Jan 272014

Why is wardrobe trauma so toxic?  Besides creating all kinds of practical problems – tardiness, stress, and mess, to name a few – my wardrobe trauma is inherently toxic because it is my own fault. Nothing makes me grumpier than being mad at myself.

Wardrobe trauma: trying on and rejecting multiple outfits in the process of getting dressed, especially for an event. Worst when the final selection is a compromise.

This weekend I had a minor episode of wardrobe trauma.  Fortunately, I ended up on time to my event, feeling dressed as myself. But not without stress. I had planned to try on my clothes yesterday and just never got around to it; hence, the being mad at myself.

There has to be an easier way.

(Parenthetically: two of the eight ladies at my table had found their dresses for their children’s weddings at Dress Barn, so here is a sale link for you, in case you need a dress: Enjoy 15% Off your Entire Reg-Priced Purchase @! Valid 1/1-1/31, Use Code AFF114)

I have started the practice of keeping a biffer bag in my closet. Every time I wear something and decide it just isn’t me, into the biffer bag it goes.  My “a-ha!” today: 

Every item rejected during a flurry of wardrobe trauma should be reconsidered altogether!

I realized that the first second garment I decided against has probably seen more wear in my dressing room than out of it. I love it, but it just doesn’t work for my body type, at least not in the time of year that I want to wear it. In hopes of not repeating this scenario, it is going into the bag. After all, I was able to get dressed without it.

More “thinking out loud” to come on overcoming wardrobe trauma. In the meantime, what strategies help you?

  5 Responses to “Why Wardrobe Trauma Is So Toxic”

  1. I try to avoid this. 😀 I think you’ve had a great insight about how it can feel like we’ve worn something a lot when we’ve actually only tried it on/out a lot and it never makes it out the door.
    I’m not a fan of the rule of getting rid of things that you haven’t worn in N number of years but I do like Tim Gunn’s take on it – How many times do you have to say No to something? [before you realize you don’t want to wear it and it should go]

    I think wardrobe traumas (what to wear where) are not at all about the clothes but they become centered on the clothes as a stand in for worrying what other people will think of us and how they will react to us. Sometimes part of this is trying to be someone we think we should but are not. I believe that if you imagined a small gathering (easier to imagine for most of us than a huge crowded event would be) where everyone else there enjoyed you and you all were close for years, I posit that you wouldn’t care what you wore. I find that if I didn’t have any agenda, I can never look back and remember what the heck I wore. And that’s coming from someone who thinks a lot about clothing.

    There was a great observation from a newbie at You Look Fab forum on the subject of people being fascinated to develop an evocative style profile or persona (urban warrior, etc).
    Why, she asked, don’t people just buy and wear what they like and what fits? Really eliminates the middle (boogey) man of filtering through our imagined critics. (I can write about this off the top of my head because I have had to think through all of this myself)

    Bringing it full circle, Sophie Woodward writes about a woman who can only wear old clothes that have the shape of her body worn in. I have a version of this, I don’t feel an item is really “mine” until I don’t have to think about it any more. Know the fit, the feel. If I could fall asleep wearing it, all the more proof. 😀 Shows I don’t worry about what will happen to it while being worn. No matter what other people can get away with, I know that I won’t be happy wearing cream colored pants outside in the filthy slush, to be splattered at any minute. So for an event, I would think first about the pragmatic requirements. I’m not comfortable sitting down to eat in other than a close-fitting necklace and no scarf, for the same reason. I”m sloppy/distracted enough that I’m all too likely to get sauce on something.

    I’m comfortable wearing a silk shirt around the house until I have the need to wash dishes and I inevitably get the sleeves/cuffs wet. Not a catastrophe but annoying. If I’m cooking, I never wear an apron so I don’t want to have something on that’s inevitably going to get little splashes and splatters.

    My current frustration is that I seem to have no winter boots that actually would grip in icy conditions. And I’m too stubborn so far to put on those ice spike things you can fasten over your shoes with straps. I tell him I would have to take them off inside a store, for example, so as not to ruin their floors. He gives me a look, wondering aloud why I wouldn’t take the few minutes to take them and therefore have ensured my safety.

    Isn’t that the crux of the whole wardrobe trauma matter? What is the real reason we are not taking the few necessary minutes? When we have that reason come to light, we can probably avoid future instances.

  2. Hmmm. What is the real reason for not taking the few necessary minutes? Now there’s something to chew on! Reminds me of the TED I watched on glamour and the idea that glamour is all about seeing the result without seeing the effort. Like the desk with no visible computer cords. Walking down the street without slipping – very glamorous; taking off your spikes and putting them back on – not so much 😉

    A couple of years ago, I prob’ly told you this, I spent real $ to have new soles with tread out on my Born boots. I have also wondered about siping – is that popular where you are? They slice the surface of tire tread (for cars) and it really does help them grip on ice.

    For me, the whole agenda thing is really related to being an idealist; that is, firmly rooted in personality. It is less, I think, “what will they think of me”, although I have had that, and it certainly adds to the pain, and more “what is the perfect thing” (as opposed to “what is clean and fits”).

    I think S’s are better at just buying and wearing what they like. It is a bit of a frustration for me. 😉

  3. Wardrobe drama is just a result of trying things on in the first place! I try not to try things on (after I’ve bought them, anyway) unless I’m going to definitely wear them. The whole process of trying out a piece and then changing my mind seems to make me more likely to reject it again in the future.

  4. Well, yes. But also no. It could also result from such discouraging scenarios as gaining (or losing) weight, not having the right undergarments, and so on. Truthfully,what gets me the most is wanting to wear a dress in the winter that doesn’t work with what I need to wear under it. So I try it on at the store with bare legs and it fits, but with leggings it goes all clingy and too tight. Then I have to decide what my modesty is worth to me. Usually a change of clothes 😉

    In this instance, I got dressed, in a good outfit. Then I realized I was in above conundrum. Changed. Then I realized that I always want to wear that dress in the winter and it is simply not realistic for me to expect it to work. I am still pretty disappointed, mainly because I love the fabric.

    You raise a really interesting point. I will have to chew on that some more too. 🙂

    • This is a pretty old post and I bet you have solved many of the problems and points mentioned. Can you direct me to those solutions? or even a further related discussion?

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