Living in the shadow of a weight limit on your shipped goods gives you a natural aversion to accumulating, which is how I’ve found myself incorporating principles of the whole minimalist philosophy into my life.
The Curated Closet will help you apply the “less is more” idea to your wardrobe, but it also speaks to struggles unique to us trailing spouses.
Hang in there with me if books about fashion trigger gag reflexes and eye-rolls. The Curated Closet offers a different approach to what you put on your body and why you keep things you don’t love.
The first important difference: author Anuschka Rees studied social psychology. Instead of squeezing you into a style typology or forcing a list of wardrobe essentials down your gullet, Rees helps you choose those things for yourself by walking you through questions like What do I like? Who am I? What do I do? I don’t know about you, but that was basically my first year as an expat summed up in eleven syllables.
In The Curated Closet, style is approached as an outward reflection of who we are on the inside. When that first part isn’t secure, the result is a cognitive dissonance that leaves us uncomfortable in our own skin. We then try to fix this by shopping too much, spending money on things we don’t really love and holding on to stuff that has no place in our current lives. As a trailing spouse who was completely caught off guard by my transitioning identity, this weird struggle resonated with me.
I appreciated that Rees also addresses functional aspects of getting dressed—your climate and what you spend your time doing—because these are things that have also most likely changed for the expat wife. Lastly, I loved that the fast fashion trend is called out and there is practical advice if you’re wanting to break the cycle of impulse buys and spend your money on more responsibly crafted clothes.
If you’ve read any kind of style self-help in the past, the remaining chapters about fit, quality, and garment care will most likely be familiar. There are also a lot of exercises and worksheets which, if you’re busy or hate lists, will seem inconvenient and impractical. It’s still a worthwhile read without them.
Did you have a multifaceted identity crisis that included how you dressed? I’m anxious to hear if this was a thing for any of you other trailing spouses, so please share below!
One last thing: check out Rees’ website, Into-Mind. The Curated Closet was born from her blog and many of the discussions, ideas, and exercises from the book are available there.