In a world where fashion moves very quickly, new collections come out every week and we own more clothes than ever before, it really can all get a bit too much. I think it can even be a bit stressful sometimes, trying to keep up and always having something fresh to wear. But I think in some ways we need to redshift our focus back on to ourselves and think about how our clothes make us feel. It’s so important to prioritise things that bring us joy in our busy lives and I think a great way to do that is to dress in a way that makes us feel great. So I’ve broken down a few of the ways I dress joyfully. Mostly for me that means wearing gorgeous dresses, but other days it’s wearing my softest washed 100 times PJs and being comfy all day! There’s not really a wrong or right way to dress joyfully, but these are some of the things that work for me.
Clothes that make you smile
This is a great place to start! Do you ever see a garment and you don’t just like it? You LOVE it! It ticks all your boxes, it’s completely your style, you can imagine yourself wearing it all the time. If it gives you that instant feeling of joy and you know it will get lots and lots wears and make you feel fabulous, then you’ve already found the one! Nothing beats an outfit that you’ll smile every time you see. If it’s on the high street have a think about it, if you feel the same way in a few days then go for it. If it’s second hand and you really love it, I’d advise just picking it up and taking it home- no one likes that feeling of regret.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for
Sometimes we need to work out exactly what it is that we’re looking for. We get stuck in a rut and don’t really know what we like anymore. One of the things I do a lot is use my save button on Instagram or make a board on Pinterest. I have a little folder of style inspo on Insta, but I make sure that the people I save are similar in size and shape to me, so I know that things will suit me too. It gives me a bit more focus when I’m out thrifting or shopping online. I also save a lot of items I like on Etsy, Depop and Ebay so I can go back and look at them again. This way you can slowly work out what your personal style is and eventually you can take inspiration from yourself!
Colours that spark joy
Find your happy colours! A couple of years ago I was obsessed with all things yellow and now I’m having a bit of a pink moment, but my favourite colour will always be green. So that influences the colours I gravitate towards when I’m out shopping. I know I don’t feel great in darker colours like navy and black, so even if I love a dress when I see it hung up, I know I won’t feel any joy when I’m wearing it, so I have to leave it behind. Maybe you just like colour in general, then you should be creating a rainbow wardrobe, if you love black and white and feel great wearing it, then ditch the colours and go monochrome. The most important thing is that you feel great wearing those colours.
Clothes that you will wear again and again
When it comes to clothes, we should be thinking long term relationship, rather than one night stand! We owe more to the planet and the people who make our clothes than to treat them as throw away items. When you buy something think about all the different things you could wear it for, will it get at the very minimum 30 wears? We should really only be buying clothes that we love so much, that we can’t wait to wear them again and again. The only exception should be things we wear for special occasions. It would definitely bring me joy to wear a ball gown everyday, but sadly it’s not practical!
Clothes that are comfortable and easy to wear
This is such a big priority for me. There’s nothing worse than wearing something that’s itchy and uncomfortable, or made from a sweaty fabric, or digs in, rubs or hurts in some way – Just NO! Make sure you can move around, survive a hot day and go about your normal life comfortably. There’s no joy in being uncomfortable. Find fabrics that work for you and your lifestyle and invest in clothes that are a good fit.
Guilt free shopping
For me keeping my fast fashion purchases down to a minimum has become a priority. The way our clothes are made has become a BIG problem. So if I buy a high street item, I have to pledge to get the wears out of it and not waste it, but I feel much better buying things I know have been ethically made from conscious materials or that it’s vintage or second hand. The more I read about fast fashion, the more I can’t feel joyful wearing it. If we all make a little effort to improve we can make big changes to the world.
The joy of a bargain
The very best thing about buying most of my clothes second hand, is finding an amazing bargain. When I find a fabulous vintage piece in the wild it makes me feel super happy. Second hand shopping is actually a hobby to me, so rummaging through piles of clothes to find something fab for under a fiver, absolutely brings me joy!
Clothes that make you feel amazing
Have you ever put something on and just felt AMAZING! The kind of clothes that put a little shimmy in your step, make you stand up a little taller and just feel a little bit more fab? These are the clothes for you! Having said that some days we need to just wear something simple and comfy in grey marl that makes us fade into the background and thats totally OK too, it’s not always about being flamboyant and fabulous. Think of clothing as part of the whole self care package that we should all have as part of our lives and dress intuitively for yourself.
The joy of a little luxury
Now I love a bargain and rarely spend a lot on a single item. However, it is absolutely OK to save up and buy yourself something really special every once in a while. Buying a luxury item that will last you a lifetime can totally be seen as an investment in yourself. If you can afford an expensive handbag, a piece of jewellery or a very special dress and you think you’ll get a decent cost per wear out of it, then go for it. If it will make you feel special and spark joy every time you use it and it won’t cause any financial strain then you deserve it!
Quality over quantity
I’m not really one to talk here, with my completely overstuffed wardrobe! But I do really believe that we should only have as many clothes as we can manage. I have to be super organised to stop my collection getting a bit overwhelming and I now have a one in one out rule for everything. It’s about clothes making you happy, not having so many clothes that they make you feel stressed! So I think it’s definitely worth investing in having a collection of quality clothing that will last and be versatile, even if the quality is more about how it makes you feel than in just buying expensive things. Although buying beautifully made sustainable artisan clothing is the absolute dream for me at the moment, I know that even if I buy one or two pieces a year it’s totally worth doing and anything else I buy can be second hand, or just stuff I already own.
To accessorise or not to accessorise
I love to invest in fab accessories, to brighten up my outfits. They’re a great way to get the most out of your clothes. One dress can be worn completely differently with the addition of different belts, coloured tights, a pretty headscarf etc. If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that I have one particular gold belt which goes with absolutely everything. I will cry so much if that ever dies! Accessories are a great way to have fun with your clothes or to just jazz up clothes that you feel a little bit bored or meh about.
On the other hand, just keep things simple and sometimes opt for no accessories at all. As Coco Chanel famously said “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” It’s all about trial and error, I wear the same things so many times that I’ve got the hang of what goes with what a little bit more now.
Rethinking what you already have
Revamping your wardrobe doesn’t have to mean investing in anything new. It can just be about looking at the things we have differently. When I followed the Marie Condo programme, I pulled out every single piece of clothing I owned and really thought about what sparked joy. So many clothes went to the charity shop that day! Having that clarity gave me the ability to look at what I already had more carefully and I was able to rethink what I already owned. I’d advise spending a bit of time trying on your clothes and working out fun combinations of what you have. Maybe take some photos of your favourite outfits and keep them on your phone. Then you won’t find your self having so many “so many clothes and nothing to wear moments”! This can also help you identify any gaps in your wardrobe. For example you might have ten dresses that would look great with a pink cardi, but you don’t own one. That tells you to go and invest in an absolutely gorgeous pink cardigan! Then you instantly have loads of joyful outfits, with only one extra purchase.
I hope these tips have helped a bit. I would love to hear your tips for dressing joyfully in the comments.
For more inspiration check out the Fashion section of the blog.
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