What does closet contentment feel like for you? Peace? Ease? Simply the absence of want? I had planned to share a post all about what I’ve lovingly deemed my “closet Achilles heel” with you all today. A simple story about mistakes, growth, and sentimentality in my lean closet journey. However, that fairly straight forward idea came out in a tangled mess of thoughts, seemingly disparate and unrelated, until I realized they aren’t. For clarity’s sake I’ll walk you through where this one started before showing you what I mean.
I was going to write today about how of all the things I’ve been able to part with, and of all the bad habits I’ve managed to break, I cannot seem to limit my collection of outwear, specifically lightweight jackets and blazers. They are undoubtedly a part of my uniform; looks often feel unfinished without a coat or jacket of sorts. Luckily the northern California weather is more than obliging when it comes to the need for a warm layer. I was going to write about this collection of coats as a weakness in my quest to live with less. It’s a blemish in my commitment to be content with a lean closet. But it’s actually more than that. Turns out I’m not solely drawn to outwear for its sartorial appeal. The ugly truth is that my amassing of outer layers is driven by insecurity. I consistently don a blazer or coat because they hide the parts of myself I don’t particularly care for, and don’t want others to see. And until I grapple with those very real insecurities, my want for blazers and trenches will continue to be insatiable.
So here’s my ‘a ha’ (or duh) moment for the day: when insecurities are in the driver’s seat, it’s damn near impossible to avoid fashion’s most classic ruse - buying X will make you Y. Feeling unhappy with some part of yourself? There’s a quick fix for that and wouldn’t you believe it, it’s on sale!
Intellectually I know that contentment and self-satisfaction are not purchasable; they will never be found in a thing that you can buy. Emotionally, however, sometimes I forget. It’s easy to buy into (literally and figuratively) the idea that the only thing standing between what I see reflected in the mirror now and what I want to see is owning that new (fill in the blank). Even if that thing is ethically-made and environmentally friendly, it’s an unhealthy approach to shopping and completely antithetical to my lean closet mission. It’s the same demon that brought me to the capsule wardrobe world in the first place, just shrouded in ethically-made garb. Owning more stuff will not eradicate my insecurities, more often than not it exacerbates them.
So where does that leave me? I suppose it’s time to look inward, instead of toward what’s sitting unpurchased in online shopping carts. I certainly don’t have it all figured out yet, but I know that a new look is not, and will never be a solution. You can’t hang happiness up in a closet.