Audi plans all her outfits a week in advance and hangs them on a roll rack for easy morning access. Kimberly outlines style inspiration calendars that encompass an entire month’s worth of themed ensembles. And me? I make myself late to my appointments by pawing through my closet post-shower, scrambling to assemble a not-boring, seasonally-appropriate getup in the 15-minute window that I allow for dressing.
OK, OK, so I actually do spend some time planning my daily wearings. I have my inspiration workbook, and my outfit list. And instead of counting sheep to lull myself into slumber, I lay in bed and mentally assemble possible outfits. But sometimes those imagined ensembles fail, and I am left without a plan and without inspiration.
And that’s where Husband Mike comes in.
That’s right, HM styles me more often that I’d care to admit. Often enough that he practically INSISTED I pen this post. And while his guidance occasionally comes in the form of accessorization input (“This one needs a big necklace” or “That scarf is too much”), most of the time he simply assigns my dressing homework.
If I’m lying awake, attempting to dream up the next day’s outfit and drawing a blank, I’ll poke him in the ribs and ask, “What color should I wear tomorrow?” And, usually, his declaration of, “red,” or “lavender,” or “khaki” is enough. That single externally-assigned constraint gives my imagination something to push against, and my happy brain begins to whiz through my mind-closet pulling out options. Sometimes his assignments yield multiple options, and I am set for several days in a row. Sometimes he gets cheeky and when I request a color, he gives me a texture or pattern, which poses an equally fun challenge. Sometimes his demands are un-meet-able based on the clothes I possess or the following day’s weather conditions … but the goody-goody in me never forgets and keeps his passed-over assignments waiting in the wings for appropriate application.
A couple of months ago – when they lamented a lack of stylistic inspiration – I suggested to the academicchics that they assign each other dressing homework for a week. Unsurprisingly, they had a fantastic time dreaming up challenges for one another, and assembled some truly killer outfits in the process. Asking a close friend or sister to provide your dressing homework assignments can be even more rewarding than getting them from a spouse or coworker: Someone who knows your style intimately and is aware of your fashion fears is more likely to push you; Make you wear flats when you love heels, or demand that you try a dress instead of pants. And that’s valuable stuff.
On the flip side, the person handing out your assignments needn’t know a thing about fashion … and, in fact, needn’t even know that they’re GIVING you an assignment. Asking your bus driver’s favorite color is a truly random and slightly spy-like way to give yourself a dressing assignment for the following day. Fun, right?
We all lack inspiration from time to time. We stare, slack-jawed, at the contents of our bursting closets and wonder why the hell we can’t find anything in there that we want to wear. But sometimes all it takes is an assigned color or fabric or era or pattern – some simple requirement for the outfit we’re struggling to plan – and a world of stylistic possibilities opens before us.
Image courtesy BrittneyBush.