Reader Request: Morning Readiness

morning outfits

Reader Kantz dropped this one into the suggestion box:

I was wondering if you could talk about the getting ready in the morning routine. This year I have the resolution to always look my best every day but so far I have found that it takes time!!! Any ideas on how to achieve this?

When I worked in an office, I allowed a fairly small window of time for morning prep, mostly because I aimed to arrive at my office by 7:30 a.m. Back then, HM and I both rose at 5:50 a.m. and since he showered first, I ended up with approximately 45 minutes in which to shower, dress, and primp. Here’s how I crammed all of that into a relatively small amount of time.

Proper tools

Many of the items listed below could be consider tools for crafting an efficient morning prep routine, but here are a few that I consider to be absolutely essential: Full-length mirror, iron/steamer/wrinkle releaser, lint roller, good lighting, and clothing that makes you feel fabulous. Gotta have ’em all, or getting ready in the morning will be a frustrating chore.

Organized closet

I doubt I’ll ever have anything resembling Maegan‘s gorgeous dressing room and closet, pictured above, but my own wardrobe is organized in a way that makes sense to me. I know where to find backup pants, where my sandals live, which drawer houses layering tees. My clothing is always put away in designated spots, so I always know where to find what I want.

Outfit list

Are you sick of hearing me sing the praises of my trusty outfit list? Too bad! I cannot overstate how much this tool has improved my life and enhanced my ability to craft stylish ensembles. Not only does it force me to remain familiar with the contents of my closet, but it also allows me to do all of my outfit-related thinking ahead of time. Nothing fosters I Have Nothing to Wear Syndrome like panic, and nothing alleviates panic like a list of carefully planned outfits.

Accessorization time

The outfits on my list include shoes and the occasional scarf, but finishing touches are done on the fly. Giving myself a few minutes to add finishing touches to my ensembles is absolutely essential.

Simple hair and makeup

While this is key for me, it may not work for you. I wash my hair, scrunch in some product, blow dry for 4 minutes, and am done. I apply moisturizer, under-eye concealer, spot concealer on zits, brow powder, and blush. Then I’m done. On days when I need to do more extensive makeup, I inevitably run late. I would never go so far as to “recommend” these practices, as I know that hair and makeup routines are intensely personal. But if your makeup is the real time suck, maybe consider doing the basics at home and touching up in the office bathroom. (Not possible for everyone, but perhaps feasible for some.)

Image via Love Maegan.

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  • Some people may find this a little gross, but when I worked full-time (and had to be out of my house by 6:50 AM), I showered the night before – took care of all the hair-washing/drying (I had loooong hair then) and potential leg-shaving that takes up time. While I didn’t have an outfit list, I planned out my outfits in advance, so all I had to do in the mornings was dress, put on make-up, and eat breakfast. Since I can afford to leave a little later at my new job (that hasn’t yet started), NOR does it have a crazy dress code, I might be able to squeeze a shower in the mornings…!

  • Simple hair and makeup = much less stress in the morning. Makeup I have mastered, my curly mane I have not. (Short hair?????) Choosing an outfit the night before is a major must for me.

  • Amy

    For me the BIGGEST part of morning prep is getting out the outfit the night before, whether that involves an outfit list or not. And I’m talking everything, from the underwear down to the belt. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been rushing like crazy around the bedroom trying to find x (the right bra, one shoe, tights) that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. If everything is out the night before, it’s a major time saver.

    And if I don’t get anything out? I’m guaranteed to stare at my closet for 15-20 minutes in horrified perplexity, try on 5 outfits that I hate, and generally lose time and my sanity!

  • Cutting my hair short has definitely saved me a lot of time! I try to decide what to wear on the night before, but I’ve paired down my closet enough to be able to put together a decent outfit together in 5 minutes if necessary. I also have a very simple make-up routine. I love your idea of an outfit list!

  • I take the time to do the night before prep. It allows me to ponder my outfit options for the following day, but I am awake and far more efficient. If I left that for the morning it would take me twice as long. I also have a morning routine that has streamlined my getting ready process for work, making for some extra shut eye time. Yes, it does add some time to my getting ready for bed routine, but it saves far more time in the long run. It takes me awhile to really wake up and get going in the morning so I have to do all that I can to help myself out.
    Much love,
    B

  • Not being an early bird (none of my family are), I have the morning routine down to a science. I manage to get myself ready and my daughter ready for school and out the door in under an hour. Most of the time is getting her ready (she’s only 4, so she requires a lot of help and prodding).

    I give myself about 15 minutes to do my morning prep… add 10 more minutes if I shower and blow dry my hair that morning. A time saver is I almost always lay out both our outfits the night before, including accessories.

  • Sarah

    You are super organized! That’s a great idea to come up with an outfit list. I work from home, so dressing presentably every day is not an issue. But on the rare occasions when I have a meeting with someone I REALLY want to impress, I find myself spending 4 hours or more just on the clothes part!

    I’m pretty speedy at the makeup thing. I’ve been improving my speed every year, all while increasing my products, as my skin is not as young as it used to be… Full makeup and hair take me 7.5 minutes. Of course, my hair always looks pretty bad. But my makeup is outstanding, if I do say so myself…

  • Fruitful

    Ooh, this post is really holding me accountable! My evenings and mornings are chaos at the moment. And of course a smooth morning requires a smooth evening.

    When I joined Flylady a few years ago I started laying out our (mine and the kidlets’) clothes the night before. It makes a huge difference. I will get back on the wagon, I promise!

    One thing that might work for some curly haired readers (not all of course) is showering the night before. I never thought this would work for me but since I took up plopping and pineappling, I find it great. If I’m organised, I shower in the late afternoon/early evening, plop my hair until it’s mostly dry, let it airdry for a couple of hours, then put it up in a pineapple before bead. In the morning it’s bouncy and manageable.

    This helps me because a) it cuts down a lot of time in the morning and b) I can leave the house with dry hair instead of wet hair that will be at the mercy of the elements as it dries into its final unpredictable shape.

    Also, I love your suggestion of an outfit list. Been meaning to do this for ages too – thanks for the prompt!

    • Eleanorjane

      “plopping”? Please explain?

      • Shaye

        Plopping, also known as plunking!

        Also known by its slightly less ridiculous explanation: Scrunch in styling product while your hair is still wet. (Like, dripping wet.) Scrunch out excess water. Lay a microfiber towel on a flat surface below waist-height (I use the toilet lid), turn your head upside down and gather all the hair into a small pile on the towel. Twist the ends and secure either on top or behind your head. Leave for awhile. (The longer the better!)

  • Fruitful

    Umm I meant to type “bed” not “bead”… that’s where I need to go now 🙂

  • LinB

    Helps me to organize closet within categories — slacks, skirts, blouses, dresses, vests are hung together by type, yes, but I also try to clump by color within each grouping. Then I can blearily eye the offerings and grab items that will probably look okay worn together; even if I haven’t partnered them before, even though I will not be fully awake for a while. (Helps also that years of experience lead me to choose colors that all work together.)
    Excellent tips from you today, madam.

  • Simple hair and makeup really is key. I’m going to do a post about my makeup soon (maybe this weekend) but suffice it to say, I don’t wear much. And I’m always astounded when I go on vacation with my sister (who has a complicated hair routine that involves much careful round-brushing) how much longer it takes her to get ready than it does for me. I just rough my hair up with wax, dry it and go. Of course, you could argue about who looks more polished going out the door, but we both end up looking very similar within a couple of hours.

    My morning routine is a lot different than yours. I get up at 5:50 aiming to be in the office at 9, but I am fitting a 1-hour walk into there, and my habitual breakfast involves cooking eggs.

  • KL

    I’m still a college student, so my environment has somewhat different expectations… that said, 45 minutes to get ready in the morning, including breakfast, is a very good day for me. On worse days, it’s more like 15 minutes (and a bar grabbed out the door for breakfast).

    On those days: use the bathroom, brush my teeth, spend 30 seconds running a comb through my hair and another 30 seconds throwing it into a bun, 5 minutes getting dressed, and whatever time I have left grabbing food, books, shoes, etc.

    This works because I take night showers, lay out clothes the night before (sans accessories or shoes), and–for better or worse–have absolutely no skincare or beauty routine. Would welcome suggestions on skincare and beauty routines to establish that require a TOTAL of 2 minutes.

    • Jen

      I’m no Sal, but MOISTURIZER. Everyone says that if you start early and do it consistently, it helps reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. If you get a good one, it makes your face feel fresh and breathable and a little shiny. Slap it on all over your face and neck before you go out and before you go to bed. Also, sunscreen. You can maybe find a moisturizer with enough sunscreen in it, although my dermatologist begs me to do both because most moisturizers don’t have enough SPF. Also, I love L’Oreal True Match Naturale mineral makeup. I finally have a make-up that doesn’t make me break out or run down my face when I sweat.

      • Halo

        This is so true! I moisturize (and sunscreen) every day, but don’t generally put on makeup. If I feel like I need a little something, I use a multiple stick on cheeks and lids (or blush that does double duty), mascara, and some lippy. Three minutes.

    • Wash your face, smear on some tinted moisturizer with sunscreen (you’ll thank yourself later, TRUST ME) and add mascara. Slap on some shiny/shimmery chap stick if you’re feeling fancy.  Less than two minutes, and you’re good to go!

      • Sal

        Yes! Yes! Tinted moisturizer with SPF is the way to go! Works for undereye darkness and evens out your complexion while moisturizing and protecting. I use Laura Mercier’s oil-free kind, but it’s spendy. I trust Neutrogena products, too.

        Tinted lip balm with SPF is also good. Kiehl’s is my fave.

        I don’t do mascara, but I do occasionally smear a bit of Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow on my lids. With my finger. Takes 10 seconds.

        • KL

          Mascara takes me at least 2 minutes by itself, heh. I have very short, sparse lashes, and no experience. And also no eyelid crease, which makes applying eyeshadow a slow and careful affair if I don’t want to look ridiculous. But moisturizer and lip balm sounds doable. Off to check out Sal’s brand recs! Thanks all!

  • I’m actually an insanely early riser, given my schedule. I don’t need to be in the office until 8:45, so leave my house to catch the bus at 8:25. In spite of that, I usually get up at 6:00, 6:30 at the latest, so I can play with my two dogs and, depending on the day, work out, garden, or clean. I do spend a lot of time standing in front of my closet thinking, “That shirt would look perfect with a high-waisted skirt (which I don’t own),” or “If I just had a pair of pink pumps, it would really pull this gray outfit together.” I think your outfit list idea might save me from the dilemma of dressing myself from my tiny, limited wardrobe.

  • I do much the same as what you do…I put my clothes out the night before(undies to jewelry). It takes me usually 30-45 minutes to get ready in the morning. I don’t wash my hair everyday, so it doesn’t dry out, but I do usually do some kind of updo with it. I’m pretty fast, so it usually takes me 10 minutes tops to do my hair – wet or dry. If I work out later at night and take a shower just before climbing into bed, sometimes I won’t take one in the morning.

    Another thing, in choosing outfits is to have clothes that actually fit you and are flattering in your closet. Simple idea, eh?? When I couldn’t fit into 75% of my clothes, I would take FOREVER getting ready in the morning. I couldn’t find anything that fit and I was depressed as hell about it.

    My biggest time drain right now is getting my 1st grader out of bed. She is like me…NOT a morning person. I basically have to wake her up a few times and dress her and carry her into the bathroom to finish getting ready. It’s fun, let me tell ya!

  • Love this post great tips. I don’t have a full ‘outfit list’ yet. But I do have a shortlist of outfits that I love (down to the necklace and earrings). That way if I am feeling panicked, rushed, or just plain lazy there are a couple different things I can just throw on and walk out the door.

  • JB

    This may seem obvious, but another good thing to do the night before is to check the weather forecast. This may be more or less important depending on where you live, how you get to work, and what you do during the day – but there have definitely been times when I’ve had to totally switch gears on my outfit plan for the day after learning what Mother Nature had in store!

    • Sal

      Oh my gosh, YES! I check the weather several times before bed, and again when I rise. Absolutely key.

  • Diana

    I usually can get ready pretty quickly, even though I hardly ever do any night-before prep (I’m usually too indecisive and lazy). I shower in the evenings so that cuts down on morning time, and I have super low maintenance hair (I basically just brush) and no makeup. Basically all I worry about are clothes and accessories, which I can do in 5 minutes if I am in a hurry. Longer if I am trying out different outfit combos etc.

  • Kantz

    I had forgotten about the question, and this post also made me realize I had forgotten about my new year’s resolution 😉 Although I have to say I’ve managed to keep up the “look your best” mindset for most of the workweek. The readers’ comments have fantastic ideas that I’ll be incorporating ASAP!

  • I don’t have to worry about clothes in the morning because I wear scrubs to work. I wake up at 6 and I’m out the door at 6:20. My scrub tops and bottoms are all folded in matching pairs so I never get caught realizing that the only clean ones I have are like, brown pants and a yellow top.

    I don’t wash my curly/wavy hair every day, but when I do, it’s done the night before. I put some wonder waves spray in it and go to bed while it’s still damp, and in the morning all I have to do is straighten my bangs. Then I wash my face, throw on some blush and mascara, throw my hair up in a clip, grab my lunch and leave.

    I get to work early so I can sit and enjoy my breakfast in the break room before my shift starts. If I ate at home I’m sure I would end up puttering around playing with my hair and makeup (a useless battle when you’re a CNA), and end up being late.

  • I put together my entire outfit the night before and cram it into a backpack because I walk to work 4 days a week. Sometimes I try the stuff on, but most of the time I don’t, because I know how everything in my wardrobe fits me. Of course, this can go disastrously wrong (and has!) but not all that often – maybe once or twice a year.

    I do a full face of make-up every day, but I have it down to a 10 minute routine. Most of my morning is taken up with playing with my cats, eating breakfast and chit-chatting with my husband.

  • Kate

    Through very scientific research I’ve determined that setting aside my outfits the night before is the only way for me. If I don’t, I will inevitably change my clothes four times and feel off all day. I’m such a slug in the AM before coffee that I can’t think very clearly so fewer “new” choices is the way to go. I wear my hair simply, though I have bangs which must be dried, and only wear a little eye liner and mascara and moisturizer of course. Makes for a fast morning, unencumbered by over-thinking.

  • Leah

    Well I don’t have any tips cause I wear purely functional clothing to work, so I just pick whatever is on the top of the “work clothes” pile and make sure I don’t stink, then out the door. I prefer it this way, weekends and days off are dress up days and I can take my sweet time getting ready, choosing outfits and doing different stuff with my hair.

  • Mel

    I generally can get ready pretty quickly….once I’m up. Getting me out of bed is torture!

    My latest revelation is that I REALLY need to stop turning off all (3) alarms and laying back down (for just a few minutes). Getting up 1/2 hour after I’m supposed to be at work doesn’t lend itself to a stress-free life.

    I always lay out my outfits for the next day when I get home from work. It’s the perfect time-saver to do it then (I’m already standing in front of the closet putting away the current day’s clothes).

    Since I read about your outfit list it occurred to me that I should keep a small index card by the closet to list things that I need to purchase. So when I’m laying out the outfit for tomorrow and I’m thinking about what would take this outfit from boring to stupendous, and I think that a kick-ass scarf would be good, and knowing that I will NEVER remember the needed color combination once I get to the store, I write that down.

    Then I can take the card with me when shopping and voila! Much more productive shopping!

    My other latest revelation….washing your hair in the morning and leaving with it wet isn’t such a good idea when you drive a convertible with the top down.

  • Lynn

    It is also useful to have outfits planned for odd events. In the last few years I have badly skinned both knees (bandaids do not enhance a skirt), broken a bone in my foot and cracked two ribs (nothing that goes over the head will work). Granted I am clumsy, but I have learned it is best to have a variety of outfits than can be worn when you are hurt and still need to appear in public.

  • Man, only 45 minutes to get ready sounds insane to me. Then again my morning routine normally involves breakfast with tea and emptying the dishwasher. I do lay out my clothes the night before, and pack my bags, and make sure to check the weather.

    For me, a little multitasking goes a long way. I have curly hair, so in the morning I shower first thing. I have to wait a little to let my hair drip dry, so I get dressed then, wait a little more after I put in gel, so I pick out jewelry, shoes. Then I plop my hair for half an hour. While it’s in the plop, I do my makeup, my chores, and pretty much the entire rest of my routine. My makeup is pretty simple right now: eyeliner, brow powder, mascara and blush. Come winter I’ll probably add some foundation, which may make it take longer.

    One thing that I think is very important is to not get distracted by things like television or internet. I used to check my email in the morning and that would eat up so much time. I always ran late. Recently, I stopped checking it before I left, and I suddenly found an extra half hour. Check the news/email after you get to work. Also, if you can get something ready the night before, do it! Put your coffee on a timer, prep your lunch, pack your bag, find your keys, whatever. The more you do the night before, the less you have to do in the morning.

    I’ve totally been meaning to do an outfit list though. I love the idea because putting outfits together takes forever for me, even though I do it at night.

  • Great tips! I am hopeless in the morning — no planning, nothing done in advance. Plus I can’t do anything until I sit in bed with my coffee until I’ve woken up enough, which can take anywhere from 10-25 minutes! The only good part about all of this is that I air-dry my (wavy/curly) hair. The longer it takes me to get ready in the morning, the closer my hair is to dry when I get to work!

    But damn, I could use more sleep. I hereby resolve to try figuring out the outfit the night before, and I may even consider doing outfit lists. That might be a big, big help!

  • D

    I’d say my morning prep time takes about 45 minutes, though most of that is spent standing in the shower while half asleep. I don’t have an outfit list, but I do set out my clothes for the next day right before bed most nights. I recently cut my hair pretty short, so that takes about a minute to do, and I normally don’t wear makeup, so my morning routine is pretty simple. I also do my accessorizing in the morning, though I’m not really sure why I do that. I need to work on the whole “organized closet” thing, my shoe pile is shameful…

  • Stacy

    I do as much as I possibly can the night before, like most of the other posters, including prepping the coffee maker, making my lunch for the next day, preparing my gym bag, and gathering any papers or items I might need for errands I’ll need to run during lunch or after work. I commute 40 miles one way, so this is a must. I plan my outfit the night before (I have a dress code at work, so I need to make sure it fits the dress code), and I mentally note options in case something goes awry in the morning (toothpaste on the blouse, unnoticed stains, cat hair on black pants, etc.)

    I’ve got my morning routine down to a science. Wake up, turn on the shower, plug in the coffee maker, step in the shower. I tend to wake up fully about halfway through the shower, and I mentally review my outfit for the day again and think about my options.

    An organized closet is key for me getting ready. I am lucky enough to have a large walk-in closet, and I can hang most of my items by type, then color. My shoes are stored where I can see them, as are my accessories. This makes choosing accessories so much easier for me.

    On days when I’m running late, I throw my makeup in a bag and put it on when I get to work. Or I twist my wet hair up into a messy bun.

  • Jean S

    okay, I’m going to really throw a monkey wrench into the works here….

    I’m about to start my new strategy: Plan a week at a time (and do so on Friday night, for the week ahead). Crazy, you say? Maybe. We’ll see. The thing is, I work from home. The last few years, that led–unfortunately–to quite the frump schlump. Bleah. I’m in the process of digging myself out, and I am launching a new endeavor, so I do need to plan ahead and to be more polished when I venture forth.

    I realized years ago–as in decades–that I had to have my work clothes picked out beforehand. Otherwise, I could easily stand there, looking at my closet in a complete fog, only to snap back to awareness after a good 15 minutes had passed….

    • Sal

      If I remember correctly, Audi from Fashion for Nerds tends to plan a week of outfits ahead of time, too! I think it’s a GREAT plan.

      • I was just about to add my comment and spotted my name here. Yes, I do plan a week’s worth of outfits at a time — or rather, I did until recent events threw a wrench in my routine (I’ll get back to it, I’m certain). It definitely saves a ton of time, assuming that the unpredictable SF weather ends up matching the 7-day forecast as the week unfolds. But even when it doesn’t, I at least have a place to start; I can always add or remove layers or change up the pre-planned shoes if mother nature doesn’t cooperate.

        I use those sturdy over-the-door hooks for hanging up my completed outfits. I like to hang everything together, including jewelry and other accessories; those cascading hangers are great for this purpose. The week’s worth of shoes get taken down from my overhead shelves and lined up on the floor inside my closet. Lately I’ve also started using a small bag that fits inside all my purses, so I can just pull it out and plop it into a different bag if I need to change that too.

    • I have somewhat fallen out of this habit, but I used to do this on Sunday nights. I’d put together five outfits complete with jewelry, belts and underthings (hung on the hanger with the top) and hang them in a specific spot in my closet. It made the mornings so much easier, and it was much more fun to plan out my outfits in an evening than to stand bleary-eyed in my closet every morning. I still plan out what to wear in advance, but I don’t physically put it all together anymore.

      This year I’ve been trying to shop my closet instead of shopping in stores and one thing that makes it more fun is to plan my outfits around a theme each week: Pants Week, Wedges Week (not wedgies! that’s different), Dresses Week, Cardigan Week. It helps me be a little more creative in my combinations.

      And recently I’m on a new kick: I am only wearing each piece of clothing one time, and then it can’t be worn again until everything else in my closet has been either worn or given away. I turn the hangers around after things are worn/washed so I don’t forget. I’m hoping it will force me to think harder when I do start shopping again about what really works on my body and with the rest of my wardrobe.

      • I love the idea of wearing each peice of clothing once! What an easy way to see what you never wear!

        I used to do that in college, but for a different reason-I only did my laundry once a month! It was born of necessity, but it was an easy way to see what needed to be thrown out. If I would rather dig through the hamper and wear a dirty shirt than the clean one in the drawer, its a pretty good sign I didn’t need it!!

      • Jean S

        “not wedgies!” made me laugh out loud…

  • Overall, I give myself 30 min. in the morning from when the alarm goes off till I’m out the door.

    Definitely shower the night before — saves time, plus it lets my curly hair air-dry, which is better for it (& I can use a fabulous leave-in conditioner; that’d look icy at work!).

    Must plan an outfit the night before, tho’ I reserve the right to change my mind based on mood or health.

    My biggest time savings is probably that I eat breakfast at the office while checking email. We have a great cafeteria here! However, you could just as easily bring instant oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, etc., & have that w/coffee. Kills two birds with one stone.

    • Eleanorjane

      Yup, me too. Hot porridge (oatmeal) at my desk in winter, cereal in summer. (But actually porridge most of the time as it’s so filling and very good for you).

  • AJ

    I currently have a teeny tiny wardrobe that makes this easy, especially for days like this morning, when my planned outfit went awry and I had to make it up as I went along. I’ve also recently switched to more low-maintenance hair (my curls used to go halfway down my back and I got a chin-length bob) and a makeup routine that’s always been simple: tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush, lipstick or gloss.

    So I guess my advice would be to either simplify or organize. Be the librarian and make your closet you special collections. Know what you have, know where you have it, and know what state it’s in. Weed, acquire, repair, but most importantly know what’s there.

  • I am always super groggy when I wake up, so preplanning is essential for me. There are two things I do to make sure my mornings run smoothly:

    1) Do as much as possible the night before. Lay out clothes (including shoes, underwear, and accessories), pack my lunch, pack my gym bag, decide what I’m making for breakfast (I write it down on the white board in the fridge so when I don’t have to try and remember), shower and blow dry my hair. Then there is less to think about in the morning.

    2) Have a set morning routine. I always do everything in the same order: get up, brush teeth, wash face, put in contacts, put in a load of laundry, put on makeup, do hair, get dressed, make breakfast, out the door.

    I’ve been doing this so long it is second nature, so I can get out the door on time without even realizing it!

  • AJD

    An outfit list?! This is amazing. My brain just applauded you and your organizational skills because this is EXACTLY what I need. My mornings are spent throwing things around my room and discovering clothing that need to be washed and searching for missing shoes… An outfit list.

    I could cry, I’m so happy you introduced me to this simple yet handy tool.

  • It takes me 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. I shower, dry my hair and mentally pick out an outfit before I go to bed. My wardrobe is pretty small, so I don’t need to physically sort through things and pick them out in advance. Then in the morning I brush my teeth, wash my face, get dressed, apply make-up (concealer, powder, blush, lipstick, mascara), tame any errant hair with a curling iron, and off I go. I eat breakfast at my desk at work. I like to sleep in as late as possible, so I have to be all about efficiency.

  • Secret Squirrel

    I put an outfit out the night before – right down to underwear. It’s strange, but if I have done this, but then change my mind and switch something out (cardigan to replace a light top etc) because of the weather, I find it so much easier to manage than if I hadn’t put anything out at all.

    I am super sleepy in the moning and I will try anything that makes my mornings a little easier…

  • Eleanorjane

    Interesting that so many of you seem stymied by your wardrobes of a morning. I seem to be the exception in that it doesn’t bother me to choose an outfit in the morning and I don’t generally have set “outfits” as I like changing things up. I usually just assemble a collection of things to cover myself according to the weather and how I feel that day.

    Outfits tend start with one piece (at the moment it’s a jumper (sweater?) or cardie ‘cos it’s cold and I don’t have many jumpers/ cardies) then I work out what goes with that. It varies as to how much I change accessories and clothes as I work out a good outfit, but it never takes more than 30 – 45 min.

    I do makeup in the car (either carpooling with my husband or in traffic pauses as I drive) and eat breakfast at work. Hair takes less than 5 min as it’s pretty easy at the mo. (Permed, short/ midlength – a bit like Molly Ringwald in the 80’s but not red).

    Facinating to hear everyone’s stories…

  • anotherjen

    Ya’ll must be childless because no one mentions the other bits of my morning routine (putting toothpaste on my kid’s brush, reminding him to put his underwear on first and turn the water off and rinse and spit before you have a drink, helping with his socks and shoes and sunscreen and finding a hat and etbloodycetra). I can do this, and get myself ready, in less than 30 minutes. I probably don’t look as stylish as I could, but I’m out the door!

  • These are some great tips. It definitely helped me to get ready in the mornings once I had my closet *organized*, where there wasn’t anything really on the floor. I have also found having a hook outside the closet door helps, too, so you can hang an outfit and add stuff to it.

  • I tend toward “uniform” dressing, i.e., every day’s wardrobe is very similar. And I don’t have a lot of clothes.

    So for me, it’s basically about taking one thing from each rack/shelf/drawer (top, bottom, underthings), and deciding on shoes and accessories (of which I have very few, so it’s easy to choose).

    One thing that does speed my morning routine considerably is if I take a shower first thing upon rising. That seems to really get me going and in the right mindset for getting ready and looking my best.

    My makeup is the type that looks natural but involves a somewhat elaborate routine. Plus, I’m obsessive about skin care, so every morning involves a skin treatment, body lotion, and lots of sunscreen. So I just accept the fact that I’m not going to be rushing through it.

    Everything including the shower (but not including breakfast) takes close to 90 minutes. Not a quick routine, but I’m not sure I really want a quick routine. I enjoy my mornings.

  • Shaye

    Another night-before showerer. Through years of trial and error I have discovered that my curly hair looks best if it is wrapped in the towel (“plopped”) for an hour or so, then allowed to air-dry as I’m laying down at night, fanned out on the pillow above me. (The lack of gravity pulling on the curls as they dry keeps them bouncier.) Then, if I am a very lucky girl, I can just tousle it a little in the morning and I’m good to go. (If I’m not a lucky girl, I have all manner of pulled-back, up, or partially back hairstyles to fall back on that take 30 seconds, as long as I know where my clips are.)

    This is all very convenient, as I’m NOT a morning person, and generally only manage to drag myself out of bed 20 minutes before I need to leave the house. I could probably do it in less than 15 if I picked out my clothes the night before. (I usually don’t. I did for awhile, when I was trying out a lot of new style variations, but I don’t really need to anymore.)

    I don’t have any fancy beauty routines – my skin is very sensitive, so normally I just wash with a hot washcloth and smear on a liberal amount of moisturizer. I put on makeup in the car, at stoplights or after I pull into my spot at work. (The natural light is better anyway!) I use mineral makeup, and my whole makeup routine takes 2-3 minutes, if that: dust of makeup, some extra in the eye area/on blemishes if needed, cheek stain for blush, eyebrow powder, mascara, lip balm of some sort. (The “if that” comes from when I skip parts of the routine – the most important part to making me feel groomed is actually the brow powder!)

    • Shaye

      Oh, also – I take a medication every morning that has to be done an hour before eating. I’m totally a breakfast-at-my-desk type. 🙂

  • JI

    Why do you have to look your best every day? Forgo the cosmetics, grab an extra few minutes of sleep instead, deep breathe, be grateful for another day, and be kind to others.
    That is the only make up you need.

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  • I see in the comments that I’m not alone in advance prep. On Sunday evenings I check the weather report for the week and select outfits accordingly. Sometimes I have to do a last-minute substitution.