Dress Code: When You're Sick Of All Your ClothesS

Now is the summer of our discontent: we're all sick of everything we own, but it's too hot to think about Fall. So how to recapture your sartorial joie de vivre?

In April, the thought of going without a sweater was entrancing. New sandals were pristine and summer dresses enticing. Now, it's August, and we've forgotten what it feels like to be cool. The same few light garments have come out again and again, and are wilted and sad. Those sandals are scuffed and maybe have been repaired a few times...and at the end of the day, didn't deliver on the promise of summer, anyway. In short, as seasons wax, we grow to hate the clothes we associate with them. And while it's hard to justify shelling out for new pieces this late in the season (unless you're using the "next year sale" justification, of course), there are things we can do to regain that old excitement.

  • Take Inventory. Take clothes out and look at them. There may be some pieces you've overlooked. Or, perhaps those workhorses you've been wearing all summer could use some maintenance: a trip to the tailor or the cobbler or for a shoe-shine. Take up that hem you've been meaning to raise; get new tips on your shoes. A little vacation might do both of you good, and you'll feel pleasantly adult.

  • Shopping your closet is a cliche (and seems to hearken back to the first few months of the Recession, before it lost its novelty for all the morning shows) but there is something to be said for the Uniform Project idea: when you see how creative these gals get with basics, it's inspiring.

  • Have a swap. Not rocket surgery, but a fail-safe: if you're feeling the summer doldrums, chances are you're not alone. Get a few new pieces free - or at the very least unload something you've come to hate. This time of the season should be re-named the Swaps of August.

  • Or get a lending buddy! If you have things you feel uncomfortable getting rid of, one solution is a lending-plan. I have a friend who's a similar size; we frequently borrow things from each others' closets just to add some variety. What's old hat to you may be exciting to a friend - and without the commitment of losing it permanently. And seeing the way other people style things can be a good way to get ideas.

  • If you crave something new, consider small things: vintage costume jewelry, scarves, belts. All of these can be found at Forever21 or thrift stores and will have the impact - and provide the novelty - of a much bigger purchase.

  • In fact, I think scarves deserve their own entry, because they're so versatile and fun. Even if you don't think of yourself as a scarf person, consider it: a big square draped over a tee shirt, or a kerchief with a button-down, can look super-jaunty. I love this guide (although if you can figure out how to tie the orchid-like "neck wrap" you're ahead of me.)

  • Start thinking about Fall. Feels counterintuitive, I know, but once you start looking forward with back-to-school anticipation, clothes will start feeling not-miserable again. I'm not saying you need to have an inspiration board like, ahem, some of us, but a glance at the mags - or just Heathers - can do wonders.

  • Change something else. A new hairdo can add an element of novelty; a pedicure makes one friend "feel less bedraggled."

  • If all else fails, yes, there are sales going on. A lot of them.

So: what do you do to fight late-season sartorial doldrums? It may not be the most serious issue in the world, but when you're standing in front of your closet in the morning, these are the tips you need: spill!



For all of our handy Dress Code guides, go here.