Every woman has a closet or drawers filled with jeans they kind of like but if we're being honest, don't love. My expectation for loving a clothing item is that 1) every time you put it on you know you look good 2) it fits you in a way nothing else does and 3) when you have nothing to wear, it’s a piece you can always rely on. Most women don't have a single pair of jeans they feel this way about. Personally, I'd rather have one perfect pair of jeans than 10 or 20 pairs I feel just okay about. Here's 5 reasons why:
- It's a waste of space. Your closet or drawers are smooshed, cluttered and you can't find what you want to wear and when you do, it's wrinkled because it was jammed in there.
- It's a waste of money. If we don't feel good in what we have, we buy something new. But we haven't learned anything different so we repeat the same patterns; buying ill-fitting jeans that we don't love but give us a quick hit of joy; we wear them a few times then retire them to said drawer.
- It's a blow to our confidence. It’s a blow to our confidence. Wearing jeans that stretch out when we wear them, sag around our behind, fit too tightly on our waist, too low around our hips, distracts us from our experience and keeps us in our heads, feeling less than great about ourselves.
- It supports a system that doesn't support us. I personally am sick of giving my money to huge clothing companies that could give a damn about fit and just want to sell stuff. Most clothes today are made to fit everyone and therefore fit no one, so they're cheap and look, frankly, like hell on all of us.
- It’s a waste of your time on this earth. This is the most important reason to stop buying clothes that don't fit. You work, you make money, you buy clothes, you need more money, you work more, you buy more clothes and the cycle continues. We are all consumers; the problem is we've based our entire lives around consuming so we spend our precious days working hard so we can...buy more jeans that don't fit?
Stop the madness.
We don't have to live this way. We can get dressed with ease and look damn good doing it. It's more simple than you think and definitely more simple than ordering stuff online that doesn't fit and just keeping it anyway because we all know returning clothes is a pain and dredging through the online web to find more jeans is, well, an even bigger pain.
Stop settling. Here's how:
- Find your style. Make a Pinterest board of outfits you love but don't add them to the board until you identify what you love about them. Examples, "I love the oversized jacket because I'd feel comfortable in that," or "I like high-waisted pants because then I don't have to think about my stomach." This is a great place to start.
Next: Add at least 15 images of outfits and then look for trends. Not fashion trends. Your trends. Do you love high-waisted; are you into skirts; is your style more masculine; do you loathe prints; do you actually hate skinny jeans after all?
Next next: Pull out the items you pinned more than once and shop those. Make a goal list of pieces you want eventually. And stop — please stop — going to Target when you're bored or lonely and filling up your cart with clothes that I can promise you aren't made to fit or last, and are definitely not made ethically.
- Get rid of stuff. Painful but necessary. Phone a friend and grab some wine. To make space physically and metaphorically for a better wardrobe, you need to clear out what's holding you back. If you haven't worn it in a year, gone. If you kind of like it, gone. If your aunt gave it to you for Christmas and you've never worn it but...gone. Make a pile, take it to Goodwill THAT DAY and do not, whatever you do, re-open the bag (thank you Kon Mari Method). Let your trash be someone else's treasure and focus on what you really deserve: a closet full of well-fitting, treasurable clothing.
Trust the process.
- Find your brand. Try on jeans. Follow influencers and stylists with similar bodies to yours. Invest in pricier pieces from smaller brands; they are almost always more tailored to fit better because their success depends upon it. Brands I love for fit: Vintage Levi's, Imogen & Willie, Reformation, Rolla's and Bomē (jeans someday, skirt today).
Note: Pay attention to the measurements when you shop and start by knowing your own measurements:
- Take a piece of string (this assumes you don’t have a tape measurer; if you do, use it).
- Waist: Wrap the string around your waist (below your ribs and above your belly button). Measure in inches.
- Hips: Repeat around your hips (the middle part of your bum). Measure in inches.
- For waist and hips respectively, lay the string on a measuring tape or ruler to find your measurement.
- Buy sizes that are closest to your hip and waist measurement. I buy for my hips because it's easy to have the waist taken in. Your hips are usually larger than your waist, and you can't add fabric. If you have a larger waist than hips, buy for your waist and have the hips taken in.
- Shop staples and compliment them with statement pieces. Don't start with accessories. Start with jeans. Jackets. Overalls. Trousers. Blazers. Dresses. Statement pieces that go with everything and can be worn year round. Then start to pepper in accent pieces like blouses so your wardrobe starts to round out. When you develop your foundation with staples, it is easy to create an outfit because you're building on what's already working. Without a good-fitting pair of jeans, any outfit is going to look, at best, mediocre, because fit makes you feel good and shows just how good you look. No more mediocre. We deserve better than mediocre.
- Build a closet of outfits. Once you've got a few statement and staple pieces, go home, pull up your Pinterest board, and start to create outfits from your new and current pieces, inspired by what you liked on your board. Then take a jacket from that outfit and carry it over into the next and build a different outfit. This is how we use our base to create style and ease — our personal style, to be exact. Pieces that fit well and can be reworn across outfits, occasions and seasons.
- Stop consuming and go live. I'm a small business owner in a global pandemic. I've been working with a budget for longer than I care to admit and while I find it constraining at times, it has been hands-down the biggest gift to my home and closet. By consuming less, I've gotten so clear on my style and I find when I'm feeling *abundant* and start shopping again, I get overwhelmed and my outfits show it. I can't find my style because I have too many options and it gets hectic rather than simple, and I feel flustered rather than calm and cool.
Buying more will not fix your problems. Getting intentional will. If you take yourself through this process you will spend less, look better, cut waste (money, time, resources, landfills...) and you'll make ease and art of getting dressed.Here's an example of a board I made for my own wardrobe this winter. This is representative of my personal style...not yours. Yours will look and feel entirely different so my hope is not that this informs your board, but rather helps you see how to uncover the trends and capture the essence of your style through the inspiration of imagery.