Self-care – we all need some, right? That phrase has been tossed around a lot lately – for some people, self-care is a full-on spa experience, but for others, it’s 5 minutes alone with a cup of tea. And for many people, it falls somewhere in the middle. A quick Google search turned up that self-care is “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” A pretty broad definition – but I think that’s a good thing, since how you care for yourself depends on what you need or want at a given moment.
I work with clients of all different ages, backgrounds, sizes and lifestyles. And one thing I commonly find is that people aren’t caring for themselves in the wardrobe department. They may shop to find new things – but they don’t know what to do with them once they get home. Or they may recognize the need to organize their closet – but it never actually gets on the to-do list.
I believe that how you perceive yourself has a tremendous effect on how you go about your day (and life). And that self-perception often starts in the mirror – you get dressed and either like what you see, dislike it, or deem it as ‘passable’ and move on. So, in order to help shift that perception to something more positive, I’ve compiled a few actionable steps you can take to improve your relationship with the person in the mirror, make getting dressed a more enjoyable experience, and practice a little self-care with your wardrobe.
TAKE THE TIME TO GET DRESSED
Do you give yourself enough time to get dressed in the morning? If getting dressed is 3 minutes squeezed in between making sure the kids eat breakfast and when you have to walk out the door, it’s probably not enough time. So, giving yourself ample time to pick out your clothes, to decide what works for the day and consider what will make you feel amazing is clearly a little self-care that goes a long way.
And if the mornings aren’t the best time (or you’re not willing to wake up 15 minutes earlier), do a little pre-planning. Lay out your outfit the night before - believe me, 5 minutes the night before can save you 15 minutes the next morning. And if that seems unattainable, lay out your clothes before you get in the shower. It separates your outfit decision from the time you’re actually pulling on your clothes – and even that little space between tasks can make you feel better about what you’re wearing.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR CLOTHES
I consistently tell my clients, “take care of your clothes and your clothes will take care of you.” And within that, there are a few things to remember:
Launder/dry clean your clothes in a timely manner – stains are infinitely easier to remove the sooner you attend to them. So, deal with the wine stain on your ivory blouse as soon as you notice it – otherwise, it will ferment (so to speak) in the hamper for days and may never come out.
Do any necessary alterations/maintenance – the best time to alter new clothes is when you buy them, so I advise shopping in stores that do on-site alterations (when possible). And if that isn’t feasible, plan a trip to the tailor soon after making new purchases, especially if you often need alterations. Because once you get your clothes home, the chances that you’ll head to the tailor decrease exponentially the longer you have them. And when you notice a torn seam or a button hanging by a thread – deal with it right away. Otherwise, a small problem can become a big one.
Let your clothes (literally) breathe – give your clothes enough space in your closet so that they’re not crammed together. Otherwise, you’re more likely to be wrinkled than not – and then it’s the frantic morning decision of ironing/steaming vs. getting to the office on time.
TAKE THE TIME TO ORGANIZE YOUR CLOSET
An organized closet = wardrobe self-care. Why? Because when your clothes are organized into their respective areas (tops, pants, jackets, skirts, dresses), you know where to go to find what you want. And when they’re classified even further (sleeveless tops, short sleeve tops, long sleeve tops), it narrows your focus to what you specifically need to complete your outfit, which saves time and tons of frustration. And it also saves you from any clothing avalanches when you’re pulling out that one sweater at the bottom of the pile to see what it is – and a dozen other sweaters fall out of the closet.
Do you know that you don’t love your current style – but you’re not sure what you want? Then it’s time for wardrobe self-care through finding inspiration. Yes, there are people who aren’t motivated by expressing a specific style – but if you want to project an intentional image at work or on dates or in social situations, it pays to take the time to get inspired.
You can get inspired in a few ways – leafing through your favorite fashion magazines, scrolling through Instagram, reading style blogs, or just people watching on your lunch hour. Basically, it’s looking anywhere for visual examples that represent how you’d like to dress, what you’d like to wear, and the overall vibe you’re going for. Click here for more ideas on finding style inspiration.
FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU NEED
I’ll often ask my clients if they go to the grocery store with a list – and most answer, “yes.” And then I’ll ask if they’ve ever gone clothing shopping with a list – and the majority answer, “no.” And that often results in buying things that you don’t need or selecting items that you have nothing to wear with or making purchasing decisions that you regret later.
Before you go shopping, practice a little self-care and figure out what you need in your closet. And if it’s not an obvious answer to you, then here’s what you do: put a pad and pen on your dresser (or write a note in your phone) and when you’re getting dressed and feel like you’re missing something, write it down. It doesn’t need to be the precise item (like a denim jacket), but can just be the true need (a jacket to throw over sleeveless dresses). Once you have a few things on your list, it’s time to go shopping. And while you’re prepping for your shopping trip, read this for a few other things to consider before you set foot in a store.
SHOP WITH INTENT
Shopping with intent relates to figuring out what you need – but it’s a little more than that. When I’m talking about self-care through your wardrobe, I often mention the idea of getting dressed on purpose (making decisions about how you want to be perceived and how that translates to your appearance), as opposed to getting dressed by default (wearing what you always wear, regardless of the impression it makes). And if you don’t have what you need in your closet, then it starts with shopping with intent.
It begins with relatively simple ideas – like giving yourself the time to try things on, wearing clothes that are easy to get in/out of, being in a good frame of mind, only bringing friends if they can provide objective opinions, etc. And it also includes being focused, avoiding distractions and being deliberate with what you decide to purchase. Essentially, it’s doing everything you can to create an environment where you’ll make purposeful decisions and buy clothes that add functionality and personality to your wardrobe.
CREATE SOME OUTFITS
This is somewhat a reiteration of the first point – but an important one to make. Do you want to feel great in your clothes? Do you want to wear outfits that make you feel amazing and powerful and sexy? Do you want to express yourself to the world in an intentional way? Then it pays to do a little self-care pre-work. And by pre-work, I mean creating outfits before you’re actually getting dressed.
I wholeheartedly advise this for important occasions – job interviews, a friend’s 40th birthday party, your son’s elementary school graduation – but I also support this for any regular Monday-Friday at the office, Sunday brunch, and weekly date nights. And there are a few ways you can do it: you can take a couple of hours on a weekend afternoon, pull together some outfits and note what goes with what for future reference. Or you can grab a few of your favorites from your closet to create and photograph a handful of looks, especially if these pieces are harder to pair with other things in your wardrobe. And at minimum, when you’re wearing an outfit you love, take a selfie to save the outfit idea for another day when you just don’t’ have time to figure out what to wear.
Are you ready for a little self-care with your wardrobe? If you need extra motivation via a partner in the process, click here to schedule a free phone consultation with me. We’ll discuss your needs, the different ways we can work together and how you can create a style that makes you feel great when you walk out the door, each and every day.