How to permanently resolve the “I have nothing to wear” problem
I’m going to show you how to finally stop asking yourself the “I don’t know what to wear” question.
The best part?
At the end of the post, you’ll be wearing only stuff you really love, daily.
I was kind of obsessed with clothes a few years ago. Even though I’m a guy, I was running from store to store on the weekends. Trying to find the best outfit for the evening. Strangely, the more clothes I bought and owned the more I didn’t have what to wear. “Where the heck where all of my clothes going and why I’m standing in front of my closet, every day, wondering what to put on my back?” I bet you’re wondering the same questions.
Our closets are supposed to be a collection of the best clothes on the market. Why? We spent hours searching for the best blouse, shirt, or piece of jewelry. So why we still can’t figure what outfit to pick when we’re going out?
Before we go into details I want to share something: This is not a post where I will show you a couple of outfits, share pictures of celebrities wearing trending dresses, or a collection of clothes that you need to buy.
I’m going to tackle the problem from a psychological perspective and show you why more clothes is not the answer.
Ok, let’s dive deep:
Why Fixing the problem “I have nothing to wear” is important?
First off, let me tell you why this is important:
It might sound insignificant but the question and the problem behind “I have nothing to wear” are both more important than you think they are.
When you’re browsing through your closet, and when you don’t find something you like you start panicking. Soon depression takes over. Anxiety. Frustration. You go mad. You start yelling. Your spouse starts yelling back at you. You know the drill. At some point, it seems like the whole world is collapsing in front of your eyes for a frickin t-shirt. Or let’s say the inability to choose the right one from the pile.
No wonder there are so many commercials about antidepressants.
It all starts with problems like this one: “I have nothing to wear!”
It’s something you need to resolve permanently because it will drive you insane every time you’re about to go out.
But don’t think about calling your doctor, going to the drug store or searching online for a solution.
It might get worse.
Why searching online won’t help?
Well, you found that guide online too, obviously, but let me tell you why the other articles, that are published and are online won’t help you solve your worries:
They are basically telling you to buy more stuff. And this won’t solve your problem.
Let me tell you why:
You visit the site. You see a lot of cool pictures. Beautiful models. Nice, new clothes. Clothes you don’t have. Clothes that are obviously different from yours. You buy them. You like wearing them for a day or two and after a week you’re in the same situation, asking yourself the same question. The only difference? You’re X amount of dollars poorer and your closet has one, or several, additional items that you’re never going to wear again.
Repeat the above process a couple of times and you will soon be in dept and searching for tips on how to sell stuff online to go out of this debt.
Vicious circle. You don’t want to be in the center of this.
You might be thinking: “But I do need more clothes to have something to wear. Is there another option?”
Yes, there is and it doesn’t require buying more stuff. Well, not particularly.
Bare with me:
Why buying more clothes is not the answer?
This one is easy:
There is this thing called The Paradox of Choice. There is even a whole book called the same way: The Paradox of Choice.
Basically, the more options we have the worse we feel when we make a choice.
When you pick a certain outfit, out of many options, there is a high probability that you’re going to hate what you’ve chosen. Who are you going to blame? That’s right, you.
Because you made that choice. Remember?
Besides, when you open your closet and you’re facing piles of clothes, you can’t really evaluate all the options because you’re not seeing all the options. A lot of your pieces are on top of other pieces.
Also, it’s scientifically proven that when there are too many options the decision is becoming harder. Psychologists and economists study the issue and they all concluded that an overload of options actually paralyzes people.1
So why the hell are we buying so many clothes since we don’t wear them after that and they are only clouding our thinking?
You can check the post for more information but the main things are the following:
You want to feel pleasure;
A lot of outside influence;
You want to boost your confidence;
You want others to like you.
Let’s check these things one by one:
You want to feel pleasure:
People love to buy stuff. Not only because they will have something new that they can later brag about. That comes second. The main reason we love to purchase new things is what buying does to our brain.
When we buy we get a dopamine injection. And if you don’t know, we love this chemical. Imagine it like your favorite dessert. The only difference is that it’s something we can’t see. It happens in our cells.2
The actual process of shopping also releases this chemical into our brain. That’s why girls love to shop – go from store to store and discuss different dresses with their friends.
A lot of outside influence:
Streams of information are coming our way as soon as we’re awake.
It’s like a fuckin highway when you open your smartphone, turn on the TV, or go outside. We see thousands of commercials. Recommendations of friends. Shiny new things.
You can easily be influenced by the outside world when you’re connected throughout the whole time.
You might not need a new car or a new phone, but once you see everyone around you owning this new thing you will soon start desiring it.
Lack of confidence:
When we’re shy, fearful, diffident, we’re not feeling strong on the inside, deep inside ourselves, we try to compensate with things on the outside: We go to the gym; We do everything so others can like us; We buy fancy clothes, cars, gadgets, etc.
Take a look around and you’ll see it. A lot of times people who go to the gym twice a day and have huge biceps, are actually soft souls on the inside.
You want others to like you:
Nowadays everything looks perfect. Visually appealing. We pick the perfect photos and apply the right amount of filters, in order to create the perfect moment.
Our greatest fears are social rejection and embarrassing yourself in front of other people.
If you think about it for a moment, a lot of the things we do are actually inspired by our desire to make ourselves more appealing to other people: We post filtered pictures; We edit our messages; We don’t share our real thoughts with others; We buy things because others have them. That’s also the reason we own tons of clothes that are aging in our closets.
Ok, that’s about enough.
I think you now know what drives you to go to the store and what chemical reactions are formed when you hand your credit card.
Let’s see how we can use this information to resolve the “I don’t know what to wear” problem:
“I have nothing to wear” fix:
As you probably noticed, the problem is a bit more complicated than expected. A simple visit to the store, or a consultation with a fashion guru won’t solve our problem.
We need to tackle this from the inside out.
So, obviously, after what was mentioned above, one of the main reasons we can’t decide what to wear is because we have piles of clothes.
Firstly, we need to understand that we don’t need so many clothes to feel joy.
Let me give you a couple of things to consider:
Improve your confidence, not your wardrobe: We buy a lot to feel good and look good. A lot of times because we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin. But there are other ways to increase your confidence. Invest in yourself. Start exercising. Learn something new. Stop caring what other people think about you.
Other people don’t care about you: Besides your mom and your spouse, hopefully, other people don’t quite care what you wear or what you want. They care about themselves. If you’re buying more clothes to impress others you better stop. They surely don’t notice your new handbag or your new piece of jewelry.
More blur your mind: The more stuff you have the worse it will get. The sooner you understand that more equals more problems, the better.3 We first need to convince our mind that a new pair of jeans won’t fix our problems. It’s only going to make them worse.
The outside fix is more fun.
If you really want to permanently resolve the “I have nothing to wear” problem you need to look at this from a different perspective.
Most people consider their clothes as things that are fast-moving consumer goods. Products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost. Meaning, we don’t quite care if we’re going to wear this shirt only one time, it’s only 10 bucks. That’s why we buy it. But it eventually ends somewhere in the pile.
We rarely have a long-term plan for our wardrobe. We buy stuff, we pile stuff, we end up owning a lot of stuff but most of the pieces don’t go along with each other. It’s like we are collecting pieces of puzzles of different kinds.
Having a long-term plan and actually planning what you want to achieve, as a look, will help you create this unique wardrobe full of stuff you only love.
You can imagine it a bit like styling your home. When we decorate our homes we pick a certain style: Modern; Contemporary; Industrial; Minimalist, etc.
Once we decide what will be our style, we pick things that resonate with that style, only.
We need to apply the same technique when we craft our wardrobe. The final goal should be to own only a few things, but such that we love. If something doesn’t resonate with our style, we need to discard it.
So, let me give you a couple of steps:
Pick your favourites: You surely have favourite pieces of clothes. Such that you love wearing. You put them when you don’t know what to wear. Get these clothes in front of you. These will be your foundation.
Decide what will be your style: Considering what you highlighted above and decide what type of look you’ll create for yourself. Extravagant; Elegant; Casual. You can go nuts here and create a unique style that’s a combination of different styles.
Choose primary colors: One of the reasons we have a lot of stuff it’s because we buy clothes in different colors. You need to adjust that. Tailor your closet around 3 main colors. For example: black, white and grey. The colors have to complete each other. Each individual piece should go along with the others without having to think about it.
List the things you want/need: Actually, write down how many pieces you need. How many, and what type of t-shirts, shirts, jeans, sneakers, socks, you need. Create your own list.
Shop: Hold on. Don’t just rush to the store to spend your paycheck on clothes. You have your list but you can complete it steadily. Overtime. The idea is to buy clothes you only love. Identical to the ones you already have. For example, instead of owning 20 different shirts that you kind of like, have few that are similar, if not the same, but such that you love.
Look for durable goods: Invest in high-quality stuff. It’s best to buy a t-shirt that’s a bit more expensive, like 5, 10 bucks more, but that will last you longer.
You wanna know how I solved this problem?
I bought 10 black t-shirts. Now I wear them every day. I have a couple of other fancy t-shirts that I wear when I’m going out to a restaurant. I have only 2 pairs of jeans (previously 20). The older clothes I either donated, discard, or I wear them at home now.
I have a couple of pieces on my buy list but I don’t rush to get them. Eventually, I will have around 30 pieces of clothes (not counting socks and underwear) which I only love.
I don’t think about what I’m going to wear. I now know.
It’s all about creating a certain style and focusing towards it.
So, what’s your style?
There is this famous jam experiment where customers bought more of the product when there were fewer options. You can see more here.
The article here, explains extremely well how our brain acts when we shop.
Have you listen to the song: Mo Money Mo Problems? It’s the same with clothes: Mo Clothes Mo Problems.