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12th Jan 2016

You are what you wear – so who do you think you are?

Annmarie O'Connor

How do you feel when you open your closet? More to the point, how does your closet feel? Buried beneath those forgettable fads, questionable trends and ‘oh dear, what was I thinking?’ is a pile of useless emotional baggage.

Bet you didn’t see it. Well, guess what? You’re not alone.

Your closet is more than just a collection of clothes. It’s a deeply vulnerable space containing layers of old energy, which, when coupled with an evolutionary gathering instinct, can create chaos. And let’s face it: a chaotic closet is not a happy closet.


Old attachments, a fear of change, regret and compulsion are the most common psychological blocks that keep us locked into repetitive routines, such as how we shop and why we hoard. In fact, our habits are so unconscious; they tend to happen without our permission.

A bit of bad news: habits never disappear. Ever. All it takes is a trigger to access the habit from our memory – which explains why we drove to the shopping centre instead of our mother’s after work last Thursday and why even the sight of a shoe sale requires blinkers and/or heavy sedation.

Although January may be prime time for embarking on a closet detox, there’s zero point in clearing that clutter before uncovering the hidden behaviour that got you there in the first place. Why not discover your closet personality from the nine closet types below!

IMPULSE BUYER is an image-conscious and socially-driven creature for whom capsule dressing is a futuristic styling tablet; not a way of life. Shopping is hedonistic, spontaneous; never planned and subject to frequent bouts of buyer’s remorse.

SECRET SHOPPER is fashion’s MI6 agent. Purchases are made with separate credit cards, online parcels are sent to a P.O. box and all newly acquired swag is stashed so carefully it risks never being found – not even by her.

DOOMSDAY PREPPER is the original stockpiler. Operating on a well-honed survivalist instinct, she believes in being prepared for all wardrobe emergencies. Large stocked walk-in closets are her signature; so is the odd clothing avalanche.

TIRED AND EMOTIONAL is the proud owner of a love-worn wardrobe. A closet nostalgic, she holds onto clothes well past their sell-by-date in the hopes that she can somehow make them work. She never does…

BLACK WIDOW’S wardrobe bears all the hallmarks of the Twilight costume department. She even needs a flashlight to get dressed. The idea of testing a bright colour or print scares her half to death. That’s why she’s fashion’s undead.

SPLIT PERSONALITY is the ultimate fashion player: afraid to commit to one particular style in case she misses out. Determined to keep her options open, her closets multiply according to her many moods, resulting in ever-decreasing space and a chaotic personal style.

MARTYR MOM will pay top shekels to dress her progeny but will remain threadbare to the bitter end. She’d be stealing food from her children’s mouths after all and what kind of mother does that? Self-denial, after all, is its own reward.

SALE SNIPER is one highly trained marksman. Skilled in the art of retail warfare, she uses field reconnaissance and combat force (elbows do nicely) to target any and every available discount. The thrill of the till means her real needs miss the mark.

PERFECT 9 is a rare breed. Self-aware and always prepared, she’s got her habits under stellar control. Her wardrobe is so organised, it makes IKEA look slapdash. Ironically, it’s that little slap of dash that could make her a 10.

Annmarie O’Connor is a fashion journalist, stylist and de-cluttering coach over at, with a newly launched book, The Happy Closet.


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