How do we begin to process what it means to have integrity as we approach our closets and get dressed each day? Like most things: little by little.
The fact that we get to express ourselves creatively through fashion is a gift. It’s another area of our lives where we’re constantly making tiny decisions. Yet, how we show up in the small things will reflect how we show up in the bigger moments of our lives.
We can mindfully develop our integrity through the clothes we choose to wear as well as noticing our relationship to ourselves and the pieces:
- Be Curious:
Notice the thoughts that come to your mind as you’re getting dressed. Don’t judge yourself or them, simply notice. Are they thoughts like if only I could squeeze into that smaller size, or I hate my thighs, or if I only had that blazer that so-and-so had. If you’re comparing or struggling with loving and accepting yourself physically, chances are these same negative thoughts are showing up in your career, relationships, home life, etc. What if as you zipped that zipper and a painful thought came up instead of accepting it you shifted the perspective into one of gratitude and love towards yourself?. Instead of ugh I’ll never have a thigh gap, to I’m so grateful for my strong legs that allow me to walk, run, and adventure through my life?. Every moment is an opportunity for growth if we choose it to be.
- Be a Storyteller:
We all are storytellers. Everyone of us. And we are constantly inviting others into a journey when they are with us. Our physical appearance is the first thing people notice about us. What message are you intending to give off versues the reaction you are getting from people? Is there a disconnect? Ask a few trusted friends how you come across. In college, I was insecure about my body, so I hid myself in baggy sweats. One day, a mentor told me I needed to put on some mascara and clothes that fit me. How did she know I was hiding? I thought I was being so sly and covering up my flaws and insecurities by being ‘sporty’. But my hiding was no secret—all anyone had to do was look at me. If I didn’t take myself seriously, how was I to expect others to?
- Be Creative:
Over 60 percent% of millennials are in debt, and living above theirre means. It’s so easy to be this way especially in our just one-click-away culture. Perhaps it’s time to pay off the credit card debt, create a budget —and work with the closet you have and not the closet you can’t afford. How you spend your time and money is a reflection of what you care about most. While I want to look put together, I don’t want my legacy to be, ‘man that girl sure knew how to dress’. I want to leave the world a better place and be defined by a generous and kind heart with a commitment to invest into the lives of others.
One of the most profound ways I’ve been challenged to integrate integrity into my wardrobe is buy pairing down my closest to a capsule wardrobe. I don’t want to fuss about my clothes, but I do want to be comfortably chic. A few ways I do this is:
- Make a List:
At the beginning of each season, I make a list of things I need i.e. my black pants are on their last thread, and I’d really like to save up for a nice trench coat. Once you determine your budget for that quarter you may have to save a few things to buy for next year. This has completely extinguished random shopping trips for me where I would spend $50 here and there, and end up frustrated with a closet full of clothes I didn’t really like or were out the next season.
- Check for Versatility:
When I go shopping, I make sure I can envision myself wearing the item in three completely different outfits. If I can’t, then the piece is a no-go for me. Even better is if I can find multiple seasons of the year that I can to wear the piece. Functionality and versatility is key.
- If you Don’t Love It, Get Rid of It:
Go through your closet, and take out anything that fits into the category of: if I lose 10 pounds, I’m not crazy about the color, the straps always fall off, those pants cut off my circulation, etc. The reality is if you don’t love, you won’t wear it. And when/if you do, you usually regret it. This was a painful process for me as I began to pair down my wardrobe. My closet was full of items that I didn’t really like, but felt obligated to keep because of what I paid for them, or worse I kept them because maybe they’d fit me one day. when. My wardrobe is much smaller now. But it’s made up of only pieces I love, feel confident in, and know I’ll be happy in throughout my day.
- Capsule Brands I love:
Chanel was really onto something when she said ‘less is more.’ And like building any characteristic, it takes time, discipline and patience. Focus on one or two of the minor changes above and practice incorporating them into your life and wardrobe this summer!