I Hate Everything In My Closet—Am I Over Fashion?

Deconstructing the common plight of having lots of clothes and wanting to wear none of them.

Close up on a untidy cluttered wardrobe with colorful clothes and accessories, many clothes and nothing to wear.

Dear closet: I’m over you. | iStock|luanateutzi.

I stood in my closet this morning and realized, quite suddenly and with a surprisingly fierce finality, that I hate everything I own.

It wasn’t surprising. This happens to me every spring, like some sick sort of clockwork. I look at my clothes and wonder how I ever managed to get dressed before this moment, how I ever physically put on clothing and walked out the door.

“You’re staring again,” said my husband as I stood in my closet in a robe, blanking out before a row of identical slouchy black things, wondering whether my wardrobe boredom is a sign that savvy fashion marketers have gotten to me, or whether it’s simply a product of my job, which is, in part, to shake out what’s new, old, in, out, now and next, and write about it. And then I started to feel bad about it all – am I some small part of the reason that other women are standing in their closets, hating everything they own, too?

I did manage to put on clothes this morning, but  – as was the case yesterday morning, too, and the morning before that – it was a purely perfunctory effort. I had to wear clothes, so I put some on, stuff that covers up my bits and pieces but doesn’t delight me or make me feel some way or another. It’s barely afternoon and already I am bored.

My sartorial lethargy has me worried. Have I gotten … over fashion?

My friend Christy and I were chatting about this recently. She’s married now, with a small child and a hugely demanding job. Her days are filled to the brim, busier than ever, and she’s had to shed some things. Like spending lots of time thinking about accessorizing.

“I used to dress more for others,” she says. “I cared a lot more about taking the time to put together outfits, and making sure I had the right shoes and the right jewelry. But when it started feeling like my time was more in demand, that was the first thing to go. I have no idea what’s in for spring. I used to really get jazzed about the season changes and figuring out what I was going to buy. Now it is more of a chore to think about shopping.”

I get it. I’ve often glanced over at a little plate I have on my desk, next to my computer. This plate has become the default catchall for my jewelry. It’s a morning ritual, my painstaking process of stripping off every ring and bracelet I put on in the morning. Sometimes I glance over at my heaping tangle of bangles and rings, realize that my fingers and arms are really nothing more than appendages that transport my jewelry from to and from my house, and think: Why do I bother?

I’ve nearly stopped bothering with heels. Suddenly and without warning, the thought of tottering to work in them feels exhausting. Why do it, when I can walk much faster in a pair of flats? I’m not alone in this: Just last week, Victoria Beckham, queen of the outrageously vertiginous heels, announced that she “can’t do heels any more.” (You feel that? That’s the earth shuddering off its axis.) Maybe we’re all suffering from fashion overkill.

We’re in a fantastic time for style inspiration. It is, literally, everywhere, thanks to the stratospheric rise of fashion bloggers, Instagram and YouTube stars. We once only looked to fashion glossies for direction. Now we’re getting it from all sides — Wear skinnies! No, flares! Cropped jeans are in! No, cropped flares! It’s arguably a great thing, this democratization of fashion, (hey, you are reading this on Shoppist, a shopping and style blog of sorts). But too much of a good thing can sometimes feel like noise. And for once, I’m ready for a bit of silence.

“I feel guilty sometimes,” says Christy. “Like I’m slowly morphing into one of those sad women on ‘What Not To Wear’ and suddenly Stacy London will pop out of the bushes and shame me.” [Editor’s note: She is not, but I hear her, and have started to worry about the same thing.]

In any case, I’ve taken to checking Instagram less often, as I’ve found that too many influences can render a person paralyzed (wait, what is my personal style again?). I’m hoping that some distance from capital-f Fashion will jolt me out of my style rut. In the meantime, I’m discovering the power of a fashion uniform: Slouchy black pants, white tee, dangly earrings, silver choker necklace, black-and-white laceless oxfords.

I’ll come back around to my closet; I always do. But first, a breath. Some quiet. A great pair of flats. And, okay, maybe just a few bracelets.