You hate shopping? You’re not alone!
“Getting half-naked in front of the dressing room mirror intimidates me.”
“I don’t know what looks good on me.”
“I’ll go shopping after I lose some weight.”
“I just don’t like my body.”
Are you unhappy with your current wardrobe situation? Do you have clothes in your closet with the tags still on? It’s no wonder that so many awaken to the dreaded daily question: “What am I going to wear today?” I think this is why we embrace yoga pants or sweats. We worship that stretchy material that slides over everything we hate about our size and shape. We know that those stretchy black and gray pants aren’t flattering, but when our other choices are naked or frustrated tears, we’ll choose stretchy pants every time.
Why the despair? What do we really want from our clothes, ladies? There are two things that we want from our clothes: We want our clothes to look good on us and we want our clothes to feel like us. When we get dressed, we want our clothes to feel as natural on our bodies as our skin does and our clothes should be a reflection of who we are on the inside. When that doesn’t happen, our clothes can feel like they suffocating us. No one wants to feel suffocated in her clothes.
We all face different clothing challenges. Some of you are petite. Others of you struggle with difficult proportions. Some of you lament your stick-straight profile and wish that people would stop telling you how lucky you are that you are so thin. Me? I’ve got my own issues. I’m 5’ 10” with long legs and big curves on the top and bottom. I know what it means to have clothing challenges!
Why does it matter what you wear?
Think about your favorite (non-stretchy pants) outfit? In fact, if you can, go put it on. How does wearing that outfit make you feel? You stand a little taller, right? It’s easier to smile. Your eyes shine brighter and you feel more open to giving to the world around you. You feel like your best YOU. When you put on clothes that are the proper size, flatter shape and right style, everything about who you are on the inside translates on the outside.
Don’t write off that last sentence off as superficial or shallow. It’s not shallow to realize that when we invest the time into discovering our proper size, shape and style, that we walk stronger, taller and more confident as our authentic selves.
Why it only takes me five minutes to get dressed each morning…
I’m not a fashion professional. I haven’t had any formal training, but I do know how to buy clothes that are the proper size, flattering shape and reflect my natural style. As a result, it only takes me about five minutes to get dressed each morning, including shoes and accessories. Yes, five minutes. Which is good because I’m a night person and mornings are really rough for me.
Once I get dressed, I don’t think about what I’m wearing the rest of the day. I rarely look at a mirror unless I’m shooting a video or someone tells me that I’ve got food on my shirt, which happens frequently. What I love about feeling confident after I get dressed is that I don’t feel self-conscious. Also, my mental energy isn’t depleted by lingering doubts about how I look or how people think I look. In fact, when I feel good, then I am more likely to connect with others. It’s easier to give of myself when I feel good about me.
Three Promises I Made to Myself…
After years of hating to shop and feeling badly in everything I wore, I decided to live by these three clothing promises:
- I would only purchase clothing or shoes that I absolutely, positively loved.
- I would only purchase items that looked great on me. Not good, but great.
- If something in my closet didn’t fit, I would get rid of it.
These three promises have simplified one of the most complicated decisions in my life – what I wear every day. Every morning, I have a 100% chance that I will feel great in what I am wearing. My closet is blessedly uncomplicated and I avoid feeling the pressure to keep buying clothes because what I own is already enough.
These shopping promises also mean that I can shop less. I don’t need to have overflowing closets of clothes. That’s right, you don’t need lots of clothes! InStyle’s Assistant Social Media Editor, Jennifer Davis1, wore the same little black dress for five work days and no one in her fashion-conscious office noticed. She mixed different accessories and layering options and no one ever knew that she repeated the same basic dress all week. Jennifer demonstrated how looking great isn’t about having more clothes or expensive clothes, but knowing how to mix and match what’s already there.
And, when I don’t love something anymore or it stops fitting like it used to, I don’t get emotional because I have lots of other things that I love. But, I do give it away. (By the way, I do own sweatpants and there are days when I want to wear them. In fact, while writing this article, I’m wearing sweats right now!)
Some of you feel intimidated or overwhelmed at the time and effort it will take to discover what is right for you. Yes, it will take an investment of time. However, you’ll end up saving hundreds of hours of frustration at the store or in your closet in the future. Once you know what you look great in, you won’t waste time or money buying things that make you less than beautiful.
Three Practical Tips for Your Current Closet
- Try on everything in your closet. I mean everything! Don’t be emotional about it. If you can’t fit something over your knees, slip it back off quickly and move on. You must control your thoughts and don’t let your clothes become a judge of your self-worth. You are more than your clothes! You are awesome! Keep repeating that to yourself!
- Divide your clothes and shoes into in two piles: things that fit your proper size, have a flattering shape and style and then a pile for everything else. If you aren’t sure, ask yourself: Does this look and feel like me? Do I smile when I have this on?
- Let go of everything that doesn’t look or feel like you. Trust me. You won’t be left naked. Let it go! Box it up and donate it. If you’re about to hyperventilate at the thought of doing this, invite a friend over to help you through this process.
Four Practical Tips For When You Do Need to Shop
- Let Your Clothes Be Your Guide – Review the pile of clothes that you love. Assess the colors, sizes, shape and style. Take pictures of your favorite shirts, pants and dresses. When you recognize the clothes that look good and makes you smile, then your shopping goal is to mimic what already works for you.
- Shop by Label – Look at the labels of the clothes that you already own and love. Shop at the stores that carry those labels. When it’s time to shop, go to those stores and start with trying on those labels first. You’ll get an extra boost of confidence knowing that that you’ve experienced success with that clothing brand. It will also reduce the amount of intimidation that you face when you walk into the store and see thousands of possibilities.
- Grab three sizes! We’ve got to make peace with the fact that clothing sizes aren’t consistent. You’ve just got to make peace with that. When I find an item, I grab the size that I think I wear as well as one size smaller and bigger. I try on all three without looking at the size. Then, I pick the one that fits best and makes me feel great about how I look! The feeling that I get from how I look that garment is much more satisfying than any shame or sadness over the number on the tag. No one knows what size you are unless you tell them, BUT they will notice if your clothes are too big or way too small.
- Listen to people – When you receive a compliment on an outfit, pay attention! Don’t brush off compliments or diminish them! Look that wonderful person in the eye and thank them. Compliments mean that you are moving about the world as your truest self and that’s a good thing!
I’d love your feedback! Did you try any of these clothing tips? How did you get through the process? Did you buy anything new? If so, let us see it!
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Love this article! Barb, I need a shopping partner. 🙂
Thanks, Jodie! One of these days, my dream would be to host a giant shopping day at the mall or Savers. I’d invite women who loved to shop to work with women who hated shopping.
Very well written and thorough!! Awesome tips! Thanks Barb 🙂
Hi Brooke, thanks for checking out the article and I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Blessings, Barb
Thanks, Barb! I’m on my way RIGHT NOW to shop. I don’t want to but need a couple of things. I’m taking your good advice with me.
Susan, what a wonderful surprise – Thanks for sharing your comment and I sure hope you find something fabulous to wear! Happy Shopping!
thanks Barb just what I needed I have been dreading going through my closet and you have given me the motivation to do so! Loved the article!
Yay! I’m thrilled that you had a chance to read it and feel motivated. Let me know how the closet-cleanout goes!