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Why you have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear

Do you know the saying, “I have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear”? I hear it all the time from my clients and I’m never surprised to find this out because most people only wear 20 percent of their clothing 80 percent of the time! If you’re reading this you might be able to relate.

Why? There are many reasons:

  1. You don’t have enough basics. A white tee, a black blazer, a chambray top, white sneakers, etc. These are all basic pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe so that she can mix and match them with other options in her closet. When you don’t have the essentials it’s more difficult to put outfits together.
  2. You buy pieces of clothing just because they’re on sale, not because you love them. ‘Buy One, Get One Free!’ ‘All Sweaters 60 Percent Off!’ Sales are tempting, I know. The sense of achievement you can feel when you find, for example, a pastel green Aritzia jumpsuit for $40 off during their end-of-season sale is exhilarating but if you’re not really into jumpsuits or green isn’t a flattering color on you, it’ll just sit in your closet collecting dust.
  3. Your clothes don’t fit. But you keep them for months or years anyway just in case you lose those extra 10 or 20 pounds you put on during the COVID pandemic. Guess what? The body you have now is worthy of being dressed in clothing you absolutely love.
  4. Your wardrobe no longer suits your lifestyle. Maybe you used to have a corporate job that you dressed business casual for but now you’re a stay-at-home mom. You no longer need six pairs of high heels or four pencil skirts in your wardrobe to take care of your children but you do need comfortable clothing you can move in to chase after a toddler.
  5. You are overwhelmed by all of the options in your wardrobe. When you have too many clothes bunched up in your closet it’s difficult to even see what you have. When you simplify your wardrobe (and organize it!), it makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier and saves you countless wasted hours standing in front of it trying to decide what to wear.
  6. You don’t understand your style. Maybe you want to dress like Meghan Markle but the clothing in your closet screams Paris Hilton circa 2007. Getting clear on your desired style will help create the wardrobe that reflects who you truly are or who you want to become; for example: a confident, successful and well-dressed entrepreneur.
  7. You don’t purge your closet often enough. I get it, cleaning out your closet is time-consuming and can seem like a very daunting task (I can help!) but it’s necessary to do it every six months so you can take inventory of what’s working for you and what isn’t. Remember: all of the clothes you’re not wearing are taking up precious real estate in your closet! You should want to wear and will wear all of the items in your closet, maximizing your money and making your life a whole lot easier. $550. The dollar amount of clothes the average woman owns that never gets worn.

One year. The time the average woman spends standing in front of her closet deciding what to wear in her lifetime.

The majority of people only wear 20 percent of the clothing they have in their closet 80 percent of the time, the rest just sits there.

On average, Canadians purchase 70 new articles of clothing a year. Most women will spend 200 hours and between $1800 to $4800 per year shopping for their wardrobe.

In North America, consumers are buying - and getting rid of - 5 times as much clothing as they did 25 years ago.

Marie is a professional stylist with years of experience in the fashion industry and truly enjoys helping people find a style that works for them, reflects who they are and makes them feel positive about their life. She runs a personal styling business out of Edmonton. Learn more at  

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