More and more this year, I find myself purging my closet of all those basic filler items. You know the kind I’m talking about – those basic t-shirts that fit but are nothing special or unique. The pair of jeans that fit but don’t make you feel and look like a million bucks. The dress that works in a pinch but doesn’t bring you joy.
I think we as women have a lot of these ‘filler’ items. We buy them because we are in a rush when shopping. We buy them because we can’t find what we really want. We buy them because they were at Target and we were lost in the abyss of that greatness filling our cart with ‘must-have’ items. We buy them because it is easy. We buy them for all sorts of reasons, and whatever those reasons are we are doing our wardrobes and ourselves a disservice.
Filler items very rarely illicit joy and they very rarely are the things we put on when we want to feel good about ourselves. They, instead, are the items we put on when we are having a lazy day or want comfort about all else. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
This year I’ve been focusing my purchasing and clothing acquisitions on items that I love, that make a statement and are still comfortable to be in. No more basic blah t-shirts or pieces that I add just because. Instead I’m working to be more focused and intentional about it all. Take this blouse for instance. As soon as I saw it on the ShopBop site, I added it to my list of ‘likes.’ It looked comfy and chic – two musts for me. It also looked structured enough that I could wear it to work and dressed-down enough that I could wear it to a summer BBQ.
Turns out I was right. In the first week I had it – I wore it to work paired with a skirt, I wore it to a brewery opening with a pair of cropped denim and I wore it to a BBQ with shorts (forgot to take pics of that.) It’s breezy, it’s comfortable and it got a number of compliments, which I always think means the clothing item is a win!
So I’m trying to fill my closet with more pieces like this. Intentional, statement pieces that fit my personality, my clothing needs, and aren’t just filler pieces that don’t bring me joy.
How do you determine the difference between a statement piece and a filler item?
Does it bring your joy or a ‘meh’ feeling? Joy meaning you can’t wait to get it home and wear it. You are excited to pair it with different things and are already thinking of places you can wear the item to. If you get all of that from the piece – it’s statement.
Do you already have several items just like it? Unless you’re buying it because you have 3 of the same shirt and wear them all the time because you love them so much, chances are you have a collection that does little more than collect dust and make an occasional appearance. I have a bunch of plain-colored t-shirts like that. If you aren’t wearing the items like that piece that you already own it’s a filler piece.
Is the purchase intentionally filling a wardrobe need? This one is a tricky question. Because if you are just filling a wardrobe need chances are the piece is a filler – you know that dress that needs a cardigan and you just grab any sweater that works, instead of one that is the right one for the dress. On the other hand, if you are being intentional about the piece and not rushing the process this is a good thing. You need a new black skirt. Well, there are hundreds of options and you can grab one anywhere, or you can be intentional and find one that flatters your figure and that makes you want to put it on in the morning.
Is it an impulse buy or something that has been thought through? Nine times out of 10 an impulse buy is a filler item. You know what I’m talking about – you pass something on your search for something else and suddenly a new sweater or a cute pair of flip-flops is coming home with you, even if you already own 5 that aren’t getting their fair share of face time. Being thoughtful about purchases cuts down on those impulse buys and therefore saves us money for more intentional purchases, that might cost a little more but will be worth it in the long run.
Does it communicate who you are by flattering your body and being inline with your fashion personality? Often those filler items are things we bought that we thought we would wear or maybe they were trendy at the time, but they aren’t really us. I had this yellow and cream cardigan in my closet for years that I always thought I would wear, but the stripes, as they were, and the colors were so not me. I rarely wore it, never liked the look when I did and finally got rid of it. A statement piece should work with your body and your coloring. It should be something that seamlessly gels with the other pieces in your closet that you love. How are you making clothing choices? I’d love to hear your thoughts on statement pieces versus filler items and how you make the differentiation.