Someone in my world mentioned how they love the Rachel Zoe show so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. If you love fashion, it is entertaining, yet stressful at the same time. I actually feel myself tensing up as they struggle through conflict after conflict, whether it's personal drama or some fashion crisis.
The nature of her persona and the fashion industry in general is all about excess and "too muchness" which is great because it is a reality show and supposed to be dramatic. I just wanted to contemplate for a moment how all of this translates into my life and the average woman. I ask myself "Is this excess what women really want?".
I can't get into anyone else's head but I know that I used to not have any problem filling up my two closets in my bedroom and the one in the guest bedroom too, with just my clothes. That was a long time ago in my single days and I don't do that anymore, but I know from peeking into a lot of closets that most women are the same. So to answer my own question, I'm going to say "Yes, women want the excess!" But why? It is an ideal to have as many clothes as possible because that means choices, and even evidence and feelings of prosperity. But, why do we need so much when it's been proven that we don't actually wear all those clothes? What makes us want this many clothes?
I've come up with a couple of ideas that may resonate with you. Maybe you can identify with one of them and start to see the ridiculousness of having so much. I believe with all my heart that simplicity in your wardrobe is the best way. Choosing the right pieces to form a small wardrobe makes your life easier and makes a more refined style for you.
So, where did this concept come from in your life? One easy place to put the blame is that growing up, aren't we ridiculed for wearing the same outfit too often? I'll never forget when I was in elementary school I was at a friend's house and we snuck into her big sister's room to admire her closet. My friend solemnly stated that her sister had enough sweaters to wear a different one every day of the month. I was really impressed! I think little things like this make an imprint on us and it subconsciously becomes a goal. If I could only have 30 sweaters, I would also fold them neatly to display in the top part of my closet. When I was in 7th grade, I remember counting my shoes and how proud I was to have accumulated 72! Even though I didn't understand it then, my goal of excess had been achieved. I don't remember actually being ridiculed for wearing the same clothes, but apparently I learned fast as evidenced by the 72 pairs of shoes.
It doesn't end after school though. My first job out of college, the receptionist told me that she noticed when women wore the same pants or shirt in the same week. I was appalled even then and realized that I was being "watched" by the reception fashion police. Who wants to be subject to the scrutiny of others because of something so silly? It's an easy enough problem to remedy, so we fill our closet with a multitude of options.
So when I'm watching the Rachel Zoe Project, I see her with all the designer labels, and her 10 suitcases when she travels, and don't feel the slightest bit of envy or desire to be that way. In fact, it makes me feel weighed down just to imagine having all those things in my home and feeling like I have to travel so heavy.
I know she is a stylist and she has a special exception to having lots of clothes, but I'm just saying that a lot of women are the same, even if not to that extreme. Do you have a friend with a lot of clothes and you feel a pang of jealousy at her wardrobe? Does the feeling of not enough send you straight to the mall to buy more?
That leads me to the next theory. Maybe you never intended to have a full closet but it is simply a direct result of constant shopping. I've always said that shopping is the national pastime and your closet displays the fruits of your labor. Shopping is a social activity, therapeutic, and makes us feel we are accomplishing something. It's so nice to go to a store and buy into their style. Somehow being in a certain atmosphere and buying those clothes makes you feel like you will replicate that feeling at home. Once you get home, you realize that it didn't work. Maybe the clean, airy feeling doesn't translate to your cramped closet.
As always, I'm writing this to make myself and you consider your wardrobe because that is what I love to talk about! If I can make you see that there is an underlying motivation that maybe you hadn't realized, and for you to change your behavior, then my work here is done. I know that shopping and excess in all parts of our life, but specifically in our closets it is out of control. We spend so much time, energy and money filling up our closets when it isn't necessary.
I stopped caring about the "fashion police" a long time ago, thankfully! I don't have two closets full of clothes anymore but I am constantly still paring down and trying to simplify. Now that we've talked about the one extreme, I have two examples of the opposite point of view for you to consider. Two separate projects designed to make people see that they don't actually need as many clothes as they think.
The first is called Six Items or Less. It is an experiment to wear only six items out of your closet for a month. You can visit the website and see how it went for these people. I can see that it was definitely a challenge and some didn't choose well, but in the end I think the point was made. It actually causes more stress and annoyance having too many choices in your wardrobe.
The other one is called the Great American Apparel Diet and you can read about it here. This one stems from combatting shopping addiction and I think also an environmental perspective. I love challenges like this!
Where are you in this? Are you looking to streamline your crowded closet? Do you aspire to have excess inspired by shows like Rachel Zoe Project? Has your wardrobe already been edited to the bare bones? Would you be interested in a challenge like Six Items or Less or the GAAD? I know for me, after my Nordstrom Anniversary Preview, I've been off shopping like I had poisoning from it. I've been contemplating my own challenge but it actually just happened and wasn't challenging at all.
Pic from here.