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7 Reasons Why You Have Nothing to Wear

Waking up to a closet full of nothing to wear is frustrating.

You spent money, you have all this stuff, and you still struggle to get out the door feeling good in your clothes.

I get it. Everyone has been there. I spent the first decade of my career helping women with this exact challenge. And now, I’m fortunate to get to talk to our community every day and hear that they struggle with the same thing.

We can fix this, but you first have to understand how you got here.

Let’s break it down because once you know why you have nothing to wear, you can start to turn it around.

Why You Feel Like You Have Nothing to Wear 

 

Building a functional wardrobe is a lot of work.

It takes an investment of time and money, two things we are all short on these days.

Understanding your pain points, or where you “trip up,” helps you make better decisions in the future, and you’ll save time, money, and sanity.

You’ll be able to go from feeling like you have nothing to wear to having endless options and being excited about getting dressed.

7 Reasons Why You Have Nothing to Wear

There are many reasons why you have nothing to wear.

I guarantee you will see yourself in many of the examples below.

We’ll discuss how to fix it and what to avoid it in the future and highlight our most popular posts with some of our best advice.

As always, I’d love to hear your takeaways in the comments.

Use this conversation to keep you on track as we move into the new season.

1. You’re Buying for One Time Wear

6 Reasons Why You Have Nothing to Wear

I see this all the time; it’s perhaps the number one culprit for having a closet full of nothing to wear.

You have something on the calendar, like a party or trip, and you want a cute new top. So you buy the cute new top, and after the event, you realize you can’t wear it with anything else.

Instead, when you make any purchase for your wardrobe, consider how many different ways you can wear it; at least two to three options are best.

You’ll hear me refer to this as the “Wear it Three Ways Rule.”

And be sure you have those items in your closet already. It’s not helpful if you think, “Oh, I can wear this with white jeans,” but you don’t have white jeans.

2. You’re Buying for a Different Lifestyle.

A big complaint I hear, especially over the last year, is that many of our lifestyles have changed, and we don’t need as much, or need different things.

We are either more casual than before, or there is less to do, so you have less need for specific categories of clothes.

Maybe you retired, changed jobs, moved to a rural area, or noticed less need for a wide variety of “going out clothes.”

Think about your time, how you spend it, and what you need/want to wear.

I use to flying around the country several times a month as a speaker, than I had a baby and the pandemic happened and I never wore a sheath dress again. Our lives our constantly evolving, you’d be surprised how much that impacts our wardrobes.

You could find the most fabulous, best fitting, amazing deal of an item, but if you have no place to go, it’s not a good buy and will just add more clutter to your closet.

3. You Lack Basics

I happen to love basics, but I hear all the time how boring they are.

So what happens is you spend your time and budget filling your closet with fun pieces.

Color! Print! Scarves! Fun Shoes!

And you still can’t put an outfit together.

Basics provide the structure you need to have a functional wardrobe.

And basics vary depending on your individual needs, but this article might be helpful to get you started: 12 Basics for a Woman’s Wardrobe.

4. You’re Only Shopping Sale

No one loves a bargain more than I do, as evident in our weekly Sunday Sales Feature.

But, if you only shop sales, you’re limiting your options and likely making do with pieces that don’t serve you well.

Also, you’re probably buying things you don’t need simply because it is on sale. 

After over a decade of cleaning out and reorganizing wardrobes with private clients, I know you will save thousands of dollars if you invest in better basics and use sales to discover an actual deal, a hidden treasure, or to add fun, novelty pieces

5. You Have Too Much

I’m often asked how many of something you should own, for example, “How many jeans are enough?”

And my answer is always the same, “It depends.”

Our lifestyle determines our needs; maybe your lifestyle supports dozens of pairs, and perhaps you only need three.

Back when I worked with clients in person, I was always blown away by the sheer volume of clothes women had in their closets that they did not need, like, or wear.

They just held on to items, like someone who’s been retired for five years but kept all of her suits from the early 2000s – “just in case.”

Hanging on to items you’re not wearing and don’t need creates massive amounts of clutter.

And you can’t see what you have when it’s hidden beneath clutter, and if you don’t know what you have, you’re not utilizing everything. 

If this sounds like you, your first order of business is to edit your wardrobe and only keep what you love. 

6. You Lack Organization

See My Organized Space Here

Once your space is pared down, spend a little time getting it organized.

You don’t have to spend a fortune at The Container Store; you might have everything you need in other rooms in your home.

Be sure to create a category for everything you have and a space you can easily access. You won’t wear it if you can’t see what you have. 

Corral scarves in baskets, hang necklaces on 3M hooks and keep like items together either folded or hung.

Invest in slim-lined, flocked hangers to make the most of your space so everything is at eye level.

Here are some of my favorite, affordable items to organize your closet, whether big or small. 

7. You Don’t Know Your Style

Our post, How to Define Your Personal Style will walk you through our simple process. 

Clients used to tell me, “I just don’t have any style.” 

But that was rarely the case. 

With few exceptions, most women have style but need help to articulate it well or notice it when they see it. 

For me, personal style is an ever-changing process. My style in my 20s is wildly different from my 40s, as it should be.

Both reflect who I was and what I loved in that chapter of life. And as I’ve aged, my style has become more fine-tuned, consistent, and confident.

Once you identify your style, editing your wardrobe and shopping becomes much more manageable. 

If you’re not already on Pinterest, consider setting up an account and creating a personal style board. You can add images of outfits you like and “pin” all sorts of inspiration.

Once you fill a board with 50 plus pins, repeat it and edit it to only your favorite.

You’ll start to see common themes throughout. 

For example, do you prefer pants to skirts? If you didn’t save any skirt outfits, stop buying them. 

Are you attracted to neutrals or bold prints and patterns? Have a board filled with neutrals; avoid bold prints when purchasing. 

You’ll start to see what you like, which will help you curate your wardrobe in the future.

7 Reasons Why You Have Nothing to Wear
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 Join Megan Kristel for a comprehensive, 3 hour long, LIVE Virtual Workshop sharing personal style and shopping tips for women over 40 on March 31, 2023.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Jodi

Wednesday 28th of February 2024

I think two of your suggestions have to be considered together to work best. I have tried keeping only the things I love, and in the process removed basics that didn’t excite me, because, well, they were basics. So now I would probably think of it as “Keep only what you love, unless it’s a basic.”

NATALIE K

Saturday 24th of February 2024

I buy for my lifestyle and I know y style very well!! But I can buy too much!! This was something I worked on last year!! I only bought New make-up, two pair of PJ's in April and two new pair of shoes in Dec. for all of 2023!! I very happy with myself from going from buying several items a month!!! Now I'm out of a buying mode and appreiciating what I have and trying to use all!!

Michelle McDonald

Thursday 22nd of February 2024

Oh my goodness, I needed this post today! You inspired me to donate what ended up being two full bags of clothing that I'd set aside thinking I MIGHT sell them on Poshmark. Nope, they just need to go - it's a sunk cost, and they're just cluttering up my closet now that I'm retired and have simplified my style. Thank you for your wonderful advice and guidance!!

Terri Willoughby

Thursday 22nd of February 2024

Love this! I am so guilty of not buying for my lifestyle! I live in a small town and there aren’t opportunities to dress up that much. But- I have about 8 pairs of faux leather pants (lol).

Sharon

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

I think you have nailed it. I used to think I didn't have style but when I did an exercise to define my style I now have 4 words that I use when I buy any clothing. It must cover at least 2-3 of the words. My style words are CLASSIC, EFFORTLESS, MINIMAL & UNEXPECTED. This has made a big difference in what I buy. I've also lost a lot of weight and shopping is now a joy instead of a chore. But I have a lot more than 3 pairs of jeans. I mean there are all the blues, gray, black, white, patchy, skinny, boyfriend, straight leg... OMG, I could go on and on. 3 pairs??? I can't do it. But I am going to start editing my closet for only things that I LOVE and serve me. I have consigned a lot of things but now I need to just bring to Savers the rest. Thx for the reminder.

Debi

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

Your blog is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I retired 4 years ago and have struggled to find my “non-office” style. These 6 Reasons… will be my roadmap. 😀

Dorothy

Wednesday 28th of June 2023

After organizing my closet, I feel j don’t need to shop for anything. I have way too many pants, dresses n tops and oh yes sporty jackets.

Now I can see what I have in my closet and can where a different outfit for at least 40 days and never where anything twice. Organized my husbands closet too and he has enough golf shirts for 60 days.

Jill Finney

Wednesday 29th of December 2021

Good article! I’ve recently begun following your blog. Your link on affordable closet organizing products seems to be broken. Is it still available? I’m interested! Thank you!

Tracy Gray

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Thank you for this! I fell into several of the categories which lead to such frustrations!

Kristina

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

I have been following the blog for over a year and I used the pandemic to really purge. I own the least amount of clothes I ever have, but actually have better outfits and more to wear. Using a lot of your advice, I found my style and shifted my wardrobe entirely to cohesive pieces that can all be worn together. I love my outfits now and how I feel when I step out in something other than my daily scrub set for work.

Eileen

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Hi, it’s me again, one year later. The dressing rooms are partially open, and some retailers have lines, of people wanting to try on clothes. I ordered and returned so much in the past year! The retailers were understanding, but what a confusing time, the poor computer system, and staff must have a challenging time. I will note, I have never seen so many sweatshirts and slippers for sale, I started to wonder if “ normal clothes” would ever come back. My issue with nothing to wear usually boils down to fit, I’m a pear, so tops are too large, and bottoms are I’ll fitting and too small. The size charts don’t help much in this regard, I wish they did.

Randi B Lubenow

Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Good Morning Megan. This was a great post! I am feeling like I am having an out of control buying vibe. My closet is full and most things work together, but I will be checking out your links to make it less overwhelming. Thanks so much for your insight.

Ways to Have Great Style on a Budget – shollyfashionstore

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

[…] 6 Reasons Why You Have Nothing to Wear and Our First Ever Virtual Town Hall […]

Eileen

Thursday 7th of May 2020

Closing dressing rooms... ok, so now I wear a swimsuit/ leotard/ etc , to try on clothes, like at a flea market, hmmmmm. My issues with online shopping is the size charts, they don’t tell the whole picture, what if I like tighter or looser fit? I need measurements of the actual piece, then I can decide on my fit. Second thing, fabric, what is it made of, even the lining. Third, what is the material inside the shoes, leather, synthetic, and can the heel be re soled? We need more information if we are expected to buy online.

Megan Kristel

Thursday 7th of May 2020

I think you may not be able to try anything on at all which is why I'm hoping that retailers will reexamine their online size charts and guidance. It would make everyones life easier, less returning on both ends is a win - win.

Stephanie S Yates

Thursday 25th of April 2019

Great post! Refreshing to see a blogger that's not advocating booty shorts from Forever 21 or $1000 t-shirts and can relate to being a working mother. Thank you!

Brenda Fegan

Monday 14th of May 2018

Good morning Meg! That was me this morning! It's gray and damp outside and so I stood there looking at my new spring dresses trying to figure out what to wear. I ended up wearing a black ponte knit skirt and a silk sweater that I bought but had never worn. Crazy! It is supposed to be cloudy all week so tonight I am going to try to figure out my wardrobe for the week and pack for a trip to Atlanta this weekend to watch the Royal Wedding at my friend's house! I just find it hard to wear bright colors when it is cold and dreary. Thanks for all you do and have a great week!!

Megan Kristel

Monday 14th of May 2018

Thanks Brenda! And have fun watching the wedding! I shouldn't be as excited as I am about it :)