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You’re just getting into the stride of your career. You’re a mid-level professional with hope, promise, and youth. Like others in your position, you have a wardrobe brimming with clothes. Yet how often have you gone to your closet and lamented, “I have nothing to wear”?
The average closet today has about 100 clothing items. That’s a lot. Your parents had half as many clothes at your age and your grandparents had half as many as they did. So why do so many professionals today feel they have nothing to wear? The answer lies in our ever-changing culture.
You likely don’t do the same kind of work that your parents and grandparents did. From the early 1900s through the 1960s, American industry revolved around blue-collar factory work and farming jobs. What you wore to work every day was more or less a clean version of the same outfit. But whether blue or white collar, there was a generally appreciated style that was easily followed. The economic and the cultural landscape started to change dramatically by the 1960s. Blue collar jobs started loosing ground to white collar.
The aftermath of the various cultural upheavals of the 1960s also led to the partial rejection of formal attire.
Accordingly, the individual behind the “uniform” needed to be expressed and appreciated. And to express yourself you needed more and different types of clothing. This economic and cultural shift was a boon to the fashion industry. And with new technology in textiles, fashion, once reserved for the rich and famous, became affordable to nearly everyone.
Freed from the template of tradition, professionals today are more open to experiment in their dress. Many are expected to look both formal and casual; a professional casual. It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s indicative of a society where the professional is required to embrace the new to be relevant.
In our efforts to stay relevant we feel compelled to keep up with the newest fashion. But clothing that is fashionable today will be less appealing tomorrow. In less than half a decade our closets become filled with clothing we’ve left behind.
Today it is a common problem, produced by affluence, and experienced by many. That’s how a closet full of clothes turns into just a few go-to outfits, and suddenly we have nothing to wear.