Have you ever bought something only to find that you wear it once and it ends up collecting dust in your wardrobe? It’s easy to fall into this trap when we’re flooded with options and an impulse purchase is so easy to make. If you’re in the situation of having an overflowing wardrobe with absolutely nothing to wear then it might be time to rethink your shopping strategy. I’ve managed to hone mine down over the years to pinpoint the purchases that I know will have multiple outings. If you want to avoid buying something that’s a one hit wonder it pays to keep a few things in mind—it’s what I use when I’m considering buying something and I guarantee it works…
Stick to neutral tones
I always try to keep items like dresses and staples like coats in neutral tones. With dresses I’ll always opt for a little black dress, a white dress, denim or khaki. And with a staple like a blazer or coat I always opt for black because it’s a colour that’s really versatile. When it comes to basics (my everyday wear such as t-shirts and jumpers) I always stick to neutrals. Whilst a pink t-shirt is fun I’m guarantee to get more than a few wears out of a plain white tee. Also if you want to add a bit of colour to your wardrobe it’s easier to work back with a simple muted colour palette than try to work with multiple bold hues.
I think separates are always a really good option because you can mix and match them. It’s much easier to wear something like a quality silk blouse or a great skirt in various ways as you can just switch out the top or bottom when you want to change up your look. One thing I’m loving is that more and more labels are releasing matching separates which not only look chic when paired together but are great when worn with other pieces too.
Keep statement pieces on top
If you find something that’s a bit of a showstopper, find something that sits on top such as a jacket or coat, which you can throw on over an outfit. Everyone remembers if you wear a really bold dress but if you wear a striking jacket you could mix and match it and nobody would really even notice if you wear it multiple times. I’m a fan of pieces that have a bit of personality and are a standout piece but if I want to guarantee maximum wear out of it then outerwear is the best way to incorporate it into my look.
Don’t be a slave to trends
There are multiple trends each season and while it’s fun to try them you don’t always have to wear a trend from head to toe. You can incorporate a trend into your look with a really great jacket or small accessories. For example if you want to get into the 70s, buy one trend piece such as a pair of flared jeans. It doesn’t mean that you have to look like you stepped off the set of Saturday Night Fever. Exercise a bit of restraint when it comes to trends as invariably they will come and go.
Avoid too much embellishment
If you want certain pieces to last season after season avoid having too much embellishment on it. Having a lot of detail on a particular garment makes it more difficult to work back with other items in your wardrobe. Not only that, it also it makes it easily identifiable so it’s harder to have it be a chameleon piece that can be worn for multiple occasions. If you look at the celebs who tend to outfit repeat, they’re always wearing a classic piece that’s simple and streamlined.
What are some ways you get more wear out of pieces in your wardrobe?
We’ve all been faced with days where we find ourselves just staring into the closet and thinking that we’ve got absolutely nothing to wear. If you’re in a rush it can be particularly stressful trying to pull a look together as you try one look after the next with little success. So this is why it pays to have a few outfit combinations that you know are guaranteed to work. I like to keep a few of these mentally filed away to call upon whenever a wardrobe crisis hits. Here are a few key pairings that will ensure you look amazing when you walk out the door.
This is an easy outfit to turn to and will always look chic. And the best bit is it’s comprised of things we all have in our wardrobe. All it takes is having a pair of go-to jeans and a great white t-shirt and you’re set.
If you’ve got a few fave dresses in your closet that are feeling a bit tired, you can change up their entire vibe by adding a blazer over the top. A black blazer is one of those pieces that will always be a lifesaver and can instantly make any look dressier and more pulled together.
A midi skirt in any length paired with a top such as a t-shirt or a sweater is a shortcut to looking chic and stylish. If you’ve yet to add a midi skirt to your closet, try a pleated style for an on instantly on trend look.
A trench is a wardrobe addition that will go far. It’s a topper that can work with myriad looks ranging from the super casual to dressy. Consider it a lifesaver whenever you’re stuck for what to wear — just throw it on over the top of any of the looks you’ve seen so far and avoid unnecessary style dramas.
A pair of skinny pants or jeans, teamed with a gorgeous blouse is one look that will take you from work to drinks without skipping a beat. Great for those days when you’re not entirely sure where the day will take you.
When you’re faced with a serious wardrobe rut what do you do? Well, instead of just giving up on your wardrobe and deciding you need to go on a rather big (and expensive!) shopping spree to buy new things, why not just help jump start your styling creativity? There are numerous sources of great outfits out there and by calling on some or all of them, you could just find yourself feeling very inspired again.
Of course Instagram offers endless inspiration. One way to save yourself in times of “I have nothing to wear” syndrome is by bookmarking outfits that you like so you have a ready to go mood board. There’s really no end to what Instagram can offer so make sure you have a great edit of people whose looks you love.
I know newsletters can sometimes be a bit hit and miss but if you sign up to the right ones you’ll most certainly open yourself up to new looks, styling tricks and possibly a new wardrobe addition that you never knew you always needed. Most fashion sites — blogs (*ahem* this one included), online stores like Net-a-Porter and Matches and news outlets like Who What Wear and Refinery 29 all have newsletters that are often filled with great ideas.
While there’s plenty of inspiration that’s just a click away there’s something that just ignites your styling creativity when you head into your favourite stores to check out what’s on offer. It’s a great time to check out the outfit combinations they’ve got on display to help you with your own looks, plus try on the different pieces in store. Also, things sometimes look really different when you see them in real life and you may find that you’ll end up pulling an ensemble together that you may not have otherwise considered.
Beautiful, glossy magazines have always been one of my favourite sources of fashion inspiration. You’re always guaranteed to get some great fashion forward styling within the fashion editorials, plus they provide a great snapshot into current trends. Also, there’s just something about flicking through a fashion mag’s sleek images and layouts that can really get the styling juices flowing and help you unlock some new looks.
This is a dilemma most women have encountered at one point or another. If you’ve ever stared into your closet, filled to the brim with clothes yet still yielding nothing to wear then you’ll know the frustration it can cause. However all is not lost. Instead of tearing your hair out and hitting the shops to buy yet another outfit to add to the pile, you can employ a few tricks to help you unearth a look you’ll love. These are strategies I’ve used from time to time and I can guarantee that they’ve helped me break out of my momentary wardrobe rut, get dressed and walk out the door in no time.
Look for external fashion inspo
Staring at your clothes for ages won’t magically make a new outfit appear. You’ve got to get the styling juices flowing. To do this have a quick scroll through Instagram to see what your fave stylish ladies are wearing. Alternatively hit up your favourite online stores and check out their lookbooks or ‘new in’ section to see what’s trending. By seeing what’s new, it could ignite an idea or two for a look you could pull together.
Set yourself a theme
Having seemingly endless options but feeling bored of all of them is a major cause of being stumped for an outfit. So why not narrow it down to make it easier? For example you could tell yourself that today is stripe day and that you need to incorporate a striped piece into your ensemble. By giving yourself some parameters to work with it becomes less overwhelming and more manageable.
Work a new colour combination
We all have our favourite colour combinations which is great but sometimes in order to overcome an ‘I have nothing to wear’ situation you need to think outside the box. For example try working an unexpected colour combination like pink and red — by exploring pieces in those shades, you’ll inadvertently force yourself to look beyond your usual favourite items and expand to the rest of your wardrobe.
Help a favourite make new friends
We all have favourite pieces in our closet but we tend to work them back with the same things over and over again. This can exacerbate a nothing to wear situation as you see reliable staples but are also uninspired by them because you’ve already got your go-to pairings in mind. So the next time this happens, take an old fave but make an effort to pair it with something different. It could be that you wear a particular jacket with a certain pair of pants all the time. So instead, why not pop on the jacket over a dress, which instantly gives it a different vibe. This allows you to still get plenty of use out of things you love but overcome your style boredom too.
What are some strategies you use to overcome an ‘I have nothing to wear’ problem?
My ultimate aim with my style is to look classic and polished, mixed with a few on-trend pieces to stay up to date. However if you were to ask me what my style formula is, the one thing that helps shape what I wear on a day to day basis it can be summed up in just one word: balance. Simple, right?
My style isn’t about having to mix certain pieces together in a certain way to create a certain look. Life’s way too busy to have to spend an inordinate amount of time considering what to wear. So I’ve distilled my approach to outfit planning into simply aiming to have balance with everything I wear.
This just means that if I were wearing something with lots of volume at the top I’d have to balance it out by wearing something that is slimline at the bottom.If I was going to show a bit more skin at the bottom, then I would have to balance it out by wearing a more conservative top.When I wear something that is long and baggier I’d need to balanced it by adding a belt to give myself more shape. Once again, it’s all about balance.
As I said I liked to keep my style simple and straightforward. I avoid anything too fussy or complicated because I just want to be able to walk out the door as quickly as possible. The one way I can manage that is to always ask myself if my outfit is balanced. Volume with something streamlined; embellished with something quite understated; long with something short. This gives me the fashion equilibrium I need to always feel that my outfit is on point.
I’m all for experimenting and taking a style risk here and there but there are some things I always make sure to avoid. These fashion sins can often subdue the impact of an outfit by taking away its polish–which is often the last thing you want when you walk out the door!
The below is a short, easy to follow list of simple things that you can do to ensure that you always look great every single day. I definitely swear by them and follow them when it comes to my wardrobe. And I’m always open to new additions to the list so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below.
Accentuating too many things
If you’re going to show off a particular part of the body, whether it be your legs or your décolletage make sure to only pick one. For example if you’re going to have a plunging neckline then everything else has to be conservative. It’s one or the other. You can either have a mini skirt then a conservative top like a button up shirt or a shirt with a high neckline but if you do the opposite and have a slightly more revealing top then it’s important to keep the bottoms quite modest. I make sure to adopt this approach with every single outfit.
Even if you’ve spent a fortune on a standout designer garment if it doesn’t fit well then you’ve essentially taken away its wow factor. I think tailoring can really make or break an outfit. If something doesn’t fit properly make sure to get it altered whether it be getting sleeves taken up on a shirt so they are the perfect length or taking a jacket in because it’s a little too baggy on the shoulders. These small things will ensure that you always look sharp.
Not paying attention to detail
They make seem relatively innocuous—a stray thread here, a loose button there but the overall effect is that your outfit will look just that little bit unkempt. To combat this, the moment you notice something is awry with your outfit attend to it as soon as possible so you don’t forget about it. Snip loose threads, fix missing or loose buttons and always ensure that you remove lint and fabric pill.
Worn and shabby looking shoes
Shoes are often one of the first things people notice about your outfit so make sure that they always look pristine. If the soles of your shoes are a bit threadbare make sure to have them resoled. If the heel cover on a pair of stilettos has worn down then make sure to have it replaced so you’re not teetering along on an exposed nail. Also always spray suede or leather shoes with a protectant spray to keep them protected during inclement weather. There’s nothing that will take away from an outfit more than stained shoes.
If you can’t be bothered ironing then avoid buying garments that will most definitely require pressing constantly like silk and linen. If you’re a fun of luxe fabrics, then be prepared to invest a little time in ensuring that everything is perfectly pressed.
If you’re currently trying to navigate the tricky fashion terrain that is dressing while pregnant then you’ll know that it can become quite the style conundrum when you have no idea what to wear and a slowly diminishing wardrobe to boot. Having been through the experience twice, I totally get it!
The thing I found with pregnancy dressing was that I wanted to stay true to my style but I was faced with having to accomodate an ever changing body shape so all my usual go-tos weren’t all going to work. However it was such a finite amount of time that I didn’t want to spend a fortune buying an entirely new wardrobe. So here are a few ways that I managed to do it without spending a lot.
Use a pants extender
Investing in a pants extender or better yet just using a good ol’ fashion hair elastic if you’re wearing a long enough top can allow you to use a lot of your pants (or anything that has a button up waistband) well into your pregnancy. If you can use most of the bottoms you already own that’s half the battle right there.
Shop your closet
Check out what you already own that you can use to accomodate your growing belly. Look for anything with a bit of stretch such as a jersey dress or is a roomier fit like an oversized blouse — these can last you through various stages of your pregnancy.
Borrow men’s clothes
I borrowed a lot of Luke’s shirts and jumpers when I was pregnant as they were roomy enough and long enough to work with my new belly. If you’re able to grab a few pieces from the resident males in your life such as your partner, your brother or even your dad then make the most of it as these pieces work great during a pregnancy.
Buy cheap basics but size up
During both pregnancies I bought basic tees and tops from ASOS and these lasted me the entire time. As with your regular wardrobe, if you have staples like t-shirts, singlets and stretchy dresses you’ll be able to use these as the core part of your looks but elevate them with the right accessories. You don’t even have to buy maternity specific items, just buy a few sizes up to accomodate your bump.
Elevate looks with accessories
When you’re wearing pretty much the same things throughout a pregnancy it’s easy to get wardrobe fatigue. So enlist the help of some great accessories to inject a bit of new life into your looks. A beautiful scarf, statement earrings or fun sunglasses are all things that can instantly transform your look.
Layer, layer, layer
I would often wear things like vests, cardigans or blazers over what I was wearing as I felt it helped give me a little extra coverage, plus it just made everything feel a little more chic. I’m a fan of layering in my regular wardrobe so doing so throughout my pregnancies allowed me to feel that I was dressing like my usual self.
An unexpected wardrobe crisis is not something I can usually afford to have first thing in the morning. This is why I’ve developed a roster of key pieces that I know will always save me when I’m having issues on the outfit front. They’re tried and tested and I know exactly how to work them with what’s in my closet so I can easily pull together an outfit in minutes. Here’s what’s saved me more times than I can count…
Little black dress
A little black dress is the equivalent of a get out of jail free card when it comes to fashion. An LBD has saved me on numerous occasions from having a wardrobe crisis as it’s such an easy foundation from which to build an outfit—all it needs is a great pair of shoes and accessories and I’m done. I know it’s also guaranteed to be flattering so it’s ideal for those days when I can’t afford to waste time trying on multiple outfits but need to look and feel my best.
I always feel comfortable and confident in my favourite pair of jeans so for casual days out I know I can always rely on them to build an outfit around. I can easily just add a tee and flats if I’m out running errands or a structured blazer and heels if I’m after something a bit dressier.
I live in black leather pants throughout winter as they’re so comfortable and can also easily be dressed up or down. As a lot of people probably do, I generally always turn to anything black when I’m having a wardrobe crisis as it’s always a flattering hue and is an easy jumping off point to build a look from. The perfect pair of black leather pants can easily be paired with a tee and sneakers for great off duty style or a blouse and heels for a dressier look.
Shift dresses have always been my go-to at all times. Even during pregnancy I found them to be a great option as the silhouette works with my frame and is an easy basis from which to create a look. I’ve found dresses are a lifesaver during times of wardrobe dilemmas as you don’t need to fuss around trying to match tops and bottoms—simply throw it on, find a pair of shoes and you’re done. Shift dresses may not work for everyone so definitely find a dress style that you know works with your shape.
A crisp white shirt is considered a wardrobe classic for good reason—it’s an easy option to pair with everything from jeans to leather pants to a skirt and always looks polished. I find it’s always a good idea to have a white shirt ironed and ready to go at all times as it’s an easy option to turn to when you’re staring at your closet feeling really uninspired. Throw on a white shirt and I guarantee it’s wardrobe crisis averted!
There’s nothing worse than being faced with a wardrobe full of clothes and feeling like you have absolutely nothing to wear. The answer isn’t jumping online and ordering a new outfit to arrive by lunchtime (although that can sometimes be fun) it’s about learning to accessorise or rework items in your wardrobe to give them a fresh new feel. And as I’m sure you’re a busy woman who needs to get out the door fast, here are some of my super quick styling tips to help you pull together a “new” outfit quicker than you can click add to cart. Your bank balance will certainly breathe a sigh of relief!
Choose a bold accessory
If my outfit is feeling a bit flat I find a great way to inject a bit more energy into it is by adding a bold accessory. For example I’ve often paired my Gucci Dionysus bag (above) with an otherwise subdued outfit and found it instantly made it feel modern and on-trend. You don’t always have to opt for a bag, you could also try a pair of eye-catching drop earrings or a layering a few necklaces (all faves of mine) to breathe some new like into an outfit you’ve worn time and again.
Roll it, tie it or cuff it
You can totally rejig an existing outfit with a few simple styling tweaks. For a tired pair of jeans try cuffing the bottom and pairing with a pair of bold flats or heels for a look that feels instantly fresher. You could try tying a button down shirt and pairing it with everything from a pair of shorts and skirt for an outfit that takes a classic look and makes it feel a little more undone. Or experiment with rolling your sleeves whether it be on a shirt, a dress or even a jacket to create an entirely new silhouette.
Add a touch of colour
Having fun with colour is one way to make an outfit feel new again. The best bit about this is that you can do it in so many different ways. You could work it into an outfit in a small way such as a pair of shoes in a standout shade. You could go all out and layer multiple hues of the same colour family like this, or choose one ultra bright colour to take centre stage such as the above look and keep the rest of your outfit a little more subdued to really let it pop.
Enlist the help of a scarf
I wrote about how scarves have become a favourite accessory of everyone from celebs to fashion and beauty bloggers late as they’re so versatile. You can fashion it into a headband, tie it around your neck or use it as a hair tie. Find one scarf in a vintage print and you’ll be able to revive many tired looks with it. Alternatively it also serves the extremely handy purpose of hiding dirty hair in a stylish way when you really can’t be bothered to wash it!
Polish your digits
It requires a bit more effort but painting your nails in a really bright colour can often make any outfit feel new. It also has the added benefit of giving you a more polished look overall. Give yourself a mani at the beginning of the week and watch it elevate your outfits for the next few days without you having to do anything at all.
Try a belt
You’ll be surprised at the sartorial power of a belt when it comes to reworking an existing look. An easy one is wearing a belt with an oversized buckle with jeans or a denim skirt for a look that plays into the current 90s trend. You could also try Olivia Palermo’s favourite styling trick of belting a jacket such as a blazer or coat.
What are some of your styling hacks for getting out of a wardrobe rut?
If you’re running late and need to get out the door fast it can be stressful being faced with a wardrobe dilemma. Looking into your closet and not having any idea what to wear can make an already rushed morning feel even more so. To avoid this happening to you, it’s time to put in a bit of effort now and prep your way out of it. Having the right measures in place can make all the difference between walking out of the house feeling and looking pulled together to not having any idea what you’re wearing and feeling less than your best self the entire day.
Clean your closet
It all starts with the state of your closet. If you’ve got clothes strewn everywhere, shoes piled on top of each other and bags all over the place then you’re going to make it very hard to find anything let alone style an outfit. So commit to a big wardrobe cull and ensure that everything is in plain sight. If you can easily see everything then you’re more likely to have a little more styling inspiration, which means locking in an outfit quicker, which can mean you’re able to walk out the door faster.
Ensure your essentials are always nearby
We all have our fave pieces in our closet so it’s important that these things are readily at our fingertips should a wardrobe dilemma faced with a time crunch arise. If you can fall on a standby go-to outfit without then realising that the shirt you want isn’t ironed or the jeans you’re after is still in the washing basket, you have a much better chance of getting dressed faster. At a minimum, always make a point of having the key staples in your wardrobe at the ready.
Have failsafe outfit combinations
It’s great to experiment and broaden your fashion repertoire but it’s also key to have at least five outfits that you know work memorised. These are good to fall back on should you be faced with a sartorial mental blank and can’t really think of what to wear. To make it even easier, have an outfit planned to suit different occasions, think: casual, work, evening, party and going out. This way whatever you’re faced with there’s always an ensemble waiting to happen in a matter of minutes.
Have style inspo as a back up
Style inspiration can help kickstart an outfit idea or two so make sure you have a few on your phone that you can draw upon when you need to. By simply having a few looks that you love saved, you can make it easier to then get an ensemble together when you’re having one of those days where you feel that you really have nothing to wear.