I was recently reading Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, for whom making peace with food is one of the key steps of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. It discusses the psychological effects of deprivation. And interestingly that applies whether that’s a cigarette, new car, or wardrobe diet.
Dieting is the practice of restricting what you eat, generally with the goal of losing weight, though sometimes with the intention of gaining weight.
Study after study has found that the more you restrict your access to food, the more you obsess about it. And the more you obsess about it, the more likely you are to lose control when you have some.
As Tribole and Resch put it
The threat of deprivation becomes so powerful that all reason is lost and you find yourself eating whatever is to be forbidden, even if you are not hungry.
It can become a vicious cycle of fear (of deprivation), leading to overeating, becoming the loss of self-control, which in turn becomes self-loathing.
The Wardrobe Diet Dilemma
- Binging and purging cheap clothes (as if they were chocolates)?
- Rushing out to buy them before they’re all gone?
- Standing in front of your wardrobe finding nothing to wear?
- Compulsively window shopping and rewriting your shopping list?
- Buying way too many multiples so you won’t run out?
- Keeping clothes long past their best because it feels wasteful to dispose of them?
One or two of these “symptoms” individually
Overcoming the Dieting Dilemma
When it comes to getting over food dieting, Tribole and Resch, recommend (among other things) giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. Allow yourself to eat as much as you want, of what you want, when you want it.
- No substitutions.
- No penance.
- No guilt.
In this way, over time, you come to a balanced point of satisfaction.
The Wardrobe Diet
You can apply the same concept to your wardrobe as well.
Give yourself permission to buy the clothes you really want, when you want them, at whatever price they cost.
- You deserve clothes that look and make you feel good.
- Only buy clothes you like (if you don’t see something you like, don’t buy anything).
- Buy as few or as many garments as you need.
- Discard clothes when they get shabby.
- Don’t wait for the sales.
Though of course it’s not as simple as that is it?
Over time I’ve spent a lot of money on clothes I haven’t loved:
- Some were so cheap it wasn’t worth paying to alter them to fit.
- Others I couldn’t alter without ruining the style.
- In one notable instance, a garment was so badly made I accidentally tore it to pieces as I removed it from its packaging.
I felt miserable when I looked in the mirror and saw that the colours didn’t suit my skin and hair, or the shapes didn’t flatter me. I saw a tired and fat old lady who was in no way an accurate reflection of vibrant person I see in my mind.
But a smaller wardrobe of clothes you adore has other benefits too.
I bought my ubiquitous red linen tunic on May 25, 2014, taking exchange rates, bank fees and so on into account, it cost me $101.87. I love the cut, the colour and the fabric, and even four years later, it’s still the garment I wear the most often.
When in doubt, red tunic comes out!
It never fails to make me smile when I look in the mirror, because the colour is right for me, the style flattering, and its natural fibre makes it appropriate all year round.
Do you have any wardrobe favourites?