Why My Closet Will Never Make Me Happy
What does make me happy when it comes to fashion is the comfort, a good deal, and neutrality
Just over a week ago, I spent an afternoon cleaning and purging my closet. Was it eye-opening? Um, yeah. To say the least. For someone who avoids the mall, only spends about $600 annually on new clothing, and wears the same five outfits week after week — I have an astonishingly large collection of material items. In fact, I took inventory of how much clothing I do own so that we can all "BOO, you suck" at the computer screen together.
After donating 90 items during a recent closet clean out, I now own 349 articles of clothing.
For those of you trying not to cause a scene while you read this, I'm not done. I also did an inventory breakdown for you so that you could see how big of a consumerist I genuinely am.
Yes, you see those numbers right. I do own enough underwear to go two months without doing any laundry. I could workout for 17 days in a row and wear a new outfit every single time. I can make over 2,000 outfit combinations with my clothes — yet I still have "nothing to wear" on a good day.
To be perfectly honest with you guys, I had no idea that I was hoarding that many items in my wardrobe. I've been carrying around over 500 pieces of clothing with me every single time I move, which is more than the average person. However, I've also had some of these clothes for over ten years now, because I'm one of those "sentimental" collectors who think that they'll forget about that one time in the 11th grade where they won a free shirt at a soccer tournament if they were to donate the item.
By the end of 2018, I would like to have a capsule wardrobe. Meaning that I'd like to have a small collection of key items of clothing that are high quality and that make me feel like a real human adult. I'd like to go from 349 pieces of clothing to less than 150. In other words, I'd want to own a reasonable amount of undergarments and workout clothing. I'd like things to go from mayhem to magic.
Though this may still seem like a high amount of clothing to some of you minimalists out there, I think for someone who has been carrying as many material items as I have to go any more crazy in the first year is — well, for me, it seems impossible. I'd eventually like to get even lower than the 120 mark, but at first, it might be nice to dip my feet in the water to see how cold it really is.
Now that I've aired my dirty laundry (literally) about how much "stuff" I own, I want to talk about what really bothers me about this voluminous collection of clothing. No matter how many items I buy, whether it be cute tops or cute boots — I’ll never feel like I have the perfect wardrobe — but that’s not for the reasons you probably think.
The real reason is that I f*cking hate fashion
Yeah, I know how stupid that sounds. How does someone who owns four rompers get off saying she hates fashion? She gets off because she's been desperately trying to fall in love with style for a very long time. My core group of girlfriends growing up then and still now are incredibly stylish. If there is a new trend on the horizon, they're all in. The only one I've ever been able to jump on first is chokers, and that's probably because it took me back to feeling like I was 14 again and I was like, come see how good I look in this impossibly tight necklace, you guys!
However, during a recent flight from Fort McMurray to Calgary, I listened to one of Oprah's Super Soul Conversation podcasts (because I'm deep). It was called 8 Rules to Happiness, and it featured Gretchen Rubin, who wrote a book about her personal rules to make life more joyful. In that podcast, Rubin spoke about how she used to spend a lot of time trying to like things that made other people happy because she thought it would make her happy. She used the example of music, actually. How she wished she could love music because she saw how happy it made other people. And — yeah. Are you totally having a realization moment like I was?
I pulled up the notes app on my iPhone and furiously started typing about how much I hated my closet and why I was just pretending to like clothes and was a delusional freak. All the while scaring my seat buddy and forcing them in closer and closer to the window because they thought I was in a hate fight over text and they might be my next victim.
Other people love clothes and love fashion. I think I wanted so deeply to enjoy putting together outfits because it seemed to make other people happy. In fact, like most people, I still buy things thinking that they are going to bring me some sort of satisfaction. It has yet to work. What does make me happy when it comes to fashion is the comfort, a good deal, and neutrality. None of those descriptors exactly scream "fashionista."
Accepting the fact that literally, no one cares about you more than they care about themselves
Another reason I am/was so obsessed with buying clothes is that when people look at me, I want them to see something. What is that something, exactly? I wish I could tell you. Because I know that some days that something is "well-put-together" and some days that something is "frumpy-athlete-who-never-brushes-her-hair."
It's taken me almost 28 years to realize that no one is looking at you. Sure, they might be looking at you with their eyes, but with their mind, they're looking at you wondering what you think when you see them. We are so worried that people are always judging our every move and mistake (which, yes, sometimes they are), but it turns out that they are concerned about the exact same things. For example, when you follow someone on Instagram, and they follow you back, you creep their page and then 20 minutes later you creep your own page to see what they see when they creep you. Or that's just me — because I am 90% self-involved.
Again, I somehow stumbled from being a cyborg mascot for consumerism to how society has tricked me into thinking I care about fashion
If cleaning out my closet has taught me anything this week, it's that unless I had taken the uncomfortable amount of time to go through my wardrobe and take inventory, I would never have known how much of a problem my material-minded shopping was — and still is. Still learning about what I want to do to create the perfect capsule wardrobe, most of my 2018 will be spent understanding what I even want in a closet before I go out and buy anything new. Just because some people find joy in putting together a cute outfit for a night out doesn't mean that you need to be the next Rachel Zoe.
Have you ever completed a closet clean out and realized you have way too much stuff? Let me know in the comments!