A few weeks ago, Leslie and I got onto the topic of those mornings when we "don't have anything to wear." You know the days—you have a closet full of clothes you loved the day before, but all of a sudden and without any warning, nothing works. We agreed that we both go through cycles of hating everything in our closet, and then weeks where we feel really good about every single option. After chatting (and getting completely side-tracked from our editorial meeting), we realized that the same can be said of so many other things—hair, skin, body, home—and that we both had completely different tricks we use to get out of those ruts. Here are some of the things we each do when we're feeling blah about everything:
I go through a "I despise everything in my closet" phase roughly once a quarter. On a daily basis, I want it to feel really curated, comprised mostly of well-made basics in neutral colors. But every now and again, I feel like it all looks one dimensional, boring, and homogenous, and convince myself I need an entire closet overhaul. Luckily this happens just often enough that I now know when that happens, such drastic measures aren't necessary. In fact, it usually means I'm simply overdue for a cleaning session. I comb through everything I'm not wearing (whether it's because the pieces feel stale, look worn, or don't fit properly), and donate it. Though at times it feels counterintuitive to get rid of things in a closet that already feels lackluster, once you're left with only the fantastic things you own and love, you're inspired to reach for those great pieces.
When I take the time to heat style my hair, I'm usually pleased with the results. But it takes a lot of effort and more often than not, I'd prefer to just let it air dry. The problem is my hair is very unpredictable. Sometimes after washing it and just heading out the door, I'm left with frizz-free, glossy waves that look as though I've spent hours perfecting each messy tendril. But the majority of the time, I'm left with a half wavy, half pouffy mane that looks terrible no matter what I do to it. For those days, I embrace braids. Since I already have some texture to my hair (which is helpful to get them to hold in place), even the messiest of plaits, particularly when bobby pinned to the top of my head, end up looking chic and stylish. Plus, from time to time, I'm even left with better hair once I take them out at the end of the day.
When my skin's acting out, it's hard for me to feel put together. I feel like all I see when I look in the mirror (and assume the same goes for everyone else who sees me) is the glaring pimple(s) on my face. Beyond icing my blemishes and then applying concealer, I like to put on a bright lipstick. A reddish orange is my go-to shade, since it feels both dramatic and playful at the same time, and brightens up my complexion instantly.
I can go to an overly critical place about my body pretty easily. If a pair of looser jeans I own are suddenly tight, it's hard for me to just shrug that off and not come down on myself. But whereas in my 20s I would have let it negatively affect my mood the rest of the day (culminating in a pint of ice cream at the end of the night), I remind myself that even the smallest of tweaks can make an impact. I focus on being patient, eating foods that make me feel my best, spending time with my friends and family, and getting enough sleep. Once I'm back on track, at least with my mindset, I wear things that make me feel my best. That's why everyone should have a uniform of sorts, a go-to outfit that, despite how you look/feel that day, is almost always a surefire hit. For me, that includes a cropped blouse, a pair of high-waisted pants, and a good heel.
It's hard not to feel house envy if I go near an interior design magazine or Pinterest, suddenly making me question all of the decisions we've made for our own place. Since it's not realistic to redesign our bedroom/bathroom/living room on a monthly basis, I instead try to make things look the best they can. I remove clutter, open up the windows, buy myself some flowers, and light my favorite candles. Even a few simple changes can make a dramatic difference in a space.
It took me a long time to realize that the last thing you want to do when you aren't feeling excited about your closet is go shopping. You'll only end up with more things you feel unexcited about down the line. Instead, like Emily, I edit it down even more to get rid of the pieces I have to sift through to get to my favorites. I look at every single piece and ask myself if I really love it, and then I sell or donate it. Even though selling clothes doesn't make a ton of money, I save the cash I make from each sale and put it away so that I can use it to buy something I'm really coveting (right now I'm saving for the clogs I mentioned in this month's Our World). Another tip I've learned is to never buy something because it's on sale. Of course, it's smart to find something and then stalk it until it goes on sale, but that $19 blouse you grabbed at J.Crew because it was such a good deal is only going to end up in the giveaway pile!
I used to grow out my hair until I couldn't stand the length, and then go in for a chop. I loved it because the change was so dramatic that I felt fantastic every time I got a hair cut, but I've since realized that getting my hair trimmed every ten weeks helps it feel and look so much more fresh. And while I've thought about getting it colored (should I go platinum blonde - y/n?), it feels like just one more thing to worry about, and I'd rather keep it simple!
When it comes to cosmetics, less is more. These days, I only keep around the products I use every single day—but I have an extensive collection of face masks. Whenever I feel like I could look a little brighter (or have a glowing blemish), I put one on. Even if I don't look better, it always makes me feel better.
I've always been active—I played more sports than there were seasons in high school—so I start to feel sluggish if I go longer than a few days without working out. But I definitely go through workout ruts. After completing the marathon last year, I felt fatigued from being my own coach and struggled to motivate myself to get outside. I found that signing up for workout classes (which I did through Classpass) helped me feel passionate about exercise again. I would sign up for a class before I could think about it or talk myself out of it and just go. Any time I do that, I never regret it.
To me, a room starts to feel stale in about two months if I don't change the furniture arrangement. In high school, I must have changed my bedroom a thousand times (a lot of my babysitting and summer job money went to the PB Teen catalogue). Because my apartment now is fairly small, everything fits in like Tetris so it isn't as simple to move around furniture. Instead I follow advice my boyfriend's dad, a photographer, once shared with me, "If you keep any art in the same spot for long enough, you stop looking at it." And I completely agree. Just changing art around can help make a room feel new again. If that fails, buy yourself flowers. Fresh blooms never fail to make me fall in love with my home all over again.