One question I get time and time again from people who want to know about the international incident that is my wardrobe? 'How do you decide what to wear each day??' For those of us who aren't bound to a certain dress code (shirt, suit, shoes, done, or even hospital scrubs) it can often be a little problematic to select what we want to put on our back each day, especially when there are better things we can be doing each morning (lying in, for example).
You've seen my wardrobe (and I'm sure I've been judged on it). It's a jungle in there and as we all know exploring the jungle is a terrifying business. We'd all much rather watch the jungle from the comfort of our sofas. But you've got to explore it, tame it and catalogue it. I still haven't done this - will definitely be done in the next few months one way or another - but I have regular clearouts to air clothes, get rid of the ones I don't wear and to remind me of what I have so I a) know what I can match with what and b) don't go buying something like a white blouse when there's one hiding in all that. Even a basic idea of what you've got, in what colours, is a good place to start.
Depending on how far in advance you're planning your outfit (more on that later), checking the weather is a fundamental, particularly in this country. I nearly had a heart attack when I checked the forecast for the week ahead and discovered it's going to be 31 DEGREES this weekend. Time to get the t-shirts out and relegate the tights and the jackets, at least until the thunderstorms kick in at the start of next week. This way, you won't get caught out in three layers on a heatwave day or in suede sandals during a downpour.
This might just be one for me, as I'm terrible for booking events in (dinners, work events, having meetings) and then forgetting about it until, well, it's too late. Thankfully I'm generally neat enough for any scenario but there's nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, aka wearing that 'experimental' lipstick shade or bright outfit during a sombre business meeting.
So here we go, the practical bit and the key to giving you lie-in time alongside a flawless list of outfit options for the next few days, week or beyond. Some of us will feel happier with a week's worth of looks locked down, some prefer spontaneity. But there's a solution for everyone. I like to plan a week at a time, on Sunday nights, with a notepad, a vague idea of key pieces I want to pull out that week, an understanding of which days it'll rain and shine and a knowledge of what I've got to dress for that week.
This is where the notebook comes in. The way I like to plan is pick a key piece and build a look around it. 'Great jacket + jeans (or black skirt) + new shoes that I love + trusty bag that goes with everything'. Simple, right? The key feature is the lead with all the other items taking their cues from it, with a couple of options for the support piece in case you wake up and, say, can't handle a jeans day or you feel like getting your legs out.. 'Trusty' items also balance out the new - the idea that stepping out in a whole new look is exciting is true, but so is the idea of terror that comes with the first glance in the mirror at a new outfit. 'Can I pull this off? Is it too short? Does it cling in all the wrong places? Is it OTT?' A much-loved bag, a comfortable pair of chic shoes, or even something as simple as your favourite lipstick will help bring you back down to Earth.
I tend to plan for five days at a time (it also helps mean I have good outfits for the blog) and will often, if I know a certain day is going to be sunnier or a certain day calls for me to be smarter, note down days next to each look. Everyone has a day that they find hardest in the week and for me that day is Tuesday, so Tuesdays are often the day I make the most effort.
Another way to to have options (aside from the way mentioned in the tip above) is in your accessories. Depending on the status of your makeup bag, jewellery box or handbag collection (let's not talk about my issues), you'll know the ability for something as simple as a statement pendant vs a delicate one, a huge bag vs a little one or a bright lipstick vs a smoky eye to totally change a look. Bearing in mind the little touches that can build on an outfit is always a good idea. Plus, as mentioned, the confidence of that lipstick shade or the comfort of that much-loved piece of jewellery will help make the whole look feel like yours.
So go forth and have well-dressed weeks! And let me know what your best tips for getting dressed are! (Aside from the inevitably sarcastic 'I put clothes on' ones.)