Do you know your both your personal and home style? Do you always buy the right things, things that fit your style and work with your life?
I have been craving a little decluttering and recently took a few mornings to clean out closets and bookshelves. I have a very small house, and every extra thing makes it feel cramped rather than cozy. As I sorted, it occurred to me that what you buy, including your home decor, clothes and shoes says a lot about you, in terms of who you are, and perhaps even more illuminating, who you secretly want to be.
Who you secretly want to be? Yep, it’s there. There is a bigger picture here than just clutter. What do the stories in your home and wardrobe say about who you really want to be?
I’ll give you some examples.
As I cleaned out my closet, I found a lot of unworn clothes and shoes. Sometimes it is painful to get rid of them; I spent money on these things and they are perfectly good. Yet they are taking up valuable space. I culled several pairs of tan dress pumps, the kind with heels that look beautiful with a classy cream- colored summer suit. Which, by the way, I do not have and never did. I also got rid of a pair of dressy pink leather mules. I loved them, but never wore them; they didn’t match a thing in my closet.
I had to ask myself, why did you buy these things? They are the accoutrements of a high powered female executive, suitable for board meetings. They scream, I am in charge, I am powerful and I mean business. Does this mean that deep down, there is a business woman in me who is dying to come out?
I checked my internal radar. I thought of the new lap top bag I recently bought. My old, ratty black one, which I bought at a thrift store, had a broken strap and someone else’s initials. I wanted, and deserved something better. The one I chose is beautiful gray leather. It would look comfortable in any board room and in the first-class cabin on an airplane. Unlike the shoes, I know I will use it, even if just shlumping my laptop to the coffee shop. What does it say about me?
The shoes and the bag remind me of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, when recently divorced Francis buys a house in Italy which is suitable for a large family and lavish entertaining, and then, in a moment of desperation declares, “I bought a house for a life I don’t even have!”
Though I struggle with buying the clothes for the life I have, I mostly get it right with my home. I know what I like. The dozens of decorating books and magazines I read have helped me create a style I love. I am judicious about the things that I have in my home. I love organic cotton quilts, pretty printed pillows layered on sofas and chairs, and beautiful woods. I love beautiful glass bottles with flowers in them, and my great grandmother’s carnival glass vase.
I spent two months looking for the perfect blue glass lamps, and when I saw them, bought them quickly even though they were expensive. And then I took off those very expensive lamp shades and bought different ones. My lamps are now perfect. I have no regrets. The same goes for the wildly flowered dining room curtains, which I bought for twenty bucks on clearance and everyone thinks are custom.
I know my home style, which is traditional, casual, comfortable, and warm. I need to be surrounded by books and photos in beautiful frames. I trust my instincts and buy what I love. It is a system that works. I need to apply the same system to my clothing choices. My wardrobe doesn’t, and never has, expressed me perfectly.
I got rid of bags full of my mistakes, including the executive lady shoes and the equally wrong flowy, boho chic tunics (do I secretly want to be more free-spirited?) I am working on figuring out what works and what doesn’t. In asking the questions, hopefully I will learn to avoid making expensive mistakes. When my closet works as well as my home decor, I imagine that it will be easier to find the right outfit no matter what the occasion and that I will have fewer, but better choices.
What mistakes do you make over and over? Are your choices trying to tell you something? Both the things you love and your purchasing mistakes can inform your vision of who you want to be. Who you are now, and who you hope to be are both parts of yourself and you will need to reconcile the differences.
The best- case scenario is when your wardrobe and your home both truly reflect who you are. Then, like Francis in the movie, you will find out that the house you bought was the right one for the life you wanted to have all along and finally do.
What about you? Does your wardrobe reflect who you are? If I were to walk into your home, would I instantly know the kind of person who lives there? What do your mistakes reveal about you?
P.S. Due to popular demand, here is the blue lamp and the wild flowered curtains.