In a recent workshop I was explaining the benefits of a Core Wardrobe Plan and stressing the many advantages of understanding and applying this system:
- Having fewer clothes but loving them all and wearing them all (the opposite of a ‘wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear’!)
- The efficiency and order of a simpler wardrobe (one thing on each hanger, instead of two or three)
- The ease of getting dressed in the morning (no more panic, frustration and despair!)
- Being able to mix and match easily because everything goes with everything
- Efficient travel packing
- A vastly improved budget (less money wasted)
- The relief from the guilt of all that money spent – and yet still not having the right clothes!
And then came this strong objection from someone in the group:
“But, Glynis, what will my friends think of me when they see me in the same clothes again?”
This dynamic, successful young woman then explained that every morning she records her outfit with a selfie that she then sends to all her friends. Her reluctance to have fewer clothes was that it would spoil her carefully crafted image as a fashion icon.
The concerning thing for me was that she was completely serious and unaware of the significance and implications of what she was saying and doing.
It’s interesting to me how frequently we can lose our common sense where clothes are concerned
What makes the statement from this interesting soul – and the subsequent discussion – more startling is that it happened in the context of a conference on leadership for women. The entire focus of the few days was to support women in equality, progress and overall empowerment in order to manifest their full potential.
And also fascinating was that the module before mine had been on financial planning and investment. The presenter had been stressing the importance of using money wisely and effectively in order to ensure a self-sufficient, independent, secure and empowered future.
This had inspired and motivated the group … but only until I started talking to them about a Core Wardrobe Plan that suggested limiting their future spending on clothes.
Two seemingly contradictory beliefs
Even though the person who objected to having fewer clothes had been excited at the idea of saving and investing in her long-term future, it was more important to her to maintain a short-term image on social media.
It’s this very dichotomy that can catch us out, whether we’re consciously aware of it or not
The pressure to impress others on social media and to be an object of admiration can cause us to do irrational things. Why, otherwise, would we keep spending more and more on clothes to keep up a certain image for the sake of others? Why would we waste our precious resources in this way instead of investing in something more lasting and meaningful?
Let’s get our clothes into perspective
Your clothes – when you get them right and when you use them consciously – can be an extremely effective tool in taking you from where you are now to where you want to be. They can allow you to express who you really are, to attract the right people and the right opportunities and to be more confident, creative, interesting, secure, independent – or any of the wonderful attributes that are available to us all.
But … if your clothes become just a vehicle to show off or to compete with others, they can disempower you and make you less authentic overall.
This is because your clothes are meant to support you to become your true self and to live with purpose and meaning – and not for short-lived and superficial ambitions.
Balance your spending and investing
In order to have the right clothes, as well as money to save and invest, consider some of the following:
- Get to know yourself and the needs of your lifestyle so you have the appropriate clothes to live authentically
- Have a budget for all that you need – not just for what you want – and know what you can afford to spend on clothes
- See your clothes as an investment in yourself and understand that they are a means to an end and not an end in themselves
- Use your clothes as a way to be more self-aware and authentic, rather than trying to create a seemingly glamorous and ‘perfect’ existence, such as the artificial ones displayed on ‘reality’ television shows
- Spend intelligently and consciously on things that are lasting, rather than bartering away a secure future – a home of your own, education to expand you, travel to enrich you – for a quick selfie that’s forgotten in moments
- Know your own values so you don’t fall for the superficial, materialistic and transient conditioning around you