Leaving Space: An Approach to Wardrobe Gaps

Posted by Jill Chivers in Shop Your Wardrobe Strategies

When I was in my prime overshopping and not-so-conscious consumption days, I would often buy new items to fill a gap that didn’t yet exist in my wardrobe.

Let me explain.

If I noticed that one or two or a few of my turtleneck sweaters, say, were showing signs of wear, I would buy new ones before I had let the old ones go.

What this resulted in was that I always had more than enough in each category, including items that I’d decided it was time to let go of.

And because I tend to hang onto my clothes, rather than turn them over frequently as some women do, it also resulted in the creation of a very large wardrobe.  With many categories having a mix of less than ‘first best’ items, as well as items I loved.

Funny what you learn when you step back and create some space to really look at the way you’ve been doing things, isn’t it?

Now I have a different approach to wardrobe ‘gaps’.  Let me share my new approach and what I’ve learned with you, in case it provides you with some input and ideas in how you manage your own wardrobe.

Tips on managing wardrobe gaps:

  1. Don’t rush to fill the gaps straight away.  I mentioned this in a recent post and it’s worth repeating.  You can learn so much if you simply create the space and let it be.  Too often we rush in to fill the vacuum, when we’d make a much better decision if we let things settle for a while.  How long?  Well, who knows?  That’s a personal thing, and may depend on your tolerance for ambiguity and ability to ‘live in the question’.  But know that by creating space you open the door to new opportunities that you can’t possibly see if you rush in to fill that space up the moment it appears.  Luxuriate in the space that is created when you don’t rush to fill the gap and enjoy the openness it gives you.
  2. When it is time to take action and fill those wardrobe gaps, try something new.  I’ve been encouraging you to come up with your own criteria to liberate your style insight, so use that criteria if you already have it.  If not, here’s some ways you can try something new:
    • Try a different version of the same style, such as embellished jeans when you would previously only wear plain wash ones.
    • Try a different kind of item altogether, such as a skirt when previously you would only wear pants.
    • Wait until you find “first best” (as opposed to second best) and only buy items you are madly in love with, rather than those which are Perfectly Fine, but you don’t adore.
    • Upgrade the quality of what you would usually, and go for the best quality you can afford, even if it means waiting a while to buy or buying only one when previously you might be two or more.
    • Flex your personality dressing muscles and choose items that feel most like YOU, the you you’d love to show to the world (and yourself), that you know you are but you don’t always express.
  3. Use the closet cleansing and wardrobe gap filling as an opportunity to review how your wardrobe space is working.  We don’t wear what we can’t see and easily access, as I’ve mentioned previously, so if your wardrobe space isn’t creating a sense of flow and choice for you, then before you fill your wardrobe gaps with more stuff, take the time to review and change how your wardrobe works.  You’re better off with a beautifully organised and workable space with less items in it, than a stuffed-to-the-gills space with loads of clothes you can’t see and can’t easily get to.


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