I’m a fairly organized person who likes to have a plan. But, weirdly, I have tended to leave outfit selection to the absolute last moment. Even for really, really important events! So you can imagine that less important events – like going to work on a Wednesday morning – get sorely neglected. And I rifle through my belongings, frantic and overwhelmed, until something easy comes to hand. Or something weird that I don’t realize is weird until I see myself in the office bathroom.
But my outfit list has totally transformed that ritual of disorganized dressing. Here’s what I do now:
- I spend a big chunk of time – three or four hours – every month going through my closet and mentally assembling outfits. I walk from room to room with my notepad, staring at my shoes and scarves until inspiration strikes, and then jot down a complete outfit. Shoes, tights, bottom, top, and some larger accessories if I can think of them at the time. My most recent bout of this included crafting potential outfits from every blazer, dress, and skirt I own. Yes, it was a loooooong list.
- I put the letters “fr” in a tiny circle next to outfits that are only appropriate for Fridays or weekends. This shorthand makes the whole list easier to scan.
- Then, in the morning, I flip through the list until I land on something that strikes my fancy, or suits the weather, or includes a certain item that I’ve been looking forward to wearing. And … well, I’m done. OK, sometimes the outfit in my head looks a mess on my bod and needs some revision. But generally a few accessory tweaks is all I need, and I’m out the door looking stylish.
I’ve found that, in addition to making me feel more organized and stylish and considerably less stressed, my outfit list has many other unforeseen benefits:
- It helps me utilize the contents of my wardrobe. In fact, even when I’m not working on the outfit list, I jot down items that I consider “underutilized” on the same notepad. Then, when I have time to brainstorm, I can start by crafting outfits around those neglected pieces.
- It helps me appreciate the contents of my wardrobe. Nothing kills the urge to shop for shoes like the realization that you have a brand new pair that’s gone unworn for six months.
- It helps me be more creative with my wardrobe. When I go down the line of dresses and come across a really distinctive one, I challenge myself to think of varied ways to wear it. Thinking harder about how my clothes can be worn fuels the creation of better and more interesting outfits.
I am totally reliant on my list, now. I’d say there might be one day per week when I create an outfit on the fly, and it’s usually a weekend day when I’ve got loads of time. Sometimes I’ll ask HM to pick a number, and just wear whichever outfit corresponds to his selection! It’s really an amazing tool, and has revolutionized my methods of outfit assembly.