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Full Closets and Nothing to Wear

My way of choosing clothes.

By Stephanie Van OrmanPublished 3 months ago 6 min read
Full Closets and Nothing to Wear
Photo by Aviv Rachmadian on Unsplash

Have you ever stared into your full closet and said the despairing words, "I have nothing to wear"?

If you start complaining that you have nothing to wear, an enraged bunny wearing a tailored pantsuit will appear in your closet and start lecturing you about the benefits of a capsule wardrobe. Don't listen to her. Capsule wardrobes are for people going on vacation with limited packing space. It's impractical for a woman who doesn't want to wear the same theme every day.

If you dismiss the bunny, a deer with doe eyes will poke her nose between your dresses. She has a home-knitted scarf around her neck she will patiently explain minimalism to you like you've never heard of it. She'll start telling you to go through your clothes and humbly thank the clothes you'll never mend, no longer fit you, are out of style, or weren't a good choice to begin with... and pass them on.

Certainly, the deer has a point. You shouldn't keep clothes you know you're never going to wear again. However, if you thank her for her service and send her on her way, she will feel surprisingly snubbed because you just treated her like a sweater your grandma gave you that doesn't fit anybody. The problem with what the deer is recommending is that it does not fix your current problem. If you have nothing to wear in your closet, then emptying your closet will not magically give you something to wear.

However, if there is a foxy pair of eyes peeking out at you from between your high heels, you might try listening to her.

"You're trying to be too many people. That's your problem. You saw someone who looked cute wearing something and you bought one too. It looks cute on you too, but it doesn't match anything else you own. Instead of buying every random thing you like, you need to focus on a few specially chosen aesthetics and discard the rest. Then, when you shop, you need only buy pieces that fit into those aesthetics."

Okay, fine. I'm the fox. Pry it out of me already! Sheesh.

I'm serious though.

Pick Three Aesthetics

When I was young, I tried different styles of fashion. I tried things like 'The Country Girl', 'The Army Girl', 'The Snooty Academic', and 'The Sporty Girl'. None of those things were even remotely right for me and the clothes that represent those phases in my life are no longer in my closet. You can do whatever you want: 'The Morocco Breeze', 'The Indian Summer', 'The Nordic Babe'. Whatever you want. The most important thing is that you recognize how you spend your time and therefore what you need. Let me explain my three aesthetics just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

The Lumberjack - This is jeans, plaid shirts, and T-shirts with monochrome designs on them. I live a life where I actually do chop wood and other outdoor work. I may as well look cute when I do it. It's also a versatile casual look that can go anywhere.

The Artist - This is leggings, shortish skirts, knee-high boots, and vests. This is my costume of choice when I'm sitting around the house for a day of uninterrupted art. I might be writing, baking, crafting, or mending, but it's an outfit that I can relax and feel at home in. The vests have pockets large enough to fit my phone and the leggings bend easily when I spend half the morning sitting on my feet.

The Black Witch - This is not as goth as you might think. But it is the category most of my formal wear fits into. It's lace, metallics, layered flounces, pantihose, closed-toed heels, fingerless gloves, and wide belts. It's a romantic look with a 'don't mess with me' edge. I have a surprising number of semi-formal to formal events on my calendar perpetually and it's really great not to be scrambling for a formal outfit when I need one.

Think about how you spend your time, and how you want to look when you're doing the things you do most. That's how you choose your aesthetics.


You don't need to get your colors matched. It doesn't matter if you're a winter or a summer. Instead, you need to choose the colors you want and stick to them. Having colors in your closet clash is a major source of 'not having anything to wear'.

First, choose your neutrals. I'm gonna say that you don't need to limit your neutrals. You can have as many neutrals as you want. You could make a whole closet of nothing but neutrals and that would definitely work. Go ahead and have all the black, gray, tan, brown, cream, white, and blue you want. Blue wouldn't be a neutral, but denim has made it one.

Next, choose your colors. I have three main colors in my wardrobe. They're red, purple, and pink. Naturally, I don't wear any of those pieces at the same time (and my closet is mostly black clothes). I do have a couple of oddball pieces that aren't those colors, but they were mostly gifts. You don't have to gut your whole closet. The point is to stop wearing colors that don't feed into your aesthetic to give you the look you want. Stop buying them.


Shape is a big part of my world because I have an exaggerated figure. Thus, there are loads of really cute clothes that I can't wear because they're for someone with a proportionate body. However, to act like your shape shouldn't be considered when choosing an aesthetic is a bad idea. Basically, you want to choose a few parts of your body that you like where you can intentionally draw a person's eye. This is actually the whole purpose of accessories and jewelry. If you want to draw the eye to the breast area without including the neck? Brooch. You want someone looking at your eyes? You wear cute glasses or flashy eye makeup. Most importantly when getting dressed, you get to choose where to put the eye on the middle of your body with where you place your belt: solar plexus, natural waist, or hip. If you have a pear shape like me, you're going to choose the solar plexus. If you're proportionate, you're going to choose your natural waist. If you're an apple (or inverted triangle), you're going to choose your hip.

When I get dressed, everything I wear is meant to draw the eye away from my butt. I'm a pear, so I have a big butt and the rest of my body is smallish by comparison. This means that the patterns, the busy parts of my clothing, are always not on my butt. Everything I put on is meant to force whoever is looking at me to look at any other part of my body.

Think about your body and what parts you want people to look at and what parts you don't. Then try on your clothes. Something can fit just fine, be your style of garment, and force the eye to the least desirable place.

I'm always telling people to try on their clothes. Try on everything! Even stuff you don't think will work, but it would be awfully nice if it did.

So now, the little fox is done with her explanation of how to turn your closet into a paradise where you pop in and there are a million choices of what to wear because all the clothes are the right colors, shapes, and styles to make you look your best. I'd get more specific, but honestly, the rules are made to be loose rules. This is style, not surgery.


About the Creator

Stephanie Van Orman

I write novels like I am part-printer, part book factory, and a little girl running away with a balloon. I'm here as an experiment and I'm unsure if this is a place where I can fit in. We'll see.

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