Happy New Year! Now, clean out your closet.
If you are in the fashion industry, or your personal brand depends upon wearing trendy clothes, you may want to skip this one (or give the rest of us some insider pointers). Everyone else…it’s time to clean out your closet.
You know that moment. Standing in front of a stuffed closet, you moan, “I don’t have anything to wear.” Yet, in North America we buy tons and tons of clothing. We are able to purchase far more outfits than our grandparents did for less money thanks to “fast fashion,” and we can shop 24 hours a day thanks to technology. These new realities, nestled firmly in our consumerist society, mean many professionals are clothing rich and cash poor—often at just the wrong moment. Women may talk about it more openly, but all professionals want to find the right outfit for that job interview or investor presentation.
The New Year (or spring cleaning time, or summer vacation) is a good time to overhaul your wardrobe. Here are some sound reasons to rethink your wardrobe as you transition to the next year.
Financial reasons: Cutting back on clothing purchases can be a painless way to gain some budget control. Stop using “retail therapy” (shopping to cheer yourself up) and make every purchase intentional. Buy clothing items that fit and will go with what you already own.
Time management reasons: Building a wardrobe where all of your clothes match or work together can save you precious minutes when you’re getting ready in the morning. Side note: I’m a fan of getting your outfit ready the night before, just like we did when we were in school. Purging the closet of clothes that you hope to squeeze into one day also aids in keeping you on time and looking professional.
Ethical reasons: Owning mountains of cheap clothing that you replace every few months or even weeks has repercussions beyond your own wallet and closet. The public appetite for a bottomless wardrobe of trendy togs creates many labor and environmental nightmares.
Our relationship with appearance and clothing can be complex. (Minimalists and the self-actualized, feel free to be smug here). As you move into the next year ask yourself what you want to say not only with your look but with your spending power. If you’re on the road to reinvention, a closet clean-out is a great place to start.
For those who want to know more about fast fashion: