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What to do When You don’t Know What to Wear

Have you ever had to prepare for an occasion and when you look at your wardrobe, you conclude you don’t know what to wear? If you have, you’re not alone. Many people (most especially women) feel that way. And you know the funny thing? They always have what to wear. They’re either confused, lazy or just don’t know which to combine.

a man wearing a coat with white sneakers and a black backpack

And this happens mostly because there’s so much in their wardrobe already. As  Inside Out Style noted, the average person has about 127 items in their wardrobe, excluding footwear and accessories. Why won’t it be difficult finding what to wear?

When you get into this rut, don’t feel bad or cancel the outing you have. Instead, use the tips you’ll find as you read this post.

Why People Don’t Know What to Wear

a lady in a ruffle dress checking out her wardrobe

You’re rummaging through your closet when a feeling of panic overwhelms you. What are you going to wear to that occasion? How come your old clothes suddenly aren’t good enough? Why did you even buy the clothes? Why didn’t you select what you’d wear a week before now?

Relax, don’t be too hard on yourself.  As I told you earlier, I feel that way too. And this happens because:

Your Tons of Clothes are Confusing You

When you have so many options, it’s normal to get confused. Should you wear this pair of skinny jeans with your pink blazer or should you wear bell bottoms instead? Should you strike off the jeans and wear a pair of high-rise shorts instead?

Trust me, the questions will be more than those I listed if you have many clothes. But don’t get overwhelmed when confused because you’ll know what to do pretty soon.

You’re Lazy to Comb Through

This happens too, especially if you have many clothes. You may just be lazy or feel lethargic to start searching for what to wear. If this is the reason you don’t know what to wear, again, it’s completely normal.

You Don’t Know What & How to Style

It’s one thing to have clothes. It’s another to combine them right. This itself is another problem most people have.

For instance, you may wonder what you should pair with a particular shirt to give it a perfect look. The answer is right there in your wardrobe.

You Don’t Have What to Wear

Sometimes, you may actually not have what to wear to a particular occasion and that’s why you don’t know what to wear. Take, an old-school or traditional event for instance. 

If contemporary pieces are all you’ve got in your wardrobe, it won’t be out of place if you you dunno what to wear. And in this case, you may have to go shopping or sew new pieces to suit the occasion.

Now that you know why you always feel like you don’t know what to wear, how do we solve this problem?

Come with me.

What to do When You Don’t Know What to Wear

a man's wardrobe containing clohes, bags, and shirts for when you don't know what to wear

Even the most stylish fashionistas sometimes find it difficult to put outfits together for events. But you know what almost always comes through for them?

These tips:

Detox Your Wardrobe

There’s a high chance you don’t wear up to 80% of the clothes in your wardrobe. And that happens for so many reasons. It could be because you don’t like the clothes, you’ve outgrown them, or they’re in the last section so you hardly bring them out to wear.

It’s why you need to declutter your wardrobe. Weed your closet of every unwanted or overworn piece so you don’t have a filled-up wardrobe yet still don’t know what to wear. And to do this successfully, you also need to know when to replace your clothes and accessories.

Need help on how to go about this? Our guide on how to detox your wardrobe will help you out.

Create a Capsule Wardrobe

Once you’ve decluttered your wardrobe, the next thing to do is to create a capsule wardrobe. That is, a collection of basic wardrobe staples you can always combine to create many outfits. They mostly come in neutral colors and are usually your favorite clothes that suit your lifestyle and body type.

Furthermore, you can always change the content of your capsule wardrobe in three months after you must have worn them often.

A capsule wardrobe saves you from repeating outfits or getting confused about what to wear. If you like the sound of that, check out our guide on how to create a capsule wardrobe for yourself.

Reiterate Your Personal Style

In times like this, it’s necessary you remind yourself of who you are in fashion. And by that, I mean your personal style.

How do you like to appear? Minimalist? Avant-garde? Eccentric? Classy? Edgy? Redefine and reiterate your style to yourself. It’ll help you discard looks that don’t fit in and settle for what works.

Know the Occasion You’re Dressing for

Most events always have a dress code and this makes dressing up for the occasion easier. 

Say you’re attending a friend’s wedding and the dress code is all-white. If there’s no white in your wardrobe, you’ll have to get one for yourself. It’s the same for black-tie, formal, and casual events.

So, confirm with your host if there’s a dress code. If there is, aim to tailor your wardrobe choices according to the agreed code.

Hire a Fashion Stylist

When you don’t want to stress yourself about what to wear, just hire a wardrobe consultant. They bear the brunt of your wardrobe palavers. I mean everything about how you look from your hair, clothes, and shoes, down to your accessories.

But they come with a price and this varies per stylist. Just pick an excellent stylist you can afford and work with them.

Consider Your Body Type & Skin Tone

When you feel like you don’t know what to wear, reconsider your body type and work with colors that suit your skin tone. They’ll help you streamline your options.

For instances, if you’re warm-toned, colors such as red, coral, peach, brown, orange, amber, gold, yellow, etc., will look good on you. And if you have an hourglass body, bodycon dresses will flatter your figure better.

Once you remember your skin tone and body type, you’ll be able to strike out outfits that don’t suit them and work with those that align.

Plan Your Outfit in Advance

Don’t postpone looking for what to wear until the day of the event comes. Plan in advance. If it’s a big occasion, start planning two weeks before.

This will let you know if you should work with what you have, hire a stylist, or meet your favorite fashion designer to cook a piece for you. Planning ahead is a necessary life skill and it works for fashion too.

Repeat Certain Outfits

There’s nothing bad in repeating clothes. Forget what your favorite Instagram influencer must have made you believe. You can always repeat outfits, especially the ones that got you the most attention when you wore them. For instance, you can wear the dress you wore to a wedding to church the following week.

A hack when repeating outfits is to ensure you’re repeating that particular outfit in a different setting to a different crowd. But if you don’t feel comfortable repeating your outfits, you’ll like the next tip:

Restyle Your Clothes

Restyling your clothes simply means wearing the same clothes in a different way. Say you wore your suit with a pair of oxfords before, restyle the suit by rocking the pants with a turtleneck top and a pair of sneakers.

Do this if you don’t want it obvious that you actually repeated your clothes.

Consider the Weather

Sometimes, when you don’t know what to wear, just work based on the weather. If it’s cold, wear anything and layer with a jacket, sweater, blazer, coat, or befitting outerwear. And if it’s hot, opt for tank tops, shorts, or loose-fitting clothes.

Considering the weather is an easy way out of your style rut.

Never be Stuck in a Style Rut

a lady standing in front of a wardrobe containing clothes, bags, and shirts for when you don't know what to wear

A style rut is that annoying moment when you neither feel like dressing well nor don’t know what to wear. We all have these days. It happens to the best of us too.

And while some have mastered the art of conquering their low style days, others remain in that hole without making any move to free themselves.

Don’t be like that. When you haven’t decided on what to wear to that occasion, reconsult this guide you just read. In addition, save for yourself a swipe file of cute outfits inspiration. They’ll come in handy when time is running out on you and you can’t pick what to wear.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or sketching fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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