To be truthful, I haven't done it in years. But when I was younger... well... that was a whole other thing. Back then I might go through several outfit changes each morning, tossing aside unwanted items as I became more and more frustrated, and had less and less time before I had to be out the door. Then, when inspiration failed me, and time ran out, I'd root through the pile of clothes on my bed, haul out a favourite and too often relied upon outfit combination, and rush down to the basement to plug in the iron. Because, of course, the blouse or skirt was now hopelessly wrinkled, having been discarded early in the process, and lying under a growing pile of other discarded items. I'd press the wrinkles out, toss on whatever it was I'd chosen, and dash out the door, coat flying, twenty minutes late, knowing that if traffic was heavy my first morning class might be in danger of starting without me. And that would be bad because I was the teacher. Phew. So glad those days are over.
|Wouldn't it be nice if we all just looked like this every morning? source|
But, as I said, I haven't done that in years. Partly because I'm much more organized now. If there's one thing that teaching teaches teachers it's that being organized pays off in sooo many ways. Course timelines planned, units mapped out, target dates for tests and major assignments in place from day one of the semester. All of that frees you up to be more creative in planning day to day activities, more in the moment, and better able to have fun with the kids. And it reduces your stress. Big time. And after a few years, that technique of planning the big stuff in order to relax with the day to day bleeds into other aspects of your life. Like wardrobe planning.
Here's how it works for me. I know many of you have read this "philosophy" numerous times, so I'll be brief. Every season I do a wardrobe inventory of what I own that I will still wear this season, and what I will consign or give away. Then I look for gaps or needs. To help me decide what I might want to add to my wardrobe, I pull pictures from magazines and pin them on my bulletin board for inspiration. Or I start a Pinterest board. Then I make out a seasonal shopping list. And I write all this down in my little book. The writing down part is important.
|My inspiration board for Fall 2016.|
I don't always follow my shopping list. Sometimes I can't find an item, or I change my mind about what I want. But I always know what I don't need. And I shop for items that fit with other things I own. Sometimes I find a jacket or a suit that I really love which takes my wardrobe off in a new direction. Like my navy Veronica Beard suit. But I am always aware that I may need to then find coordinating tops or shoes. So I don't do that often. And only if I love, love whatever I'm buying. And never if the only reason for buying it is because it's on sale. I mean, buying that brown midi-skirt at a fabulous price isn't smart shopping if you now need new brown boots, and maybe even a camel or brown coat, to go with it. Later in the season, I usually do a follow-up shop, to fill a specific niche that I've identified. Like yesterday I found a pair of khaki jeans at Massimo Dutti that work beautifully with my khaki suede Twiggy moto jacket. They will also work with a grey and sage green striped Vince tee, with my navy and white tees, or with my navy Veronica Beard jacket. So one new pair of jeans broadens the wearability of several other major pieces.
|Most of my tiny closet. The pants and jeans are on the right out of sight of the camera.|
These days, instead of taking notes, I just take pictures for my blog. Then when I'm getting dressed, I can quickly look up an outfit shot on my i-pad. If I weren't writing this blog, I think I'd still take pictures with an i-phone and keep outfit ideas stored there. Seems like a quick way of recording outfits that work, that you like, and that you want to be able to recall when you have to be somewhere, and you don't have time to wait for inspiration.
Earlier this week, I had what Hubby jokingly refers to as one of my "fashion shows." I tried on a whole mess of clothes. This time, I wanted to see how I might get more wear out of these old brown suede Prada ankle boots. Eventually I found I liked them with my flared Current Elliot jeans, my new Veronica Beard jacket, over a cream silk blouse. And with this double-faced, wool scarf which has teal green, blue, and brown animal print on one side, and which looks great with both chocolate brown and with navy.
|Trying to translate inspiration into reality the other day.|
I should add that "fashion shows" are just for the purpose of identifying what I might wear. They are not generally for public consumption... especially given the fact that I had no make-up on, and my hair was sticking up in tufts. Hence my hiding behind an artfully placed book. See how beneficial reading can be? Ha. Totally appropriate camouflage for me. I always did have my nose stuck in a book.
So you see, if you know what you own, and you know what goes with what because you've already tried on several different outfit combinations, you can avoid the dreaded question "What should I wear?" You can eliminate the distressing last minute dearth of inspiration. And totally do away with the towering pile of cast off outfits on the bed under which the one item you desire will now be languishing in severe need of a good ironing. I always hate when that happens.
And let me add one caveat to this advice. Never, never presume to plan too far in advance exactly what you will wear for each day of the week. I did that one year when I started to become a bit obsessed with organization. In love with my newly learned skill of planning ahead, I thought: "If a bit of planning is good, then of course a whole lot of planning will be...well.. better. Won't it?" Ah. Not so much. Sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing. I began to realize that it was much better to have a range of outfits from which to choose to suit my mood. Because there's nothing worse than planning to wear, say, a skirt suit with high heels on the one morning when you feel like crap and really, really want to wear cords and running shoes. Always have a plan B ... trust me on this one.
Now, I know some of you are saying... "Gad, this woman takes dressing seriously." You're right. I do. I seem to be temperamentally unable to grab whatever jeans and top are handy, throw them on, and happily head off to start my day. I want to look good, or as good as I can. Be comfortable. And appropriately attired for my mood, and for whatever activity I'm embarking upon. Shallow it may be... I will admit... but I can't help it. That's just the way I am. A bad outfit makes me verrry cranky.
How about you my friends? How do you solve those last minute 'what to wear with what' dilemmas? Any secret tricks you use to pull together a polished look when you're pressed for time? Any funny wardrobe stories you want to share?
Go ahead. We're listening.
Linking up this week with these great blogs: Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, #IwillwearwhatIlike at Not Dressed as Lamb, What I Wore at The Pleated Poppy, Style Me Wednesday at Shopping My Closet, Thursday Favourite Things at Katherine's Corner, Passion 4 Fashion at Rachel the Hat, Friday Finds at Forage Fashion, and Fun Fashion Friday at Fashion Should Be Fun, and Saturday Share Link-up at Not Dressed as Lamb.