Living a life of purpose, creating joy with purposeful dressingA few months ago, I decided to take on the daunting task of cleaning out my closet. I had started reading Marie Kondo's, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the book that seems to have found its way into everyone’s (or at least every lifestyle blogger's) home and I am no different. As a pack rat and former shopaholic, I needed a little push on deciding what to let go of. The “does it bring joy” method helped and as long as I could answer, "does it bring joy?" with, “well…if by joy, you mean do I like putting it on after a long day, cooking in it and not caring about getting coconut oil on it,” then yes, it does. Needless to say, I was a little loose with the joy part. 🙂

Purposeful Dressing

I started thinking that if we can create joy in our lives by living on purpose, would it be possible to create more joy by dressing on purpose?

There is a lot of talk about creating a purposeful life and creating purpose in one’s career, I am going to take this further and talk about Purposeful Dressing. Dressing on purpose probably means something different to everyone, for me, it means being aware of what I already have and cherishing it. Getting the best jeans in the world fixed (rather than sitting in the “fix it drawer”). Loving the clothes I already own.

Marie Kondo mentions being grateful to your clothing for all they do for you. So, for me, appreciating the no-longer-new coat in my closet for what it is – something I wear once or twice a year at most, that keeps me warm when I travel in the winter, it means not buying a new, better more “now” coat (that I will also only wear once or twice a year!) Being grateful also means letting things go when their usefulness to me is done and allowing someone else to enjoy the almost brand new work pants that just don’t fit quite right. Lastly, I believe that it also means considering my purchases, not only for the beauty, but for the sustainability and ethics. I think purposeful dressing is a big step in creating a more ethical wardrobe.

I started thinking that if we can create joy in our lives by living on purpose, would it be possible to create more joy by dressing on purpose?

Since tidying, I have found “new” outfits in my wardrobe and new combinations of clothing that I never thought to put together. I have worn two sweaters that my husband loves and has never seen before (they are OLD!). I have a necklace on today that has been only a holiday necklace in the past but with a denim shirt is very every day. I found myself with a section in my closet that I am referring to as “novelty pants,” mostly second hand, vibrant or interesting pants, and I love it.

I have created better outfits because I know what I have.
I am organized and I am left with only things that give me joy.
I am purposefully dressing.

And, I have worked on the “fix it drawer.” A stained cream silk shirt (that I love the fit, but hate the dinginess and stains) is now indigo, and I am wearing it now. I started a quilt with a ripped peplum shirt. Will I ever finish it? I am not sure but it is a step at repurposing what I have. I stained a table with an old white t-shirt that was just taking up space, instead of buying or ruining perfectly good cleaning rags.

I expect in the coming weeks and months my closet and drawers will loose a little of their wow factor. I also expect to discover a little more about what purposeful dressing means to me but for now, I am appreciating what I have. I am purchasing only what makes sense and also creates additional joy. I am toying with the idea of a capsule wardrobe. I hope that not only will this help with my environmental impact but will also create some clarity in the morning as well as help me create better, more “joyful” outfits.

It has also made me a better shopper. I know what I have, I know what I need, and I buy fewer duplicates. I also don't need to shop as much because what I do have, I mostly love. I buy higher quality items that spark joy.

I have also found that having a more purposeful and joyful wardrobe makes getting dressed in the morning much easier. There is less stress in sorting through piles of clothes that are just ok and instead finding fewer, better options. While this may not amount to much time in the purposeful life, starting the day with less stress, more joy, and more time is certainly a starting point to living and working on purpose.

Adapted from this original post.


Jessica Althoff is the creator of Future:Standard, an ethical style blog. She writes primarily about ethical fashion, clean beauty, and living a more conscious lifestyle. She believes that, like most things in life, living a more conscious, eco-friendly lifestyle is a journey taken in small steps.


Pin It on Pinterest