Nothing to Wear? Try These 4 Tips to Create a Cohesive Closet

If you have nothing to wear its usually because you have too many clothes that haven’t been purchased mindfully.

Hey girl, are you tired of walking into your closet feeling like you have nothing to wear? I know what it’s like to have a chaotic closet. Today, I’m sharing four things that you can do to make your closet more cohesive so that you can begin to really enjoy all of your clothes and not just a really small portion.

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Today I’m going to be talking to you about cohesiveness in your wardrobe and sharing 4 advanced tactics to really help you get that wardrobe you love. When you “have nothing to wear” it’s usually because your wardrobe is filled with a lot of things that don’t go together and don’t make sense.

You don’t know how to use them to create outfits that look good together and that work for your body, for your lifestyle, for your personal style. The reason this happens is because we buy things without much thought; we buy them on impulse and don’t put a lot of thought into them.

Most of the things that I talk about today are going to address this mindset piece of being intentional about the things you buy and how they fit into your current wardrobe.

I want you to know that I still fall victim to this at times. I am still subject to getting sucked in by something that really looks stunning and beautiful. Then I get it home and into my wardrobe, and it doesn’t work well with the rest of my wardrobe.

About a year ago, I bought this shirt and it’s stunningly beautiful. It has amazing details. It’s from Boden: white knit, these fabulous sleeves, embroidery along the neck line, cut in a really unusual way, flowy like a tunic. But even though it’s black and white aka neutral, it doesn’t go with anything I actually wear in my wardrobe. It fulfills this dream fantasy life thing that I have going on, so  unfortunately, it’s something that I had to pass along because it doesn’t fit into my wardrobe.

Sometimes when we buy these pieces a process called the Diderot effect kicks in. This isn’t just a style and fashion thing, this happens in all areas. Often when we buy something the purchase of that item makes us think that we need to buy more items. 

A great example of this not related to clothing is when you buy a new couch. You get it home, then you start to look around and realize, “Wait a second. My end tables need to be updated, my rug needs to be updated, it all looks old now.” So instead of buying just one thing to add to your life, you’re now buying multiple things and spending more money.

Being mindful about what you’re buying and bringing in can help to eliminate the feeling that you need to buy more things to make this other thing work.

Let’s jump right into these four advanced tactics that you can use to begin creating a cohesive wardrobe that you really love.

Create a Color Palette

The first thing you can do, and the best place to start is to create a color palette. First, what is a color palette? A color palette for your wardrobe is a selected set of neutral colors and signature colors and accent colors that you’re focusing on in your wardrobe.

I don’t want you to feel limited by this because a color palette can be minimalist or it can be more built out.  Sometimes I tell people to stick with a really small one (four to six colors), other times I recommend a larger color pallet that can have up to 12 or 13 colors.

This is a personal choice, what feels comfortable for you, but doing this narrows down all of your options. If you don’t have any idea about your color season or the best colors for you, you have every single color ever created at your disposal, which is extremely overwhelming. However, if you do know your color season, you still have an over-abundance of options. Not focusing, not limiting your options with a color palette leads to chaos, even within your own color season.

Most of the full seasonal palettes give you anywhere from 36 to 48 colors, which is a lot of color. Narrowing down these colors into eight or twelve great colors (or however many you feel you need) allows you to focus on what you’re purchasing and whether or not it fits into your overall color scheme for your closet.

An added benefit when you have a color palette is that you can walk into your closet and it looks really stunning because everything goes together. Everything shares the same attributes of color and it’s a beautiful closet for you to enjoy.

The 3 Things Rule

Advanced tactic number two is what I like to call the three things rule. Let’s assume you have a color palette and you’re considering a purchase. You should always ask yourself, “Does this thing that I am buying go with at least three other things that are currently in my wardrobe right now?”

This is the rule that I did not follow with the shirt I mentioned earlier. I bought the shirt because it was beautiful, it fit my color palette, it was actually very much my style, but the problem was that I didn’t have three things to wear with it. So when I got it home, it was a struggle for me because it did not work with the clothes that I wear. This made me want to buy more things, like I talked about earlier.

Ideally the 3 things would be core pieces of your wardrobe, like tops, bottoms, or a completer piece. Try to rule out things like shoes or accessories, because that’s not helping you put the clothes on your body.

don't be a slave to your cloest

Shop from a List

The third tactic for the ‘nothing to wear’ problem is to shop from a list, and not just any list. The way to make a list for shopping mindfully is to first consider what you have and what you’re missing. Think about the holes in your wardrobe and the items that you are missing, and make a list of all of the things.

I recommend making this list somewhere you can easily edit; I love doing it in Excel or Google Sheets because you can add and take things away as needed. Having a list of wardrobe items that you want to buy is important.

Once you have that list of all the things you want add to your wardrobe in the coming months, it’s time to prioritize. Take the top thing you want/need and put it at the top of the list. Continue to organize them as best you can into most needed to least needed.

Then, as you’re shopping, focus on the first five things in your list. The reason I say don’t focus on just the top thing on your list is because sometimes these things can be hard to find. You may be looking for just the right piece, and by focusing on five at a time, you’re concentrating your energy into looking for things that work.

You’re intentionally looking for the things you need most, but you have some room to adjust. If you find the perfect item for number four, go ahead and get that.  Then you remove it from your list and your everything gets bumped up.

I recommend revisiting this list a few times a year and re-prioritize it, marking things off that you’ve decided against or purchased. Your list is a work in progress, just like you are, so continue updating it with the things that you really need to help you focus your energy.

The French Capsule Method

The fourth and final tactic I’m going to share with you is similar to shopping with a list in that you will focus on five things. The difference is that you only do this twice a year.

Now, I’m gonna go ahead and say it. If you’re a shopoholic, you won’t like this advice, however, hobby shopping can be the reason that your closet feels chaotic and you have nothing to wear. The reality is when you shop on impulse and to make yourself feel good and you shop to-fill holes in yourself that aren’t really holes in your closet, you end up buying a lot of things that don’t work.

This leads to so much discontent and unhappiness, and it’s just a cycle that kind of goes on and on in our minds. We feel like we can’t get a handle on these things, and I don’t want you to have those feelings. I want you to break free from this mindless impulsive shopping.

be mindful about what you buy

The last tactic is called the French capsule method, and I didn’t come up with this. The French are quite known for their style and their fashion, but one of the things about French fashion is that people don’t have a ton of clothing. They’re really known for being mindful with the things they buy and not buying to excess.

This method focuses on only updating your wardrobe twice a year. In the spring and fall you plan a five-item purchase. and you can ponder in the waiting period. You make a list of five things; ideally, these are five investment pieces. You’re going to be saving up your money, you’re not spending it every week going shopping, remember?

You’re saving up your money and your energy. You’re thinking mindfully about you and what you want, and you’re focusing on adding five pieces to your wardrobe that are going to span the next several months. You can use this to refresh your wardrobe, or to add trends. You can use this to buy investment pieces like purses or shoes or something really expensive that you know will last.

Focus on buying quality and things that work with your existing wardrobe. Incorporate e the three things rule when you’re planning these five items. This is an advanced way of using a list, but instead of having an endless list, you’re doing a very focused purchase twice a year. This means that you’re only adding 10 things to your wardrobe a year!

Final Thoughts on Solving the Nothing to Wear Problem

The reality of having a cohesive closet is about making specific choices, being mindful of what you’re buying and why you’re buying it, and how it works with everything else that you already have.

The reason that so many of us feel like we have nothing to wear isn’t because we have nothing to wear. Usually it’s because we have a closet full of clothes that we don’t know what to do with; we have no idea how they work together. Everything is chaotic. Nothing really matches. The colors are all over the place. The styles are all over the place, you may have one shirt that goes with one pair of pants and neither one of them go with anything else…

This is chaos. Chaos in your life. Chaos in your wardrobe. This takes up your time, my friend, and time is a valuable thing that you cannot get back. If you are standing in front of your closet for 20 minutes a day struggling to get dressed, your closet is out of control.

Getting dressed should be easy. Your wardrobe should suit you and your life. You do not have to be a slave to your clothing, your life is far too important to be eaten up by wasteful time in the mornings because you have nothing to wear and your closet is a hot mess.

What I’d love for you to do is commit to just one of these advanced order planning and management tactics to guide your purchases for the next season.

You can stop this frustrated feeling of walking in and thinking, “Oh, I have nothing to wear” and hating everything you own by practicing mindfulness and being confident in the things you buy and being intentional with your shopping.

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Try these 4 wardrobe tactics when you feel like you have nothing to wear.

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  1. I probably say this every single time I read your blog or hear your podcast. Your real life advice helps me elevate my life in such simple, common sense ways. You sure are a blessing to me!

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