Women who are icons of style have long known the value of saying no. And, as I start to dive into how to commit to cleaning out your closet, learning to live with less and ultimately sharpening your style, one of the most important words to put into use often is exactly that, “no”. Twenty-four seven, we are surrounded by attention-grabbing posts, emails, phone alerts and friends who have bought the latest, or swear by this one thing, or there is something new and so tempting, most of us, myself included, fall prey to the allure and hit “add to cart”. I admit, you might sometimes feel that way about TFI.
Having been a fashion editor and writer at some of the best fashion publications for decades, it has been my job, one I excel at, to fetishize things. I could talk most people into buying whatever I wanted to promote. Sometimes there are things that are absolutely worth the fetishizing and money spent. But there is also a lot that is not. In the end, how much stuff does one need? There are finite opportunities to get dressed (unless you change outfits multiple times a day).
Look in your closet and wherever you keep your beauty products and think about how many things fit into the “I should have said no” category. Is it a few things? A medium amount? Trash bags worth? Be honest with yourself. There are so many women I talk to who are embarrassed about their closets, because they haven’t been able to say no or can’t let go of things that no longer work. It can reach a critical point where it starts to feel overwhelming. They need help but don’t want to the judgement they think will come if they show someone their reality. As one of the British fashion editors at Bazaar used to say when some of the senior editors would fight over a dress for a shoot, “it’s just frocks!” And it is, just clothes. There is no judgement here. No need to be embarrassed. No need to feel overwhelmed. Know that no one is immune; in fact, I bet more women (and men) feel unhappy with the state of their closet than the opposite. I did.
I also know how hard it is to say no. I LOVE clothes. I LOVE getting dressed. I am constantly looking at everything to keep up on what’s new and to get inspired, and it is a constant battle to try ignore the extraneous. It’s not even the extraneous, there are plenty of items I love and know I would wear, but buying them means straying from things I planned on adding to my wardrobe, or giving up on those wish list items that are investments. It’s easy to get side tracked.
But saying no has worthy advantages. Saying no means you might be this-much-closer to having enough to splurge on that thing you’ve had your eye on for perhaps years. Saying no is also more financial freedom. Saying no continues to give value to what you already have, which is an important component of learning to live with less. I scooped this from an IG post that will undoubtedly make the rounds this month–“Remember when you wanted what you already have?”
If you need help saying no, try targeting which areas you are most susceptible to being lured into unnecessary accumulation. Create a set of tools that move you towards that goal. The easiest way might be to unsubscribe from emails or unfollow on social media any brands or influencers or the like that make you want things that are unattainable or unneeded. Wear your favorite pieces in your wardrobe often so you’re reminded of what great things you already own. And, if you already have one of something, ask yourself seriously, “do you need another?” and if you still want it, then try to imagine three scenarios in which you will actually wear it.
Try being a little ruthless when saying no, and very deliberate when saying yes. There will always be another dress or pair of heels. Remember, it’s just clothes!