April 15, 2012

April 15, 2012

Feel Better About Getting Dressed in the Morning

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and I hope you are having a safe and great weekend so far. It has been another very busy weekend for Dab the AIDS Bear and me. There has also been some horrible weather conditions around our country this weekend including thunderstorms, lightning and tornadoes. So I hope everyone has not had any problems dealing with the weather since some of you were flying back from the NAPWA conference in Texas.

Every day, I have to decide in the morning what I am going to wear. I know for many people just having to choose what they are going to wear can be a hassle. So how can we make getting ready more enjoyable?

At least one of these strategies will dramatically change the way you feel about getting dressed in the morning.

1. Follow the Rainbow

Every day for a week, make sure that your outfit includes an item of a certain color: week one is red, two is orange, three is yellow, etc. This will encourage you to search through your closet and actually wear the pieces that have been languishing, unloved, underneath your go to items.

2. First In/Last Out

The majority of people wear 20% of their closet 80% of the time. There are a number of variations on this first in/last out wardrobe strategy, which prevents you from wearing a few pieces non-stop.

Instead of wearing the same small percentage of your closet every week, do what Assistant Editor Alden Wicker does: After wearing an outfit, she hangs it in the most remote corner of her closet, which forces her to see only pieces she hasn’t worn frequently. If she’s totally uninspired by a piece staring her right in the face, she has to decide whether to consign it or not. Another approach (which might be better if you like to organize by item type pants near pants, shirts near shirts) is to hang each item inside out after you wear it (assuming you don’t have to wash immediately). This way, you can easily see which pieces you’ve recently worn, and which items you may have forgotten about.

3. Write It Down

Keep a journal of what you wear each day, and how it makes you feel. This will help you identify which shapes, fabrics and styles work best for your body and lifestyle, and will prevent you from making purchases that aren’t perfect for you. One reader has been keeping a journal like this for years and says, “Along the way, I got to know what I should and shouldn’t be buying. As hot as a new leather top was, I learned that the style didn’t make me feel great and would be a waste of money for me.”

This strategy is ideal for those who have a ton of clothing but feel like they haven’t yet hit upon a cohesive style.

4. Have a Friend Consult

Sometimes, all it takes is an objective eye to take your wardrobe from fine to fabulous. A friend raids her closet, puts together head-to-toe outfits, then photographs each outfit for easy reference. His fresh eye always gets me wearing stuff that has been sitting in the back of my closet, and each time he leaves, I’m armed with 20+ new outfits that I wouldn’t have come up with myself. In return for his services, I thank him with dinner and lots of wine!

5. Choose Your ‘Uniform’

My friend has more or less developed a “uniform”—black skinny jeans; solid t-shirts in white, grey and black; wedge heels—that works for her. She’s always liked accessories like shoes, jewelry and scarves better than actual clothing items, so she keeps her clothes simple and spends her money on accessories. (She has three shoe racks and, she estimates, around thirty pairs of shoes.)

Look through your closet and think about what you wear all the time. While your uniform might be two or three basic types of ensembles, rather than just one, having multiple versions of these go-tos will free up time in the morning. Since you won’t be spending money on different clothing trends each season, you can play around more with shoes and inexpensive jewelry.

6. Use Magazines as Inspiration—But Not as Spending Manuals

Women’s fashion magazines often inspire us with their stunning photo shoots. But trends resurface so frequently you probably already have items in your closet that are “in” this season. LearnVest’s Chief Marketing and Product Officer Ainslie Simmonds rips out photos from magazines then compares them to items in her own closet. Even if she doesn’t have all of the components, she’ll know she only needs one or two small items to complete the look—not a new head-to-toe outfit entirely.

7. Downgrade Your Wardrobe

Do you have dressy items in your closet that you deem “too fancy” for everyday wear, or that you’re just waiting for the right occasion to use? If that occasion hasn’t happened in the past year, chances are it’s not going to happen next year.

In another tip from her book, Dr. Baumgartner suggests you think of your closet as a pyramid, with dressiest clothing at the top level and the most casual, lazy weekend clothing at the bottom. If you “downgrade” how you think of your clothes by one step on the pyramid, she says, you’ll get more use out of them–which could really help you if you tend to underdress, or need to amp up your look on a daily basis. This could mean wearing that beautiful silk blouse to the office or wearing that structured blazer to a weekend brunch (even though you were saving it for a work occasion). Reimagining items in a new light will give them a new life.

8. Document Your Duds

Are you a collector? Maybe you have what seems like hundreds of necklaces, or maybe you’ve got a ton of little black dresses. Let’s set aside whether you need so many variations on the same item and make sure you’re actually putting your collection to use! LearnVest’s Director of Audience Development Mark Bufalini has a serious collection of sneakers—over 100 pairs. To stay organized and ensure that he actually wears all of them, he has a photo of each pair of shoes on his computer. When he’s choosing which pair to wear each morning, he can quickly go through the album and decide, without rifling through boxes or just choosing the first pair he sees.

9. Use the Golden Wardrobe Ratio

For chronically cluttered wardrobes, Dr. Baumgartner advises using the golden wardrobe ratio: For every three items that stay in your closet, two must be thrown out, donated or consigned. While it might be difficult to part with so much of the clothing you’ve collected over the years, you need to examine why you’re hanging on to so many items—especially if they’re not actively in use. Once you pare down your wardrobe to the essentials (and lose the ratty t-shirts and mismatched pieces of yesteryear’s Halloween costumes), you’ll have the momentum to tackle the other important projects in your life—and look great while doing them.

Hope these tips help make your mornings more enjoyable when you are getting ready for your day.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab