My wardrobe is crammed but I have nothing to wear
December 27, 2010 12:09 AM Subscribe
Help! I think I am slightly obsessed with clothing. I feel like I have nothing to wear. (But my closet is full of lovely things!). How can I have a more healthy, less anxious attitude to dressing, particularly for the workplace?
posted by Weng to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
I have a mild obsession with accumulating new clothes. On average, it costs me a few hundred dollars each month, an expense which is almost completely unnecessary as I have an abundance of clothes already.
Definitely am not a stylish fashionista trading a month's rent for a luxury 'investment piece'. I am totally ignorant of designer goods, runway looks, don't read Vogue, rarely have the latest, seasonal / trendy item of clothing. I don't care about looking up to date and will often spend half the money on ebay or at thrift stores. It's more that... how can I put this... Even though I have a closet crammed with clothes that are perfectly acceptable (for example 14 nice blouses in various colours, at last count), I feel like I NEVER have anything to wear!! And that the only way to remedy this is to keep buying things! As many as half of them on impulse, and which I am later dissatisfied with.
I've had this preoccupation with new clothes ever since I could afford it, with my first paid job at the age of 15. But it gets more pronounced at certain times when I feel extra self-conscious, particularly with a change of job or relationship. My current workplace is creative and I have just started in a more 'visible' and more challenging role, so I feel this pressure to look more professional, creative and stylish than I actually feel inside.
The annoying thing is that despite all the new clothes, I still really struggle to put together an outfit in the morning that looks special. (Perhaps this is an unrealistic standard??) I often end up halfway through the working day feeling really boring or daggy. Previously I just used to dress in black all the time, which I have tried to change, but now my wardrobe is still pretty monochrome: solid beige, brown and olive green with the odd bit of grey or blue. I am weirdly scared of accessorizing, I feel gaudy and attention-seeking even wearing a necklace, like I'm decorating a Christmas tree. Plus I have this complex about wearing the same clothes over and over. I suspect people will notice that I'm always wearing the same thing. Not to mention the endless thought loop that my wardrobe is never complete: 'If only I had a cardigan in dark green as well as forest green... If I only had an A-line black skirt as well as the 3 other types of black skirts the same length...' And so it goes on, and I DO recognise the futility of this kind of consumerist thinking but I do it anyway. I also read a lot of blogs like Fashion for Nerds, What I Wore Today, Overcaffeinated etc which I love, but I suspect frequenting these makes me even more hung up on clothes.
I don't want to obsess about what I'm wearing all the time. I do overall have a healthy body image and sense of self, I'd like to think, apart from this particular insecurity. I wish I had a natural sense of style, or a joyful, playful interest in fashion like some of the bloggers I read. But for me it feels more like a burden or form of narcissistic perfectionism. I want to focus my thoughts and my spending on experiences (like travel) rather than more stuff. Yet I seem to keep on buying clothes!
Anyway sorry for waffling on. I have access to a therapist and could potentially discuss this with her. But in the meantime, my questions for the Hive Mind are:
- Have you overcome a similar obsession with buying clothing, and if so how did you do it?
- How do you know when you have enough clothes, as compared to genuinely needing more?
- How can I keep an appropriate, balanced sense of perspective about the relationship between my appearance at work and my career?
- And... what are your suggestions for developing one's own individual style without it mutating into narcissism or obsession?