Giving Up The Fantasy Lifestyle

October 13, 2016

Outfit of the day from the autumn capsule wardrobe

One of my goals for this season is to make sure I dress for my real life (and real weather) rather than a fantasy lifestyle. A big part of creating a capsule wardrobe or a minimal wardrobe is ensuring that everything in your wardrobe works for your current lifestyle. You want to really think about every purchase you make and how it will fit into your wardrobe and your lifestyle. Although we all want a perfect wardrobe which works for our lifestyle and where we live a lot of us are guilty of building a wardrobe based on a fantasy lifestyle. Focusing on things you’d like to do rather than what you actually do or dreaming of a hot summer when you live in a cold climate.

Fantasy Lifestyle

So many of us are guilty of shopping for a fantasy lifestyle whether that’s buying lots of pretty dresses for going out when you rarely leave the house or lots of smart workwear when you work in a casual environment. I think we all get swept up in the fantasy of an outfit when shopping. We see an outfit on a model styled in a way you know deep down you’d never wear it and before you know it you’re telling yourself how if you owned this dress you’d go out more because you’d be able to wear this dress. Sound familiar? In the past, I’ve included a lot of dressier clothes in my capsule wardrobe which I tell myself I’ll wear out to blogger events or date night. But the reality is when I attend a blogger event it’s normally straight from work in whatever I’m wearing or if I do have the chance to change it’s still a pretty casual outfit. And date night doesn’t normally involve a fancy restaurant I have to get dressed up for, normally it’s a pretty casual affair. So why do I insist on having dressier options in my capsule wardrobe? They’re just taking up space which could be used by clothes I’ll actually wear.

Autumn outfit featuring denim skirt and black polo neck

Last week I read a post by Unfancy (click to read the post) where she spoke about her decision to dress for her real fall rather than a fantasy fall. For Caroline, this was about excepting that she doesn’t experience the typical fall weather, with chilly days. As much as she wants to wear cosy knits, flannels and scarves she had to expect that where she lived it is far too warm for that kind of clothes. This post (along with the comments) made me appreciate that I o get to enjoy the ‘fantasy’ fall with cold weather, changing leaves and dark nights. Here is Scotland the weather is cold enough to start wearing our cosy knits, flannels and scarves but not so cold we have to wear crazy layers. Luckily I love this type of weather and look forward to autumn every year (being Scottish I need the cold), but looking at her outfit of shorts and a t-shirt did get me thinking about how her real fall looks like my ‘fantasy’ summer. Here is Scotland it hardly ever gets warm enough for shorts during the summer, but yet if you look in any of our wardrobes you’ll find at least one pair of shorts. It seems we’re the opposite from Caroline who wants a colder climate during the fall, here in Scotland, we just want a warmer summer. Summer is definitely the season where I’m most guilty for shopping for fantasy weather. I’ll find myself buying pretty sundresses which only get a couple of wears because we don’t get the weather for them. If you go into any shop here during the summer they’re all selling us this fantasy climate where we can wear shorts and dresses every day. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of shopping for a fantasy summer rather than our real summer. Whether it’s someone living in a warm climate wanting a colder fall and buying cosy knits they don’t need or us here in the North longing for warmer summers and buying sundresses we never get to wear. I think we’re all a little guilty of buying clothes for a fantasy climate, that we just don’t get to experience (at home).

Scottish blogger Tartan Brunette

Focusing On Real Life

But how do you avoid the trap of the ‘fantasy’ lifestyle or ‘fantasy’ climate when out shopping or planning your wardrobe? Firstly, you need to work out exactly how you spend your time. I suggest creating a pie chart showing how you spend your time on different activities. Colour code it to make it clear how long you spend on each activity. For example, if you spend about 50% of your time working then block off half the chart in your work colour, then section off the rest of the chart with your other activities. This should give you a visual idea of how you actually spend your time. Another way could be to record how long you spend doing things throughout the week. Carry a notebook everywhere with you can write down when you do each activity and for how long. So if you go for a meal after work you would write this down or if you went to the gym you would write it down. You could record these results in the pie chart for a more accurate record of how you spend your time or my might find the list useful without creating a chart. What this exercise should show you is how you actually spend your time. You might be surprised to see you don’t go out as often as you think or that you spend more time at work than you thought. Once you know how you spend your time you can then think about what clothes you need to have in your wardrobe and what you don’t need. If you’re guilty of spending the day shivering because you wore a sundress on a cold day or sweating in your woollens on a hot day make sure you check the forecast before getting dressed. Your outfit should match the real weather conditions, not fantasy weather. When shopping ignore the fantasy climate the stores are selling you. Whether that’s sundresses for the Scottish summer or flannels for the Texan fall. You know what the weather is like where you live and what works for it so focus on that.

We need to start appreciating that our lifestyles are just as exciting as the ones we are fed by the media. Just because you don’t go out every night, doesn’t mean you have a boring life. Let’s face it most of us prefer a night in, to going out anyway. Same with the weather we should appreciate what we have, whether that’s me excepting that I don’t get to experience of hot summer but I’m lucky enough to have a good fall or someone in a hot climate accepting they don’t need typical autumn clothes. Our lifestyles are what work for us and we shouldn’t compare them to anyone else. You never know they might see your lifestyle as their fantasy lifestyle.

Fall outfit of the day

Shop My Outfit

Skirt – Topshop (old, similar or ethical option)

Top – River Island (old, similar, or ethical option)

Do you ever find yourself dressing for a fantasy lifestyle rather than your real life? Click through to find out how to focus on dressing for your real lifestyle and how to give up the fantasy lifestyle

14 responses to “Giving Up The Fantasy Lifestyle”

  1. Sara says:

    Love this! The amount of clothes I recently donated because I bought them for a dressy event that will never happen! I work overnights and even most of our date nights are at home. So why did I have 10+ dresses!? I don’t even really like wearing dresses lol! I’m currently working on building up a new wardrobe that makes me happy but also fits my lifestyle.

    • Jen says:

      I used to be the same Sara I had so many dressy clothes but never really go out and if I do it’s nowhere which requires a fancy dress. Good luck creating your new wardrobe.
      Jen x

  2. Judy says:

    Brilliant post. “We need to start appreciating that our lifestyles are just as exciting as the ones we are fed by the media.” My fashion journey over the past few years has made me keenly aware of the emotional needs that propel me to shop and a lot of self-awareness has come out of what some would say, Oh, it is just clothes. I realize I am very lucky too, because where I live, we actually have four seasons, so I get to dress for each, and seasonal overlap with certain pieces is doable.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks. Funny how the process of changing the way you shop and think about your clothes can make you so much more self-aware. It really is an eye-opening journey through ‘just clothes’
      Jen x

  3. I’ve really enjoyed reading this post! I’m actually away to buy some new autumn gear today, and this post has set me in the mind frame to select pieces that I can and will wear. I’m so guilty of buying things because I’ve seen how good it looks on others, yet in reality it doesn’t suit me, or I’m not confident enough for it. I’m taking your advice and being realistic about what I need these clothes for.. lets hope it works this time and saves pieces from being stuck in my wardrobe!

    • Jen says:

      Such a good point about buying things because they look good on others and lacking confidence to wear them, think we all do that sometimes. Good Luck with your shopping trip today and hopefully you come aways with clothes you love and want to wear all the time.
      Jen x

  4. Caroline says:

    It’s like you’re talking directly me. Ha! I am so guilty of this. Although it’s not fancy/pretty dresses I purchase as I am NOT a dress wearer, it more just making sure my choices are practical and me. That I’m not buying them to stay in the fashion game.
    Also having a toddler and a dog, plus living in the countryside means I DO and SHOULD think practically. Over the colder/winter months wellies and waterproof coats are a necessity! No stiletto heels gonna work on those country roads!

    ps – Love this outfit. You’re kind selling the denim skirt trend to me..


  5. Jess says:

    Totally with you on this here in Cumbria! And yes, Caroline’s real autumn sounds very much like my fantasy summer, haha!

  6. Hope Isaacs says:

    I find that I shop for my aspirational self (even going beyond clothes to books and activities) that reflects more physical energy than I actually have. I think I will be able to do something because I want to, but the truth is that I actually do very little.
    It is difficult to accept that the reality of your life is so limited. I am not angry or depressed about this, just having a hard time recognizing that this is me now.

    • Jen says:

      Totally get what you mean, the fantasy lifestyle is always going to be more exciting than real life. Once you recognise your real lifestyle it becomes easier to accept and really start to enjoy. x

  7. Stacy says:

    Thank you, nice read.

  8. Sami says:

    I love this, it’s so true! I’m launching my blog this January and my whole mission is to show how people can create beautiful lifestyles REALISTICALLY. Not everyone has a Gucci budget and that’s ok– but we need to embrace how amazing our lives are even without it 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    XO, Sami

    • Jen says:

      Exactly we can all have a beautiful lifestyle no matter our budget or circumstance. I think the more bloggers who embrace a realistic lifestyle the less pressure there will be to show a perfect life. Look forward to reading your blog in the new year.

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