It’s something that happens to most of us at one time or another. Staring into your closet and feeling less than enthused at what’s in there can be annoying, but if it’s happening with great regularity then it’s high time to look into employing a few style strategies to avoid a wardrobe dilemma.
When you feel you have nothing to wear, it kickstarts your day into a more stressful state than it has to be. Given we would all generally have enough items in our closet to work a multitude of different outfits, it’s not the amount you have but how you work it that’s important.
Here are a few tips and tricks to try the next time you encounter “I have nothing to wear” syndrome.
Have a bank of go-to outfits
When you’re having a good style day consider banking that outfit on your phone somewhere so you have a record of a look that you love and you know that works. Aim for at least 10 different looks so that you have an emergency stash of outfits to rely on when you’re encountering a wardrobe dilemma.
Do a closet tidy
Being able to visually clock every single thing you own can free up a little mental space to help get those styling juices flowing. If you’re staring at a pile of clothes it can be really hard to think of how to put them all together. If you’re unable to fit everything in, it’s probably a sign that you need to look at what you own and what you actually need — doing so can help free up valuable closet real estate.
Sometimes it helps to narrow down your options. Even something as simple as giving yourself a particular colour to wear or narrowing things down to a denim look can help you hone in on certain pieces and in turn make it easier on yourself to work them together.
Have a reliable staples
Having a few key pieces that can be worked in a few different ways is a great thing to have in case you’re unsure about what to wear. A great pair of pants, flattering jeans, a dress and a skirt are great failsafe pieces to have. You can always fall back on them on the days where you’re really struggling to pull a look together.
Start small then think big
Often just starting with a single piece can help everything fall into place. So start with a small decision such as for example deciding whether it’s a skirt or pants day. Once you’ve done that, then you can hone in on the pants in your closet, as opposed to having to look at absolutely everything. Limiting your choices once again can make it a little easier to tie a look together.
What are some strategies you use when you’re having an “I have nothing to wear” day?
Truth: clothes can at times be a little expensive. Depending on the brands you like, they can be really expensive. So how can you still splurge on pieces that you love without having to completely break the bank? It’s all about having the right shopping strategy. Over the years I’ve learned a few things that have helped me ensure that I’m not paying more than I should. And sometimes you may not even have to spend any money at all! I’m all about maximising style but minimising cost, and here I’m sharing how to save money on clothes without compromising on style.
Do your research
When I have my eye on something I like to do a reconnaissance mission before I buy it. I’ll make sure to check across several different stores or sites to see which is selling it for cheaper so I know that I’m getting it at the best price possible.
Wait for sale time
There are a few designer pieces in my closet which I really, really wanted but made myself wait till sale time to buy. And I’m glad I did because it saved me a lot of money. I just make sure to do my research beforehand so I know exactly what I’m looking for so I can pounce on it the moment it’s reduced.
It’s a good idea to sign up to the mailing list of your favourite brands and stores so you can be alerted whenever they are having a sale. You may even be given early sale access by doing this which means you’ll have a better chance of finding what you’re after.
Use fashion search engines
Sites like shopstyle.com.au and lyst.com.au are like Google for fashion. You can use them to search for whatever it is you have your eye on whether it be a pair of Gucci loafers or a new Givenchy handbag. It will scan across a range of stores, bring up the search results and you can see which retailers are selling it and for how much. If you find something that you like you can ask to be sent a sale alert the moment the price is reduced so you don’t miss out.
Do regular wardrobe edits
There are things in my wardrobe that I forgot I even owned until I stumbled across them during a closet clean out. All of a sudden I felt like I had something new to wear and I didn’t have to spend a cent. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of doing a seasonal edit of your clothes, shoes and accessories. This process will allow you to see what you own, find things you’d forgotten about and see where the gaps are. Also it lets you see what you really should be spending your money on instead of ending up with another pair of shoes identical to seven other pairs you already own.
Make a style hit list
Post-wardrobe clean out I always like to list down what I’m lacking. If left to wander aimlessly, I’d often end up things that I probably didn’t need but a list helps me stay on track. I know exactly what will be useful to me as opposed to just something that I want. This helps me direct my fashion dollars to the right things.
What’s your favourite way to save money on clothes?
The one thing I really love about winter dressing is the ability to layer different pieces for a warm and cosy look. I love experimenting with textures and big statement pieces such as a coat or boots to create an outfit that will easily withstand cooler temperatures without compromising on style. Effective winter layering requires consideration of the whole look from top to bottom including colours to avoid looking like you just threw on everything in your wardrobe! Over the years I’ve managed to refine my layering formula to a few key things…
Start with the basics
I always start with a cotton singlet or t-shirt underneath as a foundation especially if I’m going to wear a jumper or some sort of knit. Also I find wearing multiple lightweight layers provides ample warmth without your outfit feeling too bulky and cumbersome. I will always finish the look off with a big coat or jacket – this is a great opportunity to make a statement by opting for outerwear in a strong pattern or colour. If it’s especially cold outside I wear a big scarf, my favourite being an oversized Louis Vuitton scarf which makes for a nice (and warm) finishing touch. One thing to be mindful of when layering is to watch out for materials rubbing together, sometimes certain fabrics don’t work well against each other and can end up getting damaged or causing pilling.
One of the things I always do when it comes to winter layering is mixing different fabrics and textures. I find this adds a bit of depth to your look and helps to break it up. I normally do a cotton t-shirt, a knit and then I’ll do a wool coat or a leather jacket or denim jacket.
Choose a base colour
Great winter layering for me requires wearing similar tones. I might choose to go with various shades of grey or stick to neutral tones. If I’m wearing black I won’t do all black, I’ll actually add another piece such as a charcoal knit to help break up what I’m wearing. The same with camel colours – I might do beiges or cream and mix the tones up. Whilst I’ll play with various shades I’ll always ensure that there’s one base colour to ensure the whole look works together.
Finish with a great coat
The final finishing flourish of any winter look is a great coat. It’s easily one of the first things people see but it’s often relegated as an afterthought, so I’ve always tried to build up a few go-to coats throughout the cooler months. I always go for a statement coat, and then some plain, failsafe options in black, navy, cream or camel—I’ve found these to be so effective at finishing off a look, and also maintaining cohesion from top to bottom.
If there’s one thing that’s pretty much guaranteed to happen at some point in every woman’s life it’s feeling rather uninspired when looking into your wardrobe. It’s easy to turn to buying new things to help break out of this rut but it’s also a costly exercise if that’s your go-to each time you think you have nothing to wear. That’s why it pays to get creative and look to other ways to refresh your existing clothes and find new ways to wear them. Try the following things the next time you’re faced with wardrobe boredom, and the best bit it is it doesn’t cost a thing…
Rediscover your accessories collection
I can’t stress enough how playing with different accessories can really help revamp a tired look. The important thing is to get creative and experiment with different pieces. Challenge yourself to wear things that you wouldn’t usually wear with a certain outfit such as switching out the statement necklace you’d normally pair with it for a pair of earrings. You don’t just have to stick to jewellery either. You could also try tying a scarf around your hair or popping on a hat—it doesn’t take much effort but it can really help bring an outfit to life.
Play with your beauty look
You may be wearing something you’ve worn hundreds of times before but by changing your beauty look it can feel fresh all over again. A bold statement lip or a sultry smoky eye, even a bright pop of colour in the form of nail polish, can really help rework an outfit into something that feels new.
Work with bold prints and patterns
One of the easiest ways to refresh an existing piece in your wardrobe is to work it back with interesting prints or patterns. A plain white tee is brought to life when paired with a striking pattern such as a bold stripe or classic polka dot. If you’re feeling adventurous, try clashing different prints for a look that feels modern and on trend—just make sure to choose prints with at least one colour in common to help bring cohesion to your look.
Rework existing pieces
You’re probably so used to wearing particular items in your closet a certain way that you’ve not thought about styling it differently. Simple tweaks like rolling up the sleeves of a shirt, tying the ends of a button down, belting a dress or tucking in a tee can achieve a new look without having to do much at all.
Think outside the box
You know your favourite skirt? Well, could it be fashioned into a dress? How about pairing a one piece swimsuit with a pair of jeans? Look beyond a garment’s original purpose and think of ways that it could possibly work in another way. I’m betting there are plenty of things already sitting in your closet, that with the right styling tweaks could easily be given a refresh for free.
What are some of your favourite no-cost ways to refresh an outfit?
If it wasn’t a regular feature of your weekly wardrobe before, then I’m betting it will be now. For me, jeans have become quite the iso style staple and I’m in my favourite pair a few times a week, whether it’s working from home or ducking out for a quick grocery shop. I’ve been in the market for a denim update so I decided to chat to stylist Jess Pecoraro about all things jeans. While Jess and I would normally be working together on looks for big events and race days, right now, I’m choosing to tap into her fashion expertise for my at-home wardrobe for the next little while.
So I decided to share our latest video call above, because who doesn’t want free wardrobe advice from a professional? Here we chat about the super affordable brand doing an amazing version of the current must-have style, to how to store denim and the one style she and I aren’t so in love with anymore…
Over the years I’ve done my fair share of shopping expeditions and as a result I’ve also walked away with buyer’s remorse a time or two (or ten). And as I hated the feeling so much it was something that I wanted to work on curbing. It’s a waste of money and I really hate the idea of something going unused because I just wasn’t 100 per cent sure about it. I need to ensure that I always make a good purchase whenever I shop.
I do most of my shopping online so I know how easy it can be to make an impulse purchase when you’re sitting at home, enjoying a glass of wine and trawling through your fave clothing site. When you’re looking at something in real life it’s easier to gauge whether it’s definitely something you’ll wear or if it’s just an of the moment item that will end up just spending its days gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe. When you’re shopping on screen it can be a little trickier as everything looks great when professionally photographed. This is why it’s often a good idea to research a potential purchase quite thoroughly before buying it as you’re often taking a slight leap of faith when you’re relying purely on what you’re seeing on a website.
Regret-free shopping is all about asking yourself the right questions
I often get asked my tips for shopping, particularly online shopping and without a doubt the biggest one is that I will leave something I am thinking of buying in my cart for 24 hours. For online shopping, the action of adding it to cart is enough to satisfy my shopping whim but by not buying it immediately I give myself enough time to think about whether I really want it or not. I apply a similar principal to shopping in real life which works just as well. Usually I’ll see something when I’m out shopping with the girls and I won’t try it on right away (mostly because have you ever tried to try something on with two kids in tow?) but instead I’ll leave it a day or two. If I’m still thinking about it I’ll go back on my own and try it on. However this gives me a bit of time to consider whether I really want it or it was just a fleeting interest.
My general rule is that if I’m still thinking about something the next day then it’s something I really want as opposed to just getting caught up in the moment. By delaying buying it it gives me time to research the item further. I suggest Googling what you’re thinking of purchasing and seeing what it looks like on other sites as sometimes the colour or texture can look really different. It also allows me to consider how it’s going to work with the rest of my wardrobe and ask myself the key questions I’ve told myself I need to ask before any purchase. If all the boxes are ticked then I know I’m making a good purchase.
Tell me—What are some of your favourite shopping tricks?
Perfecting the work from home outfit takes a lot of experimentation and a little trial and error. When I first began working from home after working in an office for so long I had to try and strike the right balance between sitting in my pyjamas the whole day and putting on my usual work outfits and feeling very overdressed. I knew I wanted to get dressed as if I was going somewhere as I found it helped boost my productivity and helped get me in the right frame of mind but I also wanted to take advantage of one of the perks of working from home, which is being able to dress in comfortable clothes. So, how to get it right? Here are a few of my tips.
Have an outfit formula
This is a good place to start if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the fact your entire wardrobe has suddenly opened up to you as office options. If you’re generally used to wearing a suit to work, the fact sweats are suddenly not a no-no can make it tricky to decide what to wear. So it’s a good idea to have an outfit formula that you can revert to when you’re stuck. For example one comfortable piece + one polished piece + one accessory = work outfit sorted. You can tweak this to work with your own style and what you feel great in.
Opt for comfortable staples
One of the best parts of working from home is being able to wear comfy pieces. Think a cosy knit, jeans or a classic white shirt or a jumpsuit to add a fun fashion element. Also choose fabrics carefully. You want breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and wool which will feel great to wear all day. These pieces will form the building blocks of most of your looks so be sure to be well stocked so getting dressed in the morning for work is a no-brainer.
Pair basics with polished pieces
Just because you’re aiming for comfort it doesn’t mean you can’t add something to maintain an element of polish. For example a great blazer over the top of a white tee and jeans feels put together but will still be perfect for a day of working from home. While a cosy cardi looks great with a simple, but sleek slip dress. It’s about the high-low mix.
Have a dress code
Implement a home office dress code for yourself. You want to give yourself some parameters to work in, which will in turn make choosing your outfits in the morning easier. For example perhaps track pants are out but a comfy leather legging or mum jean is in. It’s all about what helps you feel productive and signals that it’s time for work not play.
Shoes tend to be optional when working from home but if you do want to go for a full outfit then definitely embrace a beautiful flat or a comfy block heels. Shoes such as a leather loafer or a ballet flat are perfect for staying in. But if you’re a heels girl through and through, perhaps park the stiletto for another time and become friends with the comfy block heel—there’s no better time than now to truly embrace comfortable dressing.
I wholeheartedly admit that I’m in jeans a lot of the time but there are times when I look in my wardrobe and think that I want to be comfortable but I just don’t feel like putting denim on. A great pair of jeans is always a failsafe option, but sometimes I just want to mix it up and try something else without having to compromise on comfort. So, what do I do then? Well I have a go-to alternatives to jeans that are equally as stylish, effortless and perfect for days on the go…
I’ve found that the billowy, relaxed silhouette of a pair of culottes such as the pair above is one of the comfiest things you can wear. Wear them with a shirt or tee, tucked in or out, and pair with everything from sneakers to heels, slides or flats. So versatile and effortless too.
Chinos have always been a handy staple to have but a cropped version of the style feels a lot fresher and more modern. You can easily dress them up or down which makes them ideal for workwear or a relaxing weekend.
These have all the comfort of a pair of tracksuit pants but infinitely more stylish. A tapered jogger looks great for days when you want to wear something simple and unfussy yet remain stylish and comfortable at the same time. You can easily throw on a great knit or pop on a casual trench over them and look put together.
I live in leather leggings throughout winter as I’ve found them so easy to wear with everything in my closet. I can easily pair them with a blazer or a knit and be ready to walk out the door with minimum fuss. If leather leggings aren’t your thing, I think the silhouette is still great in other fabrications, just be sure to look for a thick, sturdy material that will retain its shape. If there’s one thing that’s a no-no it’s saggy leggings.
When I’m in the mood for something a little more feminine but still equally as comfortable I opt for a midi skirt. One of my favourites is a knitted midi skirt which I’ve found to be really wearable and perfect for days on the go. It’s a great way to do casual dressing in a more elevated way.
Wide leg pants
I’m a huge fan of wide leg pants simply because they’re effortlessly stylish, making them an easy option when I want to style an outfit quickly. That said, there’s nothing quite as comfortable as a pair of billowy pants so I would definitely recommend them when you want something super easy to wear, that still looks polished.
Who’s your style icon? I have a number of women whose style I admire and whilst they may make it look effortless, I’ve found that often the thing with looking stylish is it doesn’t have to be difficult—as long as you have a few key things in place. If you get into the habit of doing a few things regularly then you can instantly make walking out the door looking polished and pulled together a whole lot easier.
I’m betting if you’ve ever really loved someone’s look it’s because everything works and there’s cohesion. The shoes work with the outfit, the bag is in keeping with the colour palette… it all just works. And to do this isn’t hard, it just requires putting in the effort of doing a little outfit planning. If you stop and put together a few outfits ahead of time, whether it’s the night before or you do a weekly styling session, you take that hurried mad dash for clothing out of the equation, which is when outfits tend to go awry.
Doing a tight edit
I think an outfit always has to have an individual element but also a considered edit that allows everything to work together. So always think about striking a balance and ensure that no elements are competing with each other but are instead complementing one another.
Adding one special piece
Aim to incorporate one standout piece when styling an outfit. It could be a great pair of earrings, a beautiful bag or a striking top, but whatever it is, ensure that it’s the kind of thing that can elevate a look.
Ensuring everything is in good condition
One of the things that can let an outfit down is if anything looks a little worn or shabby. Get into the habit of checking you clothes for damage so that you can get onto repairs straight away or replace it if need be. Also little things like pilling, discolouration, fading and even tiny stains are all things that can compromise the stylish feel of an outfit so be sure to either attend to the issue or phase it out of your wardrobe.
Wearing the right undergarments
The right underwear is so important to the overall finish of a look. A rogue bra strap under a cami, or underwear that’s the wrong colour under what you’re wearing are all things that can make you look less than pulled together. Invest in quality undergarments from bras to slips and underwear (including Spanx if you want a smooth finish under certain clothes) and you’re already ticking all the style boxes.
Aim for the right fit
Bid adieu to clothes that don’t fit perfectly. If it can be repaired then get them altered straight away. If not, then it’s time to donate them to charity so someone else can enjoy them. Also those “someday” clothes you’re saving? It’s time to farewell those too and instead focus on clothes that work for you now. You deserve to look nothing less than stylish after all.
Classic, timeless style is one thing I always aspire to. I like to keep my looks on trend but with an overarching sense of polish and generally don’t venture too far from what I know and love. One of the main reasons I do this is because it ensures the longevity of my wardrobe. If I stick to pieces that I believe will last the test of time I won’t have to update them as often and I can guarantee my favourites will have plenty of outings ahead. Having adopted this as my approach to shopping and how I dress for many years, and also observing the stylish women in my life whose ensembles just don’t seem to ever date, here’s what I consider to be the building blocks of having a look that will endure the years to come.
Scrimp on trend buys
I love purchasing trendy items as much as the next person but I keep them to a minimum. If I like the look of the signature silhouette or colour of the season I will buy a select few pieces and work them back with what’s already in my closet. I avoid wearing one trend from head to toe and like to give it my own spin.
Embrace timeless fabrics and prints
There are certain prints and fabrications that won’t date. Polka dots, stripes and plaid have remained in the mix most seasons and will add a fun touch to any outfit that won’t look dated. Long-lasting fabrics such as tweed, silk, wool and cashmere are worth adding to your wardrobe as they really stand up well to the wear and tear of constant use.
A classic black bag is definitely worth the splurge
Invest in classic pieces
Think of the pieces that have been around for ages and have remained a constant and they’re likely to be things like a black blazer, a white button down shirt, denim jeans and the little black dress and a simple black bag. These are the wardrobe buys that are worth investing in as they’re not going away any time soon.
Tailor your clothes
Ill-fitting clothes will make you look unkempt so it’s best to invest in tailoring pieces so they perfectly fit. Find a good tailor and have things taken in or up or out, depending on your needs, to ensure that whatever you’re wearing fits you like a glove. A perfectly tailored outfit just screams timeless style.
Know what suits your body shape
Learn to pinpoint the styles and silhouettes that work with your shape. Go on a shopping expedition and try on a few different silhouettes in key staples such as pants, tops, skirts and dresses and see what works. Be brutally honest. If what you see doesn’t put a smile on your face then keep searching until you find something that does. Once you’ve pinpointed what works for you then you’ll have a handful of go-to styles that you can always come back to time and time again.