Elysha emailed me because she felt her approach to personal style as a form of self expression was akin to the work I do. We discussed various topics and agreed to focus on how acceptance and intention can help create a successful appearance. You can find more info about Elysha at the end of this post, along with a free gift.
Take Back The Closet
By Elysha Lenkin
If I peeked inside your closet right now, what would I learn about you as an individual?
Does your clothing give an accurate reflection of who you are today? Is it obvious what your personal preferences are by what’s hanging in your wardrobe? Is your taste clearly defined?
Or does your closet represent someone you were about 5 or 10 years ago? It’s filled with outdated styles and things you don’t wear. The clothes are in a variety of sizes – many of which don’t fit. And I’d see plenty of pieces with the tags never removed.
Whether you realize it or not, your closet tells a story of who you are. When current and well curated, this story uplifts and fulfills. It’s purpose driven and encourages its hero (YOU!) to rise to the occasion while remaining grounded in truth.
But too often, the story is scattered. There’s no continuity or prevailing themes. It’s overridden with irrelevancy that threatens to drag the narrative into unsightly (and unflattering!) territory.
And it’s not like you wake up one day to a wardrobe that’s transformed into an unrecognizable mess. The process is gradual because it’s you who is changing, not your closet. And this is where the disconnect begins.
As the years go by your body changes. Your taste changes. Your lifestyle changes. You change! So relating back to the story your closet tells, a happy story evolves with your personal changes. A sad story does not. Let’s work on making your story happy.
In personal development, the idea of letting go gets compared to an onion. There’s a lot of layers on an onion. Often you’ll cry when peeling it. But if persistent, you’ll reach the core.
With your personality, as you age and evolve, there’s a constant shedding that occurs. Outdated beliefs and old habits are let go to keep you moving forward towards your potential. Once these outgrown tendencies are shed, you’re left with your core. This is the center of your being. Your truth.
This same type of shedding is necessary to keep a current and well curated closet. By letting go of your outdated clothing, you’re allowing space for what’s true at the core. Then your closet tells a happy story.
On the other hand, when you’re holding onto things that don’t align with who you are, you’re creating clutter. What’s true at your core isn’t represented because there’s too many unrelated items. Your closet tells a confusing story. And you probably struggle with finding things to wear.
The Holding Tank Of Who You Used To Be
It’s pretty effortless to accumulate stuff in the closet, particularly if you have a big space. What requires effort is clearing out your clothes so you’re left only with pieces you love and want to wear.
One of the biggest reasons people accumulate too much is because they can’t let go. And the biggest reason people can’t let go is because they’re attaching a much bigger story to the pieces they hold onto.
If you’ve got a pair of skinny jeans from 10 years ago, I bet you’ve got some great memories from when you were wearing those skinny jeans. Maybe it was a fun night with your husband. Or perhaps you were out and about with a bunch of girlfriends. The memories are heartwarming and confidence inspiring.
But when you put those skinny jeans on right now, do they fit as well as they did back then? If they’re bunching and riding up too high, the answer is no – they don’t fit like they used to. So why are they still in your closet?
The heart warming and confidence inspiring memories do not translate to those looking at you in the skinny jeans. In fact, those memories don’t even have to be attached anymore. You can let the jeans go and keep the memories! The jeans don’t have to be a keepsake.
Skinny jeans are only one example. Feel free to use any ill fitting item from your closet that has sweet memories attached instead. And poorly fitting clothing isn’t the only thing we hold onto that keeps us stuck in the past.
Taste and personal preferences shift with age. What was once considered appropriate may not feel the same as birthdays come and go. Yet still, a glance inside a woman’s closet will reveal hangers of items from the past.
You’ve already learned about detaching the memories associated with your clothing to help let go of your old things. Now it’s time to be honest with yourself about what you like. You want your closet to reflect who you are today. And if you don’t love the things in there, they’re not for you. To determine if something still matches your taste is simple. Hold up the garment in question and ask, do I like it? Anything other than a roaring yes needs to go.
Accepting Who You Are Today
Let’s be real here. Looking hard at who you are today isn’t for the faint of heart. With change comes a host of new things – some are exciting. And some are not. But we’ll always be changing. The more you fight it, the more stuck you’ll become.
If you’ve got clothes in your closet that don’t work for your life, then you’re holding onto clothes for somebody else! For example, if you’ve got a body-con dress with gold grommets, and you don’t have any place to wear that dress – your body-con dress days are done!
Just as looking honestly at yourself to see how your taste and personal preferences have evolved, I invite you to take a good look at yourself to acknowledge the person you’ve become, and the life you’re living.
How do you spend your time? At home during the day? Or do you go into an office? What about at night? Do you go to fancy events? Or girls night? Do you even go out at night?
Make the story your closet tells an accurate depiction of who you are. Align your wardrobe with the life you’re actually living. Anything that’s not contributing to the story needs to go. And be okay with that! If an item doesn’t support you, it’s holding you back.
The Holding Tank Of Fallen Hopes
We all make shopping mistakes. Sometimes it’s an impulse purchase, other times an irresistible sale. And then there are the aspirational pieces that never quite pan out. By holding onto these items, you’re only exacerbating your closet cleanout attempts as it shines the spotlight on your high hopes that never saw the light of day.
Going back to the body-con dress from above, it’s one thing when you have amazing memories in that dress which make it hard to let go. Or if you’ve come to see that the style you used to love and wear no longer suits your taste. It’s another thing when that dress was bought 2 sizes too small, and has the tags still attached.
Perhaps it was purchased as a celebration dress to revel in future weight loss glory. And letting it go means letting go of your aspirations. The truth is, the dress was a shopping mistake. And by holding on, you’re only celebrating the mistake.
When you want your closet to tell a truthful, happy story, you want it to have only items that reflect who you are. A good way to know if a garment is doing this is to ask yourself, does this fit me today – physically and mentally? A dress that’s 2 sizes too small doesn’t fit.
Letting go of the pieces that represent your fallen hopes isn’t letting go of your aspirations. It’s allowing you to accept who you are right now. If losing 2 sizes is a goal, don’t give that up! Better to reward yourself with a new dress when you reach the goal rather than buy something before. This way it’ll serve your current taste and size.
If you’ve lost control of your closet, take it back by accepting who you are today, and letting go of everything that doesn’t support you. Because once you’ve cleared the irrelevant pieces from your closet (and life!), you make space for what’s true at your core.
Click play on the video where I share a line of questions you can use to help determine which items to let go in your closet cleanout.
___ Elysha Lenkin helps women express themselves through fashion so they look current, feel confident and stay true to who they are. As a commercial stylist for more than 20 years, she’s styled women of all shapes and sizes including Tina Fey, Carrie Underwood and Serena Williams. Grab her free Holistic Closet Cleanout DIY Style Guide, available here, that helps you take back your closet today!