The Struggle for Personal Style and Slowing Down Fast Fashion
This is Part II in a series responding to our almost nearly official survey in our Good Morrow Community on Facebook. Part I about Clothing Sizing in a Broken Industry can be read here.
For a refresher, these are the questions I posed:
- What would you say is your biggest pain point when it comes to your wardrobe? (Basically what frustrates/confuses/overwhelms you?)
- Where do you personally struggle in areas of your personal style?
- Why is it so hard for American women to get dressed every morning?
Relating to personal style, most seemed frustrated with a lack of cohesion in their wardrobes. Runner up was not even knowing where to start with personal style. All of the responses basically boiled down to analysis paralysis. We don't know what to buy or how to wear it. We have too many options, both in our closets and in stores, and its crippling us (and our wallets).
Analysis paralysis is a term I first came to understand when I was in the thick of parenting a tiny gang of toddlers...namely my oldest 2 children. I learned from much wiser and seasoned mamas that giving my kids too many options was actually super overwhelming, and because they're toddlers and not rational adults, they just threw tantrums. Not gonna lie, I have thrown a few mental tantrums over clothing over the years. From fit, to style, and not finding "the right piece" I have been frustrated by it ALL. If you want a good research rabbit hole to fall into, look into psychologist Barry Schwartz's research on Paradox of Choice. Schwartz found that while increased choice allows us to achieve objectively better results, it also leads to greater anxiety, indecision, paralysis, and dissatisfaction. I found myself shopping as though the next purchase would solve all my closet woes. (Spoiler: it never did. I had 60 pairs of jeans and was always on the hunt for more.) But then I started digging, wondering how we got here, a closet full with nothing to wear. More on that in the next part in the series about getting dressed in the morning, but the 'what' and the 'why' when it comes to our wardrobes are intricately related and they matter. As for the what...evidence says we're here because of Fast Fashion, a relatively new approach to the fashion industry in the last decade or so.
Fast fashion developed in the late 1990's and 2000's with the mass production and availability of trendy items at affordable prices. Before I vilify the industry as a whole, I want to own that prior to the fast fashion movement, high end trends never made it to lower priced retailers. Fast fashion made trends accessible in ways they historically never were, and for that, this fashion lover will be forever grateful. Where I fell victim, and I know I'm not alone here, is that fast fashion also lead to mass consumerism on levels never seen in the clothing industry. Impulse buys in a booming economy lead to closets full of trendy, low quality pieces, designed to get you through a season. And while some feel well equipped to style several dozen trendy pieces and step out in confidence, most did not. They fell in love with a piece and it literally matches nothing in their existing wardrobe. This results in two common trajectories: sitting in a closet, unworn, with tags on for 6-12 months; or sending you on a quest to find yet another piece to make the original piece work. The industry has left women with closets full of one off pieces, none of which you feel confident stepping out in. More on that topic at another time, but hint: we're building a brand to solve that problem.
So where does that leave us? More than anything I want us to be aware. Fast fashion doesn't have to be the villain, if anything we should appreciate what it has brought to the table, just be more methodical about how we embrace it. Brands are generally not on board with a more methodical and slower approach to fashion, but maybe, just maybe, we can slow it down just a bit and hopefully make more sense of what we are putting into our closets and onto our bodies. We're not going to swing so far away from fast fashion that we embrace a 12 piece capsule wardrobe (unless that brings you joy! then go for it!), because I don't know that we need more rules, just a better system for evaluating what to keep, what to buy, and how to wear it to help you step out in confidence.
As for Good Morrow? Well, we sell clothing. We also work with fast fashion brands. Regardless of how you feel about fast fashion, it's still illegal and largely frowned upon to not wear clothing. How are we different? I want your wardrobe to work for you, I want you to love what you wear, it should reflect your personal style, and it should serve the body you have (like right now) for life you lead. I want you to buy 1 pair of jeans to wear 60 times instead of 60 pairs you wear once. How do we get there? We're going to dig into those guidelines for both how to shop and how to style it for you. Your style, just simplified.