I think we all love the idea that each morning we will go to our wardrobes, pull out an amazing outfit and a coordinating pair of shoes, apply flawless makeup, brush silky smooth hair into place where it remains all day, add the perfect accessories, and sail out of our bedrooms on an effortless wave of beautifully dressed confidence, happy and in love with everything we wear through our innate wardrobe styling ability.
While I hope you are happy in yourselves and happy in what you wear, I know, having spoken to many clients and friends over the years, that this is not always the case.
You may think you have nothing to wear, despairing at the thought of searching in vain through your wardrobe for something suitable. You may think that blame can be laid at the door of not having enough clothes, or not having what everyone else has, or being overweight, or being underweight, or not having enough time to shop.
But I can tell you this is probably not the case. From my career of over 20 years making clothes for many different types of women, the reasons why you think you have nothing to wear are rarely because there is nothing in your wardrobe. Through talking to my clients about their needs and their wardrobes I have identified three criteria, which put you back in control of your wardrobe, so that you always have something great to wear and always look amazing in what you do wear, without buying anything new. In my experience lack of these three criteria, either alone or combined, can lead to wardrobe stagnation or inertia, resulting in you feeling you have nothing to wear.
This blog post will show you how to take a practical approach to the clothes in your wardrobe, adopting easy habits based on these criteria, which help you escape being led by unhelpful negative emotions. As you learn these habits they will stop you making unwise impulse purchases, and enable you to save your money for clothes that you love and wear often.
Sounds to good to be true? Even better, these criteria are very straightforward and they are: confidence; wardrobe editing; and identity.
Today I want to focus on the first criteria, confidence. Specifically I will show you how three different aspects of confidence: preparation, planning and expectation, when implemented as easy to follow habits, will transform your relationship with your clothes.
This is a fairly long blog post so I have divided each of the sections up so they are easy to follow. In addition you will see two free downloadable planners and a cheat sheet which are designed to help you implement the suggestions that I make. Confidence is a habit, one which can be learned and I have made it super easy for you to take these suggestions on board and try them out for yourself. Give yourself a week to assimilate the information and let it go to work for you.
Why this blog post is for you
Now before you say to yourself, oh I’ve got loads of confidence it has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve got nothing to wear, or conversely, oh I’ve got no self confidence and never will have so this post’s not for me, hear me out. What I’m going to talk to you about today is that confidence is the result of smaller steps which in themselves are easy to implement. They are specific steps which you may not have considered before but which, when added all together will help you gain confidence in what you wear if you suffer from the lack of it, and add depth to your confidence if you are already in possession of it. In addition, if you are outwardly confident, but inwardly less so, or people assume that you are confident and you feel a disconnect between how people see you and how you see yourself, then these 3 items could fill in the gaps for you, and I hope be of great help.
What’s in it for you if you read on?
What this blog post will show you is how confidence arises through these habits and how we can activate it within ourselves regardless of how self-confident we do, or do not, think we are. You might be missing out on truly very simple steps which will make life a lot easier, and you look amazing and feel confident on a consistent basis. Imagine always having the right outfit to wear and not having to worry about what you are going to wear. It feels like a dream, a fairy tale doesn’t it? Especially for those of you who face a daily battle with your wardrobe and are totally fed up with it. Well help is at hand, so read on for practical ways that will have a far-reaching impact on your relationship with your clothes.
Wardrobe Styling tip #1: Preparation
Preparation is one of the building blocks of confidence. Preparation is the unsung, neglected heroine in our over packed lives, where preparation time is sacrificed on the hyperventilating altar of caffeine driven achievement at the seat of our pants church. I know it has been like this for me.
But the better prepared we are, the more confident we feel about the task in hand. What does preparation look like? It looks like clean clothes, polished shoes, a wardrobe where you can see everything and non-seasonal clothes are stored elsewhere. Being ready is relaxing for the brain, and when the brain is relaxed, you are relaxed too, and this relaxed environment gives space for confidence to come through quite effortlessly. Preparation means, ultimately, less work for the brain, which is able to follow a routine or pattern and not rely on energy draining last minute decision making. If you overload the brain, it will register pain in one form or another. Not a physical pain but a brain pain: agitation, unease, dissatisfaction, confusion. Pain is not an environment in which confidence can flourish. Have you ever finished a list of things that have upset you with your “and I don’t have a thing to wear”speech? Well, there’s your brain pain! And it’s not because you don’t have anything to wear.
To help you get your preparation habits into shape I have created a free downloadable checklist. Simply click on the link below to receive it and it will wing its way into your inbox. It’s a one page list of how to get prepared, you can add your own criteria too, if you have specific habits that help you.
Wardrobe Styling tip #2: Planning
Along with preparation comes Planning. Don’t be deceived by media images of women who look so amazing that you think they must spend all of their time with nothing to do except get ready to go out. While this may be true for some, most women seen in public have very busy lives and juggle different parts of those lives just like us, and they will definitely have pre-planned their amazing look before stepping out into the media glare.
Our relationship with our wardrobe is not just physical, it’s psychological too. We project our own feelings onto our poor, inanimate clothes. We feel fat and frumpy so we don’t like anything we wear, we feel great and all of a sudden all our jeans seem perfect and that little black dress seems just the right garment to wear. The likely outcome of lack of planning is that you don’t think you have anything to wear, or don’t look your best. Planning helps to take negative associations out of the process of getting ready by sending the brain down the route of, “I’ve planned this so it’s going to be ok”, rather than, “Oh no! I’ve nothing to wear this is disastrous everything is awful”.
A helpful exercise is to address your activity in the next week. In my free downloadable Planning worksheet which you can get by clicking the link below there is a line to fill in which activity you undertake each day. Whether gardening, seated in the boardroom, out on the road, or travelling, whatever it is, write it down. If you spend 3 days out of 7 out of doors then you need clothes that reflect that. If you are in the office all week, then your clothes need to reflect that too. It’s a simple table, one for weekdays and one for the weekend where you can plan your outfits in advance.
Wardrobe Styling tip #3: Expectation
Confident women have a certain level of expectation of their appearance. When you set a certain level of expectation for yourself and achieve it your confidence soars and you look great.
Expectation realised is progress. It is the result of the actions of preparation and planning. Expectation without action results in frustration and lack of confidence because no result is forthcoming, To relate this back to wardrobe confidence, if your self-expectation is to face each day happy and confident in what you wear, well then you need to prepare and plan for achieving those expectations. If you expect to have beautifully styled hair and well groomed nails each day, you have to set aside the time for a little bit of grooming. But the great thing is that preparation and planning mean that it’s not an effort to achieve results, because they are action steps already mapped out for you, so the result (great hair, fab nails) becomes inevitable.
There is a direct link from expectation to action and action to self-confidence. If you want to look great for a meeting or interview then allocate time to a series of small action steps as part of your preparation, such as buying new tights, cleaning your shoes and getting your outfit cleaned. You will feel prepared for the interview or meeting because you are embracing the oncoming event by taking action to be ready for it. It all starts with setting your expectation.
I have created a free action sheet planner which you can download by clicking the link below. On this planner you can chart taking action steps towards upcoming events. These easy action steps are designed to get your wardrobe to work for you, and you will see how this happens as you make demands on it, or in other words, as you set your expectation. You have to consistently take action on your expectations until what starts out as discipline, taking action regularly and consistently, becomes unself-conscious habit: you’ve reprogrammed yourself and your brain expects that new behaviour.
So, how do you feel? Are you exhausted or do you feel energised? Was there one section which spoke to you more than another? I know when I was editing it, the expectation section rang loud bells for me, so I’m going to spend some time using my own cheatsheet and getting my wardrobe to work for me a little bit harder. No matter at what stage we are at, we can always learn more, there is always room for tweaking. And if you are thinking that your wardrobe is neglected and you don’t know where to start, then this is perfect place.
Recap: Preparation; Planning; Expectation
So, to recap, what we have learnt together today is: Preparation, getting the clothes in your wardrobe ready and available; Planning, getting the clothes in your wardrobe lined up to be worn and; Expectation, learning how to decide how you want to look each day and taking easy action steps to achieve that expectation.
I hope you have enjoyed what you have read and learnt, and more importantly, that you will take one or two of these valuable tips and incorporate them into your daily or weekly routines.
I look forward to connecting again with you soon. Bye for now.