What is wardrobe drama?
Wardrobe drama is a self-generated state of high anxiety and emotion, focussing on our clothes but most probably less to do with our clothes than it is to do with what is going on in our mind. The primary purpose of wardrobe drama is to create a heightened emotional state, or to release a pent-up frustration rather than solve a problem or calmly assess the situation. Are you guilty of wardrobe drama?…
Wardrobe drama “allows” us to feel emotions and behave in ways which are quite child-like. Wardrobe drama enables us to stop taking responsibility to our lives and is therefore employed by young adults, and increasingly, older adults.
How wardrobe drama takes hold in our lives
One way that wardrobe drama takes hold in our lives is through areas/parts of ourselves that we perceive as weakness. A classic example would be parts of our body that we are dissatisfied with. The classic cry of, “Does my bum look big in this?” sounds like the start of wardrobe drama. Wardrobe drama can stem from a genuine sense of embarrassment or shame around how we look. That is only part of what wardrobe drama is.
Wardrobe Drama depends on our response to circumstances to give it life
In a situation where you might be embarrassed of shameful about how you look [and I’m not saying that’s a good state of affairs in itself], you have options as to how you respond. Having body challenges is no barrier to being a stylish, mature, competent professional woman. In fact many women rise above their challenge to stand out amongst their peers as leaders in their field and this applies as much to style and clothing as is does to education and hard work.
So, in a situation where you have two woman with the same perceived body issues, those women can react in totally different ways. One woman can respond in the way we have just looked at, by rising to, and overcoming her situation. And the other woman could become a victim of her situation, always blaming her body for her lack of ability to look good, or as good as she wants.
Being a girl versus being a woman
Many women struggle with accepting the reality of who we are and how our bodies are shaped. For whatever reason, maybe we want longer legs, a smaller waists fewer chins, bigger eyes, a curvier figure or a less curvy figure.
Developing into adulthood and becoming a woman and leaving our child behind requires self-acceptance. The women who can’t accept themselves and constantly wish their bodies were different, their lives were different or that they were different are the ones who will suffer. Suffering like this, not accepting that life is how it is, leads to wardrobe drama.
We call it wardrobe drama because it’s a little like throwing your toys out of the pram. You are dissatisfied in some way, and you react to that dissatisfaction by having a mini-tantrum at your clothes. Sometimes it doesn’t manifest as a tantrum. Sometimes it’s just frustration. You sort through a pile of jeans, none of which fit and you feel really frustrated. You feel frustrated with yourself because you don’t fit into your jeans. That frustration triggers another frustration maybe to do with your weight or maybe to do with other clothes that don’t fit you in your wardrobe. This is where wardrobe drama can be triggered.
How wardrobe drama manifests itself
Verbal wardrobe drama is when you say something like, “I have nothing to wear”, “I don’t like anything in my wardrobe”, “All my clothes are awful”, “So-and-so [insert name] has amazing clothes – I’ll never look like her.”
Non-verbal wardrobe drama could be: Going to your wardrobe to take an outfit out to wear tomorrow and being overwhelmed by indecision. The indecision seems to stem from the fact that you think that you can’t see anything that you want to wear, that nothing feels right for the season, weather or occasion. or another non-verbal wardrobe dram could be: Going to your wardrobe to take something out and being at a total loss as to what to choose. It’s as if you’re looking at a collection of clothes that aren’t your own, but you are expected to choose an outfit from that nonetheless.
Wardrobe drama is when you have assigned emotions to your clothes which really belong somewhere else. If you really asked yourself what you are thinking it would be interesting whether it really related to your clothes.
The self defeating aspect of wardrobe drama
Wardrobe drama is self defeating because it really doesn’t make you feel better about yourself or change your attitude towards yourself in anyway. What you are effectively doing is allowing yourself to feel bad about yourself and prove to yourself why you are not worthy in whatever way. This is a dark alley to go down, my friends, and, if unchecked, can lead to many years of low self esteem and self loathing.
Although wardrobe drama seems like a little child stamping her foot, seems like a child-like gesture, it lacks the innocence and naivety of a child. It is the perfect Trojan horse, housing all manner of condemning, critical, negative thoughts and phrases that you might be harbouring somewhere in the back of your mind.
Wardrobe drama can be avoided by planning
As women we are not taught how to manager our emotions, generally speaking. We are not taught how to manage our thoughts, nor how to navigate what can be a complex relationship with our body. From adolescence, to child-bearing, to the menopause our bodies are changing and adapting to the stage of life we are in. It can be exhausting and overwhelming. Especially when you factor hormones in to this equation.
Learning how to manage wardrobe drama
So, how do you manage wardrobe drama the next time it raises its head? What do you need to do?
Approach with compassion
Firstly approach with compassion. Negative, critical, self defeating thoughts are not going to serve you, but don’t beat yourself up for having them. Acknowledge that your thoughts are there, you can thank your brain for delivering up those thoughts if you like. And then decide whether you want to think them or not.
Do you think “I’ve got nothing to wear” or “Nothing fits me” serves you and helps you live your best life? Probably not!
Plan for the moments when Wardrobe Drama makes an entrance
Wardrobe drama is going to appear to all of us, so be prepared for its appearance and plan in advance for it.
- Acknowledge that your brain is serving you those thoughts but you don’t need to agree with those thoughts.
- Internally thank your brain and just tell it that you are just going to carry on and wear “this” outfit and get on with the day.
- “This” outfit is an outfit that you have got planned in advance. I’m a great believer in planning your outfits in advance. At the very least have an outfit for when Wardrobe drama strikes. I would recommend that this outfit is something comfortable to wear that you love. Have two outfits if you can: one for work; one for home. It’s a go-to, no brainer outfit that you just put on without thinking twice. And then you get on with your day. No drama here, move on please!
- You agree with yourself that when wardrobe drama strikes you’re not going to let it ruin your day. Regard it as a momentary advice, not a two-week holiday!
Wardrobe drama makes an appearance to most of us at some point or other. The point is to not let it ruin your day, to acknowledge it and then to gently move on.
We really recommend wardrobe journalling as a great antidote to wardrobe drama. Wardrobe journalling is the process whereby you journal about what you wear, why you wear it and lots more. The idea is that you get in touch with yourself through thinking about what you wear and how you show up in the world. If you would like to receive our wardrobe journalling worksheet click the link here:
Wishing you a great day ahead, with no wardrobe drama,