Let me set a common scene...
Maybe it's getting warmer outside and the sun is shining brighter. You feel like you're coming out of hibernation and are feeling rejuvenated.
You skip to your closet (well, you might not actually be skipping, but I'm just trying to set the scene) cause it's time to dig out your Spring and Summer wardrobe.
You open your closet doors full of hope and excitement...
But then your shoulders deflate and SIGH.
You realize that none of your the clothes from last season fit, their old and ratty or you're just plain bored with them.
Can you relate to the picture below (no matter the size of your butt)?
Right now, you have two options on how to move forward:
1. Close your doors and ignore it. You can keep wearing the same clothes piled in your floor right? Hey, if this fully serves and supports you, then this a completely valid option. If this doesn't feel supportive, then move option #2.
2. You've decided you want to buy some new pieces to support your feelings of excitement and that support the life and body you have today.
If you are choosing option #2, then I want to help set you up for success. I want you to actually LOVE & WEAR your new pieces LONG TERM (not just purge them next year).
I will be using my own example of a new dress that I bought. Stay tuned to find out if I kept it or returned it! PLUS, you'll find some links, guides, videos and pictures to help you implement what you learn!
So, do the following before you decide to hand over your credit card:
1. Get clarity, plan and make a list.
Ask yourself what's missing from your wardrobe that will be the most supportive to your body and lifestyle?
~ Get some clarity on your values and needs, then create a priority list so that you shop with intention and direction.
Ex: I determined that I needed a casual Summer dress to support my life and wardrobe.
2. Identify what makes you feel good or not good (data collection!)
Go into your wardrobe and look at the pieces that you already love and wear. Get more of those!
Ask yourself, what connects you with how I want to feel? Not how you look, but HOW YOU FEEL.
What kind of style details (ruffles, structure, lace, off the shoulder, etc...), colours, patterns, material/fabrics, embellishments, etc...excited you and can help you connect with your personality?
Ex: In a dress, I am looking for a bold colour that I love. I wanted something red, fuchsia or a combo of both. I am really liking the dramatic sleeve and something a bit oversized (not form fitting). l know that I DO NOT LIKE --> RUFFLES, lol! Nothing wrong with ruffles, I just know that it does not make me feel like ME (this is some great data to help me in my search so that shopping is not overwhelming).
If you hate everything in your wardrobe or it's not a current representation to how you want to feel and want some inspiration, then I recommend you create a vision board!
I do this every Spring & Fall. Here's the one I'm currently working on! Spring/Summer 2022.
Analyze some common style elements, colours, patterns, fabrics, etc... This is great data to help in your search to narrow down what you want to try on.
Not sure how to create a vision board? Don't worry, I've got you.
Click the link below.
3. Start your search and implement #1 & #2.
This doesn't mean we go straight to BUYING or trying on ALL THE DRESSES. Instead we do some recon and investigating and narrow things down so that we don't get overwhelmed and give up or settle and buy something we won't end up wearing.
Ex: I start to investigate dresses in person or online. I often do a bit of both.
I find the dresses section and then I look at the colours & pattern of the dresses to narrow it down more.
Then once I find colours and patterns that I like, then I look at style details, the structure of the piece and how I would like it on my body or have it match my personal style.
4. Find the best fit off the hanger and dress the largest part of you. (you can make clothes smaller, but you WILL NOT shrink your body for the clothes to fit).
Take your measurements and check out size charts if looking online. You may have to order 2 or 3 sizes.
Remember, all retailers make their sizing different, even when made by the same brand! So, do not attach your worth to any number on a tag and try on any size to see what feels good.
If I'm online, then read reviews if possible before I order it so that I know if it's fitting big or small by most people.
If I'm in a store, then I bring various sizes into the dressing room. I try on to make sure it's the right size.
If you find a good fit awesome. If it fits a bit big and the next size down is too small, but if it has potential to fit with alterations, then consider it further.
**Alterations** I consider alterations if truly love the piece and it will be supportive to my lifestyle. If I'm unsure what can be altered, then I buy it (know the return policy) and take it to a tailor to find out more info.
If I'm happy with the answers, then I put in the extra money and effort to have a piece fit my body perfectly.
Ex: I shopped my dress online. Once I found one that I met my needs, I read reviews. I noticed that most were saying that it fit tight in the chest area. Since my chest is the largest part on my body, I sized up in the dress when I ordered it. But I often order 2 sizes when I shop online, especially with pants/jeans. Mine ended up fitting me perfectly.
Here's the dress!
You've gone shopping. You've come home with some new pieces and the dopamine is running through your body.
Now it's that critical moment before you rip the tags off your shiny new piece of clothing. Let the dopamine settle and slow down.
5. Keep the tags on for a minimum of 72 hours.
Resist the urge to excitedly rip tag off when you get home. Wear the piece for a few hours or as much as you can to evaluate comfort.
Sit in it, move around. Live in it for awhile, but don't cook in it. We are trying to avoid uncomfortable clothes or pieces that completely stretch out after a short time of wearing.
We don't want to mistakenly buy pieces that show sweat stains or hurt our feet, etc....
Ex: I picked a day that I had an hour or two to wear the dress to determine comfort. I had a niggling suspicion that the fabric and how close the fabric was to my armpits, that I was going to have visible sweat. Stay tuned for my results at the end!
6. Try the item on with various outfits to establish versatility.
Trust me, if you cannot style a piece at least 3 WAYS (this has been a game changer for my clients), then you are not going to wear it frequently or will get bored of wearing it the same way all the time.
Try on various shoes, layering pieces, pants, tops, etc...
Make sure you have things that you already own that can make it versatile or wearable for you.
Know how you want to style it! If this is challenging for you, this is where Pinterest comes in handy because it's a search engine. I would type in "red pant outfits" and see what comes up and inspires me.
Put on a fav playlist and get curious, be playful and don't be afraid of getting out of your comfort zone!
Ex: While I spent an hour or two in the dress to evaluate comfort, I played with styling it.
I played with different earrings to wear with the dress (see below). I found 2 great ones and have linked where I found them.
Because it's a dress, I'm mainly focusing on various footwear to wear with it. Because of the style of the dress, I don't plan on wearing it with a layering piece over it because it would hide the beautiful puff sleeve. However, I know I would throw my denim jacket over it if I needed to. If your new piece is a pant, then you want to have versatility with shoes, tops and possible layering pieces to get versatility.
I found 3 pairs of shoes that I love with this dress that would differ by activity and occasion. I have my sneakers (in the first pic way above, then my flat two toned sandals and a strappy nude heeled sandal).
1st Earrings: from https://whitebirchhandmadegoods.com/
2nd Earrings: from https://erinellerker.com/
7. Know where and when you're going to wear it.
As mentioned above, I knew what shoes I wanted to wear based on occasion.
If your new piece is for a special occasion and/or date night. Make sure it's something you will actually wear and not just like the “idea of”.
Be happy with your answers.
If the piece passes all questions, then YAY!!!
You've got yourself a powerful new piece of clothing in your wardrobe that you are going to LOVE & WEAR!
8. Make a decision. Don't let the tags stay on for months unworn. Return it or wear it.
9. If you later realized you made a mistake in buying it. That's okay!
We are human and we learn from making mistakes. I still make mistakes, not as often, but I still do. Just make sure you learn something!
So, want to know if I kept or returned the dress???
Okay, it might be hard to tell from the pic, but there is a small sweat stain and I've only been wearing it for less than an hour and it's not even hot out yet.
My brain wanted to convince me to settle because I LOVE it so much.
But I've made this mistake before. I am not going to settle cause I will try to wear it and be paranoid about sweating and this dress will not get the love it deserves. Plus, I want to save my $$ for something that I will love and wear with comfort for years to come.
The dress was returned.
End of story and teaching lesson.
~ I hope you found this helpful! Use it as a guide to moving closer to being more mindful and intentional with your wardrobe!