Life’s synchronicities can be funny sometimes. It feels like life has thrown me several challenges over the last week centred around perfectionism, while simultaneously gifting me the antidote (gentleness and self compassion) to overcome them through quotes, podcasts, messages or words of wisdom.
While these challenges weren’t wardrobe related, it’s made me reflect on how I bring perfectionism into other areas of my life and I think the way I dress can be an area where I feel pressure to meet the sometimes unrealistic expectations portrayed in the media. Not to mention that this pressure is often compounded by the fact that, today, there is an expectation for our clothes not just to look good but to be made and consumed in a way that align with our values. While slow fashion and sustainable style are topics I’m passionate about it, sometimes I can turn wanting to make a impact for good into an additional standard that I have to meet on top of the many messages I receive on a daily basis about how I “should” be. So if, like me, you sometimes struggle with perfectionism, here are five gentle fashion related reminders that you may like to hear today.
It's ok not to have the perfect capsule or sustainable wardrobe
Sustainable fashion and capsule wardrobes are topics close to my heart. But just because we practice them imperfectly, doesn’t mean we aren’t making an impact. I like to view clothing choices in a similar way to health; small, gentle changes made consistently can make a difference over the long run. And at the end of the day, there is no “perfect” sustainable garment, brand or wardrobe. Similarly, I see the purpose of a capsule wardrobe as helping you to streamline your closet and to need fewer clothes because you can restyle pieces more effectively. However, it doesn’t have to be perfect to achieve this end goal.
It's ok to have to save up for special pieces
Quality over quantity is an important value for my wardrobe. However, I think we often don’t talk enough about having to save up for pieces that we love. In a day and age when Instagram can make us feel like everyone but us, has the latest Chanel bag [or insert x] and so you should too, it’s ok to recognise when we can’t afford something right now or have to save up for an item over a long period of time. You don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s to have a beautiful, conscious and fulling wardrobe full of pieces you love and feel confident wearing. Equally, if you do choose to save up for a special piece you love, hopefully the hard work involved in this process will make you appreciate and take care of it over a long period of time.
It's ok to make, and learn from, wardrobe mistakes
Bought something I thought I’d wear more? Been there, done that. Bought something that I thought was comfortable only to find its excruciatingly painful to wear. Yep, done that too. Fallen into the greenwashing trap? *raises hand in the air*. Bought something that I regretted? Many times! Looked back and cringed on an outfit from several years ago? Haven’t we all – but we can have a good laugh? The reality is we all make mistakes with our wardrobe. The main thing is we recognise and learn from them and gently move on with our lives. It’s just our clothes – not a life or death situation!
It's ok to outfit repeat
It's ok for your wardrobe to be a work in progress
I know it’s a cliche to say that it’s all about the journey, not the destination. However, like so many other facets of our life this saying also rings true when it comes to our wardrobes. Style in all its various shades of imperfection is something we can use to express ourselves and something which evolves and changes with us as we grow. Remember – it’s called “slow fashion” because it takes time.
So I wanted to leave you with two quotes which have really resonated with me this week. I hope they help you take a more gentle approach to your wardrobe and life.
- “Gentle is the new perfect” – Robyn Conley Downs of the Feel Good Effect Podcast (one of my favourite sayings)
- “Perfectionism is not the same thing has striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimise or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.” – Brene Brown from her book The Gifts of Imperfection.
Outfit: Navy Polka Dot Top (Witchery from 2017 – but similar here, here, here and here), Navy skirt (op shop find but originally Country Road – similar here and here), and nude slingback heels (Country Road 2020 – similar here).
Photo: Sara Eshu