How to find an exciting outfit again and again when you have too many clothes but those are not enough?

We all start our days the same way. “What should I wear today is a common question for all of us?” We take into consideration practical aspects like work, weather but also personal ones like mood and dealing with insecurities. All of these needs and wants send us on the new road of having too many clothes. But there is some point when too much turn into “decision fatigue”, into actually having nothing to wear. Constantly we find ways to deal with the paralyzing fear of making the wrong choice by talking to each other and sharing what works.

Here are some ways how we can find exciting outfits again and again.

1. Out of sight, out of mind 

Store the clothes that are off-season somewhere you can’t see them. When you’re about to switch to a new season. This means that some of our clothes will go in storage and some will come out. The way you pack your clothes for storage matters a lot.

Storage do’s and don’ts:

Best way to store clothes is divide them by fabrics before storing. Wool and silk go together and the rest in a separate bag. That’s because when you store silk and wool it’s best to protect them with a bit of cedar wood or lavender.

The worst way to store your clothes is in a plastic container. This won’t let your clothes breathe and the air inside the container will get musty. The only thing a plastic container does is protect your clothes from dust. Polyester bags are basically the same as plastic containers. They might work if they have some holes in them to allow air circulation.

How to find exciting outfit
Wardrobe planning to get the exciting outfit every time.

Another best way to store clothes is in linen bag. It is because linen is one of the strongest natural materials out there. It’s antibacterial which helps to fight bad odours. This material is breathable and protects from UV damage, dust and it’s very easy to maintain. And Linen bags are so light that they are great for packing and organizing your clothes when travelling. Who doesn’t love a well-organized suitcase?

Here are some tips of storing clothes:
  • Wash your cloths before storing them. If you don’t wash them, you will notice some strange odours, especially if you store them in plastic bins, polyester bags and other non-breathable materials.
  • Use fragrance-free detergent.
  • Light ironing. You don’t have to be super good or precise with your ironing, just make sure there are no creases. If you fold your clothes wrinkled, the fabric might get damaged, and it will create creases that will be very hard to get rid of in a few months.
  • Fold carefully. Folding is also important when storing clothes. This is the way you will you get the least amount of creases as possible.

Here are some folding instructions:
👉If you have shirts with a collar, make sure that the collar is not bent and that there are no creases.
👉When it comes to pants, classic trousers, jeans and skirts it’s better to store them loosely rolled so they don’t get creased.
👉For sweaters it doesn’t really matter if you fold or roll them, they will keep their original shape.
👉Your coats and blazers should be stored on nice, wide cedar hangers, not folded. You should cover them in a breathable fabric that will protect them from dust.

2. Visual Guide

Create a visual outfit guide so you can instantly see your options. Even if you have your fashion style well defined, a visual wardrobe planner can show you the options you have for your personal style that day. It works like a fashion mood board but with a twist.

Herewith the step by step visual guide preparation.
  • Clothing selection: Decide what clothes, shoes and bags from your wardrobe you want to include in your new seasonal wardrobe. Just choose all the things you’ll be excited to wear in the near future. It can be just 5 items, or 10, or 20. Just make sure they are clean, ironed and ready to be photographed.
  • Photoshoot: Make sure that you have good natural light close by. The best way is to shoot in front of a window. This is very important because if you shoot in a dark room, the colour of your clothes will come out wrong. Also, the light shouldn't be too strong. You will know the light is too strong when you see sunspots on the floor or the wall. It can make your picture look overexposed, and all the colours will appear lighter than they really are. So just wait until you get nice, soft light and then start shooting. Better way to shoot items is on the wall. You can use a small nail or some kind of a hook and hang your dress on it. This way you can see how it drapes at the bottom - it’s quite important. As for the rest of the garments that don’t keep their shape, like knitwear or silk stuff you can simply shoot on the floor or the table, whatever you prefer. It’s better to have a white or light grey background. It will make the upcoming editing faster and easier. You can use a big sheet of white paper or some white cotton fabric, like bedsheets, as a background, big white canvas.
  • Editing: Now as you have all the photos, you can start editing. First of all, you should adjust the colours where needed. If you see that the item on the picture looks different than in reality, you should adjust the exposure, contrast and saturation. Don’t use any filters. After that usually people use Photoshop but there are some apps or free software that you can use for creating your digital wardrobe planner.

3. Mindful shopping

Only add garments that allow you to create more outfits. It all starts with understanding your stylistic needs and reflecting them into one or multiple capsule wardrobes. A capsule wardrobe or a closet wardrobe is a collection of interchangeable clothes that are planned for a specific season, travel purpose, professional office etiquette, or specific lifestyle. You could build a capsule for a season or for the entire year, for example. This type of wardrobe saves you a lot of time and money once you achieve it because you’ll always know what to wear to look your best. We can’t expect a nurse and a flight attendant to have the same wardrobe needs.

The ideal personal capsule wardrobe is versatile because all the clothes you have are fully interchangeable. This simple wardrobe change solves a lot of the problems we currently have with clothes: stress and wasted time trying to figure out an outfit, or simply having a lot of clothes that you don’t even know how to wear anymore. A fully versatile closet is a sustainable solution that deals with impulse shopping and reduces fashion waste because you end up wearing everything you own for a longer period of time.

4. Seasonal wardrobe revisions

Here are some tips for seasonal wardrobe revisions.

👉How do you decide which one to keep and to let go of?
  • Keep: Clothes that make you feel happy, clothes that help self-expression, clothes that fit right, fabrics that do and feel good, clothes that allow mobility, clothes that make you forget you’re wearing them.
  • Let go: Those clothes that don’t fit you and need adjusting every minute, clothes that guilt trip you into exercising, clothes that hide your ‘flaws’, clothes that ‘flatter’ your body type, clothes that are too tight to allow natural movement, clothes you can’t wait to take off as soon as you’re home. It should come as no surprise that you should also get rid of garments that are broken, stained, too small, too outdated. Also, you can let go of clothing or shoes that don't suit your lifestyle/ comfort level anymore or garments that you can’t wear anywhere.

👉What happens to the items you don’t want any longer? Do you give them a new life?
The worst thing to do with old clothes is to throw them away. Fashion waste is one of the biggest contributors to the global environmental crisis we’re currently facing. Let’s not add to it. There are tons of stores where you can sell your old garments and get some money back. If that’s too much of a hassle for you, donating them is another good option. If you’re still left with unwanted clothes, consider repurposing them with the help of local tailors. An old jacket can become a blazer, a skirt or so on. The last good option available is to recycle your clothes through your local recycling stations or stores.

👉What is an essential item you always keep in your closet?

If you love going on long walks, so a pair of good shoes that go with mostly everything - like a ballerina shoe – can be a staple of your wardrobe. Besides this, you can have mood-boosting clothes in your closets, especially in these dark times we are all facing. The way we dress influences our mood. Knowing you can actively do something to improve your mood always helps.

👉How do you organize your wardrobe after revisions? Is there any tip to keep it tidy and fresh?

Once you’ve revised your wardrobe it’s time to divide everything by season, so you end up with 4 piles of clothes. If you have only one kind of weather all year, you should still try to divide it into smaller parts.

For now, focus only on the current season. The best storage solution for your clothes is one that protects them from dust, smells, is breathable and not too bulky. You can use a storage bag that is a mix of Japanese Furoshiki wrapping techniques and Bento box. They’re made out of natural linen, come in multiple colours and sizes so they look great in open wardrobes or closed ones.

The next thing you should do is divide your clothes by type: tops with tops, skirts with skirts and so on. Then you should check the quality of your clothes. Look at every single item in each category and decide what you want to keep, leave for later or discard.

  • The ‘Keep’ category includes everything that you wear, love and want to wear in the future. Remember, decluttering should leave you with clothing that fits properly, suits your colour type, is practical and makes you feel beautiful.
  • The ‘Leave for later’ category is for garments that you cannot understand whether you like them or not. Keep them away from your current wardrobe. If you forget about it and don't wear them over the next six months, it will become obvious you don’t need them.
  • The ‘Discard’ category is for items that are broken, stained, too small or too outdated.

Now that you’re left with all the clothing that you are absolutely sure you will wear and love, try to make as many outfits as you can. At this point, you might find out that you still have way too much. This means that you might need to reduce your wardrobe even more.

Another problem that you might face is that you can’t create full outfits because some pieces are missing. For example, you have a dress you love but no appropriate pair of shoes. Or you have a skirt that only goes with 1 or 2 tops. Think of what other tops you can get in the future that will go with that skirt and some other bottoms in your wardrobe.

The last step is to keep your clothes organized, fresh and attractive. No one wants to wear wrinkled, smelly, dusty clothes. When you have a well-organized wardrobe where you can see everything you have, it will be much easier to choose what to wear and get rid of choice fatigue.

5. Outfits number/Clothes number:

Keep the clothes that offer increased versatility. A maximalist or large wardrobe doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a huge amount of clothes, but a lot of outfits. By comparison with other wardrobes, it does have more clothes. But not as many as you’d imagine. How do 100 outfits sound? You can get them with only 15 tops, 6 bottoms, and 10 dresses.

So what do you think? What makes a wardrobe maximalist? Is it a wardrobe out of control where only a few things match? Or is it a wardrobe where everything matches so well together that the outfit options increase exponentially?

Author:
Mozahida Akhtar
Lecturer
Department of Textile Fashion and Design
Bangladesh University of Textiles

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