I’ve shopped all my life and still I have nothing to wear (Part 2)

I’ve shopped all my life and still I have nothing to wear

“My struggle is this” were the words from a reader recently:

Well, as the old saying goes, I’ve shopped all my life, and I still have nothing to wear!!

My main issue is I love clothes..hey what the hell…shoes, handbags, scarves you name it! However, I have got into a bit of a spiral of always buying new without really looking at what I already have!

I’m 56 (don’t scrub up bad for an old bird) , but I really need some tips on how to make the best of my wardrobe!


In Part 1 of this post (which you can read here) we first banned our reader from buying any new clothes at all!

Next, we got her to the point where she  had sorted through her wardrobe. She’d made piles of things to go – whether to the cleaner’s, the charity shop or the clothes bank. She’d also identified a pile of pieces that she wasn’t quite yet ready to part with but which she wanted to keep for sentimental or “just to see if she wore it” type reasons.

Having looked at the space available, she has now (hopefully, or she’s still in a bit of a muddle!) put everything back in a way which serves her needs well.

So what’s next?

Well first off, she’s still not allowed to add to her collection. Having whittled it down to what fits, what she likes, what suits her and so on, it’s time to work with what she has already.

Studies have shown that owning too much can be stressful. What then tends to happen for women and their clothes is that they can’t see the woods for the trees and so they wear the same few pieces time and again.

The next stage is for her to look, through fresh eyes, at what she has kept and to make a list of any obvious gaps in her wardrobe. It may have become glaringly obvious during the previous session that there were key pieces that were missing, either because they were never there in the first place, or because she’s now parted with them because they didn’t fit or because they needed updating.

Next, it’s important to try on different combinations – just to see how they look. It may be the case that she does this in a few sessions, starting off with casual, then smart casual, before going on to evening wear. Taking photographs on her phone and keeping them in a separate section will help for future reference. Trying on is important to check the proportions of things and to see how they work together in real life.

Having a copy of my Capsule Wardrobe Guide at her fingertips would serve her well, so that she can keep an eye on how to go about building a great wardrobe for herself moving forwards. There are various questions that need to be asked when creating a great wardrobe and they are all set out in there – from whether a Capsule Wardrobe is even a “thing”, to whether you will tire of it, to how to identify what to include in it and how to make it work to its full potential.

I would suggest looking at blogs, Instagram and Pinterest for ideas, as well as “off-line” sources such as the TV and magazines. Make a file of ideas that you love and see whether you can re-create those looks from the pieces that you have already.

It may be that now that our reader has weeded out what no longer works, she doesn’t have as much as she thought. Or perhaps she just needs to add a few more up to date accessories. Or perhaps she still has nearly as much, in which case organisation is key.

The biggest commitment that we need to make to creating a great wardrobe is time. Not necessarily hours of it but a little planning at the start of the season, or the start of the week goes a long way. It’s too easy to spend the time in the shops, adding more to an already bulging wardrobe when really there are gems there that need to be given a chance to shine.

My best advice to our reader is still to refrain from buying anything else. You know those gems that I mentioned above? Give them a whirl to see if they have any life in them before moving on. It sounds to me as though our reader has spent a lot of time and money in creating a great wardrobe and now it’s time to enjoy it!

So reader, remember how you said in your message to me:

“I’ve shopped all my life and still I have nothing to wear”

Well hopefully now you do – and hopefully it’s happened without needing to spend a penny!


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