How moving overseas can change your wardrobe

For the past couple of years, I’ve pretty much been having a wardrobe crisis.  I hate all my clothes.  Ok, no, scratch that, I hate most of my clothes.  For many years, I’ve been a shopping addict (on the upside, at least it was mostly secondhand stuff.  Oh, and modcloth.  *sigh*).

Here’s an example of my style for the past couple of years (these are what I would consider some of my “better” outfits):

In 2014, I was inspired by a number of bloggers to finally undertake a year without clothes shopping (Oct 2014-Oct 2015) which was incredibly good for me.

And now my wardrobe, much like my life, is in a weird limbo.  I’m moving to Australia sometime (I’m finding that visa process is very slow for Australia.  I have absolutely no control and essentially right now my life is in the hands of Australian Immigration) in the upcoming (couple?  few?)  months.  So again, I’m on a strict no-buy.

I’ve been having an epic wardrobe purge.  Epic.  Pieces that I have loved and been hauling around for years are just gone (including a lot of the stuff pictured above).  Donated or sold on trademe.  This move is the perfect opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff.  Why?

  1. I don’t love it.
  2. It doesn’t suit my lifestyle.
  3. It doesn’t fit that well.
  4. I bought it on sale because it was cheap.

Number 4 was probably the most difficult shopping habit for me to break (also, shopping is a habit.  Getting used to not having something new every so often is also an excellent habit to get out of).  Buying things that are cheap and on sale just because, well, they’re cheap and OK or decent or whatever was very dangerous for me (the eternal bargain hunter).

But it’s really been the anticipated upcoming overseas move and moving into a smaller house that has really fuelled the purge.  This will put me in a great position when I arrive in Melbourne (ok, Geelong) and can start re-building essentially from as clean of slate as I can possibly get!  I’m impatient to get started, but we still have some time in New Zealand left, and also I don’t want to rush things when we get to Australia as I feel that could be a slippery slope leading back to very bad habits (aka mindless shopping).

My advice to others wanting to overhaul their wardrobe?

  • Be patient.  It takes time.  Years.
  • Forgive yourself for bad purchases.  Sure you only bought it last year but now you realize you don’t love it.  Cut your losses and move on.  Rid yourself of your literal baggage.
  • Forgive yourself and accept that your style may have changed.  (I’m still working on this one).  Fashion is all about change, and as your lifestyle changes, it’s likely your style will too.  This is OK.  You need to dress how you want and how you feel comfortable.  As a woman in my 30s, I think this may be the hardest decade to dress for and I’m still working on my style.
  • Accept that where you live influences what you wear.  It can’t be helped.  We can’t all look like a NY fashion blogger – we don’t all live in New York.  Some of us live at the ass end of New Zealand, and are influenced by the climate, people that live here and the clothing choices that are available to us.  Don’t beat yourself up.
  • The internet is a vast and wonderful resource.  Use pinterest.  Read blogs.  Deciding what your style is won’t happen overnight.  Using pinterest will help you see if your style is still changing, and help you create a cohesive vision.
  • Effort will be required.  You may spend hours, weeks, months or more thinking about your wardrobe and style.  No judgement.  If style were that easy, everyone would look fabulous.  Guess what?  It’s not easy.  It requires a lot of thoughtful consideration – and this is a lot easier to do once you’ve stopped the mindless shopping.


Now I’m going to apologize if you’re tired of reading how I’m “purging” and “not shopping” and “waiting to move” blah blah blah until I start re-building my wardrobe instead of posting photos of actual outfits.  I’m not exactly sure how many posts I’ve done on the subject – maybe only a handful – it just seems like I’ve been thinking about it all the time.

So here is an example of what I where I want to head (style-wise):

A more neutral cohesive palette but still fun, with a focus on print, texture, silhouette and footwear.

In the meantime, I will continue to purge, and look forward to the nearly clean slate I’ll be starting with Australia!


6 thoughts on “How moving overseas can change your wardrobe

    • I know. I keep expecting you to announce that you’re going to pop off overseas. 😀

      Definitely there are pros and cons (1. being so far away from my family and 2. spending all my vacation having to come back home to the midwest). But with skype, the world is a lot smaller. And living overseas is fun! I’m really looking forward to this next big change. I love NZ, but the excitement of getting to make a new start in Australia is appealing. I like change – it often brings a lot of new and unforeseen opportunities. It also forces a person outside their comfort zone, exposes us to a different world view, and this I think ultimately helps us grow as people… Though I really need to live in a non-english speaking country at some point. I think that would be a really good experience for me!

  1. This is a great post. It got me thinking about my own wardrobe struggles and that it’s okay to change your mind and realize that something you liked last year is not your style this year. Congrats and good luck with the move to Australia. My best friend lives in Perth so I was wondering if Melbourne was nearby but then I mapped it and realized it was not, hah.

    • Yay – I’m glad it got you thinking! I know I definitely get caught in the trap of “but I only just bought this, how can I suddenly not like it?!”. Usually it’s something I bought on sale and don’t LOVE, it was just cheap. I am hoping now that I have actually recognized this, that I can avoid these regrettable purchases in future. Trying to slowly change my habits and hopefully end up with a better wardrobe (full of pieces I LOVE and love wearing, not just “Meh” stuff I put on because it’s there). 😀

  2. Ugh- I definitely struggle with the whole forgive yourself for bad purchases thing. The year of no shopping while not loving your current wardrobe in some ways reminds me of growing out your hair- there are some awkward phases where you have to figure out how to make what you have work, but I also love the idea that you will be able to start with a fresh slate and be very intentional (loving the inspiration pics. For me, the silhouettes were always very telling in what people wanted from their style, so it is interesting to see what shapes in the clothing echo over and over gain).

    Loved this post!

    • Thank you! It’s so hard to reconcile how I think I want my style to be with what I actually have in my wardrobe and what I feel good wearing. I’m still finding my way. 😀 I think you’re right, there are definitely going to be some hiccups along the way. But I’m hoping in maybe 6 months to a year, I’ll have a smaller, more functional wardrobe full of pieces I love wearing.

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