from scratch to build a wardrobe that will really serve you and leave you feeling 'satisfied' every time?
3/ Determine your needs. This can be an on-going list that you keep on hand in your closet. When you go to get dressed and have that "I wish I had a __" thought, write it down. Some of my best purchases have come from those very insights. Notice if you keep wishing for the same thing over and over (a great belt, a colorful scarf, a netural jacket, etc) and you'll begin to understand what you really desire from your wardrobe, and differentiate it from a fleeting 'craving'.
4/ Go shopping. Go alone, take your list and have a plan. You will buy what's on your list. You will only entertain buying other items if they pass this test:
· This item fits me very well, or I can easily have it altered (and am sure I will)
· This item goes with at least 3 items I already own
· This item is well made of quality fabric
· This item can be worn for more than 1 season
· I love it and can't wait to wear it!
Taking time to build a wardrobe that's filled with both quality items and a few fast food items that were bought with intention will serve you well. You'll be assured have outfits that are ready at a moment's notice and will leave you feeling comforted, satisfied and like everything's going to be ok - much like a homecooked meal from mom.